You can’t keep a good queer down, especially during a time like no other in a pandemic. Though this year over one hundred drag kings, queens, and queer performers from the Bay Area and beyond will perform online for the fourth annual Oaklash Drag & Queer Performance Festival.
Organized by the powerhouse duo, Beatrix LaHaine and Mama Celeste, this year Oaklash will feature over 50 hours of nonstop live performance, music, DJs, panel discussions and lots and lots of drag all happening virtually on Twitch. Past Oaklash shows have catered to the wide variety of drag art and drag consumers of the Bay Area as a hole. Some of our favorites performers we’re ecstatic to see include Nicki Jizz, Lisa Frankenstein, Snaxx, Tyson Check-In, VERA, Jota Mercury, Beverly Chills, FKA Supernova Girl, D’Arcy Drollinger, Mr. David Glamamore. In past shows, Oaklash have been able to bring on performers of national stardom such as Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 12 contestant Rock M. Sakura, Dragulas Meatball, and Chicago legend Lucy Stoole.
Oaklash has been a shining beacon of queer expression since its inception in 2017, as Celeste and LaHaine had noted the drag and queer scenes of the Bay Area had no festival, meet-up, movement to really platform the thriving local talent. Last year, the duo informed us about how bar and queer culture took a downturn due to the effects of COVID-19. “Oaklash is here to let the world know that even if the bars have closed, drag culture hasn’t gone anywhere” the Oaklash pair told us over email at the beginning of May 2020, “It’s time for a long overdue celebration of the local queer culture that can only be found in the Bay.”
“Last year (2020) over 250,000 people tuned in to watch our festival online and we learned that these virtual platforms are an amazing way to make our show more accessible and to expand our audience,” said Celeste. “We’re committed to live streaming every Oaklash from here on out and bringing our show LIVE to anyone who wants a little bit of drag and queer excellence from the comfort of their home.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drag artists turned to performing online and began a whole new renaissance of innovative and boundary pushing performances.
Though this years Oaklash is jam-packed full of performances, Oaklash will stream live from Oasis in San Francisco, where queer performers from all over the Bay Area will make their big return to the nightclub stage. Artists from around the world will be submitting music-video-style pre-recorded performances. The weekend will also feature a series of panel discussions on race, disability, nightlife after quarantine, and much more!
The organiziers of Oaklash this year have a few fun ideas to celebrate the show and the performers this year, “though there will be no live audience at Oasis, with restrictions on in-person gatherings lifting,” said the duo “Oaklash is encouraging people to host private viewing parties of the event with their social bubbles. For those who want to watch the show from a bar, there will be an official viewing party happening at El Rio in San Francisco hosted by local favorites Per Sia, Yves St Croissant, and VivvyAnne ForeverMORE.”
// Oaklash: The Bay Area’s Drag & Queer Performance Festival, Friday May 28th – Sunday May 30th | Only on twitch.tv/oaklash2021; Donate now to help Oaklash pay all of its artists and performers at givebutter.com/oaklash2021.