It takes a village, even for drag queens. Often we don’t see all the supporters and people behind the scenes, helping make a queen look flawless. Nor do we think about what it takes to put together a drag show: the costs involved, the planning of a special event and all the logistics.
Well, one of those people behind the scenes is promoter Brian French of Pardon Moi French. I got a moment to catch up with Brian recently. He is such a sweetheart and a busy bee! He was anxious to answer my questions, so I got right to it. Of course, I had to ask the question I ask every handsome pretty boy…“When was your first time?” He chuckled a bit.
“Well, the first time that I went to a gay club was the Sunday after I turned 18. I went to Legends Nightclub and Ebony Summers was performing “Sky” by Soniq. To this day, I remind Ebony of that night,” Brian shared. “That initially sparked my intrigue ever since.”
I could tell immediately Brian is a “professional.” And he doesn’t scare easily, so I continued with my next question: “So why drag and why didn’t you ever become a drag queen?”
Brian smiled and replied: “I’d be an ugly drag queen. Honestly, I’ve always been a planner. Ask my closest friends and family. Some of them love how OCD I am and others often have to ask me to chill out.” That answer was refreshing. After all, Pardon Moi French and Brian genuinely have been there to support so many queens. And who needs another drag queen. Seriously.
He continued: “I always wanted to be a part of this drag phenomenon and I felt like Pardon Moi French was the best way to use the strongest character traits and qualities that I have. I’ve found over the years that the riskier the show, the bigger the rush! No words can describe the feeling that you get five minutes before doors open, and there’s a line of 100 people waiting to get in.”
You could tell Brian loves what he does as a promoter. You can see it in how excited he gets when he talks about his past events or what he has coming up. And indeed, Pardon Moi French has a lot of which to be proud. The company has been growing and expanding the last year with promoting even bigger events. Pardon Moi French started in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. hosting “Ru Paul Drag Race” queens for a “Take Me to Lunch Series” and then began holding similar events across the Carolinas. Now Pardon Moi French has gone even further reaching across the Midwest to the Southeast with the upcoming “Queens for the Cure Tour” featuring seven “RuPaul Drag Race” queens, as well as highlighting local queens in all 12 cities. The tour will visit Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida starting March 15 until March 26.
“The ‘Queens For The Cure Tour’ is like nothing I have ever done in my life. The tour has me feeling ecstatic, anxious…the whole idea is to entertain and take a group of drag queens who want to do their part to make a small difference city by city,” Brian said.
A percentage of ticket sales, all raffle money and donations raised will go to Until There’s A Cure and a portion will also go to a local charity in each city. I greatly admire promoters like Brian who put all their time and money into big ideas and events. It takes a lot to pull such a tour off. And as a charity queen myself, I applaud that Brian gives proceeds back to the community. In his own words, I wanted to hear him say why?
“In the end I could have these shows and keep every penny. I choose to incorporate charities in many of my events because I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I want to help our community,” replied Brian. “In the end I would not be able to produce events if I didn’t have this community.“
This is exactly the reason why I wanted to chat with Brian for my column. As a promoter, he gets it. Each of us has the power with drag — or through drag — to make a difference in the lives of others. And as Brian shared, the impact is real, especially for many kids today.
“A lot of the shows that I produce are open to all ages. I’ve been emotionally touched by so many 10-15-year-old kids who break down crying during meet and greets because they had the chance to meet their ‘hero.’”
That should make us all happy. We all need our drag queen heroes.
Drag has the power to help lift people up and change lives.
Brian, thank you. You are helping make that a reality.
DRAG TIP: Advice from Brian French as a promoter: “I’m not in the business of convincing people to like drag. The audience is already there. You just have to provide what they want.”
SHOUT OUTS: Buy your tickets now! The Pardon Moi French “Queens for the Cure Tour” will be all across the Carolinas March 18-20 with stops in Raleigh, N.C., Charlotte, N.C. and Greenville, S.C. Yours truly will be in the Charlotte show date! Buy your tickets online at PardonMoiFrench.com.
info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and believes in making the world a better place (and likes to raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her weekly Saturday night show with Patti O’Furniture, monthly drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye.