Think of enjoying electric performances from drag queens while waiting for a heaping plate of Eggs Benedict or sinking your teeth into the flaky goodness of a perfect croissant. Sometimes, the experience is joined by bubbly—a perfect combination, if you ask me. While the concept has origins in the 1970s, drag brunches gained mainstream popularity in the last two decades in the United States, the United Kingdom and in recent years, the Philippines.
The different meanings of “serve” overlap in drag brunches. So whether we take the literal act of delivery, often food, onto a table or the connotation where one presents an attractive, beautiful appearance—attendees will take something away from their time there. Because more than the palpable joy in seeing queens and kings perform in front of your eyes, these affairs have a deeper meaning for the community.
In this editorial, Wonder explores the concept of what gets served in such affairs with Drag Race Philippines star Viñas Deluxe. Lensed by Wilmark Jolindon and art directed by Jobo Nacpil, see the queen bring fun, flavor and ferocity to one of Manila’s favorite daytime drag show destinations, Butterboy Bakehouse in Quezon City.
Fun is a component that remains with drag, whether it’s a lineup of accurate impersonators or superstar-caliber performances. Unfortunately, one’s first impression of drag shows often ties the craft to late evenings in dark nightclubs, always hidden in the shadows. While the artform first thrived in that scene, times are changing. It’s become a movement that anyone else can and should be able to enjoy unabashedly, at any time of the day.
Holding drag performances in broad daylight signifies a cultural shift—a leap toward visibility. The intimidation and exclusivity of nightclubs disappear, making the craft more accessible. Non-night dwellers, families and even children get to hear each queen’s, king’s and performer’s stories. Through these daytime shows, more people see that drag culture comes in many shapes and sizes, with various tastes and flavors that create a rich environment.
But we should remember that drag culture is more than a spectacle, whether you regularly catch queens in clubs, brunches or meriendrag shows or enjoy titles like RuPaul’s Drag Race or Pose. Instead, it’s a platform for bigger things to unfold.
Drag is, and forever will be, political—an avenue rooted in protest. Fervent and fierce acts of defiance need not be physically violent. Sometimes it’s an individual fully embracing themselves and exploring their higher personas. It can be the exploration of identity and the invitation for others to do the same. It’s the use of art to bring to light issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Establishments like Butterboy Bakehouse not only create a safe space for Filipino drag to blossom, but also contribute to the movement of bringing the community to the forefront. Through intimate shows, people enter the world of drag without the filter of scripts, sequences and shade. Patrons enjoy the performers in all their glory and listen to their advocacies with undivided attention.
Institutions can no longer deny the LGBTQIA+ community, the people who built this from the ground up. They exist and deserve equal recognition and rights as the next person. So remain open to everything that these affairs serve you, welcome a deeper understanding of their community with open arms and most important of all: listen to the messages they have to say.