Windsor Pride Happens Saturday with a Music Festival, Street Fair. GaySonoma Chats with Headliner Elsa Touche
Windsor Pride festival will take place Saturday, June 10, 2 – 8 PM at Windsor Town Green.
The Music Festival will feature: School of Rock House Band of Santa Ros, Fleetwood Macramé, DJ LadyChar
…and the We Are Family Dragstravaganza featuring: Elsa Touché, Cocoa Buttah, Linda Summers
Street Fair – Where your favorite carnival meets Sonoma County’s best artisans, food trucks, and a sprinkling of the Love Wins in Windsor fairy dust, get ready for the Windsor Pride Festival STREET FAIR!
Limited-Edition T-shirts, Tanks, Totes + Hats. Locally-Made Jewelry, Soaps + Crafts Sonoma Community Nonprofits Love Wins Winegarten (a local premium tasting flight experience)
Fogbelt Brewery Tent Windsor’s Favorite Food Trucks
Also: Love Recommitment Ceremonies with Pastor Mary; Affirmation Station; Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove Information
Elsa Touche spoke with GaySonoma about her upcoming performance.
Gary Carnivele: Can you remember seeing your first drag performance and the impact it made on you?
Elsa Touche: I can’t really remember my first ever. I can say that I was a kid in the 1980s and that was such a great era of gender-bending and androgyny, as far as musical performers. Boy George, Annie Lennox, Prince … all the makeup bands from England, like Duran Duran. From where I was back then, you know, growing up queer in the sticks, these performers were really a beacon for me. MTV gave me proof that somewhere in the world there was a place for me!
And I can remember my early days in San Francisco and how entranced I was with that kind of punk rock drag expression that was fostered at T-Shack (RIP Heklina). Always unexpected and bold and thrilling. Really changing the definition of what drag could be.
GC: What did it mean to you to be named “Favorite Drag Queen” by SF Weekly in 2020?
ET: That was a real surprise and I’m not sure how I got that honor, at all. I’m not even my own favorite drag queen, and there are a lot of performers in SF who I’d think would earn that distinction before I would! But this was during the pandemic, and I was doing a lot of online shows then, and making online content in the form of my “Stir Crazy” parody cooking show. I was also grateful to be involved in the Oasis Nightclub’s “Meals on Heels” drag food delivery service — a drag queen would bring your food order and do a mini-show on the sidewalk in front of your house. So I was very visible during this time; maybe that’s why.
Anyway, it was an honor, for sure. And if I’m anyone’s favorite anything, I’m grateful. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to pursue my passion for drag!
GC: Tell us all about “The Monster Show.”
ET: The Monster Show is the Castro District’s longest-running drag show — 19 years strong. It was founded by the legendary San Francisco drag queen Cookie Dough, who passed away several years ago. Thanks to subsequent show hosts and our show producer, Otter, we’ve kepe her legacy alive: We’re proud to be San Francisco’s “most ridiculous” drag show, every Thursday night at the Edge Bar in San Francisco! We’re proud to be a show that embraces all flavors of drag and encourages experimentation, and a place where newer performers are welcome. I got my own start at the Monster Show … and I’ve been one of the co-hosts for about five years now, and I’m very proud to be part of this San Francisco drag tradition.
GC: Your Drag-Theatrical Productions are legendary. Which were your favorites?
ET: On my own and as a member of Fraudway Productions, I’ve produced and co-produced a few shows I love. One of my favorite productions was “Without You I’m Nothing” — a tribute to the movie of the same name and its creator Sandra Bernhard. Kind of a niche production, but I loved it! Fraudway’s “Harriet Poofter” series has proved very popular as well. I feel like this show is important because it takes the Harry Potter characters that many queer people grew up loving … and puts them in a queer context that celebrates trans people and “claps back” at the series’ creator’s transphobic rhetoric. All of the shows I work on are highly collaborative, and everyone is involved in making the final product — I love working with drag performers because they’re so creative, and just in the process of making the show everyone contributes so many good ideas.
GC: Are you working on something now?
ET: I’m thinking of a new show for 2024 — it’s not something I can talk about yet. But I’m very excited about it!
GC: Where was the toughest crowd you ever encountered and how did you worm your way into their hearts?
ET: Several years ago I was booked for a show at a bar that was also showing a World Series game that the Giants were in, on the TV, and most people were definitely there to watch the game, not to see a drag show. I don’t know that I successfully wormed my way into their hearts! I remember this as a very difficult show because people literally had their backs to me because they were trying to watch TV. But whenever I perform, I’m aware that not everyone will enjoy what I’m doing. I’m performing for those who are willing to join me in this act of creation. In this case, I found the couple of people that were engaged and gave them my all.
GC: What’s your super-secret make-up magic trick?
ET: My makeup tricks, such as they are, don’t carry into the real world, because a lot of what I use is sort of industrial-strength theater makeup, not meant for everyday use — and I’m going for “clown” more than “beauty” really. My super-secret drag makeup trick is three layers of foundation … and if you mess something up, put some glitter on it.
GC: What do you have planned appearance at Windsor Pride?
ET: I’m really looking forward to a great weekend! Along with my fabulous colleagues Coco Buttah and Linda Summers, we have drag shows on Saturday and Sunday, plus games and other events! It’s been such fun planning these shows and I can’t wait to see everyone in Sonoma! I love Sonoma County!
GC: It’s been a tough year for the LGBTQI+ Community, especially Trans Folks and Drag Performers. WFT??
ET: nAll these attempts to prohibit drag shows are just a part of the massive effort we’re seeing to criminalize ‘transness — trans and gender nonconforming people are so under attack right now in our country, and they should be the focus of our efforts at protection and support right now. And there are many organizations we can support, like the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender Law Center. ‘
I agree: WTF, indeed! But, yes, it looks like a calculated effort on the part of many politicians to prey on and endanger this very vulnerable segment of society in order to rouse the ugly feelings — hate and fear — in a small subset of Americans. It’s a campaign of bigotry and misinformation. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly. And we mustn’t sit quietly by.
GC: Drag Performers are always political – that’s what we love about them and their art. How do you keep it real and clever?
ET: These days, just being a drag queen is a political act. And expressing queer joy and making queer art are both inherently political as well. Keeping it real and clever is, for me, about keeping it current and personal.
GC: What are your tips for having an EPIC Pride?
ET: Drink lots of water. Bring sunscreen. Dance. Wear something that makes a statement. Smile at strangers.