Have you heard of the DisabiliTease Festival? Well if not, you should! The DisabiliTease Festival is a multi-day festival that showcases performers with disabilities in the areas of burlesque, cirque, cabaret, and drag. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the festival highlights performers not only from the Twin Cities, but across the United States and around the globe. I had a chance to chat with one of the east coast performers, Chris Jay, who is a photographer, performer, and host of Coffee with Chris podcast.

Interview by Lala Luzious


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Critical Thinking and Other Things.

By Sadie Vail
Featuring the Queer Circus at Can Can Wonderland. 

Beauty for Everyone.

By Derek
Review: Naomi Smalls  and Carly Rae Jepsen headlining Pride.

990 Central Ave NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 (612) 208-0035

We are the premier destination for live music, comedy, drag, burlesque and so much more. Lush is a special place tucked away in Northeast Minneapolis featuring a wide selection of cocktails and savory bites.

Chris Jay
DisabiliTease Festival performer, Chris Jay, who is a photographer, performer, and host of Coffee with Chris podcast.

Lala Luzious - Nutritional Fact of Life

Hey Snacks!
Have you heard of the DisabiliTease Festival? Well if not, you should! The DisabiliTease Festival is a multi-day festival that showcases performers with disabilities in the areas of burlesque, cirque, cabaret, and drag. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the festival highlights performers not only from the Twin Cities, but across the United States and around the globe. I had a chance to chat with one of the east coast performers, Chris Jay, who is a photographer, performer, and host of Coffee with Chris podcast.

Tell us a little bit about you, and what you do?
I've been a performer since 2013. I was a drag King with the DC Kings and then I help produce Chocolate City Brewing Cabaret for a while. I moved to Baltimore, became king of Pride. I started my podcast, Coffee with Chris, about five years ago. It is a live stream podcast on Facebook and we talk about various topics like the news, mental health, and things that are important and queer community in the mornings. I've also been a photographer for twenty years and that's really how I got involved in community.

In terms of your drag performance, what was it like when you first started performing compared to now?
Interesting question because I think it was more fun back then than it is now. It was fun trying to figure out life, being excited about getting on stage, and expressing myself. It is still fun but now it's just different, especially after Covid-19. It is a very different community now and also I am in my forties now; my body's different with age. I don't perform as often as I used to, I perform for spaces and community that really matter to me. So like now performing is more intentional and meaningful in that way.

What would you say is the most rewarding or the most fun aspect of performing?
The most rewarding is the amount of spaces that performers are performing in now. I think that was something that I was happy to kind of be a part of that that change. I'm happy to have been a part of the work to keep safe spaces. I'm happy that the work that I had been a part of is paying off.

In some communities, drag kings are underrepresented. Have you faced that challenge in your career?
I've always been the person to create my own space. Being a part of a drag king troupe was just about creating that space. If someone else won’t give me something, I just make it myself. I don't wait for somebody to open a door for me, I just pick the lock.

What do you think that the DisabiliTease Festival is going to do for people who may have a disability but also want to perform?
Hopefully it shows that disabilities aren't just all physical or limiting or or anything like that. There are a lot of disabled performers out there who are doing great performances, sometimes even better performances than an “able-bodied” performance. The organizers are doing a great job at showing off the talent.

Whats next for you?
I started a non-profit called the Lived Experience Collective. We're working to figure out ways to archive queer stories for academic purposes. Our stories, especially LGBTQ+ stories, is constantly being erased. And the fact that our history is constantly debated… like what's true and what's not…made me question why we haven’t properly recorded some of these stories. I think that by archiving them creating archiving as a standard it would help to further validate our lived experiences as people. Because those experiences are valid.

Where can people follow you and hear more about this project and all the other things you're doing?
You can follow me everywhere as Chris Jay. My podcast is Coffee with Chris show.

The 2022 Virtual DisabiliTease Festival is happening July 15-17!
For full cast lists and show details, workshop descriptions, or to purchase tickets, visit

1415 University Avenue West Saint Paul, MN 55104 (651) 528-8028

The Black Hart is a neighborhood, queer, and soccer bar in the Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul. The Black Hart continues the long legacy of Town House Bar as a home for the LBGTQ+ community. Check out our calendar for our drag shows, burlesque, BINGO, and karaoke.

The 2022 DisabiliTease Festival
The third annual DisabiliTease Festival – July 15-17, 2022 – provides a platform for people with disabilities to showcase their talents in the areas of burlesque, cirque, cabaret, and drag. Tickets are now on sale for all 2022 festival events!

This annual festival works to challenge and overturn the notion that having a disability decreases or interferes with a person’s desirability, allure, or competence as a performer. This year’s cast includes Headliner Twirlisha Devine, Features Rosie Roulette, Sinasaurus Vex, Azzure Service (in memoriam), and Tas Al-Ghul, and our Emcees Frankie Fingerling, Thrillda Swinton, and Mother Girth.

The 2022 festival will be presented via Zoom. Shows will be presented on July 15 & 16 at 8pm CDT and July 17 at 12pm CDT. Workshops will be presented on July 16 at 11:30am, 1pm, and 3pm CDT.

“I think [the DisabiliTease Festival] is important because it brings awareness and shows people are so much more than their labels and performance can come in many forms and I’m so here for it.” says 2022 cast member Violet Passion of Montana.

You can purchase general tickets for $15, VIP tickets for $30, or donate a ticket for $15 to help the DisabiliTease Festival to provide tickets to those that otherwise would not be able to attend due to financial barriers. Workshops tickets are available for $20-$30, depending on length.

For full cast lists and show details, workshop descriptions, or to purchase tickets, visit

About the DisabiliTease Festival

The DisabiliTease Festival is a multi-day festival that showcases performers with disabilities in the areas of burlesque, cirque, cabaret, and drag. The festival strives to create a safe and accommodating space for performers to express themselves and receive the validation and recognition they deserve.

The production team consists of Minda Mae and VaVa Vashti from Minneapolis, MN, and Lakota Shekhar from Cleveland, OH.

1428 Nicollet Ave Minneapolis, MN (612) 399-6258 |

The Nicollet Diner is a local Minneapolis American restaurant specializing in breakfast all day, burgers, fries & malts.  The Muffin Top Cafe is an independent local coffee shop in Loring Park specializing in hand crafted espresso, tea, smoothies and frappes.

Queer Circus
"We're Not Here to Embarass You, We're Here To Love You In An Embarrassing Way" 

Sadie Vail - Disident Dish

I was fortunate enough to get to see the Queer Circus's Pride performance at Can Can Wonderland last weekend and not only was it an excellent deal for just $10 (I even got to play a whole bunch of free arcade games in addition to the show), but it was absolutely delightful, heartwarming, adorable, lovely, and I left feeling happy, hopeful, and encouraged.
Every act was unique, surprising, and the show had such magnificent and eclectic music choices that I was introduced to a couple new groups I've since added to more than one Spotify mix. I'm pretty sure there were multiple original songs sung, albeit slightly out of tune here and there, and some great lip synching, albeit out of sync off and on. I would chalk that up to the sound not being fantastic and the noise and music from Can Can games and crowds that could be clearly heard over several of the acts.

Performers' levels of melanin varied beautifully, as did their genders, body sizes, and personal styles. The announcer took the time to acknowledge that not everyone drinks, that there were sober people in the troupe, sober people in the audience, and that they were appreciated and loved. There was even a short talk about consent before it all started, with examples of how to let a performer know if you prefer they don't come too close to you. It all felt very respectful and inclusive.

At the beginning I wasn't sure what I was about to see, so there was some anxiety, like at an improv show or open mic night; worried I'd be embarrassed for someone and in turn very uncomfortable. But in three hours, I heard excellent music, saw the sexiest monster drag on stilts, contortion, fire dancing, body balancing, aerial silk work, original songs, nods to the ballroom scene/voguing, uplifting clown performances, hula hooping, and sexy humans taking off their clothes. I got to experience some lovely '80s & '90s nostalgia, and cried a little when a clown reminded me hearts can be mended and to not hold onto things I love too tightly. I sang Mr. Brightside with a room full of strangers at full volume, laughed a whole lot, smiled even more, and will definitely be back to see the show again. If you have a chance, and you'd enjoy witnessing some real, genuine, unique, imperfect, and completely lovely humans do some freaking incredible things, you should too.

GAY 90'S
515 Washington Ave S Minneapolis, Mn 55415 (612) 338-4214

The Gay 90's is the place to be! Gay, straight, friendly, beautiful People.
6 bars, 3 dance floors, dinner, and drag show.

Carly Rae Jepsen Headlining Pride in Concert at The Armory
The “Call Me Maybe” sensation brought her signature pop joy to Minneapolis-St. Paul for Pride 2022

Derek Please - Beauty For Everybody

9:30pm. Lights down. Boom! Visuals light up a large backdrop screen over a two-platform, staircase-divided stage. The slap of skilled live drums. High background vocals from a singer dressed in a fuchsia suit.

Carly Rae Jepsen makes her grand entrance to the Pride in Concert stage at The Armory in Minneapolis, MN — the crowd roaring. The pop icon begins with “No Drug Like Me,” a great song presented with studio-level live vocals courtesy of Jepsen.

Jepsen wore a lilac bra top with a big lilac bowl on it and a matching, fringe-layered skirt. Her hair was styled at shoulder-length, blonde. Her energy as a live vocalist and skilled stage dancer astounded as she utilized both platforms onstage.

The band impresses with their excellent live instrumentation, especially during the next song, “E•MO•TION.” The foggy and sweaty venue complemented the sultry, intimate live production.

Saxophone visuals arrive on screen as fan-favorite “Run Away with Me” begins playing, with its iconic sax intro. “Are you guys Ready?” Jepsen teases.

Trippy laser visuals arrive for Dedicated album-opener “Julien.” They give away to disco ball visuals, as the crowd waves around light-up foam devices provided by Smirnoff. Carly Rae dances and strikes poses as the band, dressed in all-white with the exception of the backup vocalist, gives their all. “Julien is a real man I fell in love with, ages ago,” Jepsen admits. “But he turned out to be a dick.”

The one-two punch of the songs “Now That I Found You” and E•MO•TION LP favorite “Gimmie Love” play. There’s lots of shimmying from Jepsen. Trippy heart visual patterns play on screen as the crowd sways to the excellent live band.

The front of the higher stage has video screens, too, and they project floral visuals while “I Really Like You” and Carly’s new single “Western Wind” enchant the crowd. They clap as Jepsen jumps to the beat of more songs, like “Want You in My Room,” “Happy Not Knowing,” “Summer Love,” and “Too Much” play.

Jepsen grooves with her band members for “Boy Problems,” “When I Needed You,” and “Automatically In Love” light up screens with different visual videos for each play. Jepsen is also wearing combat boots with her relatively feminine outfit, which adds a certain fashion edge.

It’s finally time for her most iconic song of all, “Call Me Maybe.” The crowd has been singing along all night, but they roar for this one. It’s an epic singalong that leads into “Everything He Needs.” Jepsen and her fuchsia-donning backup vocalist dance together to “Let’s Get Lost” and the big closing number, “Cut to the Feeling.”

“Thank you so much, Minneapolis… goodnight!”

Naomi Smalls Headlining at Flip Phone XXL at First Avenue
“The legs of Season 8” did not disappoint with her sultry performances onstage.

Derek Please - Beauty For Everybody

After Carly Rae Jepsen’s great headlining performance at Pride in Concert at The Armory, I rushed over to Flip Phone Events’ annual Flip Phone XXL event. There I saw the fabulous local Minneapolis entertainers Tygra, Sasha Cassadine, Frozaen Pissás, Priscilla Es Yuicy and more perform.

International queen Naomi Smalls of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise was the headliner of the evening. They emerged in a gorgeous red gown, while holding a single, thorny red rose. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast vibes. Before long they threw the rose down dramatically, and exposed a single leg, like Angelina Jolie at the Oscars.

Smalls’ music selections included a performance of Kylie Minogue’s slinky, sultry “The One.” They ripped the fabric off the bottom of their long dress before revealing a red, tight mini dress. Their electrifying stage persona shone through as they danced and hair flipped for the wild crowd.

Smalls greeted the crowd and yelled an enthusiastic “Happy Pride!” “Nice to meet you. My name is Naomi Smalls. I’m the legs of Season 8,” the drag sensation teased, before taking a photo with the crowd.

The beauty emerged at the end of the night for another sultry performance, this time incorporating Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me” track. They had multiple outfit reveals; from a Sherpa jacket to a cut up, crop top tee and blue skirt, to a stoned, nude toned crop top and matching bottom set. 

515 Washington Ave S Minneapolis, Mn 55415 (612) 338-4214

The eagleBOLTbar is a long-running “chill” gay bar, located in East Town andthe US Bank Stadium neighborhood. Serving great pub food with a beautiful patio, the eagleBoltbar is respectful of all races, all genders, all identities and all people.


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