Arts & Entertainment
1 min

A Pearle Harbour Christmas

New Toronto drag queen hosts holiday variety show

Pearle Harbour — a welcome new queen in Toronto’s performance scene — hosts a holiday variety show at Videofag.

Pearle Harbour, superstar stewardess of the Air Force, is dreaming of a white Christmas. But she’ll settle for a Bing Crosby–style variety show, which is why she’s bringing The Ex-Mas Special to Videofag this month, complete with “impromptu” musical numbers and “celebrity” cameos. The creation and alter ego of writer/performer Justin Miller, Pearle is a cross between a sexed-up Little Edie and an Andrews sister. “She’s an all-American World War–time gal,” Miller says. “She’s actually of that time period in history — she was just born on a leap year, so she’s aging very slowly.”

Pearle made her debut this summer, and those lucky enough to catch her shows Pearle Before Swine or Suffragette City already know she’s one of 2014’s most welcome additions to Toronto’s performance scene. With a character-based drag approach that’s more Dame Edna than RuPaul, Pearle is glamorous, poised and devastatingly funny. In her previous outings, Pearle ran for mayor on the singular platform that Toronto should secede from Canada to join the United States. “Because really, Toronto?” Miller quips in Pearle’s distinctive cadence. “It’s the place people call when New York and Chicago are busy.”

This time, Pearle is setting out to conquer the holiday airwaves. “She went to the top television executives at the infomercial channel and pitched the show,” Miller says. “And naturally, they were so excited about it that they gave her the 4am slot, which she is really grateful for. ’Cause that’s when the family’s all up in the living room, waiting for Santa Claus.”

Backed up by special guest stars Kat Letwin and Marcel Dragonieri of improv troupe Stevie Thunder, Pearle is sure to deliver plenty of bons mots but also promises something a little different. “It’s a bit more of an emotional show,” Miller says. “It’s a bit softer and more personal to her. A little less gaggy. But also very gaggy. Lots of gags, lots of gagging. Wait ’til you see the hat!”