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2 min

A rockin’ drag show

Zelda Marshall sets Le Pub's stage on fire

SHRINKING VIOLET. Zelda Marshall was raised by a dance-instructor mom and classical musician-father. Credit: Pat Croteau

Five-year drag veteran Zelda Marshall has taken over Le Pub’s Friday night show, and with free admission there’s no excuse for you to miss this “rock bitch” perform. While many drag queens only sing along to poppy, club friendly songs, Zelda thinks outside the box — dabbling in the hard music other queens wouldn’t touch with a six-inch pole.

“Can you imagine a drag show where everyone is doing Celine Dion?” Zelda asks from behind a mess of blond curls. If your answer is yes, then you need a change — and Zelda is here to diversify your palate.

“Drag shows with themes have their place, but you really can’t be offering the same thing week after week. One of the reasons I got into drag in the first place was because there weren’t any girls doing country. I thought, ‘I want to get up and fill that gap,’ and since I’ve been in drag I’ve found other gaps to fill. I like doing the really hard rock, the kick-ass rock.”

Courtney Love, Bif Naked, Pink, and Peaches are just some of the punks Zelda channels. She’s able to exude the youthfulness of singers who are many years her junior. It’s that and her originality that has fans taking notice.

“She’s the best,” says 24-year-old Nicolas Dondigny. “She’s the only one who’s real. She does it because she loves it, not because she’s craving attention.”

As Zelda flirtatiously interacts with the crowd during a rendition of No Doubt’s “Hella Good,” the crowd’s noise level makes it seems as if it’s really Gwen Stefani serenading them.

Zelda takes her theatrical talents and compacts them into a vivacious performance style sure to entertain. Born of a dance-instructor mother and a classically trained musician-father it’s no wonder she’s able to put on such a rockin’ show.

“Theatre was an outlet that brought me out of my shell and helped me become more extroverted,” Zelda says with enthusiasm.

After making her grand debut at the now-defunct Icon in 2001, Zelda played second fiddle to a number of Ottawa queens before now finally headlining her own show.

“Zelda put in her time and deserves everything she gets,” says former drag mother Ginette Bobo.

Talk of rivalries in the drag world run rampant, but Zelda insists she finds a way to coexist with each and every queen.

“From every queen I will learn something different. I try to synthesize what I’ve learned from every queen and see what works best for me. It can be very surprising and very humbling sometimes.”

With everything that is unconventional about Zelda, including her look and musical tastes, many drag fans may be surprised to learn that she isn’t gay. In a committed heterosexual relationship, Zelda balances her two personas, and even considers herself two-spirited.

“I identify as bisexual,” Zelda admits. “Why choose to be with someone on the basis of what is or is not between their legs. The problem with being bisexual is you can be hated by both sides. The straights think you’re perverted and the gays think you’re a fence sitter. Everybody hates you except other bisexual people.”

Admission to her show is kept free by the way of 50/50 tickets. For $5 a buyer gets tickets equalling the length of Zelda’s beautiful legs.

“You can buy one-for-one, three-for-two, or my whole legs length for $5 with the five-inch stiletto included; you get a couple tickets right there just in the heel,” Zelda smirks.