“You bitch, I’m gonna fucking bash your head in!” screams Hard Kora, aka Kora Harcourt, aka Michael Boyuk, brandishing an aluminum bat at fellow B-Girl Barbie Q, aka Barbara Quigley, aka Mark Peacock, as the pink-tressed queen skates by.
“One day I’ll be so famous they’ll call me the Mike Tyson of figure skating,” Kora confides as she composes herself, while blue girl Ivana, aka Don Gilroy, weaves past with a severed hand and a fresh martini.
The infamous drag queens have taken over a local ice rink to film a video for their new show, B-Girlz On (Thin) Ice, opening Thu, Dec 7 at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. Bemused hockey players peek from the sidelines with varying degrees of shock, dismay and arousal writ large upon their confused faces, while the Girlz chase a Zamboni machine across the ice.
Like most of their multimedia shows, Thin Ice features a short video shown in between the group’s signature cabaret numbers. Some of their previous efforts have landed at Bravo, YouTube and various film festivals across the continent (few could forget their hilarious cinematic sojourn through the bowels of the Elgin Theatre in The Elevator). This latest show is all about love and heartbreak.
“It’s about me breaking up with my boyfriend Ken,” wails Barbie Q. “Love is a battlefield!”
“The shows often actually start with the title,” Kora explains. “We come up with a concept and create a story around popular songs used in a new context.
“We even have a Christmas pageant, telling the Christmas story using only songs by Madonna. There’s a very funny scene with the Three Wise Men singing ‘Lucky Star.'”
Although Barbie’s pink head takes centrestage in this current show (“Like a giant blood clot,” Ivana deadpans), the gals are careful to share the limelight equally. They claim there are no Dianas in this supreme collective. They all get their own showstopping number, with Russian blue Ivana’s lethally funny tribute to Rasputin and Hard Kora’s verdant flashback to Flashdance.
“It’s a lot of work,” Kora confesses, “but we love it. It’s fun and glamorous, but behind it you need a really strong work ethic.”
It’s that ethic that has taken the B-Girlz’ act across North America with gigs at straight and gay venues in places like Provincetown and Las Vegas. Quite a stretch from a marijuana-induced idea hatched by Kora and Barbie Q’s boy counterparts back in the mid-1990s.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do other than a send-up of B movies and smoking joints,” laughs Barbie.
Drawing inspiration from their drag heroine, Bitch Diva, the two former school chums resolved to focus on bitchy comedy and singing live. The result, Girls Of Cellblock B, was a hit at Buddies and the beginning of a long and profitable association.
Success hasn’t been without its share of trials. Cofounder Conchita’s orange wig is nowhere to be seen nowadays but her mysterious departure made way for Ivana, a 6’3″ Russian immigrant with a penchant for deadpan quips and covert martinis.
The blue glamazon auditioned a year or so ago and was immediately hired after cracking up the others with a song entitled, “Oh God Why Am I A Drag Queen,” sung to the tune of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.”
“She’s a really strong writer,” Kora confides. “And she’s so funny!”
“It’s because I’m drunk, darling… ancient Russian secret,” Ivana retorts, as she teeters out onto the ice like a transgendered newborn Bambi in blue feathers. Fortunately there’s a 16-year-old stunt double filling in for the more arduous skating duties, though Kora and Barbie seem as comfortable in blades as any lad from northern Ontario.
Underneath the bitchy quips, it’s clear that these girls really enjoy the work and each other’s company. They frolic on the ice together in between takes, laughing and affectionately adjusting wigs and outfits. Perhaps it’s that undertone of genuine camaraderie that has launched the trio to mainstream success, while avoiding the emotional landmines of working so closely together.
“It’s really like having a relationship with someone,” says Kora as she helps Ivana centre her breasts.
“Yes,” Barbie agrees, “and there’s no sex — so it’s just like a relationship.”