Mascara was running at the service, as queens said goodbye to one of their own. Mark Irish, better known on Church St as Felicia Mark, passed away April 12 in his 39th year.
Irish performed as Felicia for more than 15 years and was a member of the legendary Toronto drag trio the Freaks. Admired for his impressions of Annie Lennox and Prince, Irish was an outstanding figure in the drag scene who made a career out of being different and outrageous.
He was an individual and will always be remembered for standing out in a crowd. He knew talent when he saw it, and he offered a helping hand to young queens just starting their journey by offering wigs and costumes he no longer used. I can still remember the day he showed up at Zelda’s with a bag of wigs and said, “Here! See what you can do with these. I don’t need them anymore.”
Irish provided a headstart for many of today’s headliners, including Miss Conception, allowing them to display their talents on stage during his shows. He helped open doors for new queens and was a constant encourager of budding talent.
A memorial service was held for Irish on April 15. The turnout was overwhelming, as family and friends gathered to share stories and fond memories. Derek Langan (aka Lena Over), Irish’s best friend for more than 10 years, shared with me the moment the two first met.
Langan, like many queens in Toronto, met Irish during the early stages of his drag career. Langan was seen as “different,” and many wouldn’t let him perform during their shows. To prove his fabulousness, he began stopping traffic and washing cars in full drag. This caught Irish’s attention.
“He said ‘No one has upstaged me, especially from the street,’” says Langan. From there, their friendship grew.
Irish had a crazy sense of humour, one that will be missed within the drag community. He will always be remembered as an individual through and through.