Often overshadowed by the two days that follow, Thursday can be a drag. However, Ottawa drag queen Alyna Moore has embraced the day to bring audiences a titillating show every week at Swizzles.
Bar hopper Jenny Dyke attends Thursdays Are a Drag as often as possible and says skin is what brings her in. “One thing I love about Thursday nights is by the end of the night Alyna’s got close to absolutely nothing on,” Dyke says.
Connor Cumming, Moore’s alter ego, says Moore has helped him become more confident as his male self. “When I started, there was a major difference. Connor was very shy and kept to himself. Alyna was just ‘boom,’ look at me, here I am,” he says. “That confidence has come into my day-to-day life. It has progressed in a way that I am not fearful anymore. It’s made me who I am today.”
Moore says that the RuPaul’s Drag Race queens, particularly Sharon Needles, inspire her and that she’s learned a lot about putting together a persona from them.
“I’ve learned so much as far as costuming, makeup and persona. These are queens that have been selected from all the queens across America. Whether they’ve won or not, they have a great immediate first impression. I had to look at why that first impression worked for them and then consider what works for me and what doesn’t. Obviously, slutty outfits and legs works for me,” Moore says with a laugh. “But being humble and not being a diva works for me as well.”
Thursdays Are a Drag MC Zelda Marshall describes Alyna as “sassy and confident” and says her high-energy performances and interactivity set her apart from other performers.
“She’s very physical in that she has a lot of dance moves incorporated into her performances. You can sense the whole joy of movement,” Marshall says. “You see how she enjoys not just being onstage but moving around the audience.”
Moore says her Thursday spectacles are different from any other drag show in the city. In most clubs, the queens are just an interlude, while at Swizzles they are the main attraction, she says.
Marshall is quick to remind club-goers that Swizzles doesn’t charge cover or have mandatory coat check. As an added incentive, Swizzles and Bijou Nightclub have come together to offer patrons free passes to Bijou on Thursday nights.
“We decided to do a little cross-promotion,” Marshall says. “As much as we knock the idea of the cover charge, people who come out may want to have more to do.”
While Moore’s intriguing displays are reason enough to venture out on a Thursday night, Moore says the inviting atmosphere at Swizzles is a bonus.
“You’re able to sit down, start a conversation and have a drink. You’re not standing and shoulder bumping. Swizzles is such a great environment in every sense on any night. It just feels safe. You don’t have to be wearing the latest brand or talk the talk,” Moore says. “Come as you are; this is your bar.”