Calgary’s Fake Moustache is a gender bending drag troupe that raises money for local queer charities like the Miscellaneous Youth Network. These three performers take to the Fake Moustache stage as a way of expressing themselves and exploring gender. Fake Moustache hosts events every second Thursday of every month at Dickens Pub.
Drag Name: Matt Ryder
Lysh Kerby was dared by a friend to perform in drag with Fake Moustache — Calgary’s only drag troupe — four years ago after moving from Fort McMurray and performing live was a teenage wish for Kerby. Kerby uses the pronouns they or he.
Kerby not only dresses in drag; since jumping on stage for the first time, Kerby also strips and takes on a persona that they call, “the pizza boy.”
The acts range from funny to sexy and the pizza boy — their signature act — ends with Kerby sliding a piece of pizza down their pants in front of the audience.
Kerby says performing live has helped them with anxiety and the performers at Fake Moustache make up a huge family. They all come together to help each other move and even clean.
“Everybody supports everyone, if anyone feels in danger, everyone’s right there.” Kerby says. “Everyone is so protective over each other, but loving."
“We all support each other in anything we do,” they say.
There’s a story behind every drag name. When asked to talk about the story behind their name, Kerby smiles and recounts an incident involving someone walking in on some naughty behaviour in a gymnasium, on mats. The name — which began as a dare — ended up sticking after they found their own character through it.
Drag Name: Devery Bess
Performing in drag is more than a hobby for Chanel Nicoll-Ellis.
By day, Nicoll-Ellis works as a server at The Hub, a popular bar in Mount Royal University. But when she’s not serving, she’s on stage at Fake Moustache.
It all started in Montreal with a drag troupe called The Dukes of Drag where she performed an act called “the butt master pro,” a spin-off of a tacky infomercial about making your butt bigger by repeatedly hitting it.
Now in Calgary, Nicoll-Ellis performs in drag as much as possible. She says she performs because she loves attention; even as a child she wanted to be an actor.
Being typecasted into specific roles didn’t feel right though, and performing in drag allows for creativity while also providing the opportunity to be paid for the work.
As for her role with Fake Moustache, Nicoll-Ellis is taking a step back and letting new performers take the stage as she plans and perfects new acts.
Nicoll-Ellis originally went by the drag name Jack Oliver, but while performing with The Dukes of Drag, there was another performer who went by a similar name. After much contemplation, Nicoll-Ellis met someone with the name Devery and the name stuck. After coming up with many puns — like Devery Well Hung — they decided on Devery Bess, a play on words for the very best.
Drag Name: Able Fyst
Jarrod Surette was born inter-sex and felt the constraints of living in a gendered society growing up. They first performed in drag in 1992 at a school talent show before they knew what drag was.
The thought of performing a male impersonation seemed like a fun idea at the time but little did Surette know that it would become a big part of their life.
Surette doesn’t get nervous performing in drag.
“For me it’s just playing, I have so much fun doing it and I love audience participation, audience excitement,” Surrette says.
Surette doesn’t just impersonate male figures; they also curate their own performances and even costumes depending on the audience.
Surette recalls one instance when they were asked to perform at an event in Vancouver at the last minute.
Without knowing who their audience was, Surette began performing a number they had been working on that involved a transformation into a wolf to the Three Days Grace’s song, Animal I Have Become.
Little did they know, they were performing for a black and white gala filled with people in their 40’s and 50’s, who Surette says all stared at them in disbelief afterwards.
When Surette first started doing drag, someone else was supposed to give you a drag name. After many nicknames, they settled on Able Fyst and adopted it into their drag style. Surette’s partner also performs in drag and goes by the name Parker Fyst.
- By Logan Peters