Little Apple Pride hosted Manhattan’s second-ever Drag Queen Story Hour Booktacular in the Manhattan Public Library’s auditorium on Saturday.
An enthusiastic crowd of children dressed up as dinosaurs, space ships, princesses, superheroes and more gathered to enjoy an hour of Halloween-themed entertainment put on by local drag queens TyWoo, Fauna Fables and Lil Kim Chi.
Each took a turn animatedly reading a children’s book aloud, complete with commentary as entertaining as the book itself. The program ended with a throwback, lip syncing to “I Put A Spell On You” from the movie “Hocus Pocus.”
Jonathan Mertz, who helped coordinate the event, said their first Drag Queen Story Hour got such positive feedback that they decided to repeat the event with a Halloween twist.
“There have been drag story times popping up all over the country, and we thought well if they’re doing at those places, why can’t we do it here?” Mertz said. “We’re actually the first city in Kansas to do it. Since then it’s been done in other cities around the state.”
TyWoo, Fauna Fables and Lil Kim Chi all are experienced at performing in drag at a variety of shows. Drag queen Fauna Fables expressed how performing for an audience of children changes the dynamic of a performance.
“I’ve noticed at drag shows, the crowd is always kind of like validating us,” Fauna Fables said. “But for kids, especially with drag queen story time, this is to show those kids that this is okay; it’s okay to be who you want to be, it’s okay to be what you want to be. So you know, us getting to validate them for a change and you know, show them that it does get better is so beautiful to me.”
Lil Kim Chi said performance is a valuable escape from the drudgery of everyday life, both for the performer and the audience.
“Personally as an entertainer, my goal is to kind of look pretty and do what I do, but also help the audience escape,” Lil Kim Chi said. “When you’re in a show you’re escaping everything that’s on the outside for however long it is. So to be able to bring that to the kids as well, like escape whatever’s on the outside whether that’s school or life, you don’t really know and just come to a place where you can be accepted and have fun and watch some drag queens dance around and make fools of themselves.”
Drag Queen Story Hour is just one of many events that Little Apple Pride sponsors.
“All of this is just building up towards our main event in April, which is our big Little Apple Pride Festival,” Drevel Taylor, Little Apple Pride leader, said.
Little Apple Pride Festival will be held on April 13, 2019. For more information on this organization and to keep up-to-date on events, check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/LittleApplePride.