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The Beaver, Toronto, Canada (with Prawn Waters)

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Established in 2006 by Lynn McNeill and Will Munro, The Beaver was an alternative queer space in the heart of Queen West, Toronto. In 2020 the bar’s owners made the tough decision to close knowing that they wouldn’t be able to remain profitable with physical distancing rules in place because of COVID-19.

I caught up with prawnographer, resident crustacean of crust-nation, and pencil-thin moustachioed Prawn Waters to discuss performing to well-dressed loungey gays, overcoming pee shyness, and what the bar meant to them…

Be a dear and follow Prawn on Instagram

K Anderson  00:00

does that involve sitting on balloons?

Prawn Waters  00:02

It does involve sitting on balloons. It doesn’t have to involve sitting on balloons but for me it does.

K Anderson  00:11

Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person, about a venue from their past, the memories they created there and the people that they used to know. Established in 2006 by Lynn McNeil and we’ll Monroe. The beaver was an alternative dive bar queer space in the heart of Queen West Toronto 2020 the bars owners made the tough decision to close knowing that they wouldn’t be able to remain profitable with physical distancing rules in place because of COVID-19. I caught up with pornographer resident crustacean of crust nation, and pencil thin mustachioed prawn waters to discuss performing to well dressed loungy, gays on date, whatever they are overcoming p shyness and what the bar meant to them.

Prawn Waters  01:43

It was down the road from where I was living. And as soon as I moved to Toronto, I just really liked the Beaver. It was just it’s like a wave from the gay village. And it’s full of weirdos, and it’s just crusty, wonderful little gay dive bar. Um, so I always just was really attracted to it and felt really comfortable there. I was happy to start performing there. And I was even happier to start working there, because I just got to be there all the time.

K Anderson  02:09

How long have you lived in Toronto? roughly three years. Okay. And where did you move from?

Prawn Waters  02:17

So I am originally from a small town in Ontario. But as soon as I could leave, you know, I was 17 or so I left and I just kind of did a touring life. for a decade, sometimes San Francisco, sometimes Vancouver, sometimes Berlin, just went around and performed. And so what made you want to settle? Yeah, and I turned 30. And I had a little like, what does it all mean? I’m 30 moment and decided that there was all these things that while I’d been having a very cool existence, moving around that I had not been achieving, like, you know, deeper relationships or being able to have performance troops or to produce shows, and just all these things that are really hard to do from the road when you don’t have a base. So Toronto felt like a weird choice. And I didn’t really want that to be my choice, because I grew up near there. So it kind of seemed like a, you know, like, as a weird queer kid from a small town. You know, you want to like go away farther away. Seems seems better. But then I came back and it just, it really clicked. Everything just kind of went really well for me here.

K Anderson  03:42

And and so you’d like came back on like a holiday or just just for a Hangout, and then it clicked or you actually chose to move and then

Prawn Waters  03:51

No, I I chose to I chose to move. I felt like I needed. I kind of tricked myself. Like I was like, okay, maybe you’re going to winter somewhere this year, you’re gonna stay for for the winter. So I decided that Montreal and Toronto I’d give them both two or three months each. So I did Montreal first and Montreal is cool, but it didn’t really click for some reason. And then I got to Toronto and just it worked better for me here.

K Anderson  04:20

Because you grew up kind of nearby. Do you have people that you know in Toronto or was it just starting afresh?

Prawn Waters  04:28

Well, my mom lives in the town I grew up which is pretty close by and we’re close. And then I have a couple a couple childhood friends but not many that I have very much in common with at this point, though. They’re cool. No, I mostly just started fresh. I just kind of got in there and did some local burlesque shows and made friends.

K Anderson  04:55

So that’s like a Yeah, really exciting kind of weird isolating but Also thrilling time when you when you do that start afresh in a new place. What do you remember of your first days in Toronto and especially in the burlesque scene?

05:12

Well,

Prawn Waters  05:13

my first burlesque show in Toronto was before I had actually officially moved back. I just come for a few months. And there’s a burlesque dancer Dali Berlin, who was running a weekly show at this bar, cherry cola is called sinful Sundays. And Dali was just awesome. And let me do a burlesque show without knowing anything about me. And I came and did my thing. And yeah, in that show, I made friends. I don’t know, it was just, it was exciting. And you can every time you move to a new place, you can sort of decide who you’re going to be in that place. You can kind of be like, the most updated version of yourself that you put forth into your new friendships. And that’s, that’s, it’s great. It’s a cool opportunity. Like you know, in some of my older lives in different cities, I hadn’t been out or hadn’t been out as trans non binary person you know, I or I’d been doing burlesque that was a little more like bread and butter kind of classical burlesque. And then I got here and was just like not don’t have time for any of that shit. You know? I am, I’m playing this game where I’m going to be out of every single possible closet I could possibly be in you know, my hiding that I’m taking my clothes off on stage from anyone. We’re not doing that anymore. My hiding my gender stuff. We’re not doing that anymore. Just like everything. Am weird prawn person, here we go.

K Anderson  06:43

Whatever kind of accelerated some of those things that may have happened anyway, if you were somewhere else, but because it was a clean slate, you’ve got to just go for it.

Prawn Waters  06:53

Yeah, cuz sometimes you move to a new place. And you’re like, Okay, I have to make friends. Like, how do I have to fit in to make it work? And this time, it was different. Cuz I was like, not fuck back everything. This is what’s happening. You know, I’m going to just connect with people who work with this.

K Anderson  07:16

Mm hmm. How does this seem then compared to other places that you’ve lived?

Prawn Waters  07:21

I don’t know. Like, there’s obviously drama. Every scene has drama. I haven’t been in much of that. I can’t I don’t. What are we going to talk about then? No, I really conflict. But I don’t know I I found that the scene here and like the burlesque and drag scenes are kind of different though. They’re starting to bleed into each other more. I found it to be pretty full of kind of queer stoners. And that might just be the the areas of it that I put myself in, you know, because I don’t get a lot of gigs performing in the gay village. Occasionally. Mostly, I find myself in knishes of kind of weird art stuff. Which is great. No shade on either of those choices, but I like making pretty bizarre stuff. That doesn’t always like align with the the sexier clubs, though. I think. A rather sexy prom.

K Anderson  08:35

I don’t know. I mean, I Yeah, of course. sexiest prone. I know. That then so is the like, I don’t know anything about the village in in Toronto. Is that kind of more sis? White men driven?

Prawn Waters  08:52

Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. More. So swipe driven, for sure. Okay, there’s a few spots that are that are challenging That and more inclusively booking. But a lot of places weren’t booking drag kings. And they were booking mostly white queens. It’s not great.

K Anderson  09:11

No, that’s not fun. But the beaver was a completely different place to that because it wasn’t in the village. It was in the West End. done my research. You can see it you can tell did a quick Google search. And it was close to where you live to. So do you remember the first time you went there?

Prawn Waters  09:29

I’m not sure exactly. I believe I went there. With an out of town friend just for a dance night. I think we were just drunk and hanging out and you know reacquainting ourselves. And I was like, well, you’re in town. We should we should go to the gay bar. There’s gay bar down the road with good dancing. And so we just went there and danced all night until it was closed. And you know, the dance floor got very silly and I don’t know.

K Anderson  09:58

What was it? What was it about? Have a place that you enjoyed.

Prawn Waters  10:01

It’s very unpretentious. And it’s just full of wonderful art. Like there’s these great murals on the wall, and I find everyone to be really friendly. Like you feel like family really fast there.

K Anderson  10:17

So describe the space. You’ve talked about the murals on the wall, what were they? What were they have.

Prawn Waters  10:23

So there is a beautiful mural on one of the main walls of the dance floor. And it’s just all black and white kind of psychedelic. Take on all these queer icons. So they’ll be like a leather daddy sniffing poppers and beside divine and Grace Jones and just really cool art.

K Anderson  10:51

So yeah, so the venue, so when I walk in what what do I see?

Prawn Waters  10:56

So it’s all kind of run down. And when you’re when you see it on the street as you’re approaching it, it just has this Be it just isn’t the kind of made of light bulbs sort of in bisexual color lighting. no actual sign just this lit up be that sticks out. And I don’t know, I wasn’t here when it opened in 2006. So I don’t I’m not as aware of what the area looked like. It’s definitely gentrified now. So now it’s kind of interesting, you know, for the last few years, because it’s surrounded in like condos and wine bars and stuff. And then it just stands out this little kind of cute shabby. And there always be a crowd in front of just interesting weirdos and freaks and drag queens. I remember going there one time, and I didn’t even know if I was I was going to go in I was just walking home. And I walked by and I saw someone I knew and they jam poppers in my face and I went in the door. Yeah. So really being a really gay bar gay bar, right.

K Anderson  12:08

So let’s get back. So the first time you performed there, what was it?

Prawn Waters  12:14

It was a show run by this wonderful drag thing performer named Tiago. And they were throwing a show that was monthly called bands and drag. They would have two different bands, and then a drag performer. So

K Anderson  12:35

it was gonna be a band night where they forced the band to dress in drag. Well,

Prawn Waters  12:39

I mean, the bands were pretty clear as is. So yeah, they’re in their own drag. But the bands that were playing the night I did it were called Quaker parents and possehl. And because owl is so good, it’s this just really melodic band with this. Filipino next person lead who’s gorgeousness an amazing voice and Quaker parents, who is this kind of weird indie band and I loved it. I was so happy it was exactly the music to come on to hear that night and I’ve been already doing prawn stuff for a while at that point, but I made this that very day change to my repertoire where I received in the mail, an inflatable rideable prawn. And I was like, I don’t know this doesn’t really thematically fit into anything I’m doing nothing I’m prepared for has anything to do with this rival prom, but I just

K Anderson  13:40

but you, you got it in the mail because you ordered it. I ordered Yeah, okay, good. I mean, I wish it was just the specialists. I was just the way you were talking about it, like, Oh, I got it in the mail. And then I was like, how do I put this in high performance insurance? Like, didn’t you think about that before you want to do? Well? No, I

Prawn Waters  13:58

mean, I think I think when I ordered it, I was just on the internet looking for underwear with prawns on it.

K Anderson  14:05

And of course,

Prawn Waters  14:07

what popped up was this inflatable prawn. That has been a joy and it’s it showed up and I was like I need I need to use this tonight. This is the night for this thing. So I just sent them some Beethoven music so I could make this like grand entrance. So I had Symphony number five playing and I just you know rode down the street and this prawn and, and then I thought that because the Bieber’s very narrow. It’s just this very skinny, narrow, like, it’s very hard to get through the crowd when there’s a crowd and there to get to the stage. And I was so worried that it was going to flake or be awkward or no one would move, but like the sea like parted before me, and it was this wonderfully powerful moment. And I just like rode through feeling amazing and did some pony tricks and stuff with my new speed.

K Anderson  15:01

Okay, so let’s picture this you were approved on riding a prawn? Yeah. prawn riding a prawn. Okay. And then did like some little gallops and what other horse tricks out there? Well, you know, some jumps a little pony jumps and then to how does how does the drag culture work in? In Canada? Do you collect tips like they do in America? Yes.

Prawn Waters  15:34

It’s we’re we’re trying people understand tipping drag culture a little better in America I think. But it’s something that is catching on better and certainly people don’t tip drag kings so much. Like we’re really trying to encourage that to be a thing because largely drag kings don’t get paid as much as drag queens and they don’t get tipped as much as drag queens so we are trying to change that it’s

K Anderson  16:09

doubly fucked them that belief fact. Yeah. So I was gonna ask like when you when you’re planning this act when you’re like, blowing up your inflatable prawn and thinking about how you’re going to perform? Do you also then think about how you’re going to negotiate with the audience in order to get tips.

Prawn Waters  16:31

I mean, that would be a good thing to be thinking. I honestly was so caught up in my joy of writing this prawn around. But I really didn’t, I didn’t really think about how to receive money. And then eventually I shed my stewed in the back and came out and did my my regular drag number, which is for that show, it was to the song from the pink flamingos soundtrack. Ooh, ain’t she pretty? Um, and it’s just this like little 60s pop tune. And prawn just comes out and I sing it. And then at this little, I draw my mustache on because that’s a big, important part of being prawn john waters. And for some reason, in the middle, I thought it was really important that I go and like, take a martini glass and pee into it. It just seemed seems like the right thing to do for the bridge of the song.

K Anderson  17:42

Yeah, I’m with Yeah.

Prawn Waters  17:43

So that yeah, that that that happens. Depending on the venue, sometimes in somebody else’s cup.

K Anderson  17:50

Okay, but so you know where I’m going with the questioning, don’t you? Do? Are you actually paying or do you have a bag? Um, yeah, no, I’m gonna leave that a mystery. Oh, well, I was gonna I was gonna talk about being pee shy now. But that because actually, I’m so be shy. Oh, like really? So even. So how do you wait? Okay, so I got sir. Sir, I’ve gotten over my pee shy Ignis. It took me like, I took me a number of years, but now I can go and like just pee anywhere. And I’m cool with it. But you have this energy? No, no.

Prawn Waters  18:33

Like, you don’t sing happy birthday in your head or something?

K Anderson  18:35

No, no, I just like Oh, is that? Are there ways that you can train yourself? was I doing it wrong?

Prawn Waters  18:43

Well, okay. I mean, in actual life, when I can’t be in front of people. I sing happy birthday in my head.

K Anderson  18:51

And when you say not here in front of people, do you mean like, if you know someone else is in a public toilet?

Prawn Waters  18:59

No, like if I’m, you know, if I’m going into a bathroom stall with another person or something. And we’re chatting and having a, like, a friendship p Do you do that a lot? I kinda I guess so. That bars and clubs and stuff. But are they not like in your way? I don’t know. Like, generally, it’s something that like largely in life, it’s been something that the other person’s doing because p time is like, generally my private time a little more. But other people just don’t care. Other people are like, Yeah, come in. We’re talking. I’m hungry. I don’t care. But for me, I have to kind of concentrate to be able to pee if someone’s in the room, but Okay, so I guess I won’t be secretive. And I have a I have like a penis that I wear that can pee.

K Anderson  19:52

Oh,

Prawn Waters  19:53

because it’s really important for me in Pran to be able as a person that was not born with a penis to be able to whip a penis out for peeing in the cup. Because that’s just visually pleasing I think. And so I had to actually I bought this, this real ejaculating penis offline. And it if you like, push this little spring it has this fake come that comes out of it, but I’ve never really used it for that maybe sometime maybe. Tomorrow, who knows. But, um, what I did was I kind of I bought some tubing and like duct tape and Jimmy wrote it to this bag and a hole in my pocket. And it actually didn’t work most most times I use it, it just equals soaking my legs and like I peed myself. Then just like carrying around an empty cup.

K Anderson  20:50

I mean, it’s still funny, right? Yeah. But sir, like onto this ejaculating penis. Oh, yeah. Does it? Does it like come? Does it come with come? Like, yeah, it comes with come. But so then what happens when you run out of the comb?

Prawn Waters  21:06

I think you have to. I it I mean, I’m crafty. I think I could probably. I don’t know, whip up some eggs or some, you know, like egg whites. Like, what are some?

K Anderson  21:16

What are the ingredients? I wonder?

Prawn Waters  21:18

I’m not actually sure what’s actually in there. Probably not egg whites because that sounds a bit nasty. But yeah, I’m not sure the ingredients. But it is a little tube of it’s called like, real juice or something?

K Anderson  21:37

Because of course it is. Yeah. Yeah. It’s very, very real. And then to does it have that instruction, you know, when you buy like new moisturizer or something it says make sure you do a skin test. No. So what if you’re alert? What Yeah,

Prawn Waters  21:54

I know. What if? What if you’re trying to do a face shot on a pal? And then they have allergies? I don’t know. I haven’t tried.

K Anderson  22:07

I feel like if we did a quick Google search of this, there would be someone who has done that. I probably maybe we should just not walk up to the void. Fall Out fall into it and just be here for hours. The real the real ejaculating penis vortex? Yes. Yeah, I’m sure there’s so many creative ways to use it. Maybe Yeah, maybe there’s like, homemade recipes as well.

Prawn Waters  22:38

I probably I did. I did a show at the beaver once called foul Friday. And it was

K Anderson  22:46

so wait. We’ve just been talking about egg whites is this f OWL or f RUL? f o wl? Okay, carry on.

Prawn Waters  22:56

So it was is one of my favorite nights there. We just didn’t have an event like something canceled a week before and we didn’t have an event. So the manager, Adam, he was just like, I don’t know. Does anyone have any ideas of what to do on Friday and the staff all agreed that it was a great idea to have this chicken theme

K Anderson  23:16

it but had you been putting forward to the idea to have a prawn night? Um,

Prawn Waters  23:24

no, unfortunately, but I didn’t maybe if it didn’t shut down, it could have happened. But this chicken night, it was actually very fortuitous. Because there’s a performer named Jordan camp and me and Jordan had both been booked to do a show at another club I work at, um, and we the the theme was like freak show or something we both showed up. And we both did these acts to do with, like he had this act where somebody ejaculated into a wine glass and then he had a roast chicken and dumped it on the chicken and ate the chicken. I was wild. It was a wild act. And then I had this act where I was a clown. And I was like to like doing fisting to a rubber chicken to Gordon Ramsay’s voice. And so we both felt like we’d like covered an interesting area of queer sex with chickens though. So we decided we should have a full night where we take these acts and combine them. And so we did. So I did my thing. And then Jordan came out and I laid an egg and George took the egg and whipped it up in front of me and I cried and then I went and dumped it into the real ejaculating penis. So I could glaze this roast chicken with egg whites. I’m a vegetarian. It was a weird night.

K Anderson  24:55

I was about to just Yeah, like I was great. They were outraged vegans in the audience.

Prawn Waters  25:00

Yeah, no, there wasn’t. I think that the thing about that night was, it was strangely attended mostly by kind of like, lovely well dressed loungy gays on dates. Like it wasn’t like,

K Anderson  25:19

what’s the loungey? gay?

Prawn Waters  25:21

Everyone’s like, you know, coming to like sit and lounge and, you know, drink Cosmos or vodka sodas or krans and just talk, okay, okay, you know, people weren’t coming in being outrageous. And then that I think that perhaps that act was weird for people. And they also put a lot of effort into, like, we made hard boiled, somewhat deviled eggs and put them on little trays with edible glitter and stuff. And we went around with these rubber chicken strap ons matching and like we had all these outfit changes. And we were feeding people eggs, and we had little eggs and fortunes. And we just kept having this joke all night where we’re like, we have to keep working while we’re working. We got to keep working. We’re like no one asked us, no one asked for this. No one asked us to do this. We’re like, volunteer, right?

K Anderson  26:17

And so like, say you said that that was because of a cancellation and that was turned around really quickly, is that their kind of speed with which you normally create

Prawn Waters  26:26

your shows or it depends. Sometimes, like, the birth of prawn waters took years. It was just a funny joke in my head for years, and I kept talking about doing it. And I kept trying to see if anyone thought it was funny. And everyone’s like, Nah, that’s probably not a good direction for you to go with your career. No, like, nobody thought it was a good idea. Really? Yeah. Like sometimes people would laugh, you know, and kind of appease me. Um, but he has done really well. Quite a bit. So whatever. But yeah, I don’t know, sometimes it’s, you know, you have a joke in your head for years. And other times someone’s like, we got to do something a few days. Let’s be fetish chickens, or I don’t know.

K Anderson  27:19

It’s it is a funny thing about the creative process, isn’t it? Like sometimes it’s like, so I’m the type of person that thrives with a deadline. Like if I’m just given free rein, I’m like law law and then just don’t end up doing anything. So I need to be really like, Okay, this is due here. This is due here. And then it kind of forces me to do the work. But there is that thing as well of like, sometimes something can just fester in your mind for a really long time.

27:47

Yeah, sorry.

K Anderson  27:48

I’m not trying to say that the person was festering just Oh, see, I mean, is faster. And then there’s some things that you just like bash out and you’re like, Yeah, that’s good enough. Yeah, it’s just yeah, it’s really frustrating, but also magic.

Prawn Waters  28:07

Yeah, I mean, sometimes for those ideas that feel like they’re festering sometimes I’ll have to make myself a due date to make them happen. Like with prawn waters it again it was you know, a lot of people say that you shouldn’t talk to people about your your creative ideas before you do them because it kind of like I don’t know, maybe you like lose some of your spunk or something. But I talked all the time about how much I wanted to be john waters prawn and I, one day a producer was like, Look, we’ll book prawn waters will.

K Anderson  28:44

What do you shut up already about Brown? What is

Prawn Waters  28:47

the next month? Okay, I was like, wow, yeah, promoters has a gig next month. Okay. And, and they were really excited about it. And it was for a show called fuck shit up trans non binary cabaret. That happens at a venue called Gladstone which is a couple buildings from the Beaver. And it’s also a wonderful, historical Toronto queer space. And yeah, I had like a month and it did while having a month. I was so productive, like I you know, I birthed this prawn. And I made all these puppets and I sewed all this stuff. And but I’m also it was my first time doing lip synching as a as a performance versus doing circus strip tricks or stripping, which is what I’m generally used to. So I was so scared. I, you know, I was just like, if I had this feeling like if I wasn’t doing something extremely naughty, or I wasn’t doing something with my body, or I wasn’t doing something with some kind of dangerous sideshow trick That no one would be interested that I just wouldn’t be able to keep people interested just by going and performing as is. And it was, it was inaccurate. You know, it was just such a weird little fear. And I was like, you know, laying on the floor in this pile of these fish puppets of divine and Edith Massie. You know, just being like a kid do this. I have to quit performing. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why am I Why am I trying to leave my comfort zone? And it was great. The I don’t know. It was it’s, it’s helped all around for every character.

K Anderson  30:34

But and then did you? Did you get like so in your head that you were like, maybe I will just sit on some balloons. Whilst I’m dressed up as this. That’s what people like?

Prawn Waters  30:44

Well, I mean, I found that at first, I would try and work too many props into my drag sets. Like, I’d need to have some kind of a like tutta thing, like, some kind of bending over or some kind of trick or some, you know, I had too many props, and then realize that these, these things just aren’t necessary. You just go be entertaining. You go like, work the crowd, and it’s fine.

K Anderson  31:11

Yeah. So how long? How long have you been doing drag? And why did you transition into drag?

Prawn Waters  31:19

I’ve been doing reg, I’ve been officially doing drag for about a year and a half. I’ve been doing burlesque for 11 years. Um, my burlesque sometimes was drag leske. Like, I’m, I’m a non binary person. So some of my burlesque characters would be more mask presenting or would be more gender bendy. But yeah, I don’t know, as the years go by, again. For example, I, I used to think when I did burlesque, I had to look like pristine femme to be able to go on stage. And then on my 30th birthday, I was like, you know, armpit hair is sexy. No one’s gonna think armpit hair is sexy on feminized bodies, if people aren’t going and having it and feeling sexy in it, so I was just like, that’s fine. That’s a gift for me. I’m not doing that anymore. You know, I’m not changing my body for who I think people are gonna think I’m hot on stage. I don’t know. That was weird. But, but with drag, I always wanted to be doing drag. And I, I was very confused about gender identity stuff. And, you know, my first kind of intros to drag it was a different time in the past. And, and there was a lot more voices saying, you know, you have to be this and you have to do this, you have to have facial hair, you have to be ultra masculine. And now the drag King scene has changed a lot. And there’s more gender performers, and it’s cool to be super masculine. If you are super feminine, if you want. You know, there’s just all kinds of different forms of drag performers. Now, instead of having to be so pushed into the binary.

K Anderson  33:21

Okay, so, so you felt that it was too restrictive to get? Yeah,

Prawn Waters  33:25

yeah, I felt I felt like the the tips I was being given weren’t things that applied with who I wanted to be as a man. Or who I am as a non binary person. Yeah. And I just, I just didn’t really feel that I fit into that situation. But now it’s, it’s just so much more vast, and people are doing so many neat things and expressing themselves in such I think kind of more authentic, flashier ways for who they are.

K Anderson  33:57

Yeah, yeah. And so then back to this, this first performance, you’d made a ton of Puppets you’d made your costume up. Yeah. Do you remember what the other than like, I’m expecting you were shitting your pants beforehand? What was it like?

Prawn Waters  34:14

Oh, so good. Um, so I did a I did a burlesque act first because there was two sets. And so the first act I did I did a burlesque act that I had done before and and then I went and I changed and I took my makeup off and contour differently. And drew on that that pencil mustache and I looked in the mirror at myself wearing this full body prawn morph suit with these eyes and antennas sticking up over my head and a full suit and and I just like shook my head was like, What the fuck are you doing? This is your Nikolas Oh my God. And and then the music started. And it was Sam Cooke everybody likes to cha cha cha. And it was just a joy. The audience was so wonderful and excited and there was you know, I remember looking at this person that I never knew if this person liked me before and and she was just like most I love you in the prawn and I was just like, yeah, this you know, this is fine. There’s there is bass in the community for this prawn here.

K Anderson  35:35

It wasn’t till I became a pronoun that I realized she loved me.

Prawn Waters  35:42

Yeah, it was it was such a great show. Like all the other performers were were wonderful. It was just a joy to prawn dance on that stage with my my divine and Edith Massey, puppet fish and it was great, dude. Like,

K Anderson  35:58

do people always get that it’s a john waters reference. No,

Prawn Waters  36:04

No, they don’t. Um, and some of that is is like some younger crowds and some older crowds just don’t know john waters and that’s okay. Um, I what I hope is that it’s just entertaining enough as is to be a dancing crustacean that it won’t be a problem that they don’t understand that i’m john waters. But I even I spent all this time making a bio that was just making fish ponds of every single john waters title. And I put so much work into it and then I realized that so many people in every audience don’t understand that i’m john waters so I just instead I just cut and pasted john waters bio and with his name and everything, I didn’t even change it to be my name. So when the person’s reading it, they’re like, john waters was born in Baltimore, you know? called be filmmaker made hairspray. And then I’ll come out as a prawn and I made myself a little like I went and I recorded and edited and mixed a little intro for myself that I put before songs and it’s it’s a night talk show person whose name I cannot think of right now and he’s just announcing john waters and talking about his mustache and I’ll put that up I’m really trying to drive at home

K Anderson  37:40

well yeah cuz people in the back of the crowd might not see that pencil thin mustache need to let them know it’s there.

Prawn Waters  37:47

Yeah, yeah. No need to need to make that very very clear. Beginning you’ve ever Yeah.

K Anderson  37:56

And a really important question that I have is do you have backup prone costumes in case something goes wrong? What would go wrong like in case it set on fire? On fire in case someone stole it because they were jealous of your IV and then you see them around town? Yes, just doing their grocery shopping and yeah, going by on the bus,

Prawn Waters  38:22

and you’re just this lowly human is gonna come off sounding so petty trying to say that you were a real problem and that that’s your body? I don’t know. Yeah, no, I I mean, I Up until yesterday, I’ve only had one prom costume. And it is a Morph suit and it is hot. It is like you know when it’s summer and it’s 30 degrees and everyone’s dying of heat and then you’re wearing this full body morph suit. With this prawn head in the antenna always poke me in the eye to fight dance too hard. But and then the funny thing about it is it has a full suit on top so you can’t move too much and you can’t like do anything on your phone screen when your fingers are in a glove or a Morph suit. The always having to like sit there and lick your fingers so you can move your phone which you definitely can’t do during COVID era but yeah, no I I’ve just made this changeover and there’s this wonderful drag performer. Lucinda, who has sold me a new prawn head and it is vinyl and sexy and I am so excited to use it.

K Anderson  39:33

Ah and I’m like you don’t think your fans are going to mind?

Prawn Waters  39:38

Well, I like to hope that they will support me in having a sexy fetish prawn hat.

K Anderson  39:51

And this is so the suit thing I just wanted like this. This is probably not an important thing for me to say but I feel like I want to say it anyway. If drag kings Were getting the same amount of tips as drag queens. Okay, I would definitely prefer to be a drag King because you’ve got all those pockets.

40:11

Yeah.

Prawn Waters  40:14

Okay, so when you’re dancing for less, you were really strappy things. And you often have thigh highs. So you can still you can still talk money places. I mean, I guess when I’m wearing a suit, I can talk money in my pockets, which

K Anderson  40:29

is cool. And then it’s all in one place. Anyway, sorry. I’m just rambling on about that. So where were we? We were talking about the chicken night? That’s the last time we were in the Beaver. Right? That was the last show I threw at the beaver or helped throw? until we’ve just found out that it’s closed. It is closed. Yeah, not gonna reopen? What was that like finding out? And how did you find out?

Prawn Waters  41:00

Well, I mean, I don’t know, it was discussion of it closing had been happening for a little while. And it wasn’t what anyone wanted like this, the staff really care about the space. But then COVID happened, and we closed on, I believe, like March 14, or 15th. And, yeah, it just, it wasn’t feasible for us to be able to open up again, we’re just we’re too little. And we just weren’t able to afford to open using any of the guidelines that the government has for safety, which is, you know, we of course, care about everyone’s safety and wanted that, but we just couldn’t, we didn’t we didn’t have a kitchen anymore. You know, we couldn’t serve food, there really wasn’t any hustles that we could use to save the space. But also, um, there are staff members who would like to have sort of a new version and updated version opening in a bigger space where there’s a little a little more room to, you know, have have a little bit more of a formal stage and sound system, and, you know, display all the awesome DJs and drag performers, you know, a little bit of a updated way. So that that may happen if the right spot opened up.

K Anderson  42:31

And but so, so the conversations had been happening for a while. So how did you? How did like, how did you find out that

Prawn Waters  42:37

I thought that we might reopen for a little while. But we couldn’t, and that’s all right, I think I think that’s okay, I I knew that we were going to close for a while. But when we actually made it public, and the post went viral, I was really sad about that. Like, I had to have a little a little grieving about that, because, you know, it’s just a space and what makes it is the community that’s there, and it has a really tight knit community. But also, spaces are also, you know, has all these kind of memory ghosts in it. You know, it’s like, I think for a lot of people who are who have been going there since it was opened. The space has a lot of ghosts of willman row who, you know, passed on of brain cancer in 2010, I believe. And so for a lot of Will’s friends and people who love will, like the space held a lot of importance for them as sort of a memorial of the dream that he had. And then for other, you know, passed on drag performers like lots of you know, lots of people have a lot of important memories and ghosts there. I have a shorter amount of memories and ghosts there. But I really, you know, it’s kind of like a second home to me for sure. I really cared about all the staff and really loved all the people that came in and the shows. When I started working there. I kind of had this feeling like this is exactly you know, when I started bartending in my head, that was exactly the kind of spot I wanted to be bartending. It was just a joy to be working there.

K Anderson  44:25

And what do you think Toronto has lost?

Prawn Waters  44:29

I think they’re losing all their historical queer spaces. I mean, not just because of COVID like COVID for sure, but also just because of gentrification. It’s an expensive city. It’s getting more expensive all the time. So, you know, when the beaver was built, it was a different neighborhood. And now it is a neighborhood surrounded by condos and wine bars. And, you know, it’s changing and I don’t know, I think it’s really Important to take care of our historical queer spaces like the Gladstone and like the Beaver. It does a lot for our community is it’s been an important space for a lot of people. But hopefully in that not being able to be the case at this time, you know, we can go on to create something new with you know, revamped, inclusive, new queer energy.

K Anderson  45:35

If you ever go to the beaver Well, if you did, tell me all about it. Find me on Insta, Twitter and Facebook and all the others with the user name K Anderson music and tell me what you got up to sharing photos or tell me the stories that made that place so special. You can also find out more about prone waters and watch the video of the prawn riding the prawn galloping by following them on Instagram username is the Braun waters. La spaces is not only a podcast and but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single well groomed boys which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you like this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribe, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told other people who use them made there. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.







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