Bingo’s Big Again And It’s Definitely Not A Drag
Uniting Australian communities takes a lot of balls.
Spinning balls, that is. The game of numbered sheets and coloured daubers traditionally associated with the elderly is now on the rise in younger generations, as drag queens put their glittery spin on Bingo.
Felicity Frockaccino, a ‘Sydney-based Drag Queen, Lady Clown in a Gown and Master of Fabulosity’, launched ‘Drag Bingo’ at the Salisbury Hotel in Stanmore three years ago.
“Back then it was very blue collar and I kind of just put a proposal in and they said they were going to do some renovations soon and were interested in the bingo night,” Frockaccino told 10 daily.
Drag Bingo is a glammed-up version of the classic numbers game with ‘naughty’ calls, lip-syncing performances and glamour.
“So, we started Bingo at the Salisbury and it kind of just went crazy and grew!” Frockaccino said.
The game has been popular internationally for decades but not so much in Australia, despite similar events like Bingay running since 1999.
“Drag Bingo’s totally becoming a huge thing, especially in Australia. It’s been a thing for probably about 15-20 years, but is really coming into itself now.
“I think it’s partly because of the prominence of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and all the other drag-esqué things happening it’s magical, it’s amazing.”
The Kiwi Queen has worked in the industry for 13 years and said her goal was to “knock down stigmas for the community”.
“Outside of the ‘Golden Mile’ -- Oxford Street -- it’s hard to find safe spaces as an LGBQI person, but it’s more open now," she said.
"Drag Bingo brings people together, creates a new community and a safer venue for LGBQI people."
Her weekly players are generally a mix of her “LGBQI sister and brothers and everyone in between”, alongside straight people.
“You’re meant to come in with all your worries on your back and drop them on the floor and have a bit of fun. I want everyone to feel safe and loved and appreciated.”
However, there is one unexpected group that occasionally drops by.
“Drag is an art and it’s for everyone. I get a lot of families -- it’s quite amazing --and little kids,” she said.
“That surprised me a lot, because this is not your typical bingo -- it’s very naughty and these little kids thankfully don’t understand innuendo just yet.”
Bingo is famous for its number calls like ‘legs' (11) and 'two fat ladies’ (88), but Drag Bingo adds a new dimension.
“Drag Bingo brings out everything of every number. Anything that rhymes with a six, or anything that rhymes with the fours… you know, slightly ‘risque’!”
Watch the video at the top of this article for some of Frockaccino’s best examples.