Glitter, glamour — and a whole lot of fun

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured

Back by popular demand … Pictou County just can’t get enough of Jake and Shaun and their highly successful Big Gay Affair.

The duo — and an entire entourage of equally talented performers — will be presenting their eighth Big Gay Affair variety show — and their first ever Thursday night show — Aug. 15, at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre. And they promise the audience will not be disappointed.

“We’re bringing back some fan favourites like Betty Lou and Linda,” says Jake Chisolm, co-creator, in a new comedy sketch titled Air Pictou Island.

Shaun McLean, co-creator explains, “Betty Lou and Linda got part-time jobs as security guards at Air Pictou Island, out of Trenton International Airport. They’re processing passengers who are flying out of Air Pictou Island.”

Imagine the antics those two characters will create!

The audience will be entertained by new characters as well, like Mammy and Scarlett (picture Gone With the Wind), Antoinette and Clementine from France (use your own imagination on this one).

Returning to the Big Gay Affair are drag queens Miranda Wrights and Stevie Styles, the musical talents of Angela Cromwell and Annette Drapeau-Reynolds as well as the backing of an eight-piece band. Chisholm will be singing solo as will McLean who will present a tribute to Adele. Expect a return of The Dragkins, Anne of Boat Harbour and My Big Fat Pictou County Wedding. And a return of Miss Carla’s dancer who the two say “elevate the show with their beauty and innocence.”

The Big Gay Affair delivers fabulousness, fantasy and just plain fun. The costumes, Chisholm says, are “stunning.”

“Merve Gaffney from WearWell Garments designs the costumes,” McLean lauds.

The two creators are buoyed by the fact that the 2019 Big Gay Affair presentation has received what McLean calls “meaningful sponsorship” for the first time through MacGillivray Law and Pumphouse Brewery.

“This means a lot. It means that somebody believed in us, they believed in the concept, and it has nothing to do with being supported by governments. This has been created and generated by people’s independent money.”

Chisholm adds, “The fact that we have this sponsorship validates what we’ve been bringing to the community, because it’s a lot of work to put it together.” The two spend at least 10 months of the year writing new sketches, breathing life into new characters and sousing costumes — not to mention the two have day-jobs. This sponsorship, they say, illustrates to them that others see the value in their work.

“And the fact that these people show up for rehearsals, unpaid rehearsals. They work very hard and they don’t make very much money for being in the show. It’s quite humbling to see that,” McLean lauds.

“Another thing that’s remarkable for me about this is that a lot of times it’s friends who go out of their way to help you, and they’re very generous. People understand the necessity of the moment and whatever they can do to contribute to the moment happening in the way it needs to. Show business is all about that moment — you don’t get a second chance. And we’ve been very lucky that the people in our orbit and who have been magnetized to our orbit have been very generous with their support,” McLean admits.

This may be the last Big Gay Affair Pictou County residents get invited to for a couple of years. Chisholm and McLean are struggling with the decision to put the show on hiatus until 2021. That will give them time to work on new material, take a well-deserved rest, and concentrate on taking their show on the road, literally.

“In 2021, the goal is to have a big tour, to pack our bags and go,” Chisholm says.

Stay tuned on that decision. For now, catch Jake and Shaun’s Big Gay Affair at the deCoste on Aug. 15. Tickets are available at the box office.

Shaun McLean, left, and Jake Chisholm running lines from their upcoming Big Gay Affair at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre. (Jardine photo)