King Size (now known as Dukes of Drag) was officially formed in January 2007. However, some members were performing individually or in smaller groups before this. Nat King Pole has been performing as a Drag King for more than a few years. Several of the current King Size members had seen him perform and were inspired to try it out for themselves. They were just waiting for an opportunity to come crawling out of the woodwork!

In May 2006, the organiser of the Meow Mix announced a contest for aspiring Drag Kings. Two members of the legendary Mambo Drag Kings would be the judges. Nat tried to enter the contest but was not allowed because of his level of experience. However, he was invited to perform that night as an introduction to the contest. Talk about having something to live up to for these newbie Kings! Among the participants in the contest were Gary Dickinson, Dirk Van Dyk and two nameless cutie kings who did a Vaudeville number. Both Gary and Dirk were hooked on kinging that night and promised to keep in touch. Excitement and a will to organise were in the air.

In the fall of 2006, Gary networked with Nat and Dirk to create an electronic mailing list for both experienced and aspiring Drag Kings in the Montreal area. Gary created a yahoo group to this effect and sent a call-out to various lists in the queer community for people to join. Many people responded to the call out for members and in a matter of 2 weeks, there were nearly 20 people on the list. Dragging tips and show opportunities were exchanged and plans were made to meet in person.

However, it wasn’t until the opportunity for a group gig came up that members started to seriously work as a group. The organisers of the Superfreaks show set for the end of October at Club Soda wanted to book Drag Kings for a number. In three weeks, Nat King Pole, Dirk Van Dyk, Sonny Tease, Jean-Robert, S. Quire and Gary Dickinson, along with Drag Queen Gitsu Gay and King Bling Aaron M. (a relative of Mitch Mitcham), put together a number called Balls on Chicks (to the tune of Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz) under Nat’s leadership.

At this time, the group did not yet have a name. Since members couldn’t come to an agreement on a name that reflected who we were and that could be understandable to both anglophones and francophones, we used Drag Kings of Montreal (DKM) as an emergency solution. When the new year came and the beautiful and gracious Miriam Ginestier offered to give us a whole Meow Mix, set for February 17, we knew the time had come to put our noses to the grind and get our asses in gear.

Unfortunately, by this time, a few of our members had left. Dirk and S. Quire had work opportunities in Western Canada. They are sorely missed but maintain honorary positions as King Size members and remain in touch. Sonny Tease left the group to pursue other interests. Jean-Robert also left in order to help his sister out with her new business. Luckily, two eager newcomers helped fill the void: Johnny Cox and Bo Stallion. Billy King, who had been a part of the group from the beginning but had never been able to participate due to scheduling conflicts, also became available. We also recruited another Drag Queen, Miss Thing.

With this new line-up, we began to organise our first big show. The name King Size was suggested by Johnny for the name of the show itself but Nat thought it would be a great name for the troupe. The word was spread, people’s eyes lit up at this name that meant everything and nothing and that would be meaningful for francophones as well as anglophones. We agreed unanimously. Eventually, we had to change our name. Read more about the why and how here.

For 1 ½ month, King Size members brainstormed, planned and rehearsed, getting together every Friday at the home of one of our members. It was a great experience for the group not only in terms of creating a kick-ass show but in terms of creating a cohesive and cooperative group. We even had the amazing Bling, Eva Vavoom, help out with the creation of  the dick made out of gold, an illustrious prop to be used in one of Nat’s solos.

King Size’s first show was a huge success. According to Miriam, it was the most highly attended Meow Mix ever. The Sala Rossa was packed and the line-up seemed to be unending. The crowd was supportive and the energy was amazing. Even the Mambo Kings came out and supported us! This motivated King Size members to keep performing. And we also recruited newest member Rod Screwheart as a result!

On February 9, 2008, at another sold out meow mix entitled Self Love, King Size officially changed its name to Dukes of Drag and introduced new Kings Ian Poe Kerr, Marco Golo, Ty Dub, Val Thrillmore and Brad Pipe performed .

History is still in the making so check back here often for updates on how the story will go. We all hope that the story will unfold in many positive ways for a long, long time so you may have to come back very often!