‘However you exist in the world is completely OK’

Tabikat Productions hosts drive-in drag show, Pride Family Picnic on Saturday



Aquasha DeLusty, drag queen, performs at the Unity Week Fashion & Drag Show: United We Are Stronger event on Tuesday night at the CUB Senior Ballroom, 2019.

FRANKIE BEER, Evergreen news editor

When drag queen Aquasha DeLusty steps foot onto the Tabikat Productions stage, everything suddenly falls into place. 

The blinding lights and the cheers from the audience slowly overtake the butterflies in her stomach until she feels completely herself, expressing her point of view to the world, she said. 

Watching it all from the wings offstage like proud parents are Kathy Sprague and Tabitha Simmons, co-owners of Tabikat in Moscow. Over the past 27 years, Tabikat has become more than entertainment – it is a family, a support system and a safe space for people to find themselves, Sprague said. 

It is important to support families and youth in the LGBTQ+ community, especially in light of the Coeur d’Alene Pride event on June 11, where 31 men who are believed to be associated with Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, were arrested, Sprague said. 

 “We need to send the message that we’re not afraid, and we’re not going away,” she said. 

To create a local gathering space during Pride month, Tabikat will host a drive-in drag show for people of all ages from 7:30-9 p.m. on Saturday at Mountain View Park, Sprague said. 

Tabikat will charge $10 per car and driver, including $5 for each additional passenger. Music will be broadcast on ZFun 106, so audience members can hear it in their cars. Attendees without a car can also pay $5 to sit on the park’s lawn, she said.

Before the show, people can attend the Pride Family Picnic from 5-7 p.m. at the park and play outdoor games like croquet and Jenga Giant™, DeLusty said. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own food, but the Love Shack Kitchen food truck will provide barbecue. 

Through drag, DeLusty said every performer realizes they have an impact on the LGBTQ+ community, receiving messages from audience members who say they are able to live their authentic selves after watching drag queens do the same. 

“I know every performer always approaches [every show] with love and a passion for just wanting to entertain,” she said. “We have the goal of wanting to be inspiring. Just making sure that people know that however you exist in the world is completely OK.”

DeLusty said Tabikat performers are “spoiled rotten” with love and support from their audience. When she performed in a Tabikat show for the first time 19 years ago, her wig flew off 30 seconds after she began the number, but she kept going and earned “uproarious” applause from the audience. 

“That’s kind of what drives you and keeps you going – that symbiotic give and take of the energy from each other. They give you the cheers, you give them a stronger performance,” DeLusty said. 

During Saturday’s show, the self-proclaimed “drag soccer mom” will perform “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls and “Dance Like Yo Daddy” by Meghan Trainor, a song her children selected, DeLusty said. 

Her drag persona is a combination of Broadway and Las Vegas glitz and glamor, stemming from her childhood experiences in community theater, she said. 

DeLusty will perform alongside Roderick VonSchlong, Faye, Ty Grass, Jazmyn J. and Belladonna, Sprague said. 

“Drag should not be about competition. Drag should be about building family. You’re not there to do better than your sisters, you’re there to lift your sisters [and brothers] up,” she said.

Sprague and Simmons have been a force in the LGBTQ+ community, whether they are helping someone pay bills or providing undergarments and binders for a transgender individual, DeLusty said. 

When the couple “took a chance on a little queen” 19 years ago, DeLusty said neither of them knew their relationship would last this long, helping each other through “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

After DeLusty and Rob, her partner, decided to look into fostering children five years ago, Sprague and Simmons requested donations to support them during a Tabikat show. Waves of audience members came toward DeLusty and Rob, placing money in a hat beside them. 

“Through the tears, we were just able to see a continuous line of people coming up, putting money in the hat and supporting us in our journey,” she said. 

When Sprague and Simmons became the first same-sex couple in Idaho to receive a marriage license on Oct. 10, 2014, DeLusty and her partner were right behind them. At that moment, an hour before the county prosecutor’s office closed, the world felt safe, DeLusty said. 

Surrounded by court clerks standing in the windows and cheering them on at the Latah County Courthouse, Sprague and Simmons, who had been together for 20 years, got married in what Sprague described as a “chaotic” and “mind-blowing” experience. 

​​“To suddenly know that we could get this piece of paper and have the ability to see each other in the hospital, to inherit our shared assets without a legal battle, to just have those basic protections that any married, heterosexual couple takes for granted? Now that was huge,” Sprague said. 

To Sprague, Pride month means commemorating the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals who came before her while celebrating her own, she said. She was four years old during the Stonewall riots 53 years ago, a time when wearing three articles of clothing that were not considered gender-appropriate was a crime.

Police raided Stonewall Inn, a mafia-owned gay bar in New York City, on June 28 and hauled 200 LGBTQ+ people, including drag queens, into the street, according to BBC News. This sparked a demonstration against law enforcement for the next five days. 

“[Pride means] taking a breather from the struggle of just being out and being high profile,” Sprague said. “[It means] celebrating the life I’ve built and remembering the people who made sacrifices well before I was born, so I could live this life. I celebrate the fact that I am still here, and I remember them.”