panties for the Pole man/ Daily extra, Toronto


Drag king Nat King Pole’s brash performance may provoke underwear-throwing
Montreal drag king Nat King Pole (who calls himself The Pole Man) has a penchant for thrown panties.

“I read somewhere that Frank Sinatra planted women in his audiences to scream and faint. Then it became a reality, and women did start screaming and fainting,” he says. “One night I got a bunch of friends to go to the Dollarama and buy panties and throw them onto the stage, and it became a thing. Now when I go somewhere, people throw panties. I haven’t gotten any used ones yet. Not that I know of, anyway. But I’ll take ’em.”

Being pelted with women’s unmentionables fits with The Pole Man’s cocky, horny, ladies’-man, legend-in-his-own-mind persona. To express himself to the fullest, he takes well-known songs — pop hits from any genre — and replaces the lyrics with raunchy ones of his own.

“I’d take ‘New York, New York,’ and the lyrics would be ‘Start spreading your legs, because you’re coming today. I want to be a part of it, poppin’ your cork,’” he says. “Another example is ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin. I’d sing, ‘You’ll need a whole lotta lube if you’re gonna be with me.’”

Drag-king acts are always hot but rarely vary in format (costume, mustache and a series of lip-synched tunes). Occasionally, there’s a more theatrical performance or a king will sing a song (lip-synching the rest). The Pole Man not only writes his own lyrics, but sings all his songs himself. “There are so many drag kings and drag queens out there. I had to do something to stand out in the group,” he says.

The Pole Man’s been a hit in Montreal for over a decade and has collected frilly undergarments in such places as Boston, Philadelphia and Provincetown, but his upcoming solo performance at The Blake House will be his long-awaited first show at that venue.

Those who miss the show can catch his shorter set the following day, with Sinful Sundays Burlesque at Cherry Cola’s, where he’ll be very much in his element as a lone lech in a sea of sexy burlesque ladies. This is sure to make for a plentiful panty harvest, but it’ll be a miracle if he makes it out of there without having his mustache slapped off.

Update: due to an unfortunate fire at the Flying Beaver, Nat King Pole will be performing downstairs at The Blake House (449 Jarvis) at 9:30 pm on Saturday, Feb 21.

Sinful Sundays Burlesque is Sun, Feb 22, 9pm, at Cherry Cola’s, 200 Bathurst St.