As the pandemic rages on and California chokes with wildfire smoke, San Francisco drag queens continue to innovate. And the New York Times and CNN have just taken notice.
SFist took note last month of the Meals on Heels dinner-and-drag delivery service being offered by Oasis, just as the SoMa nightclub was itself reopening for live drag brunches and dinner on the roof. (And last week we noted the various drag street performances happening around town generally.) Now the Times has a whole spread on Meals on Heels and its creator, the one and only D'Arcy Drollinger — and we'll try to forgive the Gray Lady for sort of misgendering Ms. Drollinger and calling her "Mr.", though it is confusing because Drollinger is her male alter-ego's given name as well.
Also, the piece about Meals on Heels follows on one broadcast by CNN over the holiday weekend, and a full photoset by Getty Images. (Drollinger did once work in PR.)
SF-based public relations executive David Landis, who reviewed Meals on Heels for his "Gay Gourmet" column in the SF Bay Times a couple months back, says that the delivery by Polly Poptart, lip-syncing “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, lifted him out of a pandemic funk and "brightened [his] spirits."
Oasis, a San Francisco cabaret, closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now its drag queens are bringing food and a curbside performance to people’s front doors through a service called "Meals on Heels." https://t.co/6pt22NGeUl— NYT National News (@NYTNational) September 9, 2020
"Necessity is the mother of invention," Drollinger told Landis. "It was one of those things where they said we could offer drinks to go if we partnered with a caterer. That seemed like a great thing to do. But as a drag bar, there’s a component that was missing. We thought, why not have a drag queen deliver the food? And if they’re delivering it, why don’t they do a socially distanced performance? The response was so great—people are starved for connection."
The actual meals come from local catering outfit Martha Avenue Food, and the queens themselves seem to love getting out there and having an audience, even it's only of one or two people at a time.
Blake Mitchell, who performed regularly at Oasis pre-pandemic as Mary Lou Pearl (and whose online shows from his apartment previously made the Times in May), tells the Times, "Most of us are used to being on a stage and having lighting and all the sound and stuff, so the thought of being out in the literal street running around in heels, especially in the hills of San Francisco, was a little bit daunting. But getting to do this and reconnect with people through drag was actually really great for me, too. It was great to see how much joy it brought to people."
Meanwhile, at Oasis itself, you can drop in for dinner or brunch and a show Thursday through Sunday (reservations here), with food provided by Don Ramon's down the street.
Or just order your Meals on Heels here.