Patrick Salvani / Ms. Nookie Galore talks to us about their FilipinX drag horror cooking show SARAP and creating QTPOC realities.
Please introduce yourself and what you do.
Boo, my name is Patrick Salvani or Ms. Nookie Galore. I am not your average genderqueer pansexual hairy asian panda horror-storytelling Drag Queen. I create new worlds that anchor us in the places we have been to creating space to dream of places we need to go.
How did you discover your love for horror?
I appreciated horror at a really young age where I would be fixated on stories from both my grandma and mother about ghosts, manananggal (evil witch/vamp), duwende (goblins), Filipino Folklore. My mom and I only watched horror movies together, a lot of Wes Craven films, despite her tries to make me watch Filipino romantic comedies and dramas. My fixation around these stories were because they instilled fear in me and being raised to fear everything I felt an un/comfortable relationship to stories that haunt us. Now imagine me as a kid, very very quiet and scared of my own voice. However, anytime we were allowed to do creative writing I would write some twisted shit like being lost for an eternity in portal of complete darkness and stories where death is the least torturous way to survive. I realized how much I loved the horror genre when I carved out a space to create my own horror stories where the darkness is deep, nuanced and frighteningly beautiful. Stories where we are not the other: we are past, present and future. In essence, discovering my love of horror came with loving myself.
What does the genre mean to you – as far as aesthetic and the crafting of your drag persona?
Patrick on the Streets, Nookie in the Sheets, Patrick in the sheets, Nookie on the streets. I classify my overall aesthetic as a Vamp Tropical Goth. If you were to put Leonard Cohen, Asian Horror revenge spirits, Angela from “Night of the Demons” and all my western Filipinoness into a blender, you’d catch my vibe. I grew up fat, chubby, feeling undesirable and only wanted in pieces, so Ms. Nookie Galore came to life as way to connect to my body, sexuality, explore both masculinity and femininity, and an opportunity to accept myself as whole. Eventually both myself and Nookie’s aesthetic bleed into one another. I consider Drag a storytelling genre, so when I’m in Drag whether it’s a lip sync or theatre and performance piece, there is always gonna be some scary story to tell.
"In essence, discovering my love of horror came with loving myself."
How important is it for you to infuse your Filipinx heritage with your love for horror? What cultural narratives play a significant role in your act, SARAP?
My friend and one of the most amazing spoken word poet’s Kym Nacita told me once that sometimes food is our only way back home. In my FilipinX Drag Horror Cooking Show, Sarap, I view the audience as my dinner guests and I, as the host – actively engaging all their senses as I cook Adobo, play and serve samples of the final dish. With just one bite of the right dish, you can taste the stories from back home – each ingredient and way of cooking providing its own lesson. These stories tell of our homeland, our bodies and our Monsters. Through re-imagining the origin story of the Filipino Vampire, the Manananggal, as a migrant worker, I take the audience on a journey of how colonization and a history of erasure has affected our most vulnerable memories around gender, race and class. I consider Sarap to be culinary terrorism. It refuses to reproduce marginalized communities as a valuable commodity to be consumed while dismissing the importance of family and community in shaping our own queer histories.
Can you talk about your activism within the queer community in Toronto? What are some of the benefits of teaching the art of drag to the young QTPOC community in 2018?
I actually wrote in depth about my work in community co-founding the longest-standing queer and trans youth of colour program in Canada, The Drag Musical. It can be found here.
Can you tell us about some of the events you have hosted with said community in the past few years?
Apart from the shows highlighted in the Marvellous Grounds link, I want to talk about my birthdays. You’re probably wondering “why?!” In the Philippines, on my Birthday, November 1st, all saints day, it's a time to go to the cemeteries and clean the graves, honor your ancestors, party and camp out overnight. So I’ve grown up knowing that if you love the dead, the dead will love you back. I looked at my birthdays as an opportunity to be celebrated the way I want to be. My birthdays have been big events from haunted dinners, to a community event themed murder mystery (i.e. I made everyone play exaggerated characterizations of themselves ie. the Active Listener), Tourists in the Philippines Escape room and most recently Let Me Rest in Peace – Funeral Birthday Party. I’m a good party organizer because I’m a good partyer that knows how to actualize nightmares and make everyone feel important and seen. So my birthdays also becomes an opportunity to celebrate community – I cook A LOT of food, decorate like Guillermo Del Toro’s house (with everything-halloween-is-80%-off-on-November-1st budget), make “IT” work and surrender everything else to the universe. I put a lot of work into my birthday, into each community event I organize, because to NOT practice white supremacy, patriarchy and classism is to hustle hard for everything you’re entitled for.
"A lot of traumatic things happen in this world, and we forget that dreaming is part of our survival and essential in creating new realities."
Tell us a bit about your newest project “I Don't Fuck with You - A Goth Drag Musical.”
“I Don’t Fuck With You: The Goth Drag Musical” is a Krafty Queers Production and along with my work partner/dreamer in crime Afi Browne. We’re taking an “almost” backseat this time around and letting two past participants, past mentors and current Directors, Franny Galore and Kamika take charge of the direction of the participants. Expect excellence because they were both mentored by me :) The Goth Drag Musical is a celebration of the emo, the too much, the not enoughs, the ones who love to wear black clothes in the summer, the people some won’t fuck with and the portals of never-ending darkness that have sucked away many a living soul. You can see the musical at Pride Toronto 2018. “Like” Krafty Queers to get the latest updates!
What was it like growing up as a queer Goth queen in Calgary? What drew you to Toronto?
Google: ‘Calgary Stampede.’ I give credit to Calgary for their raves tho! It was an amazing opportunity to feel community. Being in a space where I felt comfortable being weird, wearing all black and having manic panic all over my hair without feeling judged felt good. Experiencing freedom and connection between my body and the music, and the occasional handjob made it the most fun teenage community experience. Drugs saved me! Otherwise, ‘Calgary Stampede’ :( Honestly, Toronto was something very different and I was at a place in my life where I was cool with people I didn’t know, and willing to put in the hard work to nurture relationships and community to make Toronto feel like home. I do appreciate Calgary more and more each time I visit my family tho, especially when I don’t leave my parent’s home and go back to Toronto less than a week later.
Do you have any advice for the inspiring drag stars trying to find their voice?
Join The Drag Musical. If that’s not possible, find a space, set a time to play, have fun, write down your nightmares and drag up your fears. A lot of traumatic things happen in this world, and we forget that dreaming is part of our survival and essential in creating new realities.
Audre's Revenge is a collective of creatives, determined to promote visibility of QTIBIPOC in the Sci-Fi and Horror Universe. In 2015, we created this space to network film makers, writers, actors and artists, to inspire timeless and important work.