When you think of Gran Canaria, you probably envision tropical white sand beaches, rolling green golf courses and long-dormant black volcanos. You’re likely unaware that the second most populous of the Canary Islands is not only one of Europe’s top gay destinations, it’s also home to one of the world’s most extravagant annual drag events, the Drag Gala at Santa Catalina Park. And be aware that this isn’t your grandfather’s drag show. It’s cutting-edge entertainment that leans more toward Lee Bowery than Chad Michaels. More than 30,000 people — many in costumes of their own — attended the sold-out event on February 20, while an estimated 127,000 viewers followed the production live online and on local TV. Popular television presenter Arturo Valls and humorist Yanely Hernández hosted the 1001 Arabian Nights-themed event as 17 drag entertainers offered dazzling, sometimes breathtaking performances (all contestants were required to wear towering 20″ platform shoes!) as they competed for Drag Queen of the Carnival of Las Palmas 2015, a title snagged by Valkyrie (right).
Photos: Dan Allen