Shea CouleeRICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

Drag superstar and All-Stars winning queen Shea Coulee couldn’t quite recall if Friday night would be their Dallas debut. But for sure, they are set on a big audience of bears at BearDance: Jungle Roar, the official party of Texas Bear Round-up (TBRU). In fact, Coulee said taming these wild bears will feel just like they’re back at home in Chicago. 

TBRU 28 opens Thursday with events through Sunday.BearDance is TBRU’s centerpiece dance party, the ticketed event is open to the public and guests do not have to be registered for TBRU to attend. Proceeds from the party will go toward TBRU beneficiaries.

Before Friday night’s performance in the Rose Room, Coulee talked about bringing their diva energy to BearDance, cleaning out the drag closet and preparing for their big goddess moment. 

For tickets, visit Premier access tickets to Shea Coulee available here

Dallas Voice: Welcome to Big D for headlining this big BearDance event. In some ways, this is your first appearance in Dallas, correct?

Coulee: Yes, it is…wait. Well, ok. I did do Dallas once last year but there was this really bad storm that day and it was so messed up. So that was a practice run. This weekend, it’s for real. 

Do you get the feels when you play a city for the first time or by now, is it a routine performance?

There is always this element of your first time. The opportunity to perform where you haven’t done it before is the same. I go into it with a sense of excitement and nerves and childlike wonder. I mean it’s not just every city I feel that, but every performance. 

We’re not gonna get too deep here but Texas is challenging for queer folks right now. Do you think about that when booking shows where legislation is trying to discriminate against LGBTQ people?

For me, what I see is that politicians have this great way of unifying certain constituents to get them into or keep them in office. Legislation doesn’t always represent the people.

We as queer performers get to exist in a unique space like BearDance that’s curated. We’re going into spaces that are created with queer entertainment in mind so those outside factors don’t weigh on me too much. I focus on the experience and the performance and why I’m there in the first place. I’m not gonna waste my brain cells on haters to take away that enjoyment. 

Speaking of why you are here – you’re gonna be playing for a bunch of sweaty, beefy bears. Is that a new audience at all for you?

I love it! I cannot wait. I love me some good ol’ bears. You know, Chicago also has a huge bear community so I feel right at home. I love my mixture of audiences with its gender queer nellies and big fuzzy, burly bears. 

I mean, sometimes those are the same.

Ya know!

You are doing your Love Ball tour, but that’s not this show, right?

This is not in the same aesthetic as that. I am a diva down boots. I adhere to a category. So I’m going into this theme of bears and jungles for the show. I’ve pulled out my fiercest cheetah prints and I’m about to have me a tropical diva jungle goddess moment. 

You have the tour, your album 8 is still strong, guest appearances – what’s life like for you these days?

You know what my biggest project is right now? Spring cleaning. I am in the middle of purging and organizing my drag. You can’t imagine how much drag accumulates. Our drag is like a blueprint of our brain and mine is so messy right. I’ve got to cleanse and organize everything. Mama has got storage units of drag. Storage. Units.