This week, the twenty-fifth annual “Festival St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE,” referred to locally as the “FRINGE,” had its official media launch on Monday evening. Along with the eclectic array of performances that typify the bilingual three week event, was Mado Lamotte, this year’s Official “FRINGE” Spokesperson.
Québécoise icon Lamotte, born Luc Provost but now known simply as Mado, is a beloved Montreal writer, producer and performance artist, celebrating her 15th year at the “FRINGE,” as hostess of the vibrant annual event, “Mado’s Drag Races.” Mado is renowned for her countless performances on Quebec television, as well as at “Just for Laughs,” “Casino de Montréal” and “Cabaret Mado,” her nightclub in the city’s Gay Village district. Mado even has her own replica at Montreal’s “Grevin Wax Museum.”
With all of her success, Mado remains dedicated to the “FRINGE.” In her press release, she affirms, “I am very happy and honoured to be a part of this grand gathering of alternative art, ecstatic burlesque, contagious madness and confident absurdity.”
In contrast to her vivacious persona, Mado is soft-spoken and demure off-stage. Communicating readily in French and English, her dedication the festival can be summarized in one impassioned word: diversité (diversity.) “Before there was Internet or social media, the ‘FRINGE’ was a place for artists to present ourselves, to be seen. It was a place for the public to see Drag artists as sympathique (likeable).” Describing the festival as “a crossroads of comedy, theater and Drag – of all performance media,” Mado credits the “FRINGE’S” uncompromising support of its performers, as the cornerstone of its success.
The “FRINGE” incorporates 200 artists at 25 venues, from Ste. Catherine Street to Bernard Avenue. “Mado’s Drag Races” are arguably the crown jewel of the festival. The gratis afternoon event, for all ages, is held at “FRINGE” Park, the corner of Rachel and St. Laurent Boulevard, the epicenter of the festival. The exuberant “Races” pits Mado’s bevy of professional Drag artists, against the “FRINGE’s” team of amateurs, with glitzy lip sync battles, makeovers, and glamorous cocktails. To commemorate the double anniversaries, Mado promises an extra-special party. “Every year, we add un petit twist, but this year, it is à ne pas manquer (not to be missed.)” Though all the “Races” competitors are seasoned performers, Mado has a playful warning for the challengers: “Being on stage is not the same as being in Drag.”
“Mado’s Drag Race” 15th Edition
June 20, 4 to 6 p.m.
“FRINGE” Park St. Laurent Boulevard corner Rachel
Photo credit: Cindy Lopez