Don’t Miss – Shirley Delta Blow Hosts Denver Milk Market’s Drag Bingo Brunch

Looking for some Sunday Funday entertainment to cope with your Saturday night hangover? Head over to Denver’s Milk Market, where every Sunday between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., you will find charismatic host, Shirley Delta Blow, putting on a show-stopping Drag Brunch. What better way to start your Sunday off than with incredible food, bottomless mimosas, Bingo and performances that will have you and your friends dancing and smiling from ear to ear?

Although putting together Milk Market’s Drag Brunch — which started in 2019 — has no doubt been a group effort, a massive amount of credit goes out to drag queen and Milk Market brunch host, Shirley Delta Blow — the big city girl with small-town dreams.

“Have you met her?” said chef, restaurateur and founder of Denver Milk Market, Frank Bonanno. “Shirley is an entertainer. She’s captivating and vibrant and once you meet her or have brunch there and experience it, it’s what makes you want to come back. I don’t know what else to say other than, she’s great!”

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Shirley’s journey into the drag world started when she began playing in the Colorado Gay Volleyball Association over a decade ago. To raise money to help fund the organization, the team decided to throw a big fundraiser pageant. While Shirley had never done drag in this type of setting before, her background in theater along with a little nudge from her teammates gave her the confidence she needed to give the pageant a go — and she did not disappoint. 

“It turns out, I won the pageant, and that kind of started me down this road,” Shirley said.

Not only was the fundraiser event significant because Shirley walked away with the gold, but also because this was the place where she solidified her drag name, Shirley Delta Blow.

“For my talent in the pageant, I told the story of Steel Magnolias in four minutes using Barbie dolls as all the characters,” Shirley explained. “I wanted to be this sort of proper Southern lady. We started talking about the Mississippi, the Mississippi Delta, Delta Work and Delta Birch. Those are some names that are kind of out there, and then I was like, ‘oh, Delta Blow.’ And then it’s like, ‘oh, she’s been dealt a blow, she’s had a hard life.’ But of course, a Southern lady has to have three names so, Shirley Delta Blow. That’s where it all comes from,” she said.  

From doing one show every three to four months to now doing two to three shows a week, Shirley has continued to steadily grow her following and make a name for herself within the Denver drag communities.

READ: 303 Style Profile – Inside Denver Drag Queen Yvie Oddly’s Offbeat Aesthetic

“I just want everyone to have a really positive experience,” Shirley said. “We’re having lots of positive fun, uplifting humor and a good time playing Bingo and celebrating everyone here together.” For her, drag is all about expression.

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“What I love about drag is that it takes my personality and then turns it up to like 11. I’m a happy, positive, fun-loving person, but when I dress as Shirley, we turn that up,” she said. “I also think it’s really fun because everyone has a smile on their face when a drag queen shows up.”

Many believe Denver’s drag scene is a fantastic place to be as its trajectory in a way mimics the growth and diversity of the city itself.

“Denver’s drag scene is varied and diverse; there are all kinds of different things that are happening,” Shirley said. “Lots of people who do and perform drag are really pushing the boundaries of gender roles and becoming more mainstream with what we do.”

According to Shirley, there are upwards of 300 drag performers living and working in the Denver area. Having such prevalence of drag in Denver is important not only because it brings light to the otherwise seemingly dark circumstances of our world, but it also gives people within the LGBTQ community a safe place to be.

“I think a deeper message to [Milk Market’s] Drag Brunch and drag shows is that queer people are welcome and accepted. And the more places queer people feel welcome to be themselves I think the better our world will be,” said Shirley.   

READ: Drag Entertainer Dixie Krystals on How Drag Fosters Community

One of Shirley’s favorite mottos is, “I love that story.” To her, this motto or mantra is about being authentic and appreciating each person’s unique story and what they have to offer.

“We can be ourselves and we can be truly authentic. I love the story that you are, that you’re telling, that your life is,” Shirley said. “And I think for the queer community, especially for queer youth, it’s important to know that there are people out here who have been living the life, who have been authentic, who are proud and contributing members to society.”

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When addressing the LGBTQ community specifically, Shirley said, “These are your people. We’re here to support you and to love you and to stand up for you and to fight for you. Yes, we’re all those things.”

For those who are not queer or not in the LGBTQ community but attend queer events such as Drag Brunch, Shirley emphasized how crucial it is to stand up when something not right is going on.

“For people who are not in the queer community that come to queer events, it is important that if you come to a queer event where a drag performer is and you’re having a good time, when you go out into your daily life you need

to stand up when there is hate being spewed out in the world. You need to vote for queer or progressive candidates that are going to support the queer people in the legislature,” Shirley said. “We need to make sure that we’re taking that lovely energy from queer brunch or queer shows out into the world and standing up for queer people everywhere.”

Next time you and your friends are looking for an outrageously exciting Sunday brunch, make sure to stop by Denver’s Milk Marker for bites to die for, all the mimosas you can drink, Bingo prizes galore and the show of a lifetime brought to you by the one and only Shirley Delta Blow — it’s an experience that certainly has a lasting effect and supports Denver’s drag and LGBTQ communities as well. 

Drag Bingo Brunch is held Sundays at 11 a.m. at Denver Milk Market, located at 1800 Wazee St #100, Denver. Learn more about Shirley Delta Blow’s upcoming events here

All photography by Joy Weinberg, unless otherwise noted.