Drag queen: Performance is a lesson in diversity
Matthew Maisano says the show with Balena Canto will go on, despite any opposition to the drag queen reading children’s books at libraries, because the message is too important.
The 29-year-old Delaware County resident will transform into his queen persona to read at Drag Queen Story Hour Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Haverford Township Free Library, then again at 4 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Middletown library.
“I love this like a vocation – to be able to teach children about diversity, self-acceptance, self-love,” he explained.
Maisano, a trained opera singer who also studied education, began performing as Balena Canto two years ago when his friend asked him to participate in a gender-bend opera program in Philadelphia.
He created Balena as a way to combine several loves.
“Whales are my favorite animals,” he said, adding that he and his mom have gone about 20 times. “I’m obsessed with whale watching. Specifically humpback whales, they sing.”
And, in Italian, “balena” means whale and “canto” means “singing or song.” So, Maisano, an Italian American, said the name was a play on that and on “bel canto,” which is an Italian style of operatic singing, meaning “beautiful singing” in that language. (read more)