In 2016, Richard Taki opened Vau d’vile Drag Cabaret Restaurant in the self-described “artists haven” suburb of Fitzroy, creating a colourful and safe space for LGBTQIA+ artists to showcase their talent. After surviving 19 months of lockdown, Richard, otherwise known as Bumpa Love, is itching to open the doors of Vau d’vile for more fun, laughter and stories.
Unafraid of his identity, Richard wears his many hats with pride. For the past 14 years, the friendly business owner has called the City of Yarra his work-home, however Richard and his popular Drag Queen alter ego, Bumpa Love, have a place in people’s hearts all across Australia and New Zealand. By planting his roots in the north, Richard has enabled artists like himself a place to feel seen and accepted.
“I love my profession of drag and that having my own venue means my amazing team can truly celebrate and enjoy who they are in a very supportive and public setting.”
Richard takes pride in Vau d’vile Drag Cabaret Restaurant being a venue that is solely owned and run by drag artists. Pre COVID-19, more often than not, bookings at the popular venue were full, reflecting the community's support and acceptance for LGBTQIA+ Drag Artists. On why being accepted is important, Richard says,
“It enables me to live a true, authentic life, a right we all deserve.”
Melbourne Pride - A Road to Pride celebrates the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria, something Richard describes as a “remarkable landmark”. Born in New Zealand and now living in Australia, Richard counts us lucky to have the opportunity to have such a celebration.
“Many countries still to this day criminalise GLBTIQA+ people with punishments of imprisonment, stoning and death. I work with many minority GLBTIQA+ cultures affected by their countries laws and whilst seeing them thrive here is fantastic, knowing they can’t do so in their home country… is at times heartbreaking”.
As a person of colour of New Zealand Maori descent, the Road to Pride hasn’t always been smoothly paved out for Richard. On whether we can reach an ultimate Pride destination, Richard explains that it is possible, provided we all put in the work.
“Its so important to nourish and cherish our immediate GLBTIQA+ whanau (family) and friends and then to generate an expansion of that support so that it can grow the connections needed to help those in need.”
In the lead up to Melbourne Pride and as Melbourne begins to open up, Richard encourages audiences and businesses to book in to Vau d’vile for their Christmas functions (they will sell out!), with new shows in the works and a team of performers “just gagging to lip synch on stage”.
Until then, you can support Vau d’vile Drag Cabaret Restaurant through their socials and book in to see drag queens like Jemima Handful, Isis Avis Loren and Jacqui strutting their stuff in 6inch heels.