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Monday, April 6, 2020

Annual drag show lights up Western

By Jack Taylor

Loud music, glitter and fabulous wigs.

With lip-synchs to songs by divas such as Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande, as well as stand-up routines, drag performers gave Western and the Bellingham community a show that could only have been achieved through hard work and dedication.

“A big takeaway for me is understanding that drag has a history. With the Stonewall riots, a lot of drag queens of color were the ones who initiated it, so understanding that drag is not just a performance or art but a resistance in itself.”

Alberto Rodriguez-Escobedo, Queer Resource Center assistant coordinator for community programming

On the night of Friday, Feb. 2, students and Bellingham residents filled Western’s Performing Arts Center concert hall for the Queer Resource Center’s 26th Annual Drag Show. With 13 performers, including local and Seattle queens and kings, each entertainer gave everything they had into creating a memorable night.

Dancing to “Confident” by Demi Lovato, Mahogany Knight St. James showed what it’s like to be confident. // Photo by Mathew Roland

Performing in drag may seem fun, but ask any of the performers and they will elaborate on how much work goes into their performance.

Sue Nami, a local drag queen, said she devotes ample time to preparing and writing her own scripts.

“It’s a lot of practicing. I spend a lot of studio time in the PAC just rehearsing different lip-synchs. I would just walk around moving my lips,” she said.

Sue Nami made audiences laugh with the sole stand-up routine of the night. // Photo by Mathew Roland

Sue Nami explained how much practice is needed into making the lip-syncing believable for the audience. She also mentioned how one of the misconceptions people have about drag is how it is only for LGBTQ+ community.

“People think its only for the queer community but it’s for everyone and its meant to be a fun time and a release of energy,” she said.

London Bradshaw dancing to “Into You” by Ariana Grande. // Photo by Mathew Roland

Eric Guizar, a newcomer to the drag scene, debuted in the show under his drag name Rikki Sinsation while performing to the Marina and the Diamonds song “How to Be a Heartbreaker.” He agreed that there are a lot of misconceptions about drag.

“A lot of people get the misconception that drag queens are bitchy people, but I don’t think it’s true,” Guizar said. “People don’t view it as a art form without taking the time to understand it.”

Guizar said drag has had a positive impact on his life.

“The biggest thing I enjoy about it is learning about myself and who I am as a person,” Guizar said. “I feel like the most I have learned about myself is just to be confident.”

Fran Zia graced audience members with a routine to Prince’s song “Kiss.”
// Photo by Mathew Roland

Building self-confidence and providing a fun atmosphere is exactly what drag is all about, said Evelyn Hobbs and Alberto Rodriguez-Escobedo, the coordinators of the event.

Hobbs, the Queer Resource Center coordinator, and Rodriguez-Escobedo, the assistant

Pheonix Riesling, the sole drag king of the show, engulfed audiences members with glitter. // Photo by Mathew Roland

coordinator for community programming, spoke on the effect drag shows have on the community.

“I think it can just be fun. I think that can be something that is good to have,” Hobbs said.
“It would be really good and beneficial for anyone on campus to come and see people being whatever for the fun of it.”

In addition to being entertained, Rodriguez-Escobedo hopes people will learn about the history of drag as well.

“A big takeaway for me is understanding that drag has a history. With the Stonewall riots a lot of drag queens of color were the ones who initiated it, so understanding that drag is not just a performance or art but a resistance in itself,” Rodriguez-Escobedo said.

Minerva Markos lip-synchs to Christina Perri’s ballad “Jar of Hearts.” // Photo by Mathew Roland

All the proceeds raised during the performance are going to the Sean Humphrey House in Bellingham, which houses adults with HIV and AIDS, as well as Lifelong, which provides food, housing and more to people with HIV and AIDS.

More information on the Queer Resource Center can be found on their website, Facebook page or in their office in Viking Union 515.

Updated 10:26 p.m. on Feb. 4 to correct the name of the Sean Humphrey House.

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