UW-Whitewater IMPACT hosts fifth annual Drag Show

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By Michael Riley

April 2, 2014

 

Drag queen Kandi Barr asked the audience members to raise their hands if they had never been to a Drag Show before.

“Look at all the virgins,” Barr said, as nearly half the audience members raised their hands.

Professional performers and amateur UW-Whitewater student performers showcased their skills at IMPACT’s fifth annual Drag Show on March 20.

More than 250 students attended the Roaring ’20s themed show, which was emceed by Janesville-native Barr. The host of the last two years, Richie St. James, had recently stepped away from the entertainment industry.

Nicolas Milone, IMPACT treasurer and planner of the event, said he watched a few of Barr’s videos and made the decision to ask her to be the show’s host.

Milone said IMPACT raised more than $1,000, and there was a good amount of donations of non-perishables.

“[Money raised] can continue to give IMPACT the opportunity to provide educational and entertainment events for not only the LGBTQ students but also the allies at UW-Whitewater,” Milone said.

Performers lip synced and danced songs of their choice.  The audience was encouraged to give monetary tips to performers if they enjoyed the routine.

The professional drag queens were Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Symphony Alexander-Love, Sasha Christine and Bianca Lynn Breeze.  The one drag king was Colin Acumen.  Many of the queens came from Madison and do shows across the state and the Midwest.

Essence Hall and Alexander-Love both have performed at UW-W in years past.

Christine, alumni of UW-W, performed a few Beyoncé songs.

Those who were new to the show said it was a great experience to be in a smaller town with such an accepting part of the community, Milone said.

Katrina Shong said she was a friend of Essence Hall and had never been to UW-Whitewater’s show.  She said she regularly supports Essence Hall when she performs.

“When thinking back to my first show, all I can remember is how I had an instant smile on my face,” Shong said.  “Honestly, I cannot believe how beautiful all these girls look.  They usually look better than I do.”

Students Jezeel Fuentz, Tom E. Gun and Mr. Andre all performed for the first time on stage.

“It exposes students to diversity and entertainment rolled up in one,” said James Sheets, president of IMPACT.  “Unless you’re directly exposed to the LGBTQ community, it would be difficult to experience a drag show or even to know what drag is. Additionally, with the event being on a Thursday, it gives students an alternative instead of going out to drink.”

Alyssa Reetz, PRIDE resource intern, said she has been to going UW-Whitewater’s Drag Show since she was a freshman.

She said the Hamilton Room is hands down the best location on campus to hold the show because audience members can feel the energy.  Reetz was responsible for pre-show music and the music for all of the performers.

Sheets said this event does more than provide students a unique experience.

“This event helps empower LGBTQ students on this campus because it really gives them a night of their own and allows them to enjoy a show put on by people that they can potentially identify with,” Sheets said.  “It’s different than seeing yet another heterosexual and cisgender entertainment options.”