Rainbows, sexuality, and laughter. Those three words best describe the Spring 2013 Drag Show, hosted by the Rensselaer Pride Alliance. RPI students and drag queens of the local community took part in making this show a couple hours of fun, with the proceeds going to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. In addition to dancing on stage in drag, performers interacted with the audience and even threw things into the crowd (beware the flying high heels!). A plethora of balloons of different colors made a rainbow across the stage in West Hall.
Announcer Penny Larceny, one of the drag queens from the Capital Region, made many jokes and was the main thrower of goodies into the audience. She had several guys in the audience join her on stage and tried to get them to take their shirts and pants off, cracking jokes about how great the guys looked the whole time. Penny Larceny and other drag queens also danced and lip-synched to popular songs.
Tess Tickler, in her last performance as a student at RPI, sang and danced to some of Taylor Swift’s songs. Other drag queens, such as Eva Duarte Peron Destruction, Mallissa Capri, and Tiarra Diamond, performed to music by Rihanna and other famous singers. The drag queens exaggerated female dance moves, while the two drag kings exaggerated moves typically seen by male performers in music videos and concerts. In general, the performers tried to challenge and expand the audience’s knowledge of the cultural construct of gender—like delicate and pretty for females, and tough and strong for males—through showing how ridiculous many stereotypes are. Their costumes were exaggerated towards the gender they were dressed up in drag to be—low cut costumes with short skirts for the drag queens were a common theme, for example. One of the drag kings, Dick N. Watson, had a banana and two apples in his costume pants (Dick N. Watson was wearing a suit and tie), which he threw to the audience during his performance. Much of the dancing was a bit “dirty,” though it wasn’t much worse than the dancing often shown on television.
If you’ve never been to a drag show, you should try to go to the one in the fall (RPA puts on one each semester). While the show can be a different experience if you aren’t very comfortable with such open discussions or dances centering around sexuality, it might be a bit surprising at first. Some of the stuff will make you cringe, such as when Penny Larceny pinches guys’ butts (“first guy to come up on stage and drop trou” gets a prize), but questioning people’s beliefs surrounding gender and sexuality makes for interesting thoughts and will expand your worldview. Just a word of warning—be ready to duck, especially if you’re in the first few rows, and don’t go onstage unless you’re ready to take your clothes off!