Dragfest dazzled and dusted, exemplifying queer range

This text omits the given names of drag performers in respect of Stanford Drag Troupe’s privateness coverage.

On Friday night time, lots of of scholars gathered on Wilbur discipline for this 12 months’s Dragfest, the most important campus drag occasion of the 12 months placed on by Neighborhood Hyperion (T) and the Stanford Drag Troupe. Earlier than I settled down in a spot on the grass, I used to be caught in a swarm of excited viewers members on the T-shirt stand. This identical palpable enthusiasm remained robust for the remainder of the night time. With glow sticks, pleasure flags or meals truck fare in palms, the gang cheered and laughed all through.

This 12 months’s Dragfest was hosted by Shea Couleé, the Season 5 winner of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” and returning emcee DeJa Skye, a contestant within the 14th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Along with members of the Stanford Drag Troupe, the present additionally featured skilled drag artists reminiscent of Madd-Dogg 20/20 and Tenderoni, and even College directors.

The 2 “Drag Race” alumni dazzled the gang with tight dance strikes and flashy garb. Couleé, donning a spiky blue prime and metallic silver skirt, theatrically lip-synced to her unique music “Materials” whereas the music video performed on the display screen behind her. Skye glided throughout the stage in a flamboyant leopard-print unitard throughout her efficiency of “Deal with Me,” doing splits and backbends that earned loud applause.

Shea Couleé performed an original song at Dragfest, donning a spiky blue top and metallic silver skirt on stage.
Shea Couleé hosted this years Dragfest, performing her personal music, “Materials.” (Photograph courtesy of Stanford Drag Troupe and Tanvi Dutta Gupta)

The efficiency by College directors Persis Drell, Susie Brubaker-Cole, Mona Hicks and Jeanette Smith-Legal guidelines was likewise successful among the many scholar viewers. The 4 danced to upbeat pop songs in fits with silvery collars, and Smith-Legal guidelines even had on an ’80’s-style white afro wig. My favourite little bit of the quantity was when the 4 stylishly walked in a circle to the beat of Beyonce’s “Single La.” The quartet actually loved themselves, judging by their laughter as they walked off stage.

Solidarity in defending LGBTQIA+ identification was the theme of the night time. Drag Troupe administrators Latke and Zz Stylish opened the competition with a silent mourning of the demise of members of the queer neighborhood nationwide. 

“There are nonetheless states attempting to do away with our homosexual asses,” DeJa Skye exclaimed.

One other theme in Stanford Drag Troupe’s performances was racial range and cultural consciousness. Having attended all the troupe’s exhibits prior to now two years, I discovered this to be a brand new characteristic of Friday’s program. “Pachamama,” the goddess of the Andes, was central to Sparx Nevada’s quantity. On the finish of Peking Dyke and Mooshoo’s supply of “Outdated City Highway” as a Western-themed, kinky sexual show, the display screen displayed “Asians have been right here longer than cowboys.”

Among the many numbers most beloved by college students was Ariel Silks’ “I Did One thing Dangerous.” The Taylor Swift music was a direct hit, inviting viewers members to sing alongside. Silks performed the position of the Greek mythological lady Pandora, who opened a field after being forbidden from doing so and unleashed evils upon the world.

This quantity was as inventive because it was well-executed. As Silks opened the field, the background surroundings projected on the display screen reworked into an apocalyptic battlefield, and Silks herself took off her gleaming gown and proceeded to bop on stage in a blood-smeared tank prime. Her strikes included swift cartwheels and spectacular backflips. The juxtaposition of the Greek delusion and the unapologetic pop music underscored the hypocrisy of males in blaming girls for fallacies in human interactions.

One other standout lip-sync efficiency was “Bang Bang,” carried out by Ariel Silks, Daphne Summers and Latke. The trio’s synchronized dance strikes have been a feast for the eyes, amplified by their costumes. Latke’s golden robe, with a cut-out entrance that exposed a tight-fitting silver gown beneath, went superbly along with her blonde, curly hair.

My solely critique is that some particulars in performers’ costume and choreography obtained misplaced by means of the gap between the stage and the viewers. When Mal Ishus carried out “Huge TV,” he made gestures with a series, nevertheless it was onerous to make out what the chain was or the strikes’ significance. The pomegranate accent on Miss Katonic’s hair as she embodied the Greek goddess Persephone may have made an exquisite sight in a extra intimate theater, nevertheless it was onerous to discern from Wilbur Area.

Regardless of the gap, many visible decisions of the performers shined by means of, such because the shiny pants that resembled fish scales in St. Andrew’s mermaid-themed quantity.

Dragfest “slayed the home boots down,” as many followers of “Drag Race” would possibly say. The sizable viewers and their robust engagement illuminate the ability of this joyful expression, and makes me excited to see what’s in retailer for future years.

Editor’s Notice: This text is a assessment and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.

A earlier model of this text had incorrect pronouns for a performer and incorrectly described a performer’s actions. The Every day regrets this error.