Courtesy of the Queer Student Union and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the school brought back its annual drag show on Wednesday, March 13, with special guest host Shangela Laquifa Wadley of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show featured an extensive list of talented local drag queens, drag kings and performers, all of whom were met with fanatical cheers and shouts of encouragement — even some cash tips.
The event kicked off with a special welcome by members of the QSU and ASUN. Following their introduction, the audience exploded into uproarious applause as one of RPDR’s most memorable drag contestants, Shangela, stormed on stage, beaming from ear-to-ear.
Best known for her appearances in “A Star is Born”, “Community” and “Glee”, Shangela has competed on RPDR on three separate seasons, including seasons two, three and All-Stars season three. She started the night off with a few light-hearted jokes, then pumped up the crowd for the first queen and between each performance.
First to hit the stage was local queen Florence Parker, who glided up and down aisles in the crowd while lip-syncing “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and The Machine. The song was a perfect match for Florence Welch’s drag doppelganger, clad in a flowy pink dress and no shoes. Next was Aspen Meadows, who lip-synced Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends” in a sparkly blue dress and silver high-heeled boots. The two had nearly-opposite energies, proving how wide-ranging drag performances have become.
The next performers were Jarov Bees — a music duo consisting of a singer and guitar player, who sang a powerful ballad that had the crowd swaying from side to side and cheering their hearts out. Following the Bees was Kalypso, a denim-clad, blonde bombshell drag queen. Other contestants that night included drag queens Hel Aurora, Janeeda Richards, Sofia Dulce, Kylie Rose Richards, Ximena, Bella Noir, Adonna Does More and drag king Erik Sean.
In comparison to the queens performing, Erik Sean provided a different side of drag not often highlighted in mainstream media. Drag kings are typically non-cisgendered men who perform masculinity by dressing in masculine clothing, painting facial hair, disguising any curves or breasts they might have and, sometimes, pinning up their long hair. Whereas drag queens usually perform tracks by musical divas, kings will perform songs by male artists that emphasize their masculine traits. For the drag show, Erik performed a Bruno Mars ballad that earned him a few bucks and some enthusiastic cheers.
Following the last performer, Shangela made a dramatic costume change from an elegant beaded gown, to an equally-elegant black bodysuit with thigh-high leather boots. The queen closed out the performances with a high-energy number to a mix of her own music.
In the end, the winner of the event was Ximena, who performed an incredibly provocative burlesque act that had the crowd jumping, screaming and tossing dollars onto the stage. Wearing a beautifully-made sheer maroon robe with feathers and black lacy undergarments, the winner was given a bouquet of flowers by Shangela, as she smiled and thanked the crowd. Runner-ups included Adonna Does More and Janeeda Richards.
Carla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @carla_suggs.