The Student Run Drag Show on April 28 — put on by the UCSB Associated Students Queer Commission — rocked my world in so many ways. It also led me to embrace the following:
1. Drag is the highest art form. I’m changing the name of Artsweek to Dragsweek, appearing every Thursday in the Daily Nexdrag.
2. I feel like it was divine intervention that led me to decide to stay in Goleta that Thursday night instead of going to Laguna Beach to visit a friend as I had originally planned.
3. WHERE DO I SIGN UP TO DO THIS?
The show, which took place in conjunction with a professional drag show Wednesday, April 27, was one of many events put on during UCSB’s Pride Week. Attendees could be seen waiting in lines that stretched from I.V. Theater to the police station for both free events — and for good reason.
The student show began well with the exceptional emceeing skills of Brent Nakamoto a.k.a. “Coco Puff.” Coco Puff made jokes about her weave, fellow drag queens and the tricky business of duct tape, all while looking fine as hell.
The night’s MC was also a good sign of what was to come. The first performer, Joel Munoz as “Natasha Marie,” sashayed through the theater with considerable ferocity to the tune of the song “The Way You Love Me” by Keri Hilson. The sexy performance did justice to the song’s raunchy music video and was a perfect start to the show.
“Sophya Erse” (Abrahán Monzón) brought impressive passion to the stage and catwalk as she showed her “strut” to the crowd and got up close and personal with audience members. Antonio Brooks gave a seductive performance to Rihanna’s “Skin” while dancing with a guest on stage. The interaction between the two was, like the song, entertaining and provocative.
Two Nicki Minaj-inspired pieces were also highlights of the evening. In “Moment 4 Life,” “Miss Krystal” walked on stage in a wedding gown and then shed it, revealing a skimpy tutu and heels. Leigh Zieske came on as Young Weezy and entertained the crowd with impressive rap-syncing. In another Minaj song, a group of dancers came on stage and shook what their mama’s gave them in very colorful outfits.
Though the show was definitely drag queen-heavy, some stand out drag kings graced the stage throughout the evening as well. In one of the hottest performances of the night, Young Weezy came back for another song, seducing the females of the audience (maybe the men, too) with “Pussy Monster.” Emily Whitecotton and Marlene Moreno got the audience roaring with their rendition of the beloved SNL skit, “Dick in a Box.”
Finally — there was the Lady Gaga performance. Eduardo Ramirez as “Miss Era” strutted to the stage in an outfit that would make Mama Monster proud. Miss Era seduced (and maybe scared) audience members with her moves and eventually made it to the stage to dance to “Judas.”
“Born This Way” came on next, making Miss Era the only performer to have two songs by herself. She pulled it off with fantastic energy, though. And, while “Born This Way” could be a bit cliché in such a setting, I have to admit that this was actually the first time I’ve really enjoyed the song. It made me feel like leaving my chair and dancing around the theater, happy to be — well, born this way.
The night ended with a group performance of “Commander” by Kelly Rowland and “Hold It Against Me” by Britney Spears. Five fabulous dancers — Derion Loman, Maria Hintog, Ruta Phidayeva, David Wilson and Coco Puff — took the stage and performed with considerable skill, even changing costumes as the songs transitioned.
There were a few older men sitting near me, and I remember that at one point, one of them turned and said to me, “You’re so lucky to be going to college right now.” I promptly responded, “This is the best night of my life.”
While that may be a slight exaggeration (the best night of my life was actually my 18th birthday — I was carried into my party on a chair in a cape and gold boots while Cher’s “Believe” played and I sang along at top volume — no wonder I have an affinity for drag), the Student Run Drag Show was probably the best thing I’ve ever attended since coming to UCSB.
Props to everyone who strutted their stuff and performed. You made my heart tremble with joy. I hope to see all of you sexy people again very, very soon.
Drag. All Day, Err’ Day.