Drag Domination dominates again
What do gold tiaras, Justin Bieber and a peacock headdress have in common? They were all present at the Turret on Jan. 23. The WLU Rainbow Centre (RC) held their third annual Drag Domination as a fundraiser for local LGBTQ group, tri-Pride. The fundraiser generated $300 for tri-Pride. Local group The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area (ACCKWA) and tri-Pride set up booths to have a presence and to have the possibility to further inform the Laurier community.
While typically held during first semester, M.C. Ethan Jackson addressed the Rainbow Centre’s reasoning for pushing it back a semester by first outlining the difference between trans* gendered and a drag performer. “Drag performers use satire to entertain an audience of the hypermasculinization and hyperfeminization of gender roles through characterizing song and dance with sexuality,” said Jackson. “Transgenderism, on the other hand, is a part of one’s greater identity. That is not satire, it is not humour, and it is real.”
Jackson then went on to say that they wanted to separate Trans* Awareness Week and the drag show to ensure two events would not be associated with each other to further prove the point that they are not the same. Jackson gave many thanks to the volunteers of the RC, but most of all to the “fierce performers from our local community and our amazing Golden Hawk pride.”
With incredible performances from host Miss Drew, Dallas Wylde Davis, Jack Mehoff, and Sydney Savage the night was definitely one to remember. The performers, as well as the audience, danced to songs from artists such as Basement Jaxx, Lady Gaga, Usher and Tiffany. The heels were high and the hair was higher. In the words of Miss Drew, “the higher the hair, the closer to God” and if this quote was to be taken literally every performer was going straight to heaven. With many costumes, hair and make-up changes combined with the fabulous dancing, it felt like a fashion show with dancing and lip-syncing. Fashion ‘N’ Motion performed a teaser dance during intermission. Choreographed by David Williamson, the teaser was to promote for their upcoming show sometime this semester.
One of the highlights of the night was Felton Bender who gave an impressive Justin Bieber impression. Bender was so realistic that a “fight” broke out between Jackson and an audience member for Bender’s love. Miss Drew played the perfect host. She got the audience to play an active role within the show, rather than letting them passively sit back in their seats. Shortly after the first few performances, Miss Drew called for everyone to bring their tables and chairs closer to the stage.
Audience participation is what can make or break the atmosphere at a drag show. Miss Drew remarked a number of times that they were at the right school, making numerous references to Laurier’s “party school” reputation while simultaneously making small jabs at University of Waterloo. This is something that Priscilla Jarvis, better known to Laurier audiences as Jack Mehoff, reiterated: “When I came out on the stage at Laurier, the crowd presence was so much greater than what it usually is. People who have never seen a drag show, their first drag show messes with your notions of gender.”
Jarvis felt that her uniquely named alter-ego needed some backstory: “When I was growing up, my dad, in his old fashioned ways, thought it’d be really funny to tell inappropriate jokes and songs. He’d used to pretend to call someone and ask ‘Is there a Mr. Mehoff? A Jack Mehoff?’ Thanks dad!”
All the drag performers may have come from different backgrounds and had overcome different obstacles to be accepted. Once they hit the stage and the music began playing, they became impenetrable. The passion and confidence they exuded on stage was felt within the audience which made for an amazing time.