Performers swagger for drag show

IUS Horizon

Jeremy Perkins won the 2012 IUS Drag Show in his drag persona Gizelle Summers. The show was Perkins first stage performance in drag.

Dressed scantily clad in high heels, drag queens took over the stage in Stem Hall for the annual IUS Drag Show on March 3.

The Gay Straight Alliance put on the drag show for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s show featured seven acts comprised of students, staff and members of the community.

The show was a collaborative effort from many organizations on campus. The Student Nursing Association helped promote the production of the drag show, as well as the IUS Civil Liberties Union, Phi Sigma Sigma and the Gamers’ Society.

The two hour show brought together an audience of around 150 people.

Due to the mature content of the show, it was suggested that audience members be 17 years or older.

Host Aaron Neely, psychology junior, in his drag persona Anita Kitty, made it clear that she would not be censored for the night.

“If you are offended by things like the “f-word” or any vulgarity, then you are in for a rough f—ing night,” Neely said.

Neely provided comedic commentary between the participants and kept the audience laughing.

“I want to let you all know right away that I’m not a woman, and I’m not gay either,” Neely said. “It’s kind of like a big middle finger to the world for me to put on a dress and stand up here.”

AJ Allen performs as Kiara Montrise during the 2012 IUS Drag Show. The show consisted of seven acts who danced and lip-synced to impress a panel of judges.

Neely won the competition the previous year and was asked to come back this year and act as the master of ceremonies.

“I was a lot more nervous about being the emcee than I was about performing,” Neely said.

The queens were judged by a panel of four judges, which was comprised of Jen Crompton, assistant director of Residence Life, Bill Sweigart, associate professor of English, Bethany Strunk, IUS alumnae and former GSA president, and Greg Roberts, adviser for the School of Arts and Letters.

Each act lip-synced and danced to earn approval from the judges.

After each performance, the judges offered feedback on how the act did. Some judges had a hard time composing themselves after the queens performed.

“Oh my goodness, this is quite a start,” Sweigart said. “I’m not sure if I brought enough heart medicine.”

This year’s winner was a newcomer to the IUS Drag Show, Gizelle Summers. Gizelle is the drag persona of Jeremy Perkins.

“I was just really surprised,” Perkins said. “I kind of put this together last minute, but it was nice since it was my first time performing I didn’t expect anything. I just do it for the fun really.”

Perkins was asked to be a part of the program through Clay Van Buren, a kitchen staff member, who went to culinary school at Sullivan University with Perkins.

“[This is my first time performing] on a stage,” Gizelle said. “I’ve been in drag before, and it wasn’t very good. This was an eclectic mix of all my favorite queens helping me out.”

Van Buren performed two acts during the show as Mirage Montrise.

Compared to the previous shows, this year’s turnout for performers and audience members was higher than in the past.

“It’s gotten so much bigger,” Strunk said. “We started out with just four performances.”

The GSA looks to continue the drag show in the upcoming years, with hopes of an increasing turnout every year.

Hunter Luthi, informatics senior and GSA president, said the show is growing and not going anywhere.

“It’s a tradition,” Luthi said. “It’s something we do every year with the GSA, and it’s a fun event for the campus.”

The GSA changed the location of the show from the Robinson Theater to the Stem Hall, and Luthi said the change in venue is something that has helped the production grow.

“I think every year we get a little bit better because we do figure a few more things out,” Luthi said. “We also had a great group of performers this year, so that always helps.”

The GSA, along with other organizations on campus, have been advertising since last fall both on and off campus for the show to get performers.

“We have a lot of performers who have been here in the past, and then we have also had several people from the GSA outreach to the community,” Luthi said. “That’s something really big this year. We haven’t had many community members in the past. This year, we had a staff member perform as well as two fairly large names in the drag community.”

By HANNA WOODS

Staff

hrwoods@umail.iu.edu