Annual drag show to celebrate femininity

Courtesy / Motley Cat Studios
2013 Miss Powerdiva Pageant at Rumors Nightclub

Courtesy / Motley Cat Studios 2013 Miss Powerdiva Pageant at Rumors Nightclub

Ben Glick

To provide an opportunity for both experienced professionals and amateurs to take part, Grand Valley State University is hosting its own amateur drag show in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center
on Oct. 9 at 8 p.m.

“Not only is it a bonding experience for those taking part, it shows who we are when they do not
otherwise see us,” said Leslie Boker, the president of Out ‘N’ About. “It allows us to connect with

Out ‘N’ About is an on-campus organization in charge of organizing events geared toward the LGBT

Boker is organizing the amateur drag show for the third time in the show’s five-year run and has
coordinated the show to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. While the show is free,
Boker urges attendees to bring with them a non-perishable food item or make a cash donation.
Proceeds from the show will go toward the GVSU Women’s Center pantry. Those who make a donation
will receive complimentary beads for the event’s Mardi Gras theme.

The show will be hosted by professional drag queen Gabriella Stratton-Galore, a former GVSU student
and current drag-debutant. Stratton-Galore, who got her start at GVSU’s amateur drag show, has
hosted the show before and currently performs in many venues in Grand Rapids and surrounding

“Believe it or not, drag can be a profession,” Boker said.

Those who come can expect to see many fellow GVSU students lip-sync and dance to popular songs in
exaggerated and flamboyant attire in a cathartic celebration of femininity. Participants will perform on
a runway, showing off their extravagant clothing, followed by a fashion show. Boker, along with many
other members of Out ‘N’ About, will be performing.

“Enthusiasm counts more than skill,” Boker said, adding that it’s acceptable for viewers to throw
money on the stage. “As long as you have heart, it doesn’t matter.”

And it is that enthusiasm that has kept audiences coming back every year in growing numbers.

“When a room becomes crowded enough to cause concern over fire safety, then we know we did well,”
Boker said of last year’s show.

Last year, after the first three years of its operation, the show exceeded person capacity in the Pere
Marquette Room and had to be moved to the larger Grand River Room to accommodate all show-

For those who have never been to one of these performances, Boker stresses that there is profound
meaning hidden under the obvious hyperbole that goes along with these performances.

“Drag performers aren’t like other entertainers,” Boker said. “They are meant to evoke certain qualities
that help some people who feel constrained by current gender roles find alternative modes of
expression, and drag can be a good outlet.”

The show aims to give the rest of the GVSU student culture different aspects of an on-campus
community while celebrating it in a fun environment.

“In the end, it’s about us showing GVSU an aspect of LGBT culture in a positive way,” Boker said. “This
is a great way we can connect with others.”

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