GVL Archive
The GVSU Drag Show will be held this Thursday at 8:00 PM in the Louis Armstrong Theatre

GVL Archives

GVL Archive The GVSU Drag Show will be held this Thursday at 8:00 PM in the Louis Armstrong Theatre

Briana Doolan

Each year, directors and assistant directors at Grand Valley State University’s Housing and Residence Life Office
work together to coordinate and plan a drag show event. The Housing and Residence Life Office will do it again tonight at 8 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theater with the sixth-annual Drag Show, featuring the group “Power Divas.”

Put on by Drag Queens (men performing as women), and sometimes Drag Kings (women performing as men), a drag show performance includes a host who introduces the show and each performer and a number of different acts, including singing and dancing, who entertain the audience, said Dexter Earney, an assistant living center director.

Takeelia Garrett-Lynn, an assistant director at the Housing and Residence Life Office, said the drag show idea originated from the former multi-cultural assistant (MA) program that used to be contained within the Housing and Residence Life office.

“The students who served in the MA position were excited to bring drag to GVSU, though it would be a controversial
program,” Garrett-Lynn said. “Some were hesitant at first, but Housing decided to support the students and go ahead with the program.”

The first drag show took place in 2006. “The first show was completely packed, with tons of students packed in the aisles
and standing in the back of the room,” Garrett-Lynn said. “The show was a huge success with absolutely no problems. The last three years the show has attracted a packed room of students who learn a lot and end up having a great time. The drag show has been collaborating with the same Power Divas since the very first drag show.”

Amy Joa, a living center director, said there are numerous reasons to have the drag show on campus.

“It is an impactful, educational opportunity for our campus population to be able to learn about a new culture, one that many people are unfamiliar with,” Joa said. “Having the show here allows for students, faculty, staff, etc to enjoy a drag experience in a safer, more familiar environment.”

Despite the many misconceptions members of the community may have about drag, the show will allow for those misunderstandings to be cleared up, Joa said.

“… The drag show is ultimately a very entertaining, fun experience that we want to bring to our community,” Joa said.

Joa and the other living center directors and assistant directors said they would encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and check out the show regardless of their previous thoughts or views on drag.

Those who attend will also have the opportunity to learn about drag culture and other related topics including learning
LGBT terms and definitions, having a conversation about gender norms and identity and coming to understand drag as
an art form versus a permanent way of life. There will be a slide show playing before and after the performances with definitions and terms, as well as a question and answer session at the end where audience members are encouraged to ask any question they like, without feeling uncomfortable.

Students can also wait to ask their questions at the event or can Tweet questions with the hashtag #gvsudragshow.

Attendees are encouraged to bring an item to donate to the Women’s Center’s Student Food Pantry.

It is drag show tradition for audience members to tip the performers while they are onstage for their performane,
so the group is also encouraging attendees to bring dollar bills for tips. The show is free for all students, staff, faculty and community members.

[email protected]