Show represents GSA’s first major event as a student group
The UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom had a slightly more eccentric experience than usual on Oct. 26., courtesy of CU’s Gay Straight Alliance and its first major event as a student group: The Twisted Fairy Tales Drag Show.
As the hurried performers bustled in and out of the bathroom and around the entrance area, crowds slowly began to filter in – some intentionally, and others from general curiosity – as passers-by wondered why men in unfinished makeup were frantically searching for their wigs while wearing one heel.
“This is our first annual drag show, and we’re excited,” said junior English major and GSA member Dillon Calkins. “This is big for GSA, because we’ve been working on this for a long time and hope it’ll help promote our group. But I’m really here just to have fun.”
GSA decided to incorporate Halloween into the evening’s festivities – black and orange tissue paper was wreathed around the stage and fake cobwebs lined the sound equipment. Members of the audience were dressed in their costumes, and both Snow White and Satan attended the evening’s offerings.
In preparation for the show, dresses, makeup kits, scarves and high-heeled shoes littered the men’s bathroom as GSA President and senior MCD biology major James Murphy had friends carefully adjust his geisha outfit. His face was painted white, his eyes outlined in precise black lines. They had managed to convert the bathroom into something of a Hollywood makeup room.
“We’re looking to use this show – well, first to have fun – but to also help get our name out there,” Murphy said. “Not that many people are aware of us as a resource on campus. We hold gatherings and meetings every Wednesday, so maybe tonight will help raise our attendance ratings.”
As Murphy’s geisha dress was fastened into its final stages, he seemed excited and nervous, anxious for the show’s beginning.
“You can definitely expect us to do this again next year,” he said. “I really do hope people will enjoy it and wish for another one.”
Murphy hurried off while his peers scrambled to get everything ready. The lights dimmed into a black-light red, and the crowd’s chattering quickly died into whispers. Smoke filled the stage and dance music thumped into the anticipating air.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” a voice boomed into the crowd. “Welcome to ‘Twisted Fairy Tales!'” And the audience clapped and hollered with applause.
A drag-queen gracefully stepped into view – dressed in a golden, silk dress and a blonde wig – and greeted the applause. It was junior communication and psychology major Harrison Alexander II, who was introduced to the crowd as “Countess DaVinia.”
His voice was serious at first.
“Tonight, I would like to request of our audience not to ask if we are boys or girls,” he said, tossing back his hair. “But only to ask us whether we are single.” And so the crowd laughed as the show began.
Queens dressed in schoolgirl skirts, elegant gowns, pink wigs and Las Vegas showgirl outfits paraded the stage, lip-synching in an array of acts to music that varied from showtunes to Shakira. The show was divided into two acts, broken by a ten-minute intermission.
Smoke filled the stage with each incoming act, and the crowd – as they were encouraged to do so by Countess DaVinia – sporadically rushed the stage to tip the shaking hips of the night’s entertainment with dollar bills as the crowd roared with laughter and shock. There was even a rap act with Ludacris as the soundtrack.
“I’m just here to support some of my friends and have a good time,” said Eric Altenau, a senior EPO Biology and Japanese major.
As the night wore on, the audience continued to laugh and clap along to the performances, which were finally concluded with a six-queen finale: a rendition of a portion of the musical “Chicago.”
“They had it coming!” their voices snapped together.