Ana Mancebo | Staff Writer
Amidst Florida’s stifling legislation, drag artists spark vibrancy into the Graham Center Ballrooms in an evening of flashing lights, cheering crowds, and LGBTQ+ pride.
On Friday, Apr 7, professional and student performers alike graced the stage at the Pride Student Union’s second annual Drag Show. With the theme being “retro-space,” PSU made sure to give audience members an out-of-this-world production.
Members and nonmembers of PSU, first-timers and seasoned drag show guests, lined up to see the show.
“I’m queer and I’ve never been to a drag show, so it’s about time,” said one attendee at the entrance to the event.
The show opened with a performance by drag queen and FIU alum Athena Dion, who throughout the event interacted with audience members and expressed appreciation for the Drag Show taking place.
“I was class of 2011; we didn’t have a PSU,” said Athena Dion.
The stellar shows put on by the drag queens and kings garnered applause and loud cheers that accompanied the music. During the third performance, attendees even filled in the silence by singing along to the song that had been cut out due to a technical difficulty.
Staying true to the extraterrestrial theme, some performers had light-up accessories, shining like stars on the stage. Drag artist TP “Total Package” Lords wore a glowing hat and gloves whose knuckles gleamed green, and Spikey Van Dykey’s performance was accompanied by a guitar from which sparks flew out of.
Just when it seemed the cheering couldn’t get any louder, “Party Princess” Juicy brought some cosmic moves with backbend kickovers, the splits, and more, earning a standing ovation.
As otherworldly as the event was, artists did not shy away from incorporating more grounded and politically relevant themes into the production, sparking conversation about the effects that Ron DeSantis’ laws are having on the queer community.
When student performer Dragconia X came out on stage, their performance commenced with an audio saying, “This guy, I think his name is DeSantis or something, is trying to ban drag.”
Bad Papi also called attention to the Florida governor’s targeting of the LGBTQ+ community by planting a pride flag on the stage and holding up a sign reading “Scooby Doo Taught Us Who The Real Monsters Are” with an image of DeSantis underneath the writing.
“They’re trying to get rid of drag, trying to erase us from the history books and modern culture, trying to take drag away from you,” said Athena Dion.
Before finishing the event, the entertainers were brought out to perform one last show with the audience, and people sang and danced along to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston before leaving the GC Ballrooms.
The drag show’s celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and pride gave rise to a sense of community and belonging throughout the audience.
“With a lot of the legislation in Florida, it’s amazing we were able to put together something like this,” said a Galaxy Flight Attendant announcer at the start of the show.
“It’s a blessing to come forward and have this event.”