Binghamton University’s Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) hosted its 17th annual drag show, “Sex, Drag and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” in Chamber Hall on Friday night. The event showcased performances from Bing Stand-Up, Masti and student and professional drag queens. Proceeds from tickets, sold for $7 at the door, went to Identity Youth Center in Binghamton.
RPU, the stage crew and host Katrina, a local drag queen, worked hard to put together a fun night for the audience. The stage was decorated with posters of famous rock bands and guitars from Guitar Hero. The stage crew put on dramatic light effects, and Katrina’s witty and risqué humor between performances was a comedy routine in itself.
Students were able to sign up to compete in this year’s drag show for prizes, and professional drag queens were invited to perform as guests. This year’s three competitors each had their moment to dance to their song of choice as their peers cheered on in the audience. Colin Moran, a junior majoring in psychology known onstage as Haley Comet, won first place by audience vote. He expressed his surprise over the award for his freestyle strategy.
“I can’t say that I expected to [win],” he said. “I forgot half of what I was going to do, so I kind of improvised, and it worked out, I guess.”
Moran said he had been interested in drag for two years prior to his first-ever performance. Inspired by Ariana Grande, he created a pop-star look to coordinate his performance to Grande’s song, “Greedy.” Moran said he did not let nerves distract him from dancing for the audience and offered advice for people interested in drag.
“This is a great place to start,” he said. “You gotta just do stuff that makes you happy.”
Over the years, RPU has collected many contacts of professional drag queens from the area, many of which are usual performers at The Cave in Downtown Binghamton. The show’s guests featured Paris LuRux, Sydney Gorgeous and Josephine Dream. Each had a unique flavor that excited the crowd, but kept with the rock ‘n’ roll theme, dazzling with leather boots and black eyeliner.
The trio agreed that drag is an artistic process. LuRux explained that although there are many elements that go into creating a routine, picking a song comes first.
“Picking a song can really determine what moves you want to do, what you want to wear and what hair you want to wear, so choosing a song is definitely the root of what goes into your routine,” LuRux said.
Gorgeous agreed, revealing that she has a whole list of songs on her laptop that she goes through weekly in order to manifest the image she will present in a show.
“I’ll sit on Monday if I’m performing that week and listen to a bunch of songs and see what I’m feeling,” she said. “Once I pick my song, I’ll determine what kind of makeup I’m going to wear and what kind of outfit I’m going to wear, so makeup and outfit come after song choice.”
Dream offered a relatable metaphor to explain the process of drag.
“Just try to have fun,” she said. “It’s a learning process. You’re not gonna get it on your first try … It’s just eyeliner. You can take a wipe, boom, do it again.”