For the culmination of Coming Out Week, Queers and Allies will host the annual Drag Show. The show includes performances from students and will be hosted by Vivikka Stone, a professional drag queen at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 in Evelyn Young Dining Room.
Queers and Allies has hosted a number of events this week all leading up to the Drag Show. They kicked off the week on Monday with the annual tradition of painting The Rock in rainbow colors and hosted ‘Queer We Are‘ in the Courtyard Café.
“We always open the Drag Show up to student performers because it gives them a chance to be in that culture.”—Gabe Grosshuesch
Queers and Allies also brought the Slam Poet Katie Wirsing on Tuesday night.
“The exec board last year saw her perform with Andrea Gibson. Katie was perfect so we contacted her and got her to come this year,” Sophomore and Diversity Leadership Council Representative Dana Riebe said.
On Wednesday, the group hosted ‘BBQ and A’ in the Johns Family Courtyard, offering free food to any students curious about the events of the week. Thursday night, Vivikka Stone gave a talk titled “Sexual Identity and Subcultures within the Gay Community.”
“She’s not only a drag queen, she’s giving a talk about gender roles in the queer community, which is fantastic. I’m so excited,” Riebe said.
The final event of Coming Out Week is the Drag Show. The show begins at 7 p.m., but it is recommended that students arrive early if they want a good view of the host.
“I’m really excited to have Vivikka Stone coming. She’s from California, she was here to host a couple years ago, and she was fantastic. I’m really excited to see what she brings to the show. I’m excited for her energy and what she can do,” Riebe said.
Stone will be hosting as well as performing during the show. Students will have a chance to compare her experienced acts with those of their peers who have choreographed their own pieces.
“We always open the Drag Show up to student performers because it gives them a chance to be in that culture. We give them a chance to be able to get into it and dress up and just have fun. It’s a really good time for people to experiment and have fun with their friends,” Queers and Allies Co-President Gabe Grosshuesch said.
While numbers for student participation in the show were low at the beginning of Coming Out Week, members of Queers and Allies were optimistic about more students signing up throughout the week.
“Members of the Eppies have participated in the past, not as an organization, but as individuals. I’m looking forward to maybe seeing them do something again this year,” Grosshuesch said.
Some students who participate in the Drag Show are known to return in following years for another chance to impress the audience. Many credit the experience for their desire to be in the show a second, third, or fourth time.
“I really liked being in the Drag Show because it gave me the chance to explore a side of me that I have always wanted to explore, that of being a woman. I also liked the Drag Show because you have groups from few people to many or even solos, and seeing people of both genders perform is very inspiring to me,” said two-time Drag Show Performer and Senior Erik Carlson.
Queers and Allies offers prizes to the students or groups with winning performances. They bring in judges from the Gustavus community each year to watch the show. Judges this year include Chaplain Brian Konkol, Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Programs and Services Kata Traxler, and Sociology Professor Elizabeth Jenner. This will be the first time judging the Gustavus Drag Show for Konkol and Traxler, but they will not be the only ones experiencing the show for the first time.
“There are a few returners in the show, but a lot of new drag performers. All of the acts so far this year are looking good. It will be exciting to see what they bring to the table and how they express themselves,” Riebe said.