Author: Sam Meyers
On February 11, in the Carriage House, Chatham University held its first official drag show co-hosted by second year Bon Cavinder and first year Katarina Wessner. This show has been in the works ever since the Fall semester when the sophomore moved onto campus.
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere Ohio, and when you grow up in the middle of nowhere Ohio first of all you try your best to blend in and secondly there’s not many gay bars or places to perform in general, so after I left Ohio I decided to get involved in the drag community here in Pittsburgh,” Cavinder said. “But the fun thing about Pittsburgh is that there’s not many opportunities for people under the age of 21 to do drag. So I decided to start a show here on campus that anyone could get involved with. That way people who don’t normally have the opportunity to get involved or maybe have even heard of drag could have that chance to participate.”
In order to get participants in the drag show as well as to raise awareness about it, he posted advertisements throughout the campus.
As the months passed, the show gradually gained more and more traction which attracted more and more participants as well as its co-host Katarina Wessner to help Cavinder along the way. Wessner wanted to participate in the show because age limits often prevent drag kings and queens under 21 from performing. The first-year wanted to co-host because the idea of not only participating in a drag show but also hosting was an offer too good to refuse as a first-time performer.
Another first year Chatham student, Akira Ormes-Strong decided to participate in the drag show out of a way to express their self.
“I’ve been into makeup and other feminine apparel for a while and found that drag was a fun way to go all out and be unique and expressive. I’ve also been into drama and stage performance for a few years. Drag was a fun and expressive combination of the two,” they said.
In total, there were 8 performers who participated in the show. They found out about the show through a combination of word of mouth, the advertisements around campus, as well as through friends they knew that attended Chatham University. Not so surprisingly, there was a high turnout of people who were interested in watching the show. The audience included people who came to support their friends as well as people who heard about the show and just wanted to attend for fun.
The show almost went off without a hitch. However, “as per drag tradition” as Cavinder said, there were multiple audio issues which caused the show to be moved from the main room into the 24-hour lounge. The show included 2 songs performed from each of the Drag Kings and Queens, a “twerk-off” with participants from the audience, as well as a Ru Paul Drag race style “Lip Sync for Your Life,” from two crowd favorites to conclude the show.
All in all, the show was well-received despite the audio issues at the beginning. It was a fun and engaging performance that left the audience wanting more. In fact, because of the great turn out, there might be another drag show in the near future.
Updated: 16:35 pm 2/27/17