Oct 102010
Authors: Alexandra Sieh

In the original gay pride flag from the 1970s, eight colors flew to represent different emotions essential to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement.
From pink’s sexuality to purple’s meaning of spirit, the rainbow became an image for the GLBT community, something that has evolved as the people have. 

And on Saturday night, those colors and more filled the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center as sequins and glitter, sexuality and spirit decorated the stage of this year’s Fall Drag Show, held by the Student Organization for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender. 

In a flurry of feathers, leather and lingerie, students and professional drag queens alike danced throughout an audience of more than 600 people, the largest in the event’s history.

“I wasn’t expecting the crowd,” said Minor Misdemeanor, one of the performers in the show and a performer at Tracks, Denver’s GLBT nightclub. “It was phenomenal. It made it all worth it.”

Foula Dimopoulos, the director of the GLBT Resource Center on campus, said she was stunned by the crowd and the energy that poured from the room.

“I’m just so impressed with the students who organized the event,” she said, still amazed by the number of people involved but also by the audience’s sheer size and enthusiasm.

Pretending to sip from an empty liquor bottle, stumbling across the stage, Andrew Griffin, or Kesha as the audience knew him, gave a lip sync performance to “Blah Blah Blah” that had the audience cheering for more. 

One of many performers who danced and lip synched, Griffin also gave his rendition of “California Girls,” singing new lyrics as Sarah Palin to what he called “Alaskan Girls.”

 “I’m gonna take the drag show in a new direction,” he announced before Kesha’s song began, and he wasn’t the only one who brought their unique spin to their skits.
For his boyfriend, Wyatt Shigley, a junior interior design major, it was the creative freedom that defined the night.
“It’s awesome to see so many open-minded people in one place,” he said. “(The show is) actual freedom of expression without judgment.”
Other performers danced their way to the crowd’s heart, bringing personalities like Brittney Spears, Cascada and Michael Jackson to life in a more nontraditional way.
As Katy Perry strutted to “Teenage Dream” through the crowd, whipping a purple wig through the air, Allota Estrogen, or Peter Mattingly, accepted singles from the audience, his dress soon overflowing with tips that later went to SOGLBT.
In a remarkably high amount, exceeding last year’s earnings, SOGLBT collected $1,399.28, all donations from the crowd, not counting the cans that were donated to Cans Around the Oval.
But it wasn’t all about musical styling and dance.
In the show’s only stand up act, Ken, or Kendra O’Brian, kept the crowd laughing with jokes about gay culture and religious commentary.
“How do you know you’re a straight person at a drag show?” she asked the crowd. “You’re looking around to make sure people are laughing too.”
O’Brian laughed as she pointed out the guilty faces, continuing her skit with stories about crazy concert happenings and sex toy websites.
But the greater message throughout, as she explained, was the importance of finding the humor in things.
 If you can laugh at something, it cant hurt you as much, she said, that concept is a way to coping with prejudice and misunderstanding.
Blurring the lines of gender and race, the show became an outlet for creativity and individuality, focusing on expression rather than definition by labels or terms.
“It’s about expression, unity and being yourself,” said Devon Aimes, one of the hosts for the night. “These are things we preach to everyone everyday.”
“People get to be themselves and authentic,” Dimopoulos said. “Drag has the ability to transform and challenge preconceived notions of how we utilize our bodies and what desire looks like.”
As Dimopoulos said, drag is a part of the GLBT community’s history.
And in continuing that tradition, SOGLBT’s president and main coordinator of the event, Jess Cytron, hoped the night gave people a chance to be exposed to something they hadn’t yet.
“For some, they’re exposed to this for the first time” at the event, she said. “It really opens their eyes to the community.”
For students, the show is a safe place, one where they can be themselves without fear or discrimination, Cytron said.
“I want them to know that you aren’t alone,” she said. “People love you.”
“This (the show) was something magical,” Dimopoulos said. “In a month with so much pain, that magic is a gift that we can give back to people.”
Design Editor and Copy Chief Alexandra Sieh can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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