By Shannon Kelly
Sasha and Sage, commonly known as “The Stardust Sisters,” topped their competition at PRISM’s Annual Charity Drag Show: Drag Through the Decades, which helped raise nearly $800 for the Beacon Light Fund charity on Monday, March 9, in the Brower Student Center.
Despite being postponed due to inclement weather on Thursday, March 5, and in the midst of midterms, there was a large turnout of excited and supportive students ready for a lively show.
Months of preparation went into the performances to ensure that the event would be successful, both as a fundraiser and entertainment experience
“I’m excited to perform amidst the high caliber of those performing tonight, and the professional queens enhance the show and make it more than it’s ever been,” said Ms. Virginia Hamm, a.k.a. junior nursing major Jordan Stefanski in preparation for her performance.
This year, the Drag Show was hosted by Davida Sanchez, marking Sanchez’s third year participating and first time hosting after winning during her freshman year. She opened the show with a duet to “It’s Raining Men,” complete with rainbow umbrellas. Reminding the audience that this is a charity event, Sanchez encouraged, “Don’t be stingy, but rule two is have fun, everybody!”
All donations went toward the Beacon Light Fund, which provides emergency relief and medical expenses for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania area.
Money was collected by volunteers from the Alpha Epsilon Pi and Phi Alpha Delta fraternities who sported nothing but colorful briefs and clown socks as they strutted through the audience. The audience voted for its favorite performance through donations and the winner of the competition was determined on whoever earned the most money.
The performances ranged from lip syncing to dancing around the stage and in the audience to passionate renditions of songs that resonated with the performers. The duet of Duplyssa Tea and Vannah Tea to Beyoncé’s and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” was a great start to the competition with its high energy and excitement. The duet was followed by Divine Melody who sang an uplifting version of “Brave.”
The audience was even asked to participate, with three members being selected to perform as Cher, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, complete with accessories.
Ms. Virginia Hamm, in her third year performing, did something a bit more personal this time around. Inspired by “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” she sang “Midnight Radio,” her outfit complete with flashing lights. “Feel the music” she shouted to the crowd, who promptly stood and cheered as she finished her rendition.
Ms. Gay New Jersey, Lea Sky, was one of the professional queens performing at the event, owning the runway with every step. The Circus Club, dressed to the occasion with sparkles and light up props, also enchanted the crowd.
King Henri and King Annie were the night’s third place winners with an animated and rhythmic dance.
“It was a great experience to contribute to the drag show atmosphere — such fun, too,” the pair said.
The night’s winners, Sasha and Sage Stardust, were thrilled to see their hard work pay off.
“It took a lot of time and effort — I extended tons of energy,” Ms. Sasha Stardust said. “It was a challenge, like you’ve been climbing this whole time, but now you’re on the top of the mountain and it feels great.”
Upon being questioned on what drag is, one person from the audience exclaimed, “It’s performance to the extreme!” and the Drag Show certainly delivered on that point. However, drag is also much more than that. It is not limited to any specific gender identity, but open to anyone who desires to participate.
Drag is not simply female impersonation, but involves drag queens exaggerating femininity and drag kings exaggerating masculinity. Faux queens are drag queens with a female gender identity and faux kings are drag kings with a male gender identity. Drag is about freedom of expression and encompasses caricatured performances for entertainment purposes.
In Sanchez’s words, especially regarding herself, drag queens are “supposed to be beautiful and glamorous and what not.” The queens and kings dazzled and equally captivated the audience with their own energetic and spirited acts.
Overall, the night was successful, raising $781.51, and everyone was thrilled with the results.
“I’m very surprised and thankful we were able to raise almost $800. I’m so thankful and amazed at this generosity,” Sanchez applauded afterward.
The Drag Show was not only a fun night for the performers and the audience, but it also allowed the College an opportunity to help the surrounding community. It encouraged openness and awareness of the LGBT community and helped those afflicted with HIV and AIDS who may not have the means to help themselves.