BY LEXI CHITWOOD AND RACHEL GOMOLL | PHOTO BY LEXI CHITWOOD
MADISON, OCTOBER 20, Edgewood College’s LGBTQ student organization, SAFE, collaborated with both the Office of Student Inclusion and Involvement (OSII) and Women and Gender Studies (WGS) to host their first drag show in over a year.
At 7 p.m. the seats of Anderson Auditorium were filled with students. Rainbow themed refreshments covered the tables by the entrance: fruit-infused water, bowls of Skittles, M&Ms, and Froot Loop bars.
Compilation videos of Ru Paul’s Drag Race were projected in the auditorium to keep the audience entertained while the performers from SADHAUS, a group of three drag queens from Chicago, and organizers prepared for the live show. Even though the show was supposed to start at 7 p.m., the videos continued for 30 more minutes.
When they did start, they made a big entrance. The three drag queens, Quinn, Wanda Screw, and Yolo Ono started with a Lady Gaga Medley, their outfits mimicking iconic Gaga looks. All the outfits were designed by Ono, an anthropologist turned fashion designer. A number of technical difficulties occurred where the music would suddenly cut out, but the performers remained professional and used the silence as an opportunity to speak to the audience.
After their opening act, the girls briefly introduced themselves before doing several solo performances, as well as a duet and a few group numbers. Some of the songs performed were “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne, “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga, “New Rules” by Dua Lipa, among many others.
There was energy in the crowd the entire night, and it was clear that the audience was having a good time. The performers would frequently come down from the stage and interact with the crowd, creating a more intimate setting. Several people even walked up to the stage and gave the performers dollar bills, which consistently made the crowd cheer.
One of the more serious numbers of the night was Ono’s performance of the Dixie Chicks “Not Ready to Make Nice” in which she sang to a Donald Trump mask and kicked it around the stage. She later described this as “an emotional f—ed up number.” Another memorable moment was when Screw lip-synched a dialogue-heavy mashup of infamous TV moments, including Tyra Banks’ “We were all rooting for you” rant.
A segment called “The Dating Game” allowed three Edgewood Students to get up on stage and participate in the show. The students were asked what kind of food they would want to be and why. This addition to the show brought laughter and involvement from the crowd.
Following the show, there was a brief talkback with the performers. Questions varied from issues concerning gender identity, to inquiries about how long the group had been together. The event roughly lasted from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., and the performers had a long line of Edgewood students wanting to take pictures with them after the show.
“The number one rule is to have fun,” Quinn said, and it seemed that everyone who attended the event had a good time. SAFE said that would be more than willing to have another drag show with these performers, perhaps closer to pride month in the spring. SADHAUS confirmed they would love to come back.