The Kennesaw Pride Association, Kennesaw State’s LGBTQ Pride and Awareness group, recently held auditions for its 11th annual Campus Drag Show on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
The event takes place March 29 in the university rooms on the first floor of the Carmichael Student Center. The leadership of KPA hopes that the show will be a celebration of LGBTQ culture and a fun way to introduce those who are less familiar with the culture.
The number of participants is up from last year’s show, featuring nearly 20 individual performers as compared to the 2017 show that had 10 performers doing multiple sets.
Over the next two months, the KPA and the performers will be rehearsing for the show. Many of those who auditioned are first-time performers without experience in stage performance or things like makeup, making them “baby queens.”
Over the course of rehearsals, the KPA members organizing the event will be teaching them the basics of makeup, wigs and giving them critiques on their performances to help them feel more comfortable.
The annual drag show is a charity event, and KPA is currently in the process of selecting a recipient for this year’s donations. Last year’s chosen recipient was the Atlanta Pride School, a K-12 school, which received the $2000 raised.
The show is described as a “campy” event, likening it to a “tacky 1950’s housewife,” or a “cheesy 1980’s horror movie.” The members of the KPA are glad that drag is circling back to a more empowering and expression-oriented affair.
“Drag is totally transforming now. It’s transforming into people feeling comfortable in a hyper-state of appearance, and I feel like it’s changing everywhere,” said Pilar Varela, treasurer of KPA.
KPA recognizes how things have changed in regard to drag in the recent decades. Elizabeth Kimbell, one of the more active embers of KPA, said her grandfather would dress up as a woman because of a Sunday school group called “A Womenless Wedding.”
“All men dressed up as women, and they all sang karaoke to popular singers from their generation and that current time period. Nowadays that would be so frowned upon because there is such a stigma with it,” Kimbell said. “And I think definitely the more secular perception of drag is changing, and I’m really happy about that. But, there’s always gonna be some blowback from the more conservative side of things.”
At the event, which drew around 300 students and members of the public last year, mocktails will be served and a mixture of music genres including “dad rock,” punk rock, ballads, boy band mashups, country and show tunes.
KPA was founded in 1991. They exist to be a safe space and positive community for people who identify as LGBTQ or who identify as an ally and want to be involved. The best way to join is by going on OwlLife, searching for the Kennesaw Pride Association and requesting to join.