The fiercest ‘Haus’ in the neighborhood

By Sonja Eide / Manging Editor

By Sonja Eide / Manging Editor

UC Riverside mounted its annual gender bending drag show, which, despite its name, was no drag at all.

The Dragalicious Drag Ball VIII: “Haus of Fierce”  premiered on March 31 to great success and liveliness.

 Performers dressed up in outrageous costumes and lip synced and danced to their favorite tunes as a way to flaunt their transgression and challenge society’s expectations of gender, as well as to go all out and have fun.

“To me, performing in drag is the best way to really stick it to the gender binary that society seems to pride itself on,” said Brandon Wagner, whose alter ego Sucha DeLite has hosted the show for the last three years.  “When I put on a wig/makeup/heels/dress it’s my way of saying, ‘Yes, I am a male, but I can strut around in six inch heels like nobody’s business. Don’t get it twisted.'”

The acts varied from blatantly comical to artistic to performances meant to send a message to the audience.

Some of the acts included a performance the famous Aloha Tolentino, who has appeared in all eight of UCR’s drag shows to overwhelming acclaim, along with a hilarious spoken word piece by Charlotte D’Arcangelo and a politically charged performance by Hannah Mexicana.

The production also included a contest where members of the audience who came as drag kings or queens were able to come up on stage and be judged best in drag.

The real show stopper was the ball’s closing act, performed by Epihinay, which took inspiration from the movie “Black Swan” and ended with her rapping to Nicki Minaj to a standing ovation.

The benefits from the sold out production went to the university’s scholarship fund for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allied students who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills.

In order to raise the initial money for the endowment of the scholarship, UCR’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Housing, Dining, and Residental Services Andy Plumley took it upon himself  to help out and started up the “Andy Wears a Dress” fund raiser, in which he agreed to appear at the event and perform in full drag attire if he raised $5,000.

Plumley exceeded his goal, and as promised, became Candy Plum and performed “I Want Candy” in full drag queen apparel.

The Wingate Foundation also matched the donation from the fund raiser, and overall $10,000 was raised toward the endowment of the scholarship.

The Dragalicious Drag Ball was an overpowering accomplishment on the part of UCR’s Lesbien Gay Bisexual Transsexual resource center that went to a great cause. The show was  light, clever, entertaining, thought provoking and, at some points, out of this world.