by Patrick Tindall
Students at Riverside City College’s cafeteria were trick-or-treated to an impromptu post-Halloween drag show. Nov. 1
Student’s dining in the cafeteria were surprised when their lunches of chicken fingers, french fries and Top Ramen were interrupted by loud music and a gaggle of spooky performers organized by RCC’s own Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club.
The bi-annual event has been running at RCC for six years.
“(The idea) was originally the idea of former GSA advisor, Stacey Eldridge and her students,” Amanda Brown, current GSA advisor said.
“Nothing is off limits, but the queens are respectful of the college atmosphere, refraining from swearing or other possible off-putting stunts,” Brown said.
The first performer and acting host of the event was none other than Palm Springs’ own and self-proclaimed “Rubidoux Barbie,” Anita Rose.
Her performance included a “Silent Hill” nurse inspired number to a mashup of “Rama Lama” by Roisin Murphy, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Bjork and “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
“I got into (drag) because I love the theatre,” Rose said.
“It’s basically an extension of that and I really wanted to try it. Eventually I would love to do bigger, full-scale productions.”
Local drag artist Mia Berlyn was the second performer who came out amongst the curious onlookers completely cloaked in a blue chiffon cape which she unraveled to reveal an iridescent blue leotard and black thigh-high patent leather boots. She kicked, twirled and danced to “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande to many cheers from the watching students.
“I started doing drag on a dare,” Berlyn said. “Then it just snowballed and I just kept on doing it for four years now.”
The special guest of the event wasn’t a drag queen at all, but rather a male-presenting “freak show” performer named Auzzy Blood.
He described his performance style as “cringe-worthy” and has cited Venice Beach Freak Show’s “Morgue” as his main inspiration and mentor.
“I hope to make somebody faint,” Blood said.
Blood’s performance had many stunts which included driving steel spikes into his nostrils, grinding a buzzsaw on a belt buckle hanging from the front of his pants while creating a shower of sparks and finally shoving small meat hooks into his eye sockets and swinging 70 pounds of solid metal chains around in circles.
The audience interaction is the main part of the show. The performers loved getting onlookers to participate and especially loved scaring the jumpier viewers.
In Rose’s second performance, she donned a full-scale Pennywise from “It” costume and after spooking two audience members enough for them to physically jump out of their seats and run, she proceeded to scare them repeatedly to many laughs from students.
“It’s wonderful and fabulous!” said Robert Hyers, another GSA faculty advisor.
Having a college drag show at RCC is important because it gives visibility for LGBTQ+ performers, exposes students to other cultures or simply just shocks and entertains the curious onlookers.
For more information on drag shows at RCC or to get involved with the college’s GSA Club, contact Amanda Brown at Amanda.Brown@rcc.edu or attend a GSA meeting which are held every Thursday at 12:50-1:50 p.m. in Quad room 228.