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Pride Centre drag show is an extravagant party and eye-opening experience

By in Culture
Bianca LaBouche preforms on stage at the Drag Extravaganza.

What immediately struck me when I first strolled into Louis’ for this year’s annual Pride Centre Drag Extravaganza — aside from the realization that I would get to use some really awesome adjectives in my review of the show — was that drag queens have fabulous legs.

From the perspective of a Robin Williams-esque body hair-having heterosexual dude, I can’t even imagine the sheer amount of work and dedication it would require to produce the spectacular level of femininity the queens at Louis’ were pulling off. It was kind of mind-blowing, but I digress. There was more substance to the event aside from my slightly awkward, undeniably Freudian leg-attraction.

Sequins, glitter, huge hair, small dresses and flamboyant makeup abound, the show kicked off 10 minutes behind schedule with a lip-synced rendition of “Get the Party Started.” This was the first of a slew of fantastically fast-paced, lip-synced numbers, ranging from Pink to Lady Gaga to Chicago, all interspersed with hilarious commentary by an emcee with a seemingly endless selection of fashionable kilt accessories.

The bar was filled to the brim with not only the ubiquitous rambunctious “straight crowd” you would expect at Louis’ on any given Saturday night, but also a sizable (and no less rambunctious) contingent of the local drag and LGBT community. Quite a few drag queens and kings made it out to the event, despite a popular fashion show at Diva’s taking place at the same time, and most performed on stage to raucous cheers and applause.

USSU Pride Centre Coordinator Keegan Epp organized the Drag Extravaganza and was in full event-orchestration mode during the show, all while dressed to the nines as his drag queen persona, Jessica.

“It was a great show,” said Jessica, after things had wrapped up. “There are some fabulous drag queens in the city, and it’s so nice of them to come and share their talent with the university.”

Events like the Drag Extravaganza are designed specifically to foster a stronger bond between the LGBT and non-LGBT communities.

“The Saskatoon drag community is so vibrant,” continued Jessica, “and this event in particular is wonderful because it’s held in a traditionally straight venue, so it’s very accessible to people who wouldn’t normally come to a drag show.”

While the show emphasized the building of bridges between all different kinds of people, there were a few backstage rumblings of a division within the drag community itself. Kiki Roquette, a well-known member of Saskatoon’s drag scene who preformed on stage twice at the Drag Extravaganza, felt the show was somewhat lacklustre due to a comparatively sparse turnout by other local queens.

Kiki Roquette

“Queens should come out and work together,” said Kiki, “especially new queens who need to get their names out there, but there were a lot of no-shows tonight.”

But despite this apparent rift within the local drag community, as far as the audience was concerned any hints of negativity were drowned out on stage by the performers’ raw enthusiasm and flair.

The show was over in a blur, partially due to the fact liquor consumption increased exponentially as the night carried on, but mostly because the whole event was kind of short. Too short, in fact — it probably could have lasted for another hour and the crowd would have eaten (or drunk) it up.

Liquored up or otherwise, this year’s Drag Extravaganza was a roaring success. It was a genuinely entertaining introduction to a scene that, while still on the fringe of the mainstream, is slowly but surely becoming more popular and accepted by the public every year.

After having such a positive experience, I get the feeling that I’ll be attending more drag shows in the future, and I have no doubt that my eagerness to do so is shared by everyone else who had a fantastic time at the Drag Extravaganza.

[box type=”info”]The Carnival of Sex, the Pride Center’s annual 19+ drag show, is held in March at Louis’.[/box]

Photos: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf

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