Arts

Drag Night 2021: A Night of Variety and Celebration

MEILING CHEN/THE PHILLIPIAN

With dancing, singing, and lip-syncing, Drag Night was full of energy from the crowd and performers. The five performers, Dorian Park Wang ’23, TJ Briggs ’22, Toby Gudinas ’22, Nikita Harwich ’23, and Karsten Rynearson ’22, each had a solo act where they showcased their specialties on the stage in the Pine Knoll Tent. Park Wang shared where they got their inspiration for their punk-song solo and why they decided to change up their clothing from their everyday attire.

“I picked my drag persona, Cherry Bomb, [and it] was inspired by the 90s Riot Grrrl Punk movement. And I chose it because recently, I’ve been listening to quite a lot of punk music. And I thought that it’d be a good opportunity to show that side of me, because usually when you see me around campus, I’m wearing blazers, I’m wearing button-up shirts with slacks. And so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to sort of flip that image on its head and put my hair up and pink liberty spikes, and just really go wild with it,” said Park Wang.

During the almost 45-minute show, there was a lot of variety offered by each of the five participants. All of them had different drag names, clothing, as well as unique performances for Drag Night. Briggs commented on where he initially got his drag name, “Sunny Side Up,” and the inspiration behind his “1950’s housewife” attire.

“A friend came up with it [Junior] year when I was looking for a name to match my love for the color yellow. I think Sunny is a crossbreed between a 1950’s housewife, a glamorous old Broadway diva, and a circus clown. I’ve always been inspired by the effort and glamour of women, and for a long time, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of doing womanhood “wrong.” That’s why it was so fun to perform a song about a woman on the edge of falling apart,” said Briggs.

With the audience’s clapping and cheering that could be heard throughout each performance, they created a very energetic atmosphere in the Pine Knoll Tent. According to Gudinas, who performed as “Man Fieri” with a lip-syncing and dance combo, he was impressed with how positive the crowd was during his first time performing in a drag show.

“It was really fun just to be on stage and dance around. It felt like I was on a high and every time I did something, the crowd would cheer and it was like, ‘Wow,  I’m a person, I’m performing and people like this. And I’m having fun.’ And it just felt like dancing in my room except with an audience. And everyone else liked it, too,” said Gudinas.

As Gudinas noted, Drag Night offered a space for the performers to express themselves. Inspired by an Azealia Banks song, Harwich picked her drag name to be “Count Contessa.” She reflected on the night and shared why she wanted to be a part of this event and celebrate her identity and her creative side.

“I’ve always loved makeup and dressing up. And [Drag Night] was, I think, a really fun time to just kind of celebrate my queerness and also just celebrate that creative side that I haven’t really had too much time to explore and other places,” said Harwich.