Kings and queens bust gender lines in annual drag show

Kelsey Salmen

History lecturer Lane Fenrich welcomed “some of Northwestern’s most flaming creatures” for the Rainbow Alliance’s annual drag show at Norris University Center, where leather mini-skirts, thigh-high boots, glittery eyes and colorful wigs reigned supreme March 13.

A crowd of at least 200 students — most dressed in drag — as well as some faculty and Evanston residents turned out for the show, which featured professional performances by the Chicago Kings, a group of nine women impersonating men, and Lulu, a Chicago drag queen.

The show kicked off with a performance by the glamorous Lulu, who has performed in Sidetrack’s “Night of 100 Drag Queens” and at various other Chicago venues. Wearing a lavish red satin gown with diamonds, fur shawl and blonde wig, Lulu excited the audience by lip-synching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

“I really started dressing in drag when I was like 4 or 5, playing with my mom’s stuff,” said Lulu, referring to the start of his fascination with drag. “I love it — it’s always so much fun.”

When asked his age, Lulu responded, “I’m old enough to know better, but too young to resist!”

The show also featured an amateur drag contest, with performances by various NU students, judged by Lulu and the Chicago Kings.

“We like to think of them not as students, but as flaming queens,” said student emcee Jennifer Frank, a Weinberg senior.

One of the crowd’s favorite performers was a student with the stage name “Sisqo Paul,” who lip-synched to New Kids on the Block’s “Cover Girl” and Sisqo’s “Thong Song.”

“I liked Sisqo Paul, he had a really charismatic, fun stage presence,” said Marc Gelfo, a Weinberg junior who was decked out from head to toe in a red dress, heels and fake breasts.

Liz Murray gave a dramatic performance to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”

“It was a great chance to break out the blue wig,” said Murray, a Weinberg senior. “I go downtown like this all of the time, so it’s not that much of a change.”

The Chicago Kings heated up the room during the second half of the show when they lip-synched to songs such as KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty.”

“We’d like a little audience interaction,” said Mr. Izzie Big, a Chicago King, in between songs, upon which the audience immediately surrounded the stage and danced along to the rest of the performances.

The show ended with the best queen, a student named “Morena”, and the top king, Sisqo Paul, receiving prizes of a waterproof vibrator and chocolate body paint.

“It’s like the Academy (Awards),” joked Fenrich, who hosted the show in a black tuxedo and pink boa.

Chicago King “Jack Hoff” said she always enjoys the guessing games drag shows produce.

“I love drag because there’s no set rules, and you can play with gender,” she said. “Just like I look at all of the people here and I can’t distinguish if they’re boys or girls.”