Drag Show returns to Oakland

The 13th annual Oakland University Drag Show will take place in the Banquet Rooms on Thursday, April 14 as part of the GSA Pride Week celebrations.

This year’s theme is Mardi Gras and will welcome nine acts of professional performers and six acts of student performers.

The theme is chosen in October and voted on by members of the GSA. From there, Jasmine Semma, president of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), said they begin booking lighting and sound equipment and putting together decorations and advertisements.

Semma said that a few things will be different from this year than in years past.

“We have three professional performers instead of four,” she said. “There’s still nine performances by them, though, it just gives the audience more time to get to see each performer.”

MC Hershae Chocolate is returning this year for the Drag Show. Semma said Chocolate has been the emcee of the OU Drag Show for three years.

Semma explained that the drag queens and kings are chosen not only based on who they’ve worked with in the past, but also what local performers they have seen.

“A new performer (will perform) this year,” Semma said. “Some of us have seen him perform outside of OU, and some students know him personally.”

Instead of going through agencies, the GSA approaches performers on an individual basis. Semma said that sometimes going through companies can be impersonal.

Skyy Hood, a student who was tabeling for the Drag Show on Friday, said that they’ve been advertising for a while.

“Our advertising usually starts right after the drag show every year, but especially in the winter semester, it really picks up,” she said.

Semma offered some tips for going to a first drag show.

1.) Show up early. Semma said that though the doors open at 6:30 p.m., most seats will be gone by 7 p.m.  Last year drew in over 600 audience members.

2.) Semma said it’s a relaxed environment, and go to have fun.

3.) Bring friends.

4.) “Experience a culture you haven’t experienced before,” Semma said.

5.) Bring tips. Though the event is free, the queens and kings themselves make their wages from tips more so than anything. Semma said tips are often the factor that determines if a queen or king thinks the night was successful.

In addition to the show, other Pride Week events are happening across campus. Last week, the GSC sponsored a Lavender Graduation ceremony and a Pride Prom.

The “Guess Who’s Gay” panel is at 12 p.m. on April 13, and the week-long celebrations will conclude with the Drag Show.