The Curris Center ballroom turned into a throne for royalty Thursday night as queens and kings performed at the Murray State Drag Show.
Through the strobe lights and blaring music, performers took the stage with sass and ferocity.
Jody Cofer Randall, LGBT program coordinator, said a lot goes into planning a show this size.
“It basically takes the entire day of volunteers coming in between their classes to help set up,” Randall said. “I don’t think people see a lot of that. It’s just a fun great event that comes off really well. They don’t think about the fact that at any given moment one of these jobs could go wrong and it could ruin the evening.”
Randall said they have to plan everything from the music to the lights to the tip runners to taking tickets at the door.
Aside from the logistics of the show, director of the drag show Jo Bennett said another difficulty is organizing the talent.
Bennett said he booked a wide range of performers from a king who performed in his first show Thursday night to queens who have performed in Nashville, Tenn., and Clarksville, Tenn.
Newbie Ariel Mitchell, also known as Artemis Fine, performed in her first show tonight. As she ran off stage and into the dressing room, adrenaline pumping, she said, “I just got out there and went for it.”
Natalie Simone said she has been doing shows at Murray State for several years. She said she chooses her own songs, puts on her own makeup and choreographs each of her dance numbers.
“I started getting ready at 3 p.m. today,” Simone said. “When choosing music, I try to choose one that’s slow and emotional that moves the crowd, one that I can dance to and a medium speed song.”
Bennett said getting ready for a drag show is an extensive process. Some of the performers come to the ballroom hours ahead of time while others like to show up already dressed minutes before the show.
“The biggest time consumer is the makeup,” Bennett said. “It does take most performers two to two and a half hours to get ready. The other part is binding, whether that be a king binding down the chest or a queen binding down the private parts.”
Some queens also choose to wear corsettes to fix their waist. They will use layers of makeup to define the contours of their face such as the cheek bones and jawline. Some will shave or glue down their eyebrows and draw them on to create a more dramatic l
Bennett said after the makeup is finished, the queens add on layers and layers of padding, clothing and multiple wigs.
The drag show serves as the main fundraiser for the LGBT community. The outcome of the drag show determines what Alliance will be able to program for the upcoming semester.
Randall said over 400 people attend the drag show, and they usually make anywhere from $1,700 to $1,900 per semester. All of the proceeds go toward programs for the Alliance as well as funding necessities for the LGBT community.
Story by Madison Wepfer, Staff writer