The fangs are all here: Columbia hosts ‘Drag-ula,’ sixth annual Wicked Week Drag Show

By Amaris Edwards, Staff Reporter

Devon Saxman, a first-year dance major, has been performing drag since they were 14 years old and described their style as androgynous punk rock. This year, they performed at Columbia’s “Drag-ula” event for the first time.

“I have a really dramatic number planned, so I’m hoping it pans out and the audience kind of gets it,” said Saxman, who goes by “Harleen the Queen” on stage, prior to the event. “And I’m just anticipating a really fun night being able to work with all these different drag queens from the area and other students.”

The Student Programming Board’s sixth annual drag show, “Drag-ula,” was hosted at the Student Center’s fifth floor, located at 754 S. Wabash Ave., on Oct. 28 as a part of Wicked Week. Hosted by professional drag queen Chanel Mercedes Benz Obama, the show featured 10 performers, five Columbia student performers and five professionals: Harleen the Queen, Cléo, Chrome Snatchica, Dougie Deville, Novila, Boy Toothless, Chifauguette, Irregular Girl, Whorechata and host Chanel.

In previous years, the show has been held at Stage 2, at Columbia’s 618 S. Michigan Ave building, and the Conaway Center, located at 1104 S. Wabash. SPB President Jewel Baker said this year the board anticipated a larger audience than they had last year.

“We adjusted to have it in the fifth floor event space, just to have that huge stage element to have performers go on the floor then interact with the crowd,” Baker said.

The fifth floor was decorated with spooky glam decor. Guests were welcomed to rows of chairs faced toward the large stage. Near the main entrance there was a photoshoot area for visitors to take photos with friends or the drag performers.

Caro Aceves, a professional drag king known as “Whorechata,” was excited to see how the audience reacted to their performance and the connections made at the show.

As a performer, Aceves said they take a lot of inspiration from being Mexican-American and their Catholic upbringing by “queering religion.”

“I’d like to queer religion because even though religion has hurt many of us, it also has raised a lot of us, and I want to honor the impact that it has had on our lives,” Aceves said.

Aceves performed to a mix of songs she grew up listening to as a kid, such as “Rosas” by La Oreja de Van Gogh.

“It’s definitely an homage to my family and to my childhood,” Aceves said. “It’s also a very cathartic release about all the trauma that so many of us have faced in our childhood and releasing that and sharing that with the audience.”

The show ended with host Chanel Mercedes Benz performing a compilation of songs from Beyoncé’s latest album “Renaissance” and all the drag queens and kings coming back on stage to take a bow.

“These people truly love what they do, and I hope that when people [came] to the show, they can truly see that this is a passion for people,” Baker said. “I’m just excited that SPB is allowing students and professionals to get a second platform to put themselves out there and to have a free show for students to see.”