The whole campus is a stage – The Oracle

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Hamline’s Spectrum hosted its annual drag show on the day of April Fool, but the performance was not a joke. Singing in burlesque queens of the night have left jaws on the floor and gender binaries in the bin.

Sophomore Katie Mikesell as the scene Bimbo The Priestess sang her first burlesque on the song “Feeling routine
Fine,” using a lesbian pride flag fan as a prop. (Jacob ‘Coby’Aloi)

Drag has been an important part of theatrical and LGBTQ+ spaces since the 19th century, but has never been more famous and embraced than it is today. Hamline’s LGBTQ+ affinity organization, Spectrum, hosted its annual amateur ret and Cabaret Show on April 1, spotlighting four talented performers from Hamline’s undergraduate student body.

Steiner main Kade, Bridget Benson High, junior Essence Boe as the mistress and sophomore Katie Mikesell The Priestess Bimbo all took to the stage to showcase their talents, which are closely related to the stage of the trail.

Spectrum president, sophomore Kimia Kowsari, hosted the evening and helped the audience understand the rules of drag shows. One of the most important rules is that the public show their appreciation by tipping the performers. Performing in any capacity is exhausting and drag is not financially forgiving, as such members of the public are invited to participate in the tipping etiquette of drag shows. Venmo was a tipping option to encourage everyone in attendance to pay performers.

Kowsari helped organize and host the show, providing attendees with coloring pages, pronoun pins, and plenty of opportunities to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. There was a ‘not safe for work’ ring toss and free condoms provided by the Sexual and Gender Diversity Program (SGDP) in Hamline.

“I don’t know about you, but in my high school it wasn’t really done, but I think the discomfort…I feel like it’s important. Everything good came out of people who started feeling uneasy,” Kowsari said.

The open conversation about sexuality that is provided by spaces such as Spectrum and SGDP has influenced the health and safety of young LGBTQ+ folk over the past few decades.

“As a gay person of color, it’s good to talk about disparities and issues with the community. [for] BIPOC [members]… I am able to use my work at SGDP and Spectrum simultaneously and improve the community for us in particular,” Kowsari said.

Junior Essence Boe under the stage name The Mistress sang the song “One Dance” and has captivated audiences with his stage presence. (Jacob ‘Coby’Aloi)

The performers of the night were of the same opinion as Kowsari and saw the performance as a means of appropriating their power and autonomy of body and mind.

“I think Spectrum and its existence really intended to make us feel good and feel like part of the community without being hidden and this can happen on many other campuses, where anyone who identifies differently is really hidden , “Boe. said,” as a black woman, I really want certainly feel special and there is power in that. “

Boe, known on stage as The Mistress, gave a live vocal performance of “One Dance.” They were the third act of the night, followed by Mikesell in their first burlesque performance.

“Burlesque isn’t just about sex. It’s about empowerment and feeling sexy,” Mikesell said. “There’s an aspect of loving feeling wanted by your audience, but it’s not just that. It’s about self-acceptance and acceptance of body image and feeling beautiful. and sexy, but not just in a sexual way.

The first two performances of the night were vocal numbers. Steiner easily warmed up the audience with their guitar-accompanied rendition of “American Pie.” Benson followed with the dramatic number “Changing My Major” from the musical “Fun Home”, winner of a Tony Award.

“[Fun Home] really paved the way for more musicals about queer identities, especially AFAB [assigned female at birth] people … and give people a little more insight bizarre stories told on stage by musical theater and the importance of supporting bizarre stories, identies queer and body on stage, “said Benson. “It can be fun, it can be funny and it can be comforting, it must not only be sad.”

Senior Bridget Benson captured the hearts of onlookers
with his rendition of “Changing my Major” from
musical “Fun Home”. (Jacob ‘Coby’Aloi)

The show attracted a variety of spectators, all of whom were the intended target for the educational and exciting activities and performances. For many attendees, this was the first drag show they had attended. No matter their experience in the world of drag, everyone was welcome to have fun and learn.

“I hope some people come here and they are a little uneasy because they are new or they just do not. At the end of the night, perhaps they will feel a little more comfortable, because homosexuals will not go away, especially on Hamline[‘s] campus, so much to it now, understand some things, learn more, “Kowsari said.

Engaging in the work of the interpreter and live entertainment is one of the best ways to show support. Following Boe’s cosplay account, kingdomfrog on instagram, is an example of a simple way to get active by supporting their craft and artistry.

“It’s really about empowering our body. Strengthen our voices. Make us feel powerful,” Boe said. “I feel so good to be on stage like that.”

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