Stevenson University’s Q-Group will host its fifth annual Drag-U-Cation on Thursday, March 9. The event begins at 9 p.m. in the Rockland banquet room, and will include a combination of student performers as well as professional drag queens and kings.
Drag-U-Cation “provides SU students with the opportunity to learn about gender performance while watching a drag show,” said the Q-Group’s advisor, Dr. Laura T. Smith.
The first half of the night will begin with Mustang performers who have put together costumes and practiced their own numbers. Following them, professional performers from the local Baltimore area will steer the second half of the night. The last 10-15 minutes of the event will include a Q&A session during which questions about anything relating to drag will be answered by a panel.
Deandra “Dea” Coleman, vice-president of the Q-Group, explained that the panel will be filled with professional drag performers as well as “seasoned veterans.” Last year, Q-Group president, Kara Stone, was featured on the panel. Both Stone and Coleman identify as gender fluid, and prefer to go by the pronouns they, their, and them.
Both will also perform in this year’s Drag-U-Cation. Stone, a veteran drag king, goes by the stage name of “Justin Side.” Coleman, an up-and-coming drag king, will perform twice this year. Coleman describes the partnership with Stone as “a friendship with some Q-Group on the side.”
PROFESSIONAL PERFORMERS TO APPEAR
Professional performers include this year’s host, Shanda Leer Franz Fiddler, last year’s host Anita Minute and Sarabesque Mizarhi.
This year’s Drag-U-Cation does not feature a headliner due to the amount of student involvement and bids from local professional performers. The event has filled the house every year, with as many as 250 people attending last year.
According to Coleman, the size of the event has caught the attention of the drag community, thus making it easier to book performers. Stone has worked with almost every queen and king listed, and jokes that the hardest part of the process is to get everyone to submit their musical playlist on time.
For the performers, however, it is a different story. The entire second floor of the Rockland center is booked for the event. Coleman explained that performers are given separate rooms two hours in advance, and have assistants standing by to help them get ready.
Stone described a drag show as “an opportunity for either gender non-conforming people or people in the LGBT community to express themselves through song and dance and gender appearance. Performers will spend days planning their costumes. Men will dress up as women and women will dress up as men, with makeup crazy (and) off the wall.” Stone added that the atmosphere of a drag show is similar to that of a night club, with glaring lights, loud music, great food and fantastic performances.
Coleman added that the atmosphere will be “fun and flirtatious.” Students who do not like being touched or lap danced should seat themselves near the back or middle, while those who do not mind should be in the front and center holding dollar bills to get a visit from the ‘drag tooth-fairy.’
This year’s theme is the “Thirst Gaymes,” with an emphasis on ‘gay.’ The name was inspired by the popular novel “The Hunger Games,” in lieu of the current political climate. Coleman further described the theme as an “apocalyptic, Mad Max, Hunger Games scenario.”
Neither Stone nor Coleman wished to delve too deep into politics, but both wanted to send a clear message of solidarity with the LGBTQIA community nationwide. In fact, Stone said, “Q-Group is here to stay. They’re strong, and they’re not afraid of being who they are and expressing themselves.”
Tickets for Drag-U-Cation are available for students and guests for free at the Rockland Center. Guests need to have a student present to get tickets.