Dressing in drag
November 14, 2011
Editor of LIPS: Expressions of Female Sexuality Chris Beacham ’13 hates mascara, but he knew that without it, the harsh Lodge 1 stage lights would wash him out, and no one would be able to see him strut his stuff at the fifth biannual LIPS drag show Thursday, so on went the mascara.
Advertised as “the most gender-bending, glitter-tastic show of the semester,” the drag show was hosted by LIPS and featured song and dance performances by students of the College of William and Mary. Some dressed in full drag while others painted beards and mustaches on their faces, and still others settled for wearing androgynous-looking clothing.
“We’ve had various fundraisers through the years, but this is one that everyone seems to love,” Beacham said.
The show reflected the publication’s overall goal to give a stronger voice to female sexuality.
“We wanted to provide a discussion space where people could talk and just say whatever needed to be said,” Beacham said. “The reason it’s female sexuality is because, traditionally, when women and men have shared a discussion space, men’s voices tend to drown out the women’s voices.”
LIPS benefited from the show’s proceeds, but the event also had a greater social significance.
“It’s, one, a celebration of the fact that this is the 21st freaking century and sexuality is what we want it to be, and gender is what we want it to be, and, two, it’s just really good fun,” Brian Kean ’13 said.
Kean, the self-described “bastard offspring of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe,” appeared in a Marilyn hairstyle and maxi dress and performed the classic song “It’s Raining Men” as Marilyn Einstein.
“It was an opportunity to be fabulous,” he said.
Other acts included Clint Eastwood performing a monologue and Axl Rose lip-syncing to “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Jessie Mercury inspired audience participation with her performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the whole audience seemed to agree that Glamorris Cheng was a true “Diva.”
“I think it’s great that the students here are very passionate about what they’re raising money for, and they express themselves in a really great way,” Cristina Miranda ’12 said. “I liked all the performances as a whole, because it was kind of like everyone’s own way of displaying who they are and how confident they are, and displays of confidence like that are always a great thing.”
Between performances, Master of Ceremonies Ian Goodrum ’12 and members of LIPS auctioned off various LIPS-related items, starting with T-shirts and progressing to things like underwear, sex toys and a personal massager.
Throughout the evening, Goodrum showed his support by offering to exchange clothing with the females in the audience. By the end of the night, he had appeared in a miniskirt, a fur coat and a t-shirt reading “I [heart] Female Orgasm.” There was only one minor drawback to this setup:
“Person who has my pants — would you mind reaching into my left back pocket and handing me that paper that’s in there?” he asked, realizing that he had forgotten the set list.
At the end of the show, the audience was invited to join the cast in a “Lady Marmalade” dance off.
LIPS: Expressions of Female Sexuality, a student-run zine, is published at the end of each semester and should be out by finals this year.
“A zine’s an independently published, underground thing, as opposed to magazines like Cosmo. One of them is a corporation; one of them is enthusiasts. There’s a zine culture,” Beacham said.
While the show was met with great enthusiasm from the audience, the term “drag show” can often elicit adverse reactions. However, Beacham describes it on a more relatable scale.
“Drag is just gender performance, so you could say that everyone lives in drag every single day. You are what you present yourself to be. But drag is also gender parody, and it’s an art form that’s been around for centuries, and there’s some sort of ineffable quality it has. It’s a good way to bring up issues of gender and performance in a fun setting that everyone enjoys,” Beacham said.
To view a slideshow from the drag show, click here.