UMKC Pride Alliance, in association with the campus’s LGBTQIA community, organized a drag show titled “Fifty Shades of Gay” last Wednesday at the Student Union Theater.
Produced by Pride Alliance Vice President Kalaa Wilkerson and hosted by Nic Storm, 2012 King of Show Me Pride, and local drag queen Moltyn Decadence, audience members laughed, applauded and engaged with the performers.
From comedic anecdotes to passionately-presented acts, the crowd was entertained.
Originally, the event was supposed to be on Oct. 11 to honor National Coming Out Day, but the organization was unable to secure access to the Student Union Theater for that date, so it was postponed.
“We definitely jumped through some hurdles to be here,” said Pride Alliance Diversity Officer Seto Herrera, who performed under the name “KC Sunshine.”
Herrera explained that instead, the event kicked off Transgender Awareness Week, which will include several events to promote transgender awareness.
A presentation titled “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Gender” will feature educator/author/performer Bear Bergman at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 in the Student Union Theater. Sidewalk chalk in the quad will display the names of transgender hate crime victims.
According to Herrera, “Fifty Shades of Gay” served to hit two birds with one stone by bringing performers from campus and around the city together to provide entertainment.
“The term ‘drag’ refers to an exaggerated character,” Herrera said.
He explained that unlike a transgender or transsexual individual, a drag king or queen is part of a stage production, just like any actor would do. It’s a character.
Herrera also explained that “straight drag” does not indicate a performer’s sexual orientation, but rather the gender that his or her character portrays. So, if the personality represented corresponds with the performer’s actual gender, that performer is considered straight drag.
Decadence initiated the evening by making one thing clear:
“I am a man,” she said.
Moltyn Decadence’s demanding attitude and sarcastic-but-charming side captivated the audience. Her charismatic presence kept the crowd engaged through each wardrobe change and humorous conversation.
The room stayed alive during the performances that followed.
Ricky Thunder took the stage wearing an Army T-shirt, and energized the crowd with a dance routine to the song “Tickets” by Maroon 5.
Thunder entertained the crown by pulling Pride Alliance Secretary Roze Brooks onto the stage.
His second selection was also by Maroon 5, dedicating the song “Daylight” to his fiancé, Pride Alliance President Brad Leach, and drag family, The KC Steam Punks.
Although his introduction echoed a sense of pride for serving his country, it was a very emotionally charged moment for the performer, troupe members and audience.
Decadence danced the salsa to Jennifer Lopez’s song “Papi,” and attempted to put the typical Zumba class to shame.
Widow Von’Du, who claimed the title of “KC’s Original Plus-Size Barbie,” astonished audience members with a flexible series of kicks, splits and flips during her routine.
Rose Tips sported a pair of cowgirl boots while dancing to “These Boots are Made for Walking.”
KC Sunshine performed dance moves identical to Michael Jackson’s. He embodied well-known versions of Jackson through hit songs, costumes and backup dancers.
UMKC Pride Alliance will hold its next biannual drag show in the spring, which the group hopes will coincide with the National Day of Silence in April.