On Friday, Oct. 20, the University of Rhode Island’s Gender and Sexuality Center held their fourth annual Drag Ball in honor of Coming Out month.
Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, Annie Russell, hosted the drag show with her guest host, drag queen, The Lady Autumn. “This show was the best one by far,” said The Lady Autumn, a guest host for URI’s drag ball for three years now. “We have some great entertainers and they’re all local!”
The theme for this year’s ball was 1970’s Disco Inferno. Held in the Multicultural Center’s Hardge Forum, red string lights lined the floor, creating a runway and stage for the drag queens to perform their act in. The red lights transformed the room to a deep fiery red, and with the help of the disco ball spinning around, it felt as though you were truly transported to a different time and place.
Russell said that the drag ball was important to her and those involved in the Gender and Sexuality Center, and they wanted to make it fun and exciting for everyone who attended. “Drag is important to the LGBT community because it’s been who we are for so long; it’s been going on for over 100 years,” Russell said. “It brings fun and an art form to campus and allowing them to go to an event here on campus instead of where drag shows are typically held- in bars.”
Eight drag queens performed in all: Giganta Smalls, SemiSweet, Ivanna B., Naomi Chomsky, Trinity St. Thomas, Feminem, and Drake Bogart. Included in the eight was The Lady Autumn, who was the first to perform. Wearing a long black dress, a tall black hat, and a long blonde wig, The Lady Autumn hyped up the crowd, dancing and singing along to “I Will Survive.” After The Lady Autumn, each drag queen performed twice, once before and once after an intermission so they could change outfits and catch their breath.
Dressed in overalls, a train conductor’s hat and dancing to a compilation of Taylor Swift songs, SemiSweet was the second performer to grace the audience with her exciting dance moves. The second time SemiSweet entered the stage, she wore a floor length long sleeved dress, which was stripped off mid show to reveal a black bodysuit. This was a necessary abrupt outfit change for the dance moves she had choreographed to “Garden” by Dua Lipa.
Naomi Chomsky entered the stage after SemiSweet, wearing a gold chain link dress, tall black boots, fishnets and long silk gloves. Drake Bogart, who followed shortly after, contrasted Chomsky by wearing a laid back 1970s inspired crop top and jeans and a fake mustache.
One of the most exciting performances was by Trinity St. Thomas, who made the crowd go crazy as she came down the runway to Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way.” The other performances by Feminine, Ivanna B. and Giganta Smalls, were all wonderful. Each interacted with the crowd, all while being secretive yet seductive.
As the night began to wind down, The Lady Autumn thanked the Gender and Sexuality center for having her again, gave a special thanks to SemiSweet, the students who volunteered in the dressing room and those who helped to set up. The Gender and Sexuality Center did an amazing job putting on their 1970’s Disco Inferno Drag Ball. It was an event you have to experience for yourself in order to get the whole effect- and not to mention, extremely fun and entertaining.