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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Drag queens hit the stage at Great Hall

If you couldn’t make it to the UW Drag Spectacular Thursday night, don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

The LGBT Campus Center brought RuPaul’s Drag Race Superstar, JuJuBee, who placed third in the show’s second season, to Memorial Union’s Great Hall.

“Be smart, be fabulous,” JuJuBee said to the crowd, “and gag the bitches.”

The message she gave for the rest of the night, sequined with innuendos and humor, was one of being comfortable with who you are and who you want to be.

To be honest with you, I’m from a small town in rural Wisconsin where you can get stuck behind a tractor on the highway. This means I’ve never seen a drag show or met a queen. But I felt comfortable in the high-energy atmosphere with every choreographed showcase and picture posed for on-stage throughout the night.

I think I needed the noise of the crowd cheering adorations to the performers to resuscitate me after the sight of JuJuBee’s silver rhinestone, thousand-inch heels gave me a heart attack.

“I like to evoke emotion,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s happy, sad, ugly, whatever, but if I evoke emotion I did my job.”

There must have been at least 500 people there to watch JuJuBee and the student performers, as well as local queens and UW-Madison alumni Lucy Von Cucci, Miss Gay Madison and Davina DeVille, Madison’s Favourite Local Performer and Plan B show director.

I fell in love with Davina, not only because her legs are actually the incarnation of what the Greek goddess she dressed as would have had or because of her stone purple lipstick, but also because of her ability to be a full and all-out diva on the stage.

From goddess she changed, onstage, into a flapper and asylum inmate back to a diva. She captured my eyes and my rhythm each time she came out. And you’ve never seen anyone—drag queen or otherwise—pop their eyes like Davina DeVille.

She and Lucy met six years ago in a choir class in the Humanities building.

I’d love to run into the students on campus who did the performance set to my favorite Queen song, “Killer Queen,” complete with a plot and a princess stage-vomiting glitter into a crystal basin.

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Then, her wingmen circled the fat on her legs with red marker, pointing out supposed imperfections. The reality of it, though, is she was out there strutting her stuff with no shame and all glamour.

The human body is the most beautiful thing in the world, but you could forget that trying to figure out whether that body is male or female.

But that’s why drag is art, JuJuBee told me after the show.

“It blurs the role of what gender is supposed to be,” she said. “People expect a woman to be a certain way and a man to be a certain way, and drag is one of those things that kind of combines both and blurs that whole situation.”

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