Northern drag queens go ‘Hollywood’


Strobe lights twinkle across the runway. Dressed in mile-high stilettos, sleek fishnet stockings and a gaudy feather boa, an illuminated figure struts and boogies down the catwalk. But all that make-up and body glitter hides something less than flashy: a five o’clock shadow.

The student organization OUTLook will hold its 11th annual Drag Show on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Vandament Arena. The theme for this year’s event is Old Hollywood Style and performances will be made by drag queens from across the nation, including former Ms. Gay Universe Candi Stratton, Ms. Continental and Cezanne, former Entertainer of the Year.

Jaclyn Calamaro, a junior electronic journalism major and event coordinator for the drag show, said this year’s event will be much different from the drag shows students are used to.

“Everything is different about this year’s show,” she said. “The very tip of the iceberg is newer acts, a bigger venue and better seating. I don’t want to give away all our secrets and surprises, but there are a lot of firsts for this year’s show, so the rest [students] will just have to come and see.”

Calamaro added that after being involved with OUTLook’s Drag Shows in the past, she realized the event needed a bigger and better venue. Calamaro met with Katey Newton, chair of the Student Finance Committee, to discuss venue and seating options and the Vandament Arena was chosen as the best solution.

“After last year’s show it became very clear to me that the Drag Show had outgrown its venue,” said Calamaro. “For over three years we’ve been consistently holding an audience of over 800 NMU students and Marquette community members and it just keeps getting bigger every year.”

This year’s drag show will begin with a performance by the Bad Seed Burlesque Troupe, a local burlesque group that is made up of mostly NMU students.

“They will be opening our show and have been working for at least two months putting in many hours on their performance. It’s going to be hot!” Calamaro said.

Also included in this year’s show will be performances by students from NMU as well as Michigan Tech, along with various members of the Marquette community. Their performances will be part of the drag show’s Amateur Competition.

Although Calamaro is usually involved in the drag show in one way or another, she said she will opt out of performing this year.

“Will I be performing in the sense of the Amateur Competition? Most likely not because not only can I not sing, but I can’t even lip-synch and don’t even get me started on my dancing skills,” she said. “I’ll spare the audience.”

Someone who will be performing at the drag show is Kyle Bladow, an English grad student. Bladow has performed at drag shows for the past two years and even took home first place in the Amateur Competition.

Bladow said he is always eager for his drag performances, with this year being no exception.

“I’m always excited,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting this year because it’s in the Vandament. It’s been in the Great Lakes Rooms everytime I’ve seen it.

To prepare for his performance, Bladow said he does everything from getting his long hair styled to making sure his body is in performing condition.

“I think every guy should have to do drag once just to see what women have to go through,” he said.

Calamaro said that attendees at the event can expect anything and everything from this year’s drag show.

“It will be bigger, better and bustier!”