Updated: Sep 17
The spotlight strikes the stage. From behind the velvet curtain, lavender bouffant hair emerges, followed by a shimmering bodice, dripping with rhinestones. A squealing crowd that sold out Kansas State University’s McCain Auditorium greeted Ms. Monica Moree — the host of the sixteenth annual K-State Drag Show.
“I have been all around the world and I haven’t experienced a crowd like this. I say it every year,” said Moree, smiling out upon the rows of excited fans.
By night she is Monica Moree, but by day this sassy character is Dusty Garner-Carpenter, a K-State graduate and founding member of the K-State drag show.
This year’s Burlesque-themed event featured seven talented performers that each thrilled the audience and sent dollar bills flying out of their wallets. The roster included Penny Tration, Victoria Fox, Lil’ Kim Chi, Valeree Love and the couple Alexander Cameron and Ginger LeSnapps, who traveled all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio to take part in the event.
Throughout the show, the performers executed impressive dance routines, lip synced to classic hits that got the audience singing along and showed their wild side with strip teases that shocked the spectators and sent them howling with laughter.
“I loved the show so much,” said Emily Homolka, a junior at K-State. “It was so funny and fun to watch.”
The show wasn’t just about the jokes, however. This year was the first time that the event was met with protesters, reminding the K-State community why events like these are important. Throughout the show, Moree urged the audience to be themselves, protect queer and trans people and to vote. By the time the curtain closed, the event had raised nearly $12,000, with the proceeds going to providing scholarships and financial access to mental healthcare for trans and queer students.
To student Jaden Castinado, this event was “a pleasure to watch and support.”
“Drag comprises a very important part of traditionally queer culture, and so as a newer member to the community, I decided this would be a great opportunity to introduce myself to it,” Castinado said. “These shows are important on campus because they create a space for the LGBTQ+ community to gather, be expressive and enjoy the art of drag.”
Homolka also believes that drag shows are important to have on campus.
“We don’t hear much about LGBTQ clubs and organizations on campus, so learning more about them at the drag show was important,” said Homolka. “The environment also felt very inviting and accepting, which is something that needs to be felt more on campus.”
This was Homolka’s first drag show, but she said that next year she will definitely be returning.