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19th Annual Drag Show comes to EWU from under the sea

Abbi Vance

Abbi Vance

By Abbi Vance, Art Director

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With renditions of The Little Mermaid, sparkling bejeweled gowns, humor and a coming out announcement from an audience member pulled on stage, the night was nothing less than entertaining.

La Saveona Hunt hosted the 19th Annual EWU Drag Show for the first time in her career Friday night on the University Rec Center (URC) ice rink. The show is the biggest indoor drag show in Washington state.

Those who attended The History of Drag event received preferred seating to the event before VIP or regular ticket holders.

Six-hundred and fifty-one tickets had been sold by 6 p.m. the night of the event, with an anticipated 900 in attendance based on previous years. All proceeds from the event went towards the Odyssey Youth Movement.

Hannah Rexia, dressed in a red mesh and bejeweled body suit and spiked pink hair, walked between seating isles and mingled with guests to entertain them with her presence for a half-hour before the event started.

“My favorite part of last year was the interaction,” said Anastasiya Mayerchuk. “They really try to incorporate everyone,”

La Saveona Hunt started the show with a simple interactive get-to-know-you game of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” by adding her own twist of having the audience clap to specific verses. During the first verse, the audience was to clap only if they were gay, the second round if they were lesbian and the third round if they were young.

“I want you to cheer so loud that they can’t hear their music,” La Saveona Hunt said as she welcomed the queens to the stage to kick off the night.

Nova Kaine was the first to hit the stage wearing a simple gold blazer with shoulder pads.

“Places, the show is about to start,” began the song “Fashionista” by Jimmy James while Nova Kaine lipsung.  

“You have to show a look, have a look or give a look. Faces, beautiful. No one ugly allowed,” the chorus continued as Le Gurlz made a fashion show like entrance and strutted their stuff down the stage and back again.

“I look forward to more variety in the queens this year,” Hope Caruthers said.

A total of 11 queens from visiting parts of Washington performed throughout the night to mixes of Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, The Little Mermaid soundtrack and more showing off their own unique styles and tricks/stunts.

“[Drag] has become more socially acceptable. When I started, we had to sneak in the back of the club because walking down the street was not something you wanted to do, especially in Wyoming at the time,” Nova Kaine said.

Nova Kaine, who was a theatre major at the University of Wyoming, got her start from a Dude Looks Like a Lady competition put on by Nova Kaine the fifth.

“I didn’t think anything of it since I was just a theatre major, 29 years later and I’m still wearing a dress,” Nova Kaine said

While the queens more or less got their start from a similar experience of being randomly discovered, dressing up for a contest or because it was more natural for them, some continue to perform for the money, the attention or for the people and community.

“I started drag to get into bars because I wasn’t old enough and then it turned into doing it for fame and attention after that,” Savannah SoReal said.

When it comes to choosing a name, queens make one for themselves, whether symbolic like Lita De Moi, a play on words like Hannah Rexia or they base it on their birth names such as Nikita Romanoff, whose birth name is Nick.

“My female name when I was born was supposed to be Olita so I just took off the O and put Lita and De Moi means ‘of myself’ and it’s Lita Of Myself, of my own drag, of my own person,” Lita De Moi said.

Students, when asked what their drag name would be, followed the humorous, play-on-words  route. Brandon Sparks, EWU freshman, said his name would be Cindy Nudes, while his fraternity brother Francisco Flores said jokingly his would be Skittles since it was “his stripper name”.

Others inherit the last names of queens who raised them, like Arianna D. Spanic Kaine and Lelani Kaine, or the full name such as Nova Kaine.

“The original Nova Kaine was one of the drag queens at the Stonewall Riots in 1959, and she was actually beaten to death. Her lover, a dentist and the origin for the name [Nova Kaine] …, thought that it was too much of a legacy to let die. On the one year anniversary of her death they did a resurrection and it was Nova Kaine the second and it’s basically been handed down,” said Nova Kaine the sixth, “When I get ready to retire I will look at my cast and decide which one has the best qualities to become Nova Kaine.”

La Saveona Hunt ended the night with a bang, performing “Crazy Right Now” by Beyonce, dressed as Beyonce, in her second performance of the night to get the crowd pumped up one last time.

After the show, VIP ticket holders were able to go up stairs to meet, talk to and get a handout signed by the queens.

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