By: Bill Silvia
On May 9th, 2019, the WCSU Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) will host its annual drag show in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall. Hosted by Kenya Mone Heart, the show brings drag queens Robin Fierce, Mia E Z’Lay, and Ms. October, along with a pre-show by WIG, the Western Improve Group, to the stage.
Andrew Moore, one of the student organizers for both the 2018 and 2019 drag shows, shared some information about this process. He and Erika Sabovik, president of the GSA since 2018, knew early on that they wanted to host a drag show. Andrew, who had been interested in drag since the age of 14, commented, “the first year [after transferring to WCSU] I wanted to be in the drag show or at least see it. When it didn’t happen, I was like ‘Oh God.’”
The GSA at the time was inactive for a semester. When it was revived and he became vice president of the club, Andrew and Erika knew just the thing to show the student body that the club was back on its feet. Planning for the 2018 event drew mainly from the records of previous drag shows to help the inexperienced team find its footing, though Andrew and other members of the GSA had already seen the queens they would invite perform. Andrew described this as a positive experience due to the high level of teamwork involved. “It’s a different side of drag that I didn’t know about,” Andrew said, “but I like even more.”
GSA’s 2018 drag show was a pivotal moment for Andrew, who performed for the first time as drag queen Kenya Mone Heart. It was something he had wanted to do for years, and this–a drag show hosted by students, with both professional and student performers–seemed a perfect venue to take that step.
Less than a month after her first performance, on May 18th, Kenya would perform at “Pop Up Show,” hosted by Sylvia Heart, one of the performer’s from WCSU’s drag show. “Pop Up Show” was performed at Partner’s Café, in New Haven, CT. Andrew described how this show was a nerve-wracking experience with considerably more pressure than performing on-campus. However, it paid off.
“Through that one performance,” Andrew recollected, “I started getting so many calls that helped me grow, not only as a performer, but also as a person.”
Kenya would go on to perform approximately twenty shows in the next year. During this time, she would also perform with Sylvia as well as Tiana Maxim, another of the performers from WCSU’s 2018 drag show.
Andrew also mentioned Kenya’s “drag mother,” a queen named Morgana Deluxe. A drag mother is an experienced drag queen who acts as a guide and mentor to their “drag daughter” – a less experienced queen. Andrew and Morgana Deluxe met at True Colors in 2016, when Deluxe and other drag queens were educating attendees about drag, and, if they volunteered, dressing them in drag. Andrew volunteered that day, and Kenya was born.
“It was kind of like a validation thing for me,” Andrew said of the experience. “It validated the same emotion I had when I was younger.”
This year, Andrew and Kenya come to the drag show as a more experienced planner and a more experienced queen. “I’m more prepared, I feel more prepared. Last year I was dipping my toe in. This year I’m at the bottom of the ocean singing with Sebastian the crab.”
One of Andrew’s goals with the 2019 drag show is to expose people to a variety of drag queens. He expressed the wish for diverse groups of students to be able to see themselves reflected in the performers.
Andrew also had some advice for fans of the drag show. “A lot of people love Ru Paul’s Drag Race and think Drag Race is the only form of drag there is,” he said. “It’s not. There’s millions of types of drag.” In urging drag fans to visit local bars and clubs to see for themselves, he added, “New Haven’s not that far. They’re everywhere, you just gotta look for them.”
The Drag Show is free to all WCSU students and guests and will be held on May 9th, from 8 to 11pm. Those attending have the option to donate funds to Triangle Community Center, an LGBTQ center located in Norwalk, CT.