Mesa Court Council’s first-ever drag show hosted larger-than-life performances, emcee’d by Mayhem Miller, in Winifred Smith Hall, Mar. 6.
A massive crowd attended the event; Smith Hall hit maximum capacity and organizers reportedly turned away 130 people. Those who managed to make it inside the theater seemed eager to make the most of their good luck. The audience’s energy was electric as everyone waited for Miller to make her first appearance, and, once she did, their anticipation exploded into applause. Her opening routine took her iconic, blinking “Drama” performance and added a twist to it, strutting around the theater and intently glaring at whoever happened to be in front of her.
Once the song ended, she engaged in a short but hilarious stand-up routine; Miller poked fun at Orange County, jesting that “I don’t have any signal on this campus. I don’t know, it’s Orange County, you [sic] supposed to have money!” She also called out a squeamish drama major sitting in the front row: “Oh, I could tell you’re a bottom,” she joked before reproaching her Drag Race colleagues, “There have been 130 people on Drag Race,” she bantered, “[and] not one of them was good,” after which Miller headed backstage to welcome new talent to the stage.
For the uninitiated, most drag routines feature drag kings or queens lip syncing songs and acting out some sort of routine. The queens’ and kings’ performances spanned various genres, from seductive burlesque stripteases to a bold interpretation of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Regardless of the routine, everyone on stage exuded confidence.
Brenna Ventz, a first-year Nursing Science student, was one of two UCI students to take the stage. Her rendition of “La Vie En Rose” was unexpected and insanely good. No lip syncing was used, and her mixture of stand up comedy before the song paired with intervals of classic prop goofiness, reaching into the groin of her leotard and pulling out a handful of flower petals, made her a highlight of the night.
Robbie Osa, a drag queen from Long Beach, performed a short acrobatics act set to Cardi B’s “I Like It.” Her first set of splits sent the crowd into an uproar, completely ambushing what most assumed was a typical “walk up and down the stage” set. However, her follow-up move, a mind-bending cartwheel split, came so suddenly that people had no time to do anything but yell as she hit the ground without even a hint of strain.
Landon Cider, a veteran drag king, made his way into the highlights of the show simply for making Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” actually fun to listen to. Taking the sex appeal of the show and cranking it up to eleven, Cider grabbed two different audience members, serenading, cradling, and forcing their hands all over his body for about half the song’s length each. The chosen two seemed to enjoy being part of Cider’s fun performance, and the audience ate up every tense second of it.
Drag is not for everyone. However, the community that attended this show was massive, supportive, and enthusiastic to a degree that UCI’s sports teams could benefit from. Now that the Mesa Court Council has seen students’ demand for drag, it would be no surprise if UCI hosts bigger, better, and more dramatic drag shows in the coming years.