Plenty of pride at drag show

By Ariel Serafin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 14, 2005

Female illusionists, amateurs entertain at Cross Dress Cabaret

Students laughed, screamed and offered dollar bills to men who strutted the catwalk last night in high heels and tight sequined dresses.

The event, "Cross Dress Cabaret," was sponsored by UA Pride Alliance in honor of National Coming Out Week, and featured both amateur student performers and professional "female illusionists."

Students watched as cross-dressed peers and professionals lip-synched and danced to a cheering crowd that packed the Cellar restaurant in the Student Union Memorial Center.

The performers, some in risqué attire and others in prom wear, mimicked sexual situations, danced and sashayed around the room with songs ranging from Etta James' "At Last" to Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" blaring in the background.

Students who attended said their main reasons for coming to the show were for entertainment and support.

"I think it's going to be really entertaining and really funny," said music education freshman Mark Adams. "Watching guys dressed up in booty shorts is priceless."

Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cade Bernsen said he came to show his support despite the fact that his family was in town.

"As a student body president, I represent students from all walks of life, and I am supportive of all of them," Bernsen said.

The event was intended to be both celebratory and informative, said Pride Alliance Director Garrett Bennett.

"I think first (our intent) is to entertain because it's a celebration," Bennett said. "And then secondly, it's always important to educate and bring awareness."

Bennett said the cabaret has been an event every semester since fall 2003 and was part of a series of activities Pride Alliance sponsors during Coming Out Week.

The cabaret performed twice yesterday, once in the afternoon on the UA Mall and again in Cellar, so different students would get a chance to see it, Bennett said.

"It's a different audience for this kind of show (when it's private)," Bennett said.

Anthropology junior Emily Thompson, who participated as an amateur "drag king," said she chose to get involved with the cabaret strictly for fun.

"I just thought it would be fun to perform," Thompson said. "People play too much into the cause, but these people just want to have fun."

Performers in the show laughed, cracked jokes and interacted with the audience even while experiencing some problems with their music and microphones.

"We apologize," the announcer joked as the wrong song came on for one of the performers, "but that was a testicle difficulty."