Homecoming weekend saw something more than parents this year. Indeed, this past weekend saw the return of performers from Curbside Queens — “Maine’s #1 traveling drag show” — to Mayflower Hill. Though the College had been host to two other shows last year, this marked the first time that one had occurred during homecoming, allowing parents, alumni, and current students to attend the event.
This was also the first time that the show spotlit drag kings as well as queens, and the first time that it was organized by The Bridge, the College’s LGBTQ+ club. Though it was noted that the event was celebrating National Coming Out Day, which happened on Oct. 11, given that this year the day fell during fall break, The Bridge announced that the entire month of October would be celebrated instead.
This weekend, the College students and their families saw the return of drag queens Gigi Gabor and Cherry Lemonade and welcomed drag queen Chartreuse Money and king Finn Gerring. They were joined by student performers, such as Mallory Wilcox and Lady Photon. After an opening with the professional performers dancing to “It’s About Damn Time” by Lizzo, the first full dance was performed by Mallory Wilcox dancing to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.”
Among some of my personal favorites were Finn’s performance of Michael Jackson’s classic “Thriller” (with an added transgender joke on Michael’s line about “not being like other guys”); Money’s performance of “ALIEN SUPERSTAR” by Beyoncé; and Lady Photon’s performance of “Toxic” by Britney Spears, where she entered the stage dressed in a hazmat suit, and later proved her dance to be explosive, as part of the performance included a liquid that released smoke after reacting with another mystery liquid, leaving the audience stunned and cheering.
The latter part of the show also included a section where four volunteers stepped onto the stage and attempted to dance in a drag style, from which the audience’s applause would determine two winners. Another round of dancing and applause then determined the final winner.
A Brief History of Drag
Today, you might be familiar with drag shows as a form of LGBTQ+ entertainment in which people dress in exaggerated costumes typical of their opposite sex. An example many audience members of the show know is the famous “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” a popular show.
But in truth, drag has possibly existed since Ancient Greek tragedies, where men would take on the role of a woman for a theatrical performance. Shakespeare’s plays were also famous for this element, where men would wear long dresses that used to “drag” on the floor.
But individual performances didn’t become popular until the 1920s with what was known as “Vaudeville”, which involved female impersonators, and during the prohibition era of alcohol in the United States, they became more prominent among queer underground clubs where people (particularly gay men) had the freedom to express themselves fully. Eventually, the police began to persecute these clubs, until Vaudeville was effectively eliminated, and drag didn’t resurface until the 1970s, mostly in New York.
These events took the form of competitions, where judges would give out prizes to the best drag performance. This, in turn, gave drag queens the opportunity to teach others how to dress and perform for drag, attracting people who needed protection or escape and forming a found family with their drag “mothers”.
And, importantly to the queer community, drag queens at the time protested against police raids on gay clubs, participating in and leading the Stonewall Riot of 1969, which would later be celebrated as Pride month for queer individuals.
A CONVERSATION WITH
After the event, I was able to speak with Kevin Craig ‘23, who serves as President of The Bridge and who performed in the show under the name Mallory Wilcox.
NICO: So, congratulations on the night and organizing everything.
KEVIN: Thank you.
NICO: My first question is related to drag. What drove you to it, what attracted you to drag?
KEVIN: So, it was a thing that some friends and I did our first year because the Bridge at the time before had an event called “Genderfuck”, which was a gender-themed performance, so that was my first ever drag. And to be totally honest, I didn’t really know much about drag then, so my main inspiration was to become like Taylor Swift because… I’m obsessed. And I think that still carries through some? But I love drag now.
NICO: And drag means something different to everyone…
KEVIN: Definitely, because everyone has a different style of drag, which I think is so beautiful… I think that the essence of drag is every person being able to be their authentic self, free from boundaries, prejudice, restrictions… and to share that with other people through art, which is really beautiful.
NICO: Yeah. And, like you said, you love a lot of Taylor Swift’s music.
KEVIN: [laughs] Yeah, so that was my launchpad, and since then I’ve kind of explored some different things throughout my shows, and I’ve recently become really connected with my Hispanic heritage, which is something that I’m beginning to introduce in my drag.
NICO: You recently became president of the Bridge after last year, when the Bridge was kind of… not around.
KEVIN: [laughs in agreement] No…
NICO: And you weren’t part of The Bridge at that time?
KEVIN: No, so I wasn’t part of The Bridge my first year was just like the last year, which was its peak — at least in my Colby tenure — and last year I got involved because I had previously organized the fall drag show last year as a dorm event since I was a CA, and for the spring I wanted to do another one and The Bridge was like ‘why don’t you make this part of a bigger thing and say that the Bridge did it, so that way they’ve done something this year.’ And I was like ‘…okay,’ and so that’s how it started, and this year has been really great so far, we have our weekly meetings again, a mentorship program, more events like this throughout the entire month, so… it feels really good to try to work our way back towards normal.
NICO: I’m glad that you’re on board doing stuff.
KEVIN: And thanks to so much support from the community, right? I think that as students — especially upperclass students — we’re so eager to see The Bridge back. We had new performers that had never performed before, I think that’s a great example of our revitalization efforts, and then the support from administration like Nathan and Dean Karlene has been amazing. They really wanna see the Bridge succeed, which… helps a lot.
This event, as much fun as it was, also highlights the theme of The Bridge’s Coming Out Extravaganza as a whole: drag as we know it has always been a form of liberation and free expression for people who have suffered (and continue to suffer, particularly in the trans community) under heteronormative rules. Drag as an art form celebrates each person’s individuality, and our journey towards equality, but even after all our progress, some people do not live in an environment where it is safe to “come out”, even to their families. So indeed, the fight for equal rights and acceptance is not over yet.
~ Nico Flota Sanchez `25