People in search of a few beers and some chicken wings were in for a shock if they headed to the Queen’s Head Pub on Saturday evening.
A confused-looking circle of men in sports t-shirts stared in perplexity at the stage, which overflowed with a massive dancing drag queen bedecked in a pink wig, Kermit the frog pajamas, and knee-high lace-up pleather platform boots.
“Are y’all here for something called Drag Night?” screeched the Kermit-clad queen, who hails as Becca D’Bus onstage and was the MC for this year’s event, hosted by the Harvard Queer Students and Allies.
The euphoric cries of “Hell yeah!” caused even the beer-drinkers watching basketball across the pub to stand up and take note. By the time D’Bus offered to take off her shirt and proceeded to de-wig and de-robe onstage, all eyes were glued to the performer.
Though many performers were dressed to impress in their best sequined gowns, cascading wigs, and voluptuous padding, D’Bus was adamant that the night was not just about pretty boys masquerading as pretty girls.
Other spectators and performers joined in the game of performing gender-nonconformity.
“What’s awesome about drag is it challenges the status quo,” said Avieyonne Flieux (pronounced avian flu), a student at Harvard Medical School who does drag to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS. Flieux performed a lip sync to “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going” to the screeches of the audience and the recoiling of the men who had come to talk about sports.
“A lot of people don’t understand that not everybody in society feels they can be defined,” Flieux said, “and drag makes people think outside of the box and outside of gender definitions.”
Flieux’s cheeks were painted with extravagant eyelashes and big black tears, and the rest of the ensemble included fishnet stockings, converse sneakers, a black dress with a heavy gold collar, and a tall black wig decorated with multi-colored bows.
Other performers included Marcelito, who performed the song “Girls” in male drag, wearing a trucker hat and baggy jeans with a pair of socks tucked in front to create a bulge, and Boyonce, whose gold sequins flashed so brightly as she performed “Halo” in the dimly lit pub that the audience was almost blinded by the glitter.
After exchanging compliments on sequins and choreography with Flieux, Boyonce returned to the stage.
“Guess what, audience,” she lilted, “Lady Gaga’s here!”
Boyonce and the Gaga-lookalike, who goes by Golda Mansacks, lip synced for their lives together to “Telephone,” shaking their way through the audience and ending with a catfight onstage. People from all corners of the pub had moved closer to watch, and gender-bending spectators and sports-watchers alike cheered for the glittering duet.
Cherry Blossom ’11, co-chair of the QSA, flicked back strands of her long black wig as she pronounced Drag Night a success.
“A lot of queer events are really serious, and this is the event where people are on the floor, shaking their thang, with glitter, stars, and garlands everywhere,” she said.
Relaxing after the show, Boyonce, Mansacks, and D’Bus each ordered a beer and sat down to discuss makeup tricks.
This article refers to all performers by their stage names in order to protect their privacy.
—Staff writer Alice E.M. Underwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org