A French mime fondling a baguette, a sexy Patrick Star bursting from an inflatable suit, and an impromptu dance party to Marc Anthony’s ‘Vivir Mi Vida.’ 

Only KZSC’s inaugural Queers at the Quarry Drag Show could deliver all that and more. 

Gray skies and a slight drizzle were no match for the nine stars who performed on the Quarry stage to an audience of nearly 400 at its peak. The lineup ranged from seasoned vets like Trashy, DM Tina, and Venus Bizarre, to newcomer Peggy P, short for Peggable Patrick, who made their onstage debut at Saturday’s event. 

“Drag doesn’t fit in a box,” said Pegabble Patrick, who first took to the stage in an inflatable Patrick Star suit before bursting out of it to reveal a star-shaped bikini top, as Spongebob’s “I Ripped My Pants” played. “You can be silly, you can be weird, and just create so much laughter and joy.”

Peggy P. blossoms out of a Patrick Star costume used for the beginning of his performance. As part of Slugs in Fishnets, Peggy P. also directs the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

All photos by Abe Munoz.

While public knowledge of drag is often limited to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ the medium encompasses much more. Drag provides the opportunity to express internal conflict, showcase artistic ability, and strengthen community. 

“Drag, just like art, can be used to express hard feelings like anger or fear. It can also be used to address social issues or make a political statement,” said Trashy, who doubled as an emcee and performer during the event.

“I want people to find a sense of belonging in the performance,” said Trashy. “I want people to see themselves in whoever is on stage.”

The lineup of performers expressed a wide range of emotions throughout their numbers. While Peggable Patrick went for a more goofy piece, others like Venus Bizarre portrayed darker emotions. 

“I don’t know if it’s the moon or what,” said Venus Bizarre, whose performance was first in the lineup, “but I’ve been feeling a lot of angsty emotions recently, so I made a pretty creepy sad number that’s kind of dark.”

Bizarre, shrouded in tinsel, dazzled the crowd to “Tarantula” by Azealia Banks, leaving reflective strips in their wake.

“I don’t know if it’s the moon or what… But I’ve been feeling a lot of angsty emotions recently, so I made a pretty creepy sad number that’s kind of dark.”Venus Bizarre

For visual artists like Dilly Dally, the drag show also offered an opportunity to blend different artistic mediums into one.

“I’m an art major, and I think it’s so cool that I can take my art and wear it on my body,” said Dilly Dally. “You get to wear your own creations and then become the character that you yourself created.”  

In addition to the performances from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Quarry was packed with student organizations tabling, a screen printing booth, the campus staple Dos Hermanos food truck, and a Rico Nasty ticket giveaway.

Organizers like KZSC marketing coordinator, Jack Houlihan, wanted the event to feel like a mini Cornucopia. 

“Building community is really the focus of the event,” said Houlihan. “You actually [had] to meet with at least six of the organizations and have a meaningful interaction with them before you could enter yourself in the draw for Rico Nasty tickets.”

Houlihan spearheaded the creation of the event alongside KZSC Promotions Director George Hart, who explained that the Quarry Amphitheater space is not run by the university, so event coordinators had to find alternative sources for funding in the SUA and individual colleges. 

Without the university’s support, planning the event required extra efforts from KZSC staff, volunteers, and event coordinators, in outreach, set-up, and promotion.

“It was just a mass effort with so much blood, sweat, and tears,” said Hart. “Part of the [KZSC] mission statement is to uplift underrepresented and marginalized voices, and I feel like the effort in planning the event showed that we really want to hold true to that.”

Several of the audience members got to bring home a souvenir of the event in the form of a DIY screen printed shirt. Those who brought their own shirts only had to pay $5!

The front of the stage at the Quarry turned into a dance floor after performer Delfin Bautista, director of Cantú Queer Center, brought everyone up from their seats and guided them back down.

Performers and attendees alike emphasized the importance of uplifting the Queer community specifically, as waves of anti-trans bills and drag bans are passed into law. Hart also said that the timing felt right, and that now is the moment when queer events need to happen.

“Given everything that’s happening politically right now in our country regarding trans rights and drag bans, it’s really important we find every opportunity as a community to lift up joy, lift up celebration, lift up resilience, lift up liberation,” said Delfín Bautista, director of the Lionel Cantú Queer Center, who performed at the event. “Being able to put on this event, participate in it, attend it — that’s a form of resistance, and a form of revolution.”

Right: Dilly Dally, another member from the House of Chutzpah, concluded the Drag Show in an iconic fashion. The audience’s rallies and cheers fueled their performance from beginning to end.

Left: Annie Semetic from the House for Chutzpah, a Jewish based drag house in Santa Cruz, transported the audience across the Atlantic with their French inspired performance.

All photos by Abe Munoz.