Drag Xtravaganza celebrates gender non-conformity, acceptance

The Geneseo Pride Alliance and Geneseo Late Knight brought a night of fun performances to the Knight Spot with the Drag Xtravaganza on Saturday April 16. “This event has been happening since Pride came to campus,” Pride Student Association representative sophomore Taylor Keith said. Keith was instrumental in planning the eventful night. “This is the first year that [it] has been this big. [It’s] the first year that we got someone from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’”

As spectators entered the Knight Spot, they were greeted with booming dance music, glow sticks and the chance to meet and take a photo with drag queens Ginger KaiKai—a Rochester local—and Mrs. Kasha Davis, a former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant.

As the crowd gathered around the runway, the lights dimmed and party lights and a disco ball lit up the stage. When the show started, there was already an intimate, yet high-energy atmosphere.

The night began when emcee and drag queen Kai Vanguard took the stage to introduce the first performer. She spoke about the history behind the event. “The reason why we are calling this Drag Xtravaganza is in tribute to Venus Xtravaganza,” Vanguard said. “She was a transgender performer in the ball scene back in the 1980s … She was murdered while she was doing sex work … It’s really important to recognize that there are still issues within the LGBT community.”

After this poignant reminder, Davis—who first rose to fame when she competed in season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”—put on the first performance of the night. She strutted down the runway to Ariana Grande’s “Break Free.” Partway through her song, Davis pulled an audience member onstage and danced with them, generating an even more exciting energy.

Afterward, Davis helped her impromptu partner create a drag name. “My name is Mrs. Kasha Davis,” she said. “Kasha: first pet—angry poodle. Davis: the first street I grew up on. Very easy drag name.” Her suggestion for her guest was a pun: “Patty O’Furniture.”

Next up was Ginger KaiKai, who performs regularly at Tilt Nightclub & Ultralounge in Rochester. She made her way up and down the runway to Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” She danced with members of the audience to the upbeat song as the crowd screamed every time the chorus came around.

After KaiKai, the show continued with Qween’s performance. She rose to the stage as Beyoncé’s “Partition” filled the room. As the familiar song played, Qween made her way around the stage and danced against the wall at the end of the runway.

Rico Suave was the first student performer of the night. He began his set to “Often” by The Weeknd and ended it with “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly, also bringing an audience member onstage for a serenade.

To finish the first set of the night, Vanguard returned to the stage. She strutted to Beyoncé’s “Formation” and “Run the World (Girls)” before dancing to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair.” During “Confident” by Demi Lovato, she lost her wig, but her professionalism shined through and she didn’t let this hinder her electrifying performance.

The night continued with two more sets featuring student performers Bae Fei, Miss Conduct, Tido, Anna Lingis, King Kyle, Ablo Down, Danny Phantasm, Mrs Sage Sagee, Ratchet Mammacita and Justin DiPussi.

Pride’s annual Drag Xtravaganza was a thrilling night for everyone—both performers and spectators. While also drawing attention to the the violence that trans women face, it gave Geneseo students the opportunity to experience a true drag show.