Queens keep calm

By Jasmine Kemp, Eagle Life Writer

Photo by: Al StoverDetox from "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 5 hangs out with the crowd.
Photo by: Al Stover
Detox from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 5 hangs out with the crowd.

Money donated to AIDS network


Blowme Bubbles lifts up her dress and gets close to a male audience member with a pair of black spandex underwear being the only barrier between her crotch and his face.

It was all part of Eastern’s annual drag show, produced jointly by Eagle Entertainment and EWU Pride, called, “Keep Calm and Drag On.” Drag queens regularly got off the runway and danced for audience members who gave them donations.

All cash collected by the performers was then handed over to be counted as donations to Spokane AIDS Network. The organization provides help to people with HIV and AIDS by helping them maintain high-protein diets and afford their medications, according to the organization’s website. They also act as a support group for people with HIV and AIDS as well as friends and family affected.

The total amount raised for the Spokane AIDS Network was over $3,000.

The hostess for the show, Nova Kaine, entertained the audience between acts. She appeared in multiple outfits adorned in sequins, sparkles and dragonflies. Each outfit spawned cheers from the audience, which Kaine embraced.

While Kaine wore dresses, some of the other performers wore very little clothing. Carmen Carrera, a season-three contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” first came on stage in a black laced bodysuit to the music of Rihanna. More notable was her outfit in her last performance. It was not much.

A small gold-sequined top covering just the right amount of skin had members of the audience lined up ready to hand her dollar bills. Students up in the Cyber Cafe were throwing money from the balcony.

Berto Cerrillo said that the show was a great way for students to get involved.

This year, the show had more of an educational aspect. Before the show there was a history of drag workshop. This workshop taught students about the history of the culture. Kain, whose real name is Jason Johnson, talked about the Stonewall Riots.

The Stonewall Riots, according to The New York Times, was when the customers of a gay bar called The Stonewall Inn retaliated in response to a police raid. It was the start of a larger movement to create special interest and advocacy groups for the gay community, the New York Times said.

“When you put on a show for students you always have to end up being more heavy on the entertainment side, but I think this year we’ve gotten a better balance,” Cerillo said.

New this year is also the integration between the the tech group Cerrillo manages and Eagle Entertainment.

The setup for the event included a long runway in front of a large screen where graphics for the performances as well as a thermometer graph depicting the amount of money raised were displayed. The disc jockey stood at the left of the runway next to the screen playing the music and waiting for the right queues from the performers.

“We want to have a more polished and professional looking event,” he said.

Heidi Gnehm, a resident of Spokane, came out to Eastern with her friend Dana Ayers. Gnehm said this was her second year attending the event while Ayers was attending for the first time.

“I found out about the show through Facebook and Nova Kaine’s posts,” said Gnehm.

Ayers said she liked the culture.

“I like seeing the crowds [drag shows] attracts. I want to laugh and have fun,” she said.

The drag show also included an amateur portion. Sororities bid on fraternity members to perform in the show. According to Kaine, the drag queens themselves painted the faces of Delta Chi members.

“Some of these [girls] look hot, but some of them look hotter as boys,” she said.

Gnehm said her interest in the culture was partially because of the makeup.

“They treat makeup as an art,” Gnehm said. “They have to spend hours and hours practicing it.”

Vanessa Mendez, a Kappa Delta Chi member, said the sorority has had fun helping out with the drag show. They have been involved with the show for three years.

Kaine said she likes performing in the Inland Northwest due to the support the people in the area has for the drag queen community.

Connie Hung was a student at Eastern. For Hung, performing at her Alma Mater was nostalgic.

“I went to the show as a freshman when it first started,” Hung said. “Performing in it now is just an overwhelming feeling.”