Drag show provides CU with unforgettable experience, performances
September 14, 2021
With Champaign Pride coming up, LGBTQ events have been held all over the C-U area, including Cocktails and Queens— a drag show was put on by Amy Myers at The City Center on Chestnut Street Saturday.
Cocktails and Queens is a three-hour drag show featuring seven queens from all over southern Illinois. Amy Myers, producer of drag shows and member of the LGBTQ community, held her first event since COVID-19 just in time to participate in Pridefest, which takes place next week.
Cocktails and Queens was meant to keep the art of drag alive due to the lack of queer spaces in the Champaign-Urbana area, said Myers. Before COVID-19, drag shows were being produced in smaller venues like bars, so Myers held her event at a much bigger venue in hopes of attracting more people and putting drag onto a bigger stage.
The show started off with the “long-legged beauty” of the first queen, Corinna Carrington, who gave a stunning performance to the song “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande. She teased the crowd at first, slowly walking up the steps of the stage until she was center stage. She strutted down the stage, not too high energy of a performance, but it gave very “rich girl queen” once “7 Rings” was remixed into Rihanna’s song, “B**** Better Have Money,” as audience members in both VIP and general admission threw dollar bills onto the stage. Corinna was showered with dollar bills from the above seating as well, earning a huge stack of ones by the end of her performance.
The most energetic performance given was definitely Apollo Summers as Myers warned the crowd to “Get your cell phones and cameras out cause you’ll never know what she’s gonna do next.” Apollo stood out from the crowd of entertainers in her royal blue queen cape and a glittery gold crown to match her royalty theme. She began her performance with the song, “The Ice” by Politascrack then switched to “Work from Home,” by Fifth Harmony with an outfit change. She went from royalty to a very vibrant blue and orange outfit, backflipping (in heels) when the beat dropped. She was high energy and very engaged with the crowd so much that she ran into the crowd before the second beat drop and death dropped into the splits in the middle of the VIP section.
The audience was screaming and jumping up and down for Apollo as she took a few seconds to collect her tips. She ended her performance with a third costume change into a blue and orange tasseled bodysuit, posing at the front of the stage while audience members formed a small crowd around her. Truly the most exciting performance out of the gate.
A favorite performance was of the night was getting to see a drag king performance by a drag performer named Presley. Drag kings are usually overshadowed by the more common drag queens, Presley’s performance did not lack in entertainment.
Presley performed “Trouble” by Elvis Presley, turning on the charm for a lot of the women in the crowd. It was not as in your face or lively as some of the other queen’s but it was a very welcomed experience from the audience after hearing pop song after pop song. Presley sang passionately into the mic and danced on audience members, gathering tons of wolf whistles. Presley ended their set with one more Elvis Presley song, ending with a long note that the audience all screamed along to as Presley fell to their knees centerstage.
To have even more fun at the show, Myer’s had a dance-off on stage where whoever won would get a shot of alcohol from the bar. Myer’s teased the crowd asking, “Are you sure we should play the raunchy dirty version or the nice version?” which was answered with resounding “Dirty!” from the crowd.
Each contestant got to go in the middle of the stage and the catwalk to show off their dirty dancing moves with a striptease if they were comfortable. Nearly every contestant did show a little skin but the winner of the dance battle was a girl who did the worm. Other notable contestants did splits on the ground and twerked for the crowd, really making the vibe of the event very friendly, lighthearted and comfortable.
Anyone interested in attending a drag show but might be nervous should definitely go if possible. It’s truly an experience to be a part of something so special to the LGBTQ community, and it’s welcoming to all genders and sexual orientations. It is crucial to support the queens with tips as they put in hours of work for a small performance time, so if you’re looking to go to a show, in the words of Amy Myers, “Bring a lot of dollars and an open mind.”