Adorned with wigs, stilettos, capes and more, the spotlit drag queens and kings of USD strutted their stuff to the cheering crowd gathered for USD’s annual Pro-Am drag show on Wednesday.
Every fall, the USD Spectrum Alliance hosts a professional-amateur drag show, allowing everyone a chance to partake in the extravagant art of drag for fun and for audience tips.
Spectrum president Jacob Holmberg, also known by his stage name Vodka Lynn, said Spectrum hosts the event to both entertain and educate.
“Having fun is a big part of it, but it’s also about having the educational opportunity for people in the community to come and see some of what is a very big aspect of LGBTQIA+ culture,” Holmberg said. “It allows you to take all your inner inhibitions and let them out in a safe space that’s not judged.”
The event featured professional queen Martina Shakers in her fifteenth year as emcee of the event. Professional queens and “Shakers” family Devon Shakers, Stephen Anthony Shakers, Hexy-Gon, Alessandra Jacobs, Kendra Stahr and Persephone Shakers performed.
Several USD queens also shared the spotlight, including Hyde McCanns, Alex Striker, California Victoria, Connor Intuit, Angela Underwood and Holmberg’s Vodka Lynn.
Joining the students and professionals was amateur queen and Sioux Falls resident Seymour Otterman, who performed as October von Clover.
Drag as a medium for expression held different offerings for each performer. Otterman found performing as October von Clover particularly empowering.
“I love performing, I love being on stage, I love dancing. I like how it makes me feel like I’m powerful and sexy, and people like me, and I like that,” Otterman said.
Holmberg, a cis-white male, said he performs drag as a female as a form of expression.
“It’s that expression of that personality, I suppose, that I don’t necessarily exude in my everyday life, and so it’s a form of expression that’s different but fun,” Holmberg said.
To conclude the event, the audience chose Angela Underwood as the first Ultimate South Dakota Entertainer in a cheering match between all non-professional entertainers.
Around 230 people attended the drag show. The event also served as a fundraiser for Spectrum’s professional-only drag show, which will take place on April 1, 2020.