It was standing room only in the performing arts venue Sugar Space in Salt Lake City as more than 100 people watched the U’s annual drag queen competition.
The theme this year was “Silence is a Drag” and the event was held Friday, April 20, the national Day of Silence for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. A rally to break the silence was held earlier that day on the Union Patio.
Five competing queens each did an original dance routine to a song. One sang an original song called “Vanilla Ice Cream” after telling a short comedic story about avoiding a “fat, ugly date” and hinting at doing some jail time.
The competition was hosted by Katie Stiel, a staff member at the Center for Student Wellness, who took the alias of “Johnny Danger.”
Danny Piper, a senior in anthropology, acted as “Lamia” and took the crown with a routine dance and lip sync to “Rude Boy” by Rihanna. He described his drag style as “Rihanna and Kim Kardashian on crack.”
Piper has been doing drag since high school and said this was his first performance in years. To him, drag is an artistic expression.
Eduardo Galindo, or “Wanda Lust,” is a senior in health promotion and education and was the runner-up in the contest. Galindo performed a lip sync to “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and the crowd greeted the routine with deafening cheers.
“Adele is a big girl. She’s gorgeous and talented,” Galindo said when asked why he chose that routine.
Although the contest was originally planned to have the top two queens lip sync for the crown, a twist in the show allowed each queen to lip sync and then have the winner decided by cheers.
“This was the best contended drag race I’ve been to as an undergrad at the U. It was very energetic,” said Samora Magadla, a senior in sociology.
Christine Vega, a graduate in education, said she really liked the venue.
“I loved the energy. It reminded me of my home [in L.A.],” she said. “I think it’s important to have safe spaces like this where people of color and the people of the LGBT community can come together.”
The show was a fundraiser for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center. There was a suggested $3 donation at the door, along with tips for each queen during her performance. The show earned $267 for the center to put toward scholarships.
The LGBT center, the ASUU Directory Board and the Utah Pride Center helped put on the event.