Arts, Culture & Entertainment

USC QuASA reminds USC of ‘The Birth of Drag’

After being online for the past two years, the USC Queer and Ally Student Assembly’s 12th annual drag show is celebrating queer joy in person through the art of drag.

Graphic of USC QuASA's annual drag show. The title "The Birth of Drag" is in the center with mermaids surrounding the letters.

Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent are coming to USC for the 12th annual drag show Nov. 13.

After two years of virtual drag shows, Sasha Urban, the director of the show, is excited to be able to put on the USC Queer and Ally Student Assembly’s latest drag show in person and share the artistry of drag to the USC community.

“I wanted to direct it last year, but I did not think I was the person for that job,” Urban said. “So when I knew we were able to do it in person this year, I jumped at the chance to do it. So it is very special to me.”

The title and theme of the show, “The Birth of Drag,” reflects how drag is making a comeback to USC after the uncertainty with the pandemic.

“The concept behind that, The Birth of Drag, is that drag, in a way, sort of died at USC,” he said. “There was nothing really happening on campus and this show kind of marks the return and the rebirth of the drag scene and drag performance at the school, and I hope it continues for years after,” Urban said.

Gal Fieri, a student performing in Saturday’s show, is thrilled that an event like this can bring people together to learn about drag. It also brings joy to her fellow students and community when the atmosphere at USC has recently been ominous and sad.

“I think it’s very sorely needed because obviously USC has a lot of stuff going on and a lot of darkness and a lot of fear,” Fieri said. “And I think drag is kind of a way to combat that. I’ve never been sad at a drag show and I hope that that is the experience of everybody who comes to our show.”.

For some students, this is their first time performing in drag.

Satin Ringz, also known as Caleb Flenoury, is excited to be performing on a stage and in front of a live audience.

“I haven’t been on a stage since the third grade...I feel like it will just be a testament to my growth,” Flenoury said. “I don’t really do anything artsy.”

Through the drag show, that statement has changed for Flenoury. He is an electrical engineering student and invited his whole robotics team to come watch him perform.

“I’m in a club called USC Makers, the top tier robotics club at USC,” he said. “I told them about it and they are all coming. A lot of them are excited to see it.”

People may think that an engineer, like Satin Ringz, would not be interested in something like drag because he is a stem major, but Flenoury shared it is a surprising misconception.

“You’d be surprised by how many people who are engineers still like that stuff and just do not have exposure to it,” they said. “I think it is very impactful for me to be here (the show) and own it and tell everyone to come see the show,” explained Flenoury.

Classmates are not the only ones that are going to be in the audience for the show. The parents of some of the performers will also be in attendance at the drag extravaganza.

Not a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community get that kind of support from their parents, making their presence at the show to see their child perform much more powerful and meaningful.

Jaime Angel, also known as Nicholas Guzman, invited their parents to the show and said they are conflicted about them seeing Jaime Angel on stage.

“I feel like it’s a different version of me through a different lens,” Guzman said. “I guess it is exciting, but also kind of weird to show somebody.”

USC Drag Show's poster showing the talent that will be performing next to the student performers: Monique Heart, Meatball, Lil Baby Bok Choi and Lorelei.

This drag show means so much to the LGBTQ+ community at USC and it is not like any show led by students at other California schools, Urban said.

“I’m really grateful for it,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that UCLA doesn’t have a student drag show. From what they told me, there is no community of drag performers on campus. We’re really lucky to have that here because a lot of students support each other.”

In addition to the students, professional drag queens will also be performing: Monique Heart from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Meatball, Lil Baby Bok Choi, and Lorelei.

The doors to the show at TCC Ballroom underneath the admissions center open at 7 p.m. More information and registration to the drag show’s return to campus can be found here.

To all my performers, YOU BETTA WERK!