Nearly 100 people showed up for The Drag Night fundraiser event held at the Paris Fairgrounds on Friday, January 13, 2023.
Presented by Big Cityyy Arts and Paris Performers’ Theatre, the show was the final piece of the puzzle after a four-part Drag 101 Crash Course. The show consisted of ten performers that took their turns commanding the stage with a powerful presence.
Host Rubyyy Jones, performed their first song of the night and welcomed the crowd before explaining the rules of engagement.
“If you see something you like, if you see something that is funny, or if something is witty, if something is sexy, if something is cool, or if something is thoughtful – you let them know with your voice and your money!” they shouted into the mic.
The show consisted of Drag Queens, Drag Kings and Drag Queers that performed a variety of numbers for the crowd.
Before performers got on stage (almost all of them performing for the first time), Jones had each side of the audience shout the name of the performer and give a big cheer to help get the energy of the room up.
Nikole Beda, Vice President of Paris Performers’ Theatre, kicked off the night as their “JON SWANSON” character performing to “Comfortably Numb” by the Scissor Sisters with clips from Anchorman’s Ron Swanson character mixed in.
After the performance, audience members cheered and clapped as they hurried up to the stage to tip with five-dollar bills.
The first half of the show saw five other acts that performed music from Matilda the Musical, The Little Mermaid, Taylor Swift, and Sarah Slean.
Folks got a chance to visit the ATM, grab beverages and mingle before Jones welcomed everyone back after the 30-minute intermission.
Jones started the second half of the show by welcoming a long-time drag performer from the Brant area.
The performer, “Blair Bitch” got the crowd cheering and laughing as they performed “Hopelessly Devoted To You” from the popular musical “Grease.”
The following performances included: It’s In His Kiss by Cher, and I Need a Hero by Bonnie Taylor.
Closing out the show, a local queer trans farmer by the stage name HOLDEN REINS (who inspired the Drag 101 Crash Course) performed a striptease to a remix of several country songs starting off with Country Boy by Hank Williams Jr. and ending with Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson.
As the show came to an end, Jones welcomed the performers back to the stage for a collective bow as the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
Jones was thrilled with how many people showed up for the event to support their friends, family and Paris Performers’ Theatre.
“I’m super happy with the turnout and it truly is a reflection that people want to see things like this,” said Jones. “For the first show, and for barely having a month to publicize it – I’m thrilled, blown away, so pleased and so happy with the crowd.”
Chris Kendry, a local resident sitting in the front row was happy to see a drag event in the community and hopes for more events like it.
“It was phenomenal, and for the first time artists it was amazing – absolutely amazing,” he said. “This event gave an outlet for people who don’t feel like they have outlets in this town, something like this gives people the ability to be themselves and to feel that they finally belong somewhere. I want to see more of this in our town.”