Student performers join drag icons, shake moneymakers

Julie DiNisio

Staff Writer

Saturday evening at the Commons saw Richmond’s most fabulous take the stage at VCU’s sixth annual Drag Ball. Mistress of ceremonies Sharon Husbands – attired in hot pink and a mountainous curly blonde coiffure – began the festivities with a crowd-pleasing rendition of RuPaul’s “Don’t be Jealous of My Boogie.”

Bleu Devereaux contributed several performances, including one choreographed to Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams.” Tiffany Devereaux – local drag icon, Godfrey’s hostess and former Miss Gay Keystone America – danced and sang to Katy Perry in a stunning black and white ensemble. Several drag kings also exhibited routines, like Xavier Drake, Richmond’s universally acknowledged “King of Kings.”

After the professional performances, VCU students and amateurs took the stage to show off their talents.

VCU Sociology and Women’s Studies major Joe Blanton performed at the ball as Gaymie Lee with Holden R Close, VCU student Caitlin Rucker. The two performed their version of A Day to Remember’s “If it Means A Lot to You,” with Gaymie singing the female verse and Holden singing the male verses.

“We didn’t really want to do the poppy stuff and this [song] was more our style,” said Blanton, who is president of Queer Action.

All proceeds from ticket sales and tips for the queens and kings were donated to Fan Free Clinic, Virginia’s oldest and longest-serving free clinic. Shawn McNulty, director of health outreach, said, “We reach out to the least served – the poor, sexual minorities and uninsured. That’s what Fan Free Clinic is about.”

The Drag Ball was planned and sponsored by Queer Action, VCU’s LGBTA social and political activism and advocacy group. Nandi Shabazz, vice president of Queer Action and VCU student, said, “I’m involved to support my fellow officers. I also think it’s a great benefit.”

A raffle was also held with winners receiving gift cards to local restaurants and establishments. As the enigmatic Sharon Husbands began the raffle, she demonstrated, then asked her volunteers on stage to “wave your hair back and forth” for an “impromptu drag moment.” Similar shenanigans occurred throughout the evening, keeping the audience delighted and generous with their tips.

2BNB buses provided all-night transportation to and from the raging afterparty at Godfrey’s, which kept the flames fanning well into the night.

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