An inside look at the SWANS drag show

Alejandro Santoyo, Staff Reporter


Announced in March, Student Who Are Not Silent (SWANS), hosted a drag show at Elgin Community College, calling it “Am I the Drama?” They were fundraising weeks leading up to students selling bracelets collaborating with OLAS. The show was held on April 29 in the Jobe Lounge.

The entrance for ticket holders was in front of the bookstore. There was an archway of balloons with colors resemble the LGBTQ colors. With unicorn balloons at the ends of the archway. To the right of the entrance was a concession stand. It sells condiments for guest and merchandise with the name of the show, Am I the Drama. Right of the audience members would be a table to get tip money for the performers. The stage being straight from the entrance. A black curtain with the word DRAMA on the stage. The entrance for the performers being covered by peach and black balloons. Rows of seats in front of the stage with a red carpet creating two sides the left and right side.

As multiple audience members walk in starting around 6:30 p.m. An estimate around 100 people came to the show. The show starts around 7:45 p.m.

The event starts with the announcements and rules from the host, Jacki Love. Love announced that tips were mandatory and consent with the performers was needed. Love hyped the crowd up before the dancers perform.

“I have this mission statement that if I made someone laugh even if it’s a millisecond. I did my job,” Love said. “I’m just here to be that icon that everybody needs.”

Love started the event asking the audience members if this is their first drag show. Around half the audience members raised their hands. Love encouraged the audience to makes some noise.

For some audiences, it wasn’t their first drag show, including Andrea Pizano. Pizano brought her friend Jessica Mc Clark along.

“My friend Andrea texted me the flyer and I was very excited,” Mc Clark said. “I love RuPaul’s Race, I watched every single season, so I said sign me up.”

The performers come out to dance one by one to music’s of their choice.  After each performer, Love would plug their Instagram accounts for the audience members to follow. Each performer would be greeted with loud cheers and singles being thrown at them.

After all the performers preform, it was time for audience involvement. Five audience members were chosen to get on stage and create a dress using garbage bags. The audience members being paired with every performer. After making the dresses, all five guests walked the red-carpet runaway. The audience members voted for the best runaway as the five cut down to three people left. The tiebreaker was for the three remain guest on stage preform to Nicki Minaj “Starships.”

After the conclusion of the audience members involvement, it was time for an intermission.

“I think they are doing really great with audience involvement with space so big,” said local drag performer known as Fantasy B. “Keeping every audience member engaged.”

The performer came out in more dazzling outfits; one by one it seemed that the performers came to get involved with the crowd, dancing more near the crowd. Love’s own performance closing the show.

SWANS said after the show that they hope to host a drag show every semester and to bring in some new performers for the next show.

“The next time ECC host an event we’ll probably be in it,” said local drag performer Saturn Uranus, speaking of themself and Fantasy B.

SWANS promoting the drag show heavily during March and April, and hoped that their efforts and that of the drag show host, Love, would help teach  audience members the connection to drag shows and the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Drag is the art form of gender and queer freedom. I think day to day we have to where a suit and tie and having normalize and fit in what a society wants us to be. Drag is our escape to are authentic selves it’s our time to party and our time to live free,” Love said. “SWANS is the perfect acronym for drag. Students who are not silent, being able to be loud and proud and being ourselves is most important.”

It is expected that Jacki Love would be returning to host the future drag shows as well. When asking the audience members if they would like to attend another drag show at ECC, it seems like there was excitement of the idea.

“Definitely, yes,” Pizano said.