The Drag Show in Downtown State College is an Experience Worth Going To

posted September 3, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by John Westmoreland.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The first 2021 drag show in State College kicked off with a bang this week on Thursday, August 26th welcoming students back to campus.


The venue was packed with the crowd out the door, spilling onto South Pugh Street and East Beaver Avenue causing some attendees to stand in the back, and even outside, to look in through the windows.


Seats had to be moved closer to the stage in a last-minute attempt to accommodate more guests. The crowd was mostly young women from Penn State, with the occasional well-dressed and groomed man.


The Y2K themed show starred 5 mysterious (mostly Penn State) men who organized and ran the event.


(It should be noted that the performers and audience members refer to the dancers as women which will be how this article mentions them for the remainder of the passages.)


The stage presence of these ladies rivaled that of any well-known performer, like Kanye West or Justin Bieber, flaring in some Rihanna for good effect. The crowd seemed to know what was in store for the night ahead by the looks of anticipation and complete silence before the event coordinator.


After a short introduction from the hostess (also a dancer in the show named Amethyst) the first performer began immediately by jumping on stage to a roaring mix of applause and cheers. Ear deafening chants of the dancer’s names and claps to the beat of “Hollaback Girl” and other 2010 classics followed the entire event.


Even the most prolific of concert-goers would have met their match with a crowd as supportive as a parent at a child’s piano recital. Every move and split was followed by an applause. Dancers accepted “donations” during their performances and would even stop to pick up cash being handed or thrown at them only to throw it up in the air moments later when the beat or song changed.


Attendees hopefully came prepared to be grazed by a performer or winked at for cash. Picking up thrown off wigs, and being a good sport about the surprise lap dances makes new, or veteran, audience members a great plus-one at these events. Either way, all in attendance are sure to have a good story to tell following this event. 


The experience of a drag show is entirely unique because of its basis on empowerment of the dancers over gazing for sexual enjoyment. The crowd was more supportive and loving than eyeballing of the women, and each time a dancer finished and a new performance began the crowd’s energy seemed to transfer from one song to the next.


This energy ramped through all the way to the 10 p.m. conclusion of the event, ending with a thunderous applause and reminder of the well-spent entry fee of a mere $5. Standing or sitting, the show is not one to be missed, and they will take place every few weeks at the discretion of the event coordinators and dancers. Be there early, as good seats can mean the difference between being grazed by the performers or being ignored.


Rating: 4/5


John Westmoreland is a first-year student majoring in film/video. To contact him, email jww5941@psu.edu.