Performers drag it all out tonight at Duke Ellington


By Jessica Cabe

Diversity respects all genders.

That is the message students will deliver at CAB’s D.R.A.G. Show 7 p.m. tonight in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

“There are a few NIU and former NIU students [participating],” said Brittany Tidwell, associate vice president of CAB’s Fine Art committee and primary organizer of the event. “We also have a mainstream performer that goes by the stage name Sherry Vine, a rap duo from [Southern Illinois University] and other surprises.”

Sherry Vine is a controversial character from New York whose website opens to a disclaimer stating the content is only suitable for viewers 18 and older. She began her career as a Las Vegas show girl before moving to New York and performing as a singer and comedian. She is also involved in film, theater and cabaret performances.

But not all of the performers are professionals.

William Baker, junior undecided major, will participate in the drag show. Although Tidwell said none of the performers from NIU regularly dress in drag, this is not Baker’s first foray into women’s fashion.

“My first time dressing in drag was Halloween last year,” Baker said.

Although everyone is involved in this event for fun, Baker said he has mixed feelings about women’s clothing and said that men’s clothing is more comfortable.

“There’s a lot of air where air should not be entering [in women’s clothing],” Baker explained. “I feel a little naked. After dressing in drag, I immediately change into boy clothes.”

Each participant will have costume changes throughout the show. Baker bought his outfits from the Salvation Army and some from his own closet.

“My favorite outfit for the show is a skirt,” Baker said. “It has ruffles, it’s very small and shows your figure. I wear a black shirt on top, and it looks like one dress; it’s all black. It just flows really well.”

Senior sociology major Mack Lewis will be the host for the evening, but he will be wear his men’s clothes.

“I was going to [dress in drag], but I didn’t have time to put anything together,” he said.

Lewis has worked in the LGBT Resource Center for three years, and he is also celebrating LGBT History Month Monday by participating in “A Down Low Dirty Shame on Black Male Sexuality,” a discussion about the misconceptions and realities regarding men who secretly have sex with other men.

Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center have worked together since summer to organize the drag show in celebration of LGBT History Month.

The D.R.A.G. Show is free and will be an opportunity for students to celebrate a new kind of diversity, said Tidwell.

“The purpose of the show is to increase diversity and awareness,” Tidwell said. “Diversity goes much deeper than hues of skin and practiced religion.”