By Samantha Reid
Some of Chicago’s favorite professional drag queens will be entertaining Roosevelt University students on March 19 at the SMASH Out Cancer Drag Show. The event is hosted by RU Proud in conjunction with the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and will take place in Congress Lounge.
Audience members can expect a night of non-stop entertainment, according to RU Proud President Matthew Smith.
“If you’ve never been to a drag show, then you’ll want to save this date, because this is a night you’ll never forget,” Smith said.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with an “RU Dragtastic” hour designed to get students in on the action. For that first hour, students can come dressed in their own drag and lip-sync a song by a member of the opposite sex. The set-up will be similar to the university’s previous open-mic nights, but with a drag twist.
“It is highly encouraged for [students] to dress as much in drag as [they] feel comfortable doing,” Smith said.
The SMASH show will be hosted by Victoria Vandekamp — also known as Smith. Six professional drag performers will also be featured. Fans of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” can look forward to seeing Monica Beverly Hillz perform live, as she was featured on season five of the Logo show.
Not only is the show for entertainment, but it will double as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. RU Proud and APO are requesting a $3 suggested donation at the door.
The show takes place on campus, but it is open to the public. APO and RU Proud encourage students to invite friends and family, as they hope to raise as much as possible for the cause.
The event is set to be a night of exciting performances, but Caitlin Spratt, APO member and event coordinator, said she also believes it speaks to what’s important to the co-sponsoring organizations, as well as to the university as a whole.
“I feel like [the event] really embodies the level of inclusion Roosevelt and APO [are] always striving to have,” Spratt said. “We want to make sure this is set up for everyone to enjoy, whether it is your first drag show or your hundredth.”
While Chicago has a large community of drag performers, this type of show hasn’t been done at the university in recent years. The groups in charge of the event hope to expose a new crowd to drag shows with this fundraiser.
“I love drag and feel like it is a major part of the LGBT community,” Smith said. “I wanted to see drag at Roosevelt by the time I graduated, so I took this on, and it’s finally a reality.”
With Relay for Life coming up on March 29, this is one of several fundraisers leading up to the event to raise money and awareness about the Colleges Against Cancer event. Students looking to donate directly can do so by visiting Roosevelt’s Relay for Life page.
Organizations and groups of students can also register as teams and attend the event in support.