over Drag Ball|
Despite early rumors to the contrary, one of
the main staples of Oberlin College life is indeed happening again
this year, but with a historic change: the Drag Ball is being
entirely organized by students.
For the past nine years the ball
has been largely overseen by Chris Baymiller, the assistant director
of the Student Union.
But when last semester’s layoffs occurred,
11 people from the Student Union were dismissed and Baymiller was
given the responsibilities of two of those fired people, on top of
his present duties. In the name of sanity, Baymiller handed students
his Drag Ball responsibilities. In order for us to have a Drag Ball,
students had to do the work,” senior and Drag Ball organizer Keith
“A lot of people have wondered why Drag Ball is so
late in the works,” Lawrence continued. “Usually Drag Ball planning
begins in the middle of first semester every year. This year with
the administration weighing down on staff, no one was sure Drag Ball
was going to happen. So when the word came through that Drag Ball
could happen, we had our first planning meeting, which was the week
before Christmas break. That’s a really late start for Drag Ball
because the process of planning Drag Ball includes writing proposals
for money from student organizations.”
Other changes this year
will affect mainly the ticket-buying process and the number of
people who can attend who are not from the College.
letting 100 non-students, non-faculty in,” said junior Brad Walsh,
another of the event’s main organizers. “That’s something the
College’s lawyers told them to do.”
This year there is also a
reduced price for tickets bought at any of the events posted as part
of transgender awareness week. “We’ve only sold 150 out of 1290
tickets, so most people are going to pay $15 [instead of $10],”
Some students have expressed irritation at the new
ticket sales policy. In previous years tickets were available in
advance at Wilder desk or downtown at Stitch by
Organizers remained encouraged that a grand time will be
had by all. “We have professional DJs. Hot hot business. And we have
four professional drag queens,” Lawrence said.
In the line-up are
Payje Turner, a Cleveland-based female impersonator and Maxwell, a
drag king from Columbus, both of whom will be hosting the event. The
other three queens scheduled are Miss Shari, Lady Akasha and
Vallerie Velour, all from Cleveland.
The theme of this year’s
ball is “Ex-Lovers and Friends,” an idea that Lawrence says came
from the fact that the runway set designer is a former romantic
interest of his who has remained on good terms.
As is part of
Oberlin tradition, Drag Ball comes at the end of transgender
awareness week, an event organized by the Drag Committee students.
The week has included screening of films such
as XY Drag and How Do I Look?, the sequel to Paris is Burning, and
speakers such as Nicole Pitts, who delivered a talk entitled
“Finding God’s Candy: Discovering the Secrets Under the Skirt of
The week will end on Sat., April 5, with a “how-to”
headed by emcees Payje Turner and Maxwell at 1:00 p.m. in Warner