Tonight, Epic Event Center will host a world-record-breaking event as over 100 performers from all across the state of Minnesota will come together for A Night of 100 Drag Performers.
The event is presented by the Golden GRRRLS (the fundraising group; not the crew with Bea Arthur) as a benefit for the Aliveness Project, a community center located in south Minneapolis that provides services and programs to the HIV/AIDS community. The celebration will feature singers, actors, and cabaret performers from all over the state, along with national headliner Jackie Beat. And while it will feature the same flare as other local happenings, this promises to be far more than your average run-of-the-mill drag show.
"It's really an opportunity to celebrate the 40-year history of drag in the Twin Cities," says event producer Iain St. James. "We've invited 167 performers of all ages to participate. It's funny because some of them haven't been in drag in 20 years, and some of them will be new to the scene. So it should be a really good mix."
[jump] But it's not just a benefit party, it's also a record-breaking event. The evening's show will set a record for the most drag queens performing the same number at the same time (Guinness officials recognize participants as "queens," but Iain explains that this event is open to drag queens, drag kings, and everyone in-between). The current record sits at 53, a number that the Golden GRRRLS should have no trouble topping.
"The honorees at the event will all perform one number together," St. James explains. "It's a song that everyone knows, and the choreography will be very basic and well-known since we only get one rehearsal at Epic prior to the show." While he was tight-lipped about what the song and performance will entail, it's safe to say it's going to be a spectacle.
"When the club asked us what we wanted to do for decorations I told them, 'I've got 100 drag queens; what do I need decorations for?'" he laughs. In addition, the event will include a memorial portion for drag performers who have passed.
While today's Twin Cities' drag scene is limited, St. James hopes that this event will help bring more awareness that it used to be a far more limited. "Back in the '60s and '70s people would get together at houses and have drag parties, but then they would have to change before they left because it was illegal," he says. "In fact, it's still technically against the law in St. Paul for a man to dress up as a woman."
Even though old, outdated laws may not be supportive of Friday's event, there is one high-ranking official who is showing his appreciation for the Golden GRRRLS and the record-setting event: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
"The mayor just made a proclamation for Friday, which will officially be Drag Performer Recognition and Appreciation Day," St. James says proudly. "It's all about recognizing the contributions of drag performers over the past 40 years, and embracing the work of the Aliveness Project. It's very exciting and we're proud that he has given us his endorsement."
IF YOU GO:
Golden GRRRLS "A Night of 100 Drag Performers"
June 3, 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Epic Event Center
$30 General Admission, $45 VIP