PARRISH IS BURNING: The Interview with the Mind Behind It
As the weather begins to dip below freezing and finals roll around, it’s comforting to look back at the semester and remember more exciting, celebratory times. Return to the pounding music and electric atmosphere of “Parrish is Burning: A Drag Show.” Starting at 8:00 PM on Saturday, November 18th, Olde Club became the site of one of the many Pride Month events celebrating queer students. Hosted by Miss Gay Philadelphia America, Aida Stratton, the drag show featured Drag Queens Fanci Dismount, Roxi Starr, and Lady Geisha.
Pride Month Planning Committee’s Romeo Luevano ‘19 organized both this semester’s drag show as well as the show this past April. This week, Voices caught up with him to chat about the planning and execution of this two hour event.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Voices: What inspired you to invite the drag queens to Swat?
Romeo Luevano: I was on the Pride Committee last year and I already really wanted to throw a drag show. I’m not a party person, so having a fun time watching performers is a fun way to spend a Saturday night. Plus, who doesn’t like drag?
V: What went into planning this event?
RL: The first time was easier than the second time because I reached out to my performers too late. I think it took me nine hours to book everything and get everything done. It was on the second official Pride Committee meeting [when I suggested a drag show] and then I got back to them the next day and was like, “I’m done.” A lot of it came from networking stuff who knew people who knew other people and got back to me.
V: What was this show like compared to the first one?
RL: Two of the performers were the same, but they brought different people because they wanted to change it up, but it was in the same family. Lady Geisha wasn’t even supposed to be there that day, but one of the performers had an emergency…but it worked out in the end.
V: How did you think the event went?
RL: I’m very self aware that it was more cringey than last year due to the racist undertones of the performers. I really wanted POC performers for both shows, but the first time it was all white and this time Lady Geisha was the only person of color. Just because they’re great performers doesn’t mean they can be as blatantly racist as they were. Next time around, I want to look for more POC performers in the Philly area.
V: Was there anything that surprised you? Anything you weren’t expecting?
RL: Believe it or not, this time around was more cringe-worthy than last time, like when they kept checking out the guys and telling them to take their shirts off. Things like that, I was just like, this can’t be happening right now but it’s happening right now. I was living for it, but I was like, “what did I do?” But I found it kind of funny that they were hitting on the straight men...to give them a taste of their own medicine. I could tell they were clearly uncomfortable and I was like, “what does this say about misogyny in public spaces?”
V: What would you say to other Swatties who enjoyed the event and want to know more?
RL: Unfortunately, it’s not semesterly. It just happened that pride month was in the spring last semester and now we’re changing it back to the fall. But it’s not the last one. There will be one in the fall [of 2018].