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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

A man with crimson paint on his face outlining a shade yet paler gestured toward three seats. My friends and I sat down. The stage was empty and the hall was filled. The air smelled of perfume. I turned my head to one side and looked out across the room. The audience was garbed in Halloween attire, drag costumes and garish wigs. As I looked back toward the stage, a voice sounded behind the curtains. It announced that the show was to begin in fifteen minutes. 

The air resumed its general foreboding. My friends and I made small talk with the drag patrons beside us. One of them leaned forward and spoke. She said that the suspense was killing her, and just as she said this the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed and we turned our eyes upon the stage. 

An audio tape came over the speakers. It made reference to Conservative news outlets and several big-name commentators. The audience was laughing as the curtains parted, and our host appeared on stage. He had a black bandana on his mouth and leather pants on. In his hand, he carried a thronged whip that fell almost to his knee. I reclined back in my seat and grinned. Music started and he began to dance, making outrageous gestures with his hips and with his hands, actually whipping himself on par with the music. The crowd was already adoring, exploding into violent applause and hurling ribald comments toward the stage. Eventually he tore off his bandana, revealing a red ballgag in his mouth. Once the music ended, he removed the gag and smiled. He formally introduced the show: UCR’s annual Halloween Dragshow. Another man appeared from behind the curtains, joining the host. This man was the co-host, and they joked for a while before drawing out the first performer. 

A purple light suddenly became the stage. A man clad in red bolts of cloth emerged and began lipsyncing. He had a string of lights wrapped round his waist and another in his mouth, so that his smile literally glowed. One by one the dancers went. One painted green and another with a huge wig on her head. One dressed in lingerie and another in a white blanket. All cheering and laughing, and the audience rising from their seats to offer up their meager tips. The dancers ran across the floor with their hands outheld before them. The air was good. The hosts were very funny. 

At the end of the night, when it was all over, the performers had lined up on stage beside the hosts. They were bowing and grinning as music blared out of the loud speakers behind them. Dollar bills were tucked under the thin folds of their clothes. I leaned forward in my seat and joined in the general applause.

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Harry Ross

UC Riverside '26

I am a current freshman at UCR pursuing an English degree. I have a strong interest in exploring the lifestyle and culture here through writing, and journalism. Thanks for reading!