Life's a Cabaret: A Night of Allure and Debuts

On Friday, May 4th, UPRM’s SpectRUM, a student organization focused on creating inclusivity for the LGBT+ community on campus, brought the cabaret to Chardon’s Figueroa Chapel Amphitheater with their end-of-semester drag show, Life’s a Cabaret. It was a night of allure and temptation as the college community was treated to a spectacle of emotions, sensuality, and humor.

Hosted by emerging icon, Ana Macho, the show featured performances by the House of Cardoza, composed of: Ninel Monroe, Carmina Rose Cardoza, Brithanny Chacón Cardoza, Nicole Chacón, and Desiré Cardoza, house mother and Puerto Rican drag legend whom recently celebrated her 20th performing anniversary. The night also featured performances from: Misandra Bolac; Mistress Lommira; Antonela Marín; Glittering Gabriel; Popcorn, who provided us with a fiery performance to Grimes’ Kill V. Maim; Morgana Cardoza; and me… in boy-drag.

To understand my contribution to the show, there needs to be context. I love drag—I’m a follower of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the queens featured on the show, and I’m always looking to support local talent. Personally, I am interested in trying out drag—I even have a character: Alison Vendetta—but a combination of uncertainty and lack of resources has kept me from doing so. Although it hasn’t stopped me from doing voluntary lipsynchs during past drag shows with attempted death-drops and fierce squatting.

So when Vashti Tacoronte, SpectRUM’s current president, asked me about performing on the then upcoming show, I began considering it. However, I was certain that Alison Vendetta wasn’t ready to debut, so I decided on doing a performance in boy-drag, which is when drag queens perform in male clothing. I knew I wanted to do something that I liked, while also making a reference to something that I knew drag fans would get. I decided on performing a mash-up of Lady Gaga’s, “Joanne” and “John Wayne," and RuPaul’s, “Freaky Money." Inspired by Trixie Mattel, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 3 (okay, maybe she wasn’t the best on the season, but she won and that’s that). I wore black jeans, a white shirt, accompanied by a bow-tie and a pink cap, reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” album cover.

Alison Vendetta as Tracy Lattel aka me performing.

 

Watching the show, I was rather uncertain of how my performance would play into it. Everyone else was in drag, and I was the last one before the closing numbers, so I felt pressured to do something memorable—while keeping in mind to have fun and that prior experience has shown me that Colegio drag show goers usually welcome any type of performance. When my time came, I went out with an intended-to-be-humorous “Hi.” and did what I signed up to do.

There were some mishaps during my performance, and I was mortified when I first watched the recording my boyfriend took, but looking back on it, I had fun and the reception from my friends and from fellow performers have all been positive. My mortification quickly turned into motivation to try it again, and I feel proud of my performance. Maybe next time, I’ll do it in full drag. Maybe.

The show was amazing, arguably the best one yet. Stand-out performances, in my opinion, include: both of Ana Macho’s numbers, the opening by House of Cardoza, Carmina Rose Cardoza’s, Be Italian and Popcorn’s over-the-top experience.

Ana Macho and Vashti Tacoronte handing the queens their certificates.

 

As a gay male, it’s always warming to see a drag show. Drag Queens’ inclination for raunchiness may turn off some, but I believe everyone should take time to learn the history of drag and its role in the LGBT+ rights movement, and see the underlying message of community present in all drag shows. SpectRUM’s role in campus inclusivity is noteworthy and events like these serve as a reminder that there are people in the general community that support LGBT folk, and I can’t wait to see what the organization has in store for next semester.