A Bobby Pin and a Dream

Words by Angie Rice. Photos by Kat Ross.

Drag is one of the biggest forms of art within the queer community, including kings, queens, “freaks” and other titles. It promotes a safe space to express different identities within gender, appearance and internal thought processes. Kent’s local performers and locations show how prevalent and supportive the area’s drag scene is. 

“Kent’s drag scene began just a few short years ago, seemingly out of nowhere with a handful of entertainers that had a passion and drive for success with their drag, namely Comatose Why-Wintour, Mikayla Moon and Frutisha Punch,” said local drag queen, Monica Mod. “Their passion for drag inspired other entertainers such as myself, and it sort of turned into a chain reaction of inspiration to do drag that made the scene blow up into what it is now.” This also shows the amount of credit the performers will give each other. 

Many new performers in the area, myself included, have their first performance at the Pickle Show, located at the Burnt Pickle in Kent, just off campus. Comatose Why-Wintour, the show’s director, said that creating the Pickle Show has been the highlight of their drag career so far. “I’ve helped so many new entertainers get their start at my little show, and I’m thrilled I’ll help so many more!” 

Another local bar in Kent that hosts many drag-related events is Zephyr Pub. Drag parties, bingo and even a competition titled Mx. Zephyr are all events that performers can sign up for and show their stuff. Many local performers list Zephyr as their favorite place to perform because of its atmosphere, energy and supportive audience. The bar has multiple spaces for performances, including the indoor stage at the front of the bar as well as the large patio outside. Many people have referred to Zephyr as the best bar in town, for their entertainment and their reasonable drink prices. 

Another local spot for shows is Scribbles Coffee Company. A few different shows have been popping up there, including local king Himbo’s “Brunch and Crunch.” When asked about his show, Himbo said, “Performing there just brings more people to Scribbles, and I want nothing but success for the place…The employees and owner are all great people who deserve the world.” Himbo’s shows happen every couple of months on a Saturday in the afternoon, so if you’re in the area, stop by and enjoy. Monica Mod also has a show at Scribbles starting in April, so be sure to follow her for updates. 

Kent State’s campus itself has held multiple drag shows on its grounds over the past few years, namely the Sex Week drag show. Frutisha Punch, host of the last two Sex Week drag shows, explains the show’s process, “Auditions are held, we perform in front of over 700 students, and we get to perform with a RuPaul’s Drag Race Queen.”

By attending shows, following drag performers on social media and tipping, anyone can support their local drag community. “Performance is nothing without the audience. Bring some ones and tip your performers!” said king Edward Lygma aka the Rizzler. Deadly Ambition supports showing up, even if you don’t have the money to tip, “Just come out and be engaged! Half of the time I can’t afford to tip my friends, but you bet I’ll be there front and center cheering until my voice goes hoarse.”

“Local drag shows are the most entertaining events you will ever attend. The creativity and energy of a drag show is something you have to witness yourself in order to understand its impact,” Mod says.

Of course, on top of everything else people can do for the drag community, making sure to keep drag shows safe and supportive is paramount. Mx. Zephyr season 3 winner, Frieda Von Freakum, said, “Keeping drag in the public eye is helpful for continued queer representation. Supporting local drag is important because without local drag, you wouldn’t have those big names to fawn over!” 

“Queer people deserve to feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves and their art anywhere,” Frutisha said. “And to have this community here in Kent, Ohio is so important.” 

If you’re interested in finding your favorite performers in the area or where to see them in action (which is highly recommended), please follow these Instagram accounts:

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