SUNY New Paltz has such a wide range of clubs, from the anime club to the chess club, there’s something for everyone. One club that has certainly made a comeback since the pandemic is the Kings and Queens of New Paltz, a student run drag group here on campus.
Last Saturday, the Kings and Queens of New Paltz had a thrilling HalloKWEEN performance just in time for spooky season! The show featured some chilling performances from Kupid Kandycorn, Robin Heartz and Skam Likely.
The audience was full of laughter during a reenactment of “Karen” at the Parker Theatre Starbucks, and full of energy during a performance to “T.N.T.” by AC/DC. Skam Likely did a performance to the song “Sweet Transvestite” from the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Drag is a lot of work! Not only is there makeup and costumes to worry about but the students have to set up for the performances. This includes the lights, cameras and action! The decorations included some scary posters made by the club posted across the walls and props that had to be carefully handled because of “Carrie” inspired fake blood and other spooky occurrences. Some of the performers got there 3 hours before the show even started.
Not only was this show special because of the upcoming holiday but also because of the way COVID-19 halted drag for months. It took a toll on a whole community of queer artists in and out of New Paltz. During the show both the performers and audience members wore masks. Obviously, the circumstances took away from the lip-syncing aspect, but the performers were able to make the most out of the situation.
The turnout at the show was great. According to one artist, Cesario Tirado-Ortiz, known in drag as Skam Likely, over 100 people attended which was unexpected. Because of COVID delaying live shows and the abundance of new members, this was most of the kings and queens first performance.
At the end of the show there was a very unexpected event, the engagement of Robin Heartz and Kupid Kandycorn. This will lead into the next Kings and Queens performance, The Royal Wedding of Robin and Kupid. The date is still being determined but Likely says to “expect a lot of drama, romance, and an objection or two.”
The Kings and Queens club here at New Paltz is especially important because of its inclusivity. The drag world tends to be hostile and exclusionary towards certain members of the LGBTQ+ community if they are not cisgender men. But at New Paltz, the club accepts everyone regardless of their gender, experience, or expression. Just like Likely says, “No matter who you are, drag is for you to embrace, you just have to take the first step. I hope people see that soon.”
To keep updated on the upcoming events and to support the club follow @queensandkingsofnewpaltz or stop by at a meeting “to make new friends and indulge in a chill, queer space on campus.”