Looks were served, wigs were in full effect and several witch bitc*** were found at California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) third-annual drag show on Oct. 17.
Hosted by the Otter Cross Cultural Center, Otter Student Union and Pride Club, Werk Witch celebrated drag culture with performances from CSUMB students and celebrity judges.
Contestants of the show were inspired to put on their best performances as their scores were calculated by celebrity guests Kochina Rude, Betty Fresas and Jujubee. Bianca Zamora and RJ Enriquez emceed the event, both ecstatic to see performers work the stage as they led a smooth transition when broadcasting the various acts via Zoom.
Nayda Montana remained in the spotlight, winning the title of Drag Queen after a stunning performance. But, each contestant shined while on screen and created an entertainment-filled Saturday night for viewers.
Zamora and Enriquez were seen on screen as they hosted the event live and announced the name of each performer before changing the screen view to a recording of that contestant’s music video-style performance. Then, the judges provided live commentary on each video to assist viewers in deciding who would be voted as Mx. Congeniality of the evening.
Starting off the show with a yummy, red-wigged act, judge Betty Fresas performed to the song “Ice Cream Chillin” by BLACKPINK ft. Selena Gomez. Suited with a strawberry ice cream background, attendees could practically drool over fresas fun opening number.
In between segments, Zamora and Enriquez taught viewers about drag culture and history. “Shakespeare was said to use the phrases ‘enter dressed resembling a girl’ or ‘enter dressed as girl’ in his plays as notes that later evolved into drag,” Enriquez said.
Zamora explained that the common terms expressed during drag shows are derived from queer culture. “So much of our drag culuture of queer resistance, of queer movements, are due to the amazing work and brilliance of queer and trans Black and brown communities,” she said. These include words like ‘fierce,’ ‘realness,’ ‘werk’ and ‘voguing.’ These words represent feeling proud and being lively during queer celebrations.
Both the emcees and the judges reminded everyone watching to tip the performers on Venmo or Cashapp as tipping is a standard drag show practice.
The first contestant on the lineup was Madison Wisconsin who wore cherry, heart-shaped sunglasses accompanied by colorful hair barrettes. Wisconsin’s video was set at a local 7-11 to the song “Big Gulp.” Judge Rude said Winsconsin did a stunning job using “guerilla drag filming style.”
Next up was Teara Card, who was awarded Mx. Congeniality at last year’s Werk Witch. Filmed in an open forest, Teara Card created a beautiful punk-rock atmosphere and dropped dead to lay on a tombstone at the final note of the number.
Mixing gaming and drag, Frxsa Chavez played not one, but two roles in an “Among Us”-inspired music video to the song “Promiscuous” by Nelly and Timbaland. Chavez wore an all-pink outfit when the feminine part of the song played and an all-black outfit with a motorcycle helmet when Nelly’s verses played, all while a game of “Among Us” unravelled in the background.
We later find out Chavez’s black outfit represented the black avatar in the game and the pink outfit represented the pink avatar. Black was the imposter of the game and convinced other players to kick Pink off of the ship at the end of the song.
“I was watching something I did not want to end,” said judge Jujubee.
Jujubee sang her original song “Situationship” for the fans watching at home. She appeared in front of a white wall, illuminated by a single spotlight and wore a classic, black witch hat while singing the chilling ballad. Later on she announced her new song “Bad Juju” will be released soon, revealing the CSUMB community was the first group of people she told about the song.
Granting the virtual crowd with L.A. realness, Sarah Tonin gave a black-and-gold vogue performance switching from a black-and-white screen to a technicolor world of drag to an upbeat pop song. Following Sarah Tonin, Lalo Ka performed to an all-Spanish track wearing a devil mask in the spirit of Halloween.
Continuing with the spooky atmosphere, judge Kochina Rude ran from monsters holding a bloody butcher’s knife during her performance. The video was inspired by the classic horror film “C.H.U.D.” from 1984.
The last contestant of the night was Nayda Montana, who Zamora announced as the pop star queen from Dallas. Dressed in a black leotard and thigh-high boots, she performed to Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky.”
“I was gagged from the moment she came on stage,” said judge Betty Fresas. “I was like – wow.”
After a night filled with fierce, entertaining performances, it was finally time to crown one contestant as the Werk Witch Drag Queen.
Third place was a tie between Madison Wisconsin and Sarah Tonin with second place allotted to Teara Card. The title of Drag Queen was awarded to Nayda Montana and Sarah Tonin won Mx. Congeniality.
Despite being held virtually, Werk Witch was a success, and viewers closed their laptops feeling the spirit of drag in their hearts.