By Michael Ybarra
There comes a time in someone’s life where they realize they have truly achieved greatness. Mine just came in a rather queer fashion. On the night of Sept. 8, 2023, I was recruited to help run the music for KTSW’s drag show to kick off San Marcos Pride.
Upon overcoming entry challenges, I arrived at The Porch, a KTSW staple for all Third Thursday events. A little irritated but mostly excited, and then the queens arrived.
Lacquered in exaggerated contour and elaborate eyeshadow but still in their boy clothes, I welcomed them one by one.
First, the show host: Cedrina Fierce, seemingly seven feet tall in her heels and the designated ringleader of the night. Then, Miz Zgi Zgi, Yvonna F. Mei, Jupiter and finally Shitonya Face, all wheeling in suitcases containing elaborate garments, props and wigs teased to the ceiling.
However, Fierce voiced concerns about the lack of information given to her. They did not know where to set up, where to get changed, and most importantly, they did not know who would be running the music for the night. I quickly found them a place to get ready, but the issue of music proved to be a pesky one.
In the end, they asked if any present station member would be willing to man the soundboard, and I seized the opportunity without a second thought.
A whirlwind of events happened in quick succession. I was hastily prepared by The Porch’s drag show coordinator, given a sheet of lip sync selections, sat at the soundboard, and before I knew it, I had hit play on Doja Cat’s “Paint The Town Red” as Fierce strutted across the stage and opened the show.
Music thundered through the space as the queens took turns lip syncing to queer classics like “Chun Li” by Nicki Minaj, performed by Jupiter, and Britney Spears’s “Slave 4 U,” performed by Miz Zgi Zgi.
Even more deafening were the screams of patrons and station members alike while the queens danced, and in Mei’s case, levitated around the space with cartwheels, leg splits and twirls to her own music mixes of “Turn Me Out” by Kathy Brown and Doja Cat.
During the show’s intermission, the queens prompted members of the audience to walk in their size 10 heels for a Drag Race-esque competition. Four contestants were pulled on stage to lip sync to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” a perfect selection for its iconic chorus and wide appeal, and the crowd loved it.
Although I was extremely nervous, running the music proved to be easier than I expected. I simply pressed play, gradually brought the sound knobs down when songs came to their end, and in between, I could scream to my heart’s content. Losing my voice at a drag performance seems to be an unspoken requirement.
Fierce, after speaking on the recent legislation attacking drag queens and the LGBTQIA+ community, announced the last song as a reminder of the queer community’s resilience. As the cast of Glee sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, all audience members joined in, and the sway of their phone flashlights lit the entire bar. A powerful reminder of how shared hardship transforms the downtrodden into a pillar of light.
These queens took a chance on me. I had no experience, and I barely knew them aside from seeing them perform at other KTSW hosted events, but this experience allowed me to grow closer to the local queer community in San Marcos. It was a defining moment in my young life, and I loved every minute of it.
KTSW will continue to host drag shows, and I cannot wait to attend as many as I can.
Written by: Cayla Soriano