Pride was displayed in dizzying quantities on Saturday night at the Lafayette Spot Tavern.
The bar’s outdoor area, illuminated by incandescent lights and cooled to tolerable humidity by a passing thunderstorm, hosted the Lafayette Pride drag show. Host Anitta Schwanz, a drag queen from Crawfordsville, kept the crowd – which filled the bar to their ears – loud and bubbling as a septet of artists scrambled across the gravel dance floor.
“Attitude control! Schwanz called out to the audience between performances. The response of the crowd educated by Schwanz?
“F — you fat bitch!”
Admission was $ 5 at the door. The profits were donated to the Lafayette Pride community center, according to the organization’s Facebook page.
The crowd, a diverse mix of college students and townspeople – many of whom were draped in necklaces and pride attire – stayed active and excited through the night. As the performers whirled on the floor, twirled and danced over people, members of the audience handed them folded $ 1 bills as a token of appreciation and support.
Drag queen Angela blackmailed the crowd to Lil Nas X’s “Call Me By Your Name” as she performed her routine. Dressed in an orange, red and dark blue sequined pantsuit, Angela ended the performance with a hard kick to the legs that sent the crowd shivering with joy.
“That scared the hell out of me!” a spectator near the front of the crowd shouted.
Another performer, Emma, did a pirouette on Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” as the crowd muttered with impatience. Emma strolled around, collecting dollars, before suddenly landing on a thunderous split that sent gravel cascading into the audience, which erupted into cheers.
Afterward, Schwanz, who captivated the crowd all night long with his mocking humor and self-deprecation, addressed his philosophy on performance.
“95% of the reason we do this is because we’re f —— entertaining,” Schwanz said.
With the audience crammed into the small confines of the outdoor space collectively raising the heat, this is a testament to the entertaining value of the performers that almost everyone stayed all night.
Justin Campbell, a recent Purdue web development graduate, said the show was more interactive than previous drag shows he had attended.
“The ability to be so close to them and move with such energy is a lot more engaging than just watching a stage from afar or something,” said Campbell.
Campbell and his friend Morgan both witnessed Angela’s kick up close.
“If they had kicked me I would have complained,” Morgan said with a laugh. “That shit would’ve hurt.”
Campbell was impressed.
“I didn’t realize we had arrived at a 3D movie,” he said.
The last performance of the evening was a duet between Jade Marie and Veronica Fox. At the end of the show, Schwanz spoke about the real purpose of the night’s event.
“Once you’re proud of yourself, that’s when you know you’ve been successful,” said Schwanz. “If there’s one thing you can get out of this show, it’s (to be) proud of yourself.”