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Performers Are Changing the Dynamics of Drag

A woman who hopes to change the definition of drag brings her show Wavelengths to Moore November 2.

“My goal is to expand the boundaries of what drag is in Philadelphia, specifically while presenting performers that are doing something different than what you will see in the Gayborhood, or perhaps that are being more vulnerable in their drag,” said Katie Rauth, curator and host of Wavelengths.

Rauth is part of the show with her alter-ego ‘Lezzie McGuire,’ a name she carried over from her time playing in roller derby. Her day job is administrative assistant at Vox Populi, and she has a side business making costumes for drag and burlesque performers, a line she got into when she couldn’t find pieces for herself.

“I identify as a female drag queen, but that’s really frowned upon by some members of the drag community,” she said. “They don’t see that as drag.”

Whereas drag shows are known for being raucous spectacles featuring highly choreographed productions, performers in Wavelengths engage their audience in deeply personal performances that touch on topics like gender, race, mental health and queerness.

“People I book really want to get vulnerable with it,” Rauth said. “This show gives performers a place to really experiment, and the goal is to really elevate what people are doing.”

In the Gayborhood, if you have a quiet audience, that’s thought of as a bad crowd, Rauth said. “I want to change those dynamics. If you feel you’re respecting the piece by not yelling and screaming and cheering, that’s ok.

“But I do want my audience to interact,” she said. “I have a whole spiel at the beginning – if you like something, put your finger in the air, yell. There’s definitely space for both.”

The show at Moore features four other performers: Daphne Sumetimez, a Brooklyn-based drag performer and hostess; Kemar Jewel, a drag performer from Philadelphia, now living in New York; Vigor Mortis, winner of the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards Drag King of the Year 2017; and Minnow Future, Philadelphia’s premier drag clown.

Wavelengths will take place in The Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia. It is part of the Bodyworks exhibition and is free and open to the public. This event will feature explicit content and may not be suitable for younger audiences.


Published on October 26th, 2017