|Students make over Drag Ball
By Channing Joseph
Despite early rumors to the contrary, one of the main staples of Oberlin College
life is indeed happening again this year, but with a historic change: the Drag Ball is being entirely
organized by students.
For the past nine years the ball has been largely overseen by Chris Baymiller, the assistant director
of the Student Union.
But when last semesters layoffs occurred, 11 people from the Student Union were dismissed
and Baymiller was given the responsibilities of two of those fired people, on top of his present
duties. In the name of sanity, Baymiller handed students his Drag Ball responsibilities. In order
for us to have a Drag Ball, students had to do the work, senior and Drag Ball organizer Keith
A lot of people have wondered why Drag Ball is so late in the works, Lawrence continued.
Usually Drag Ball planning begins in the middle of first semester every year. This year with
the administration weighing down on staff, no one was sure Drag Ball was going to happen. So when
the word came through that Drag Ball could happen, we had our first planning meeting, which was
the week before Christmas break. Thats a really late start for Drag Ball because the process
of planning Drag Ball includes writing proposals for money from student organizations.
Other changes this year will affect mainly the ticket-buying process and the number of people who
can attend who are not from the College.
Were only letting 100 non-students, non-faculty in, said junior Brad Walsh, another
of the events main organizers. Thats something the Colleges lawyers told
them to do.
This year there is also a reduced price for tickets bought at any of the events posted as part
of transgender awareness week. Weve only sold 150 out of 1290 tickets, so most people
are going to pay $15 [instead of $10], Walsh said.
Some students have expressed irritation at the new ticket sales policy. In previous years tickets
were available in advance at Wilder desk or downtown at Stitch by Stitch.
Organizers remained encouraged that a grand time will be had by all. We have professional
DJs. Hot hot business. And we have four professional drag queens, Lawrence said.
In the line-up are Payje Turner, a Cleveland-based female impersonator and Maxwell, a drag king
from Columbus, both of whom will be hosting the event. The other three queens scheduled are Miss
Shari, Lady Akasha and Vallerie Velour, all from Cleveland.
The theme of this years ball is Ex-Lovers and Friends, an idea that Lawrence
says came from the fact that the runway set designer is a former romantic interest of his who has
remained on good terms.
As is part of Oberlin tradition, Drag Ball comes at the end of transgender awareness week, an event
organized by the Drag Committee students.
The week has included screening of films such as XY Drag and How Do I Look?,
the sequel to Paris is Burning, and speakers such as Nicole Pitts, who delivered a talk entitled
Finding Gods Candy: Discovering the Secrets Under the Skirt of Religion.
The week will end on Sat., April 5, with a how-to headed by emcees Payje Turner and
Maxwell at 1:00 p.m. in Warner Dance Hall.