If you attend either performance of "Dam Right Drag Night's Second Annual Pride Extravaganza" this weekend at the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis, you'll be entertained by a variety of performers from throughout the mid-valley.
But be prepared: Your host for both evenings, Lucielle S. Ballz, will also try to sneak some education in with the fun.
Allyson Dean, one of the performers who helps to coordinate the drag shows, said Ballz makes a point of doing plenty of preparatory work before each show, and there's little doubt that she'll let these evenings slip by without doing a bit of what Dean called "queer education." And seeing how these shows at the Majestic occur during Pride Month and during the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the New York City incident that fueled generations of LGBT activism, Lucielle should have no shortage of material with which to work.
But that won't shortchange the fun portion of the show, which, after all, is subtitled "Here Comes the FUN."
The shows, which kick off at 9:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, are a sequel of sorts to last year's performance at the Majestic, with one big exception: After last year's show sold out, the theater's supervisor, Jimbo Ivy, suggested that organizers add a second show.
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Dean and colleagues accepted the challenge, but then added a level of complexity: Although a small handful of acts will perform on both nights, the Friday show will be significantly different from the Saturday show.
That should allow a number of different performers from throughout the mid-valley to take the stage at the Majestic: "We feel like we have a fairly good pool from which to draw," Dean said.
And, in fact, Dean said, the organizers had the luxury of being a little choosy for this show: They asked would-be performers to submit video of them in action. "If they've showed us a video and we think they've got something interesting to show on stage, then great."
The final result should have the feel of a variety show, complete with special guests, including Starena Sparktacular of the Tart of the Valley Burlesque Troupe. "We're really very focused on making it a well-produced show," Dean said.
And, Dean said, the show should feel welcoming to people with all sorts of different gender and sexual identities: "We have tried hard to create a space that feels affirming to a number of different identities."