CHICAGO — The city’s annual drag festival is back this weekend, and this year’s show features an all-trans and non-binary lineup of performers and speakers.
Chicago is a Drag festival is 4-10 p.m. Friday outside of the Cheetah Gym parking lot, 5248 N. Clark St. in Andersonville. This year’s theme is “Chicago is A Doll House,” organizers said.
The event is 21 and over with ID and admission is free, though attendees should RSVP here.
The festival was created in 2019, selling out in its inaugural year.
Abhijeet, one of the founding members of the festival, said they were given an opportunity to try something new in 2019 that would celebrate drag as part of Pride.
The festival is organized by A Queer Pride, which includes drag artists Abhijeet, Bambi Banks-Couleé, JForPay and Kitty Banks.
“When we were approached with the idea of having access to the space to do whatever we want, we were kind of thinking how Chicago doesn’t really have a dedicated festival for drag during Pride,” Abhijeet said. “Like, we have various queer festivals but we wanted to give a platform to the past, present and future of Chicago Drag.”
Jazell Barbie Royale and Vander Von Odd are among the headliners.
Jazell Barbie Royale is a well-known figure in the pageant community, the winner of Miss Continental and is a contestant on “Queen Of The Universe,” season two. Vander Von Odd won the first season of “Boulet Brothers’ Dragula.”
Along with the performers, all of the DJs, hosts and guest speakers are non-binary and trans.
The hosts are Angelíca Grace, Chanel Mercedes Benz, Danika Blake, Dutchesz Gemini, Irregular Girl, Luv Ami-Stoole, Switch The Boi and TiKi Vonté.
“So we have performers from all levels of experience, from all various kinds of drags, from various parts of the city that all came together for this one large showcase,” Abhijeet said.
While the drag show is the main event, the festival also includes guest speakers Cae Monae and Zahara Bassett, founders of Life is Work, the first Black- and Brown trans-led social services organization in the Midwest.
“We want to have guest speakers at the event to address the state of being trans and non-binary in the country right now,” Abhijeet said. “Each of us have personal and community responsibility to our trans siblings. Because as much as it is a celebration of drag and drag culture, so much of it stems from forcing yourself to be represented in spaces that might not accept you. And we don’t want to lose that side of drag, and we want to continue to honor that and the festival.”
The event is sponsored by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Back Lot Bash, Gay Do312, Dispensary 33 and Daze Off.
Here’s the lineup of performers:
- Alexandrea Diamond
- Aurora Gozmic
- Boo Boo Kitty Fuck
- Bubba Boom
- Christi DaVinci
- Clit Hardwood
- Cosmo Dragón Fiero
- Cunty MeMe
- Denime Infiniti Sanchez
- Dida Ritz
- Doja Thee Kiki
- Dusty Bahls
- Helvetikah Blak
- Joan Jullian
- Kenzie Couleé
- Lila Star
- Lilith Babylon
- Lucy Stoole
- Lynzo The Heartthrob
- Mick Douch
- Omani Cross
- Penis Envy
- Rachel Slurrz-Stoole
- Ramona Slick
- Sasha Sota
- Selena Rivera
- Smokey Karmichael
- Travis Fiero
- Yuíza Beach
- Ziggy Banks
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: