With her back to the audience, the red curtains gave way as a spotlight illuminated the tall figure of Lucinda Bianco. She batted her fake eyelashes under a voluminous, blonde wig as her long legs strutted into an act inspired by Lady Gaga.
Nearly 200 people gathered to watch Bianco and her cohorts perform at California State University, Long Beach’s Beach Auditorium to watch brothers and friends of Delta Lambda Phi strut their stuff to raise funds during the eighth annual Draglicious on Friday.
“Drag is a form of art; it’s a way for people to express themselves,” Delta Lambda Phi brother and event MC Juan Gonzales said. “It’s important for us to break the stereotypes and showcase drag as a way of art, and not something that people should be afraid of or judge.”
Draglicious featured performers from various fields of the drag community. Foxie Adjuia channeled anime character Ryuko Matoi in red patent leather stilettos, a breast-bearing navy blue ensemble and an enlarged scissor blade. She lip-synched to her own mix of K pop, Japanese and American artists.
“I want people to not only be entertained by it,” Adjuia said. “[They should] also be like, there is an African-American drag queen who is progressive enough to not only do the standard vision of drag, but also go above and beyond.”
Adjuia found her outlet while being part of Delta Lambda Phi, a social fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men, to start her drag career. Her first stint at Draglicious three years went well and ultimately triggered the beginning of her on-stage reign.
She has plans to audition for RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality show focused on trying to find “America’s next drag superstar.”
Attendee Daniel Flores, a fashion design freshman at CSULB, enjoyed watching the queens bring their unique personalities to life through their performances.
“It’s spontaneous,” Flores said. “ That’s what drag is. You have to be outrageous. You have to perform. You have to entertain people.”
Flores was especially captivated by Robbie Osa, who commanded the stage in a sequined black leotard and thigh high boots. She cartwheeled off of the stage and danced her way up the auditorium aisle to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Madame Lestrange took the stage and performed a chilly reenactment of Rama Lama. She wore a red and black 19th-century inspired corset dress, a blood red wig and a blank expression.
Madame Lestrange is classified as part of the goth and alternative queens, Adjuia said. Drag queens are often grouped into categories: sexy, feminine queens like Madame Lestrange make up the “genderfuck” scene, while the “rock-grunge” queens are portrayed as “really, really dark” and the “bar scene” queens are those who book most of their acts at bars.
Long Beach has a big drag culture and scene, Adjuia said. “I think this is the perfect place for a drag queen to live.”
The city hosts a number of drag-related events and performances at Hamburger Mary’s, Malarkey’s Grill and Club Ripples, Adjuia said. Friday night’s event raised money for gay and straight alliances in local high schools.
Draglicous has proven very successful for Delta Lambda Phi, Gonzales said. It’s been the second consecutive year that the Beach Auditorium has been at capacity. He credits the success to the city’s open mindedness and large LGBT community.
“People come [to Long Beach] and they feel included” Gonzales said.