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Night of the Living Drag crowns its Creature of the Night

Photo courtesy of Leo Barnhart
Night of the Living Drag competitors (from left to right) Ariel Assault, Seth Osterone and C*nty Cullen

The Transgender Coalition at SSU hosted Night of the Living Drag, a Halloween-themed spin on Shawnee State’s annual drag show, at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in the Morris University Center ballroom. Ariel Assault, aka David Michael Vastine, served as host for the event, which had been sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Equity Center (WGEC) in previous years.

Students, staff/faculty and alumni were encouraged to sign up to compete for a crown, and a total of five student performers competed. At this 18-and-older event, community members cheered for the fearsome, queersome performances put on by each competitor, but only one took the title of “Creature of the Night.” 

Ariel Assault opened the show with a performance of “Science Fiction, Double Feature” from Rocky Horror Picture Show, wearing a highly teased red wig and a black, fringed leotard. After her performance, Ariel Assault explained the premise of the competition by introducing each title that was up for grabs. Best Royalty would win Thing of the Night; Best King would win Beast of the Night; Best Queen would win Fright of the Night; the “Miss Congeniality” award, Scream Queen, would go to the performer with the best Halloween spirit; and Best in Show overall would win Creature of the Night. These titles were awarded by judges Christina Baker, former director of the WGEC at SSU, Austin Raines of Career Services and Marlita Cadogan of Student Life. 

The first category of performance was Drag Royalty, under which there was one competitor by the name of Lilith Luv, aka student Nic Yarman. Lilith Luv was covered head-to-toe in red body paint, donning a black cloak-like dress and tall black heels while dancing to “The Red Means I Love You” by Madds Buckley. This performer had the crowd’s hearts bleeding and beating for them, and they earned the title of Thing of the Night. 

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The next category of performance was Drag Kings, which also only held one competitor named BeelzeBaddie, aka student Andy Anderson. This king’s torso was covered in black paint, his head carried black goat-like horns, and he wore disheveled clothing. Their song of choice was “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic! At The Disco, and throughout the song, BeelzeBaddie began transforming into a demon. After one particularly skillful move, BeelzeBaddie whipped off his flannel to reveal wings emerging from his back, revealing his final form and earning him the title of Beast of the Night. 

“Talk about being devilishly good-looking,” MC and drag queen Seth Osterone, aka Chandler-Ryan McClurg, quipped into his microphone.

After BeelzeBaddie’s performance concluded, a short intermission began, during which audience members volunteered to lip sync for a prize. The first two volunteers performed to “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, and the second pair performed to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. The winner of each lip sync was chosen by audience applause, and each winner received a plastic crown and a fidget toy. 

Once the intermission concluded, Ariel Assault introduced the final category in a new, long black dress and straight blonde wig. This category contained performers Laguna Luv, C*nty Cullen and Seth Osterone. The first queen amongst the three to perform was Laguna Luv, drag sister of Lilith Luv, who performed to “Blood // Water” by grandson. Laguna Luv, aka student Levi Yarman, emerged in a dark green cloak, black wig and a dress with iridescent, jellyfish-like tendrils falling in a fringe from the arms. Once her cloak was flung off, revealing her entire costume, the entire crowd was cheering and jeering for Laguna Luv. The charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent showcased by Laguna Luv earned her the title of Scream Queen.

The next queen to perform went by the name of C*nty Cullen, aka Lio McElroy, and the song they performed to was “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse. As a reference to the baseball scene in Twilight, Cullen was wearing a white basketball shirt tied over a green top, a white skirt and pink high heels. From mouth to stomach, Cullen was covered in fake blood, and they were not afraid to bite. At one point, Cullen did the worm on the dance floor, and the entire crowd was under their thrall. Cullen’s outstanding performance earned them the title of Creature of the Night, making them Best in Show.

After Cullen knocked it out of the ballpark, it was time for the final queen to perform. Seth Osterone walked onto stage with a white sheet covering his head, which he threw off once he began to lip sync. Dressed in a black latex leotard, fishnets and organza gloves, Osterone performed to “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. During a bit of dialogue in the song, Osterone retreated backstage and re-emerged with a black Halloween bucket full of candy. Just as Osterone threw the candy, his music stopped. The MC backstage restarted the song, and Osterone performed the number once again with a few small edits. Osterone’s personality and perseverance earned him the title of Fright of the Night. 

Following Osterone’s performance, two more lip syncs occurred in the same fashion as the previous two during the tally break, and a third lip sync went on between competitors BeelzeBaddie and C*nty Cullen before winners were announced. Once the tally break concluded, the five performers lined up on the dance floor to await the results.

Creature of the Night, Fright of the Night, Beast of the Night and Thing of the Night all took home a crown and prizes. Scream Queen and the lip sync victors also earned a crown, and each received a different fidget toy. The night ended with a quick speech from Seth Osterone, who acted as primary planner of the event, extending a thank you to audience members who came to support The Transgender Coalition, drag and queer students.

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About the Contributor
Chandler-Ryan McClurg
Chandler-Ryan McClurg, Staff Writer
Chandler-Ryan McClurg is a junior at Shawnee State University majoring in communication. He was born and raised in Portsmouth, and while Shawnee State University wasn’t his first college choice, he has made the best out of his situation. During his time at Shawnee State, he has discovered a calling and passion for communication, in part because it has allowed him to truly find his voice and be heard. At only 20 years old, McClurg has made a name for himself as a staff writer for Shawnee State’s Bear Buzz, a newsletter made by students for students. His work also extends into providing a voice for queer students on campus. When not at school, McClurg is just as passionate about his activities off campus as a poet, actor, musician and drag artist, as well as a member of the queer community. He wants to find a job that makes him happy and keeps his orientation toward justice at the forefront. When McClurg was asked what message he would like to share with the world, his response was, “Live life like a sitcom,” which is the motto he lives by each day.

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