The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Art history professor Fredo Rivera ’06 brings Drag Panel Extravaganza to Grinnell

Contributed by Fredo Rivera.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, art history professor Fredo Rivera will bring the students, staff and community of Grinnell “The Drag Panel Extravaganza,” a drag performance and subsequent Q&A.

Rivera reached out to five performers in the Miami and Chicago areas to be a part of this panel: Naan Stahp, King Femme, Karla Croqueta, Miss Toto and Lucy Stoole.

While they all perform drag, the kings and queens visiting Grinnell all come from a wide range of backgrounds. Naan Stahp works as a professor of philosophy and ethics at Miami Dade College, King Femme is a genderqueer performer whose work involves trans advocacy, Karla Croqueta is the current holder of the Miami Ultimate Drag Queen crown and Miss Toto is a fitness trainer and marine biologist. Both Miss Toto and Lucy Stoole are well-established queens in the Chicago drag scene.

In an email to The S&B, Miss Toto wrote that people can benefit from their contribution to the panel because of the uniqueness of their drag experience.

“I have had very supportive parents from the beginning and [was even] having exposure to drag queens as a kid. I want to show people that there isn’t always such a struggle, and with drag or being queer, it is not always the worst. I also want people to understand that with drag, it is art and entertainment and trying to walk the line between the two, if that matters to you!” Miss Toto wrote.

The College has hosted various drag shows and events over the last decade, the most well-known being the fall and spring bi-annual shows. While these performances are organized by students, Rivera has curated drag shows in Miami. He often incorporates “political themes such as migration, queer identity and climate change” into the performances.

Rivera organized this specific event on Oct. 3 because he wants his students “to experience and write about live drag performance early in the semester.”

Rivera references the first-years enrolled in his tutorial “… And the Rest is Drag.”

“My dragtorial, as I like to call it, explores drag’s relation to art, media and politics,” Rivera wrote in an email to The S&B.

“I am working with an incredible group of 13 students, and our discussions have allowed me to expand my own knowledge on drag and queer history. There are many ways we can define drag, and I hope it provides a helpful and healing model for students to think about how they build their academic and personal selves in the space of our Grinnell bubble.”

Another reason Rivera gave for hosting the event is that he wanted to share his “world of drag with the broader Grinnell community.”

It was here at his alma mater that, as a student, Rivera discovered his attraction to drag. His drag persona came to life while he was writing his dissertation, but he didn’t start performing until years later in 2016.

“For me, doing drag was both about finding a community and exploring ways to express my authentic and creative self,” Rivera wrote.

“I am still exploring the ways in which drag relates to my work as a scholar, especially with considering the role of queer performance in relation to space and visuality.”

Professor Fredo Rivera ’06 performing as Lolita Cabrón during “Tidal Rage: Drag en la Frontera” at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami. Photo contributed by Fredo Rivera.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *