Drag Show Spring 2023: Cowboys vs. Aliens

Sancho Stardust brought the house down in the last Drag Show of their Grinnell College career.

Krista Spies, Staff Writer

2023 Iowa College Media Association award winner, First Place – Best Print/Online Feature Photo

A spaceship piloted by some gay glittery aliens sends down a beam to pluck up a cowboy — who is wearing six-inch-heeled, bright pink spurred boots — from everything they know. This is the energy that came from the extraterrestrial-Western experience, also known as the Grinnell College Drag Show of the spring 2023 semester, put on by the Queer People of Color organization (QPOC) this past Friday night with the theme of cowboys versus aliens.

Jenny Rodrigues Santos `23, a.k.a. Sancho Stardust, is the president of QPOC and was the main organizer of Drag Show. Because this Grinnell tradition is so important to her and no one else had expressed interest in leading the event this semester, she stepped into the role.

“I remember my first year going to Drag Show. As a queer person, it was really good to see familiar faces up there just owning it. It’s a really empowering thing, I think,” Rodrigues Santos said, saying that drag provides spaces of empowerment and freedom for queer people without restrictions and stigma. “It’s important to me as a gender-variant person.”

Both Rodrigues Santos and co-emcee for the night, Evelynn Coffie `24, a.k.a. Cosmic Cunt Wrangler, spoke on how the theme originated from the gay imagery prevalent in both cowboy and alien aesthetics. Coffie said that though they are very distinct things, media, such as movies, unites the two themes together.

Rodrigues Santos also spoke on the significance of QPOC’s role in hosting the event. She said that QPOC’s purposeful creation of space for queer people of color addresses the fact that many queer spaces become white-dominated, and many spaces for students of color become straight- and cis-dominated. While Drag Show is QPOC’s largest annual project as a student organization, the event also gives the club a reason to continue and receive resources, Rodrigues Santos said, in addition to it being a crucial space for queer students of color. In both advertising for and putting on Drag Show, QPOC spreads awareness of its presence to the rest of the campus along with leaving an institutional mark with each rebirth of the event.

One more unsaid reason for Drag Show comes from its fundraising efforts via tips, which in the past have traditionally benefited organizations that help LGBTQ+ people, according to Rodrigues Santos. This semester, the money raised in bills that the audience members rain on the performers will go to the Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund.

“Drag has its roots with queer people of color,” said Coffie. “I think it’s important that no other group on campus should be doing this because what is your stake in it? I think for us, there is history behind it. It’s critical.”

Cosmic Cunt Quixote poses in a cow-print body suit and fishnet stockings next to Cosmic Cunt Wrangler who sits in a rainbow cowboy hat, red flannel and jeans.
Cosmic Cunt Quixote (left) and Cosmic Cunt Wrangler co-emceed Drag Show. (Paul Hansen)
Cosmic Cunt Wrangler props their cowboy boot on the knee of a seated audience member mid-lap dance.
Cosmic Cunt Wrangler (right) performed a lap dance on an eager audience member. (Evan Hein)










Sushi Salmon crawls along the stage on hands and knees with a yellow crochet head piece over the face and red splotches along both arms.
Sushi Salmon performed to “Alien” by Lee Suhyun. (Paul Hansen)
The three performers in TBoy and Co. stride down the runway holding hands.
TBoy (center) and Co. performed to “Teen Idle” by MARINA. (Paul Hansen)
Sancho Stardust caresses a fan who stands in the audience beside the stage while dollar bills fall through the air.
Sancho Stardust caresses an adoring fan who leans out of the audience. (Paul Hansen)
Sancho Stardust is caught mid-hair toss with arms spread out side to side.
Sancho Stardust brought the house down in the last Drag Show of their Grinnell College career. (Evan Hein)
Prinxess Pisces and Princex Venusia pose back-to-back on stage.
Prinxess Pisces (left) and Princex Venusia performed to a mashup of “Space Cowgirl” by Tanerélle and “Bank Head” by Kelela. (Paul Hansen)
Ms. Jen Dermé crouches on stage to reach into the crowd.
Ms. Jen Dermé wowed audiences in their third Drag Show of their Grinnell College career. (Paul Hansen)
Farrah Way and Ms. Jen Dermé pose in the hallway of Harris Center.
Farrah Way (left) and Ms. Jen Dermé before they tore the house down in this year’s Drag Show. (Paul Hansen)
Farrah Way and Ms. Jen Dermé crouch on stage in front of their adoring fans.
Farrah Way (left) and Ms. Jen Dermé performed to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga (featuring Beyoncé.) (Evan Hein)
Melon Connie stands with arms spread and head thrown back.
Melon Connie wowed the audience in lacy black tights, sword in hand. (Paul Hansen)
Melon Connie sitting with legs spread on stage and a sword in hand.
Melon Connie performed to “Fences” by Paramore. (Paul Hansen)
La Coocaracha strides down the stage in a red bustier, black cowboy hate and black leather pants while swinging a whip overhead.
La Coocaracha danced to “Whip It” by Nicki Minaj. (Paul Hansen)
Galaxandria from the House of Glam wore a fluffy multicolored-top and waved a rainbow-colored fan.
Galaxandria from the House of Glam struts down the runway. (Paul Hansen)
Dayana Phallactic Shock and Bella Louise VanDem Fontayne on stage in cowboy boots and sparkly metallic tops.
Dayana Phallactic Shock (left) and Bella Louise VanDem Fontayne performed to “You Can Have Him Jolene” by Chapel Heart. (Paul Hansen)
Country Spice mid-knee-slide on stage in a black cowboy hat.
Country Spice knee-slides down the runway. (Paul Hansen)
Country Spice holds their arms out in the final iteration of their costume as an audience member tosses cash onto the stage.
Country Spice was inspired by last semester’s Creatures of the Night Drag Show. (Paul Hansen)
Country Spice stands in a red dressing gown under the red stage lights.
Country Spice wore a red silk dressing gown before stripping down to their final outfit while dancing to “Naked” by Lizzo. (Evan Hein)
Country Spice in black cowboy boots, garters and a black cowboy hat has their back to the audience as money falls through the air behind them.
Country Spice danced to “Naked” by Lizzo. (Evan Hein)
Chan-Haru is in a backbend while wearing a green body suit with two circles cut out of the front. Black Star River lies on their stomach under the other performer.
Black Star River slid under Chan-Haru who performed a backbend mid-performance. (Paul Hansen)
Auntie Fa crouched at the front of the stage reaching out to her adoring fans.
Auntie Fa described participating in Drag Show as “a long time coming.” (Paul Hansen)
Auntie Fa striding down the stage mid-performance in a yellow blazer and vibrant head scarf.
Auntie Fa danced to “2On” by Bree Runway. (Paul Hansen)


Drag performers celebrate at the end of the 2023 spring Drag Show. (Evan Hein)
Crowd members dance and reach for the balloons falling through the air as light refracts from the spinning disco ball above.
The crowd dances to “Y.M.C.A.” by Village People as Drag Show comes to a close. (Paul Hansen)