The Oberlin Review

Drag Ball: A Photo Essay

Matthew Antezzo and Brian James

May 3, 2019

Professional drag queens and students took the stage at the ’Sco last Friday for the annual Drag Ball, titled Oberlin is Burning. Drag Ball is an Oberlin favorite that celebrates queer history and creative expression. The stars of the night this year included The Vixen, Miss Toto, Chi Chi DeVayne, and Shea Couleé. The following artists’ statements are from two students who documented the night. Brian James, College senior: I brought my camera to Drag Ball because I knew everyone would want their picture taken. … Obies were trying new, glamorous looks and defying gender norms. … Compliments were flying and people were feeling themselves. That energy was perfect for photographing. Almost every person I phot...

Drag Ball Attendees Must Prioritize Trans, Queer Identities

Editorial Board

April 27, 2018

Hundreds of students will flood Wilder Hall Saturday night dressed in gender non-conforming clothing and ready to have the time of their lives. Drag Ball is one of the highlights of the school year for many students. It is a time when both LGBTQ and non-queer students can come together, celebrate queer culture, and enjoy an abundance of glitter. When Drag Ball goes well, it gives LGBTQ students — especially transgender and gender-nonconforming students — a chance to celebrate their identities without fear of judgement. The evening should also serve as a way for non-queer students to respectfully explore gender nonconformity and express appreciation for their queer friends. The workshops individuals are required ...

Consent Month Reframes Sexual Conduct

Consent Month Reframes Sexual Conduct

April 6, 2018

Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual assualt, violence, and misconduct. Oberlin’s first official Consent Month debuts this April marking a collaborative effort between the Oberlin’s Office of Title IX, the student group Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct, the Sexual Information Center, and the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. There will be speakers, programs, workshops, and events in the coming weeks to raise awareness around consent and healthy s...

Drag Ball Goes to Hell and Back with New Theme, RuPaul Performances

Julia Peterson, Production editor

March 31, 2017

Drag Ball has been one of Oberlin’s most iconic annual events since the 1980s. A celebration of the queer community and drag performance and culture, Drag Ball will take over the basement of Wilder Hall — encompassing the ’Sco, the Rathskellar and DeCafé — on April 22. This year, Drag Ball will feature a lineup of nationally recognized musicians and drag performers, along with local talent. Latrice Royale, of RuPaul’s Drag Race season four and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, will be performing. Rapper and drag queen Big Momma will be performing, as will M. Lamar, who, according to College senior and Drag Ball organizing committee Head Em Westheimer, is a “radical queer Black afrofuturist neo-goth singer, pia...

Drag Ball Reaches High in Second Year Below Ground

Alice Shockley, Staff Writer

April 13, 2012

Drag Ball is back to life and the ’Sco is getting hotter. It’s been two years since the Drag Ball-less spring of 2010, but on Saturday April 7, the event came back for its second season at its new home, the ’Sco. Famous drag performance artists, DJs and queens with wild costumes were brought in from areas all around the U.S., including New York’s famous Box Club and New Orleans’ celebrated “Queen Diva” Big Freedia. ’Sco-goers were consumed by the psychedelic spectacle of glamour, divas and the exuberant decorations. But Drag Ball here at Oberlin is about far more than this glamorous extravaganza; it’s also an educational event that represents Oberlin’s socially progressive values. Drag Ball...

Drag Ball Revamp Deviates from Tone of Event’s Past

The Editorial Board

April 6, 2012

By the way, Drag Ball is this weekend. You might have missed the Facebook reminders (because there really were none), the posters (also few and far between), and most unfortunately, if you just arrived on campus this September, you might not know the Ball is a thing at all. As seniors who remember the all-Wilder-consuming, Wizard-of-Oz-themed, end-of-an-era blowout Ball of 2009, we cannot help but lament the apparent demise of the great Oberlin get-together to celebrate the queerness in all of us. The cancellation of Drag Ball in 2010 due to a lack of student organizational support and funding spurred discussion about whether, in the almost two decades since its inauguration, the event had lost its focus. Some...

Off the Cuff: Andre Patton, Drag Ball Committee president

Alex Howard, News Editor

April 6, 2012

What is the difference between drag, cross-dressing and transgender? I am going to tackle transgender first. It is a process that a lot of people aren’t as well aware of and it’s one that a lot of people think is just this person who may be transitioning or they feel that they just woke up one day and decided they wanted to be another gender when it is much more than that. It’s this overall feeling of how they feel they should be represented and how they feel and identify with themselves. It’s an identity. It’s something that is very, very complex and something that is very dear to those people who identify with it. And it’s a process that takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time emotionally, it takes a lot o...

Drag Ball: The Show Went On

Drag Ball: The Show Went On

April 15, 2011

Early on Friday, April 8, President of the Drag Ball Committee and College senior Hunter O’Neill received an e-mail from City of Oberlin Fire Marshal Dennis Kirin informing him that he had limited Drag Ball attendance to 280 people: 100 in the ’Sco and 180 in DeCafé. “The minute I saw this information, my jaw dropped,” O’Neill wrote in an email to the Review. After a reevaluated fire code severely curtailed the number of attendees allowed into the Halloween Guided by Voices concert ...

Drag Ball: A Manifesto in Two Parts

Hunter O'Neill

April 6, 2011

Hunter O'Neill President, Drag Ball Committee The term “drag ball” is thrown around on campus as if it were an Oberlin-specific phenomenon, but this could not be further from the truth: drag balls find their roots in Harlem at the turn of the 20th century. Though initially organized by white gay men, they featured multiracial audiences and participants. The balls became sites of non-conformist expressions of racial, sexual and gender identity, and began to transform from “costume parties” to full-out drag beauty pageants. Slowly, as the 1960’s rolled around, white participants and organizers began to exercise a form of control and appropriation that offered queens of color little to no voice, respect ...

Established 1874.