By Caitlan Finan, Elinor Epperson, and Hailey Stutz, Contributors
It is time once again for Crystal Ball, Kaleidoscope’s annual drag dance. We are very excited to be hosting this event and would like to provide the campus with some relevant information, as well as our hopes and expectations for Crystal Ball.
Crystal Ball 2012 will take place on Saturday, May 19 from 9pm-1am in Anderson Athletic Center (the gym). The entrance will be at the main doors near the Facilities Management parking lot. Please note that doors will be closing at 11pm this year. Unfortunately, we have to ban shoes on the dance floor in order to protect the floor in the gym. There will be a place to keep your shoes at coat check; it is inadvisable to not wear shoes when walking to the event.
The theme this year is Haus of Drag; this means come in high fashion if you decide to stick with the theme. Though high fashion sounds costly, there are many inexpensive ways to step up your drag outfit. Buy clothing from Goodwill or the Upscale Thrift Shoppe (located on Westnedge) or borrow it from a friend (you can find really nice clothing at these stores for less than $15!). If you can’t scrape together this kind of outfit in time, you can go simple and wear, for example, a nice white shirt with black slacks. We can’t stress enough how helpful it is to borrow things from friends if you don’t have nongendered clothing!
For several years, Kaleidoscope has been campaigning to bring Crystal Ball closer to its roots. The dance started as a drag party in a dorm room and evolved from there to become the most highly attended campus event in the history of the school. Although the event itself has changed quite a bit over the years, Kaleidoscope wishes to keep the event’s original intentions: to be a safer space for LGBTQ and questioning students to have fun on campus. With this in mind, we want to emphasize the importance of treating the event with respect. This includes doing drag respectfully and promoting higher consciousness of what it means to do drag. We love throwing Crystal Ball and we understand that most people come to have fun and party, but we would prefer that no one has fun at the expense of others. For many students on this campus, Crystal Ball is an opportunity not just to dance, but to express themselves freed from the tethers of societal gender expectations and the fear of repercussions they often experience in daily life. So when students take Crystal Ball as an opportunity to mock LGBTQ communities (e.g., straight men dressing in “drag” that mocks stereotypical feminine gay men), it stops being a safer space for LGBTQ students.
We would also like to debunk a couple of myths about Crystal Ball. A phrase commonly heard on campus is “guys dress like girls, girls dress like sluts.” This could not be further from the intended purpose of Crystal Ball. We highly encourage everyone, including women, to dress in drag. We hope that everyone coming to Crystal Ball, whether to attend another campus party or to find a safer place to express themselves, will think about how they dress and present themselves.
Another issue is that of alcohol. Year after year students show up extremely drunk to Crystal Ball and its seems that the general contention on campus is that Crystal Ball is the event for which you drink the most (it has even made it onto the Kollege tumblr). This is not only dangerous—many of these students wear heels, including men who aren’t used to walking in them—it is also disrespectful, not only to the intentions of the event but also those of us who are putting on Crystal Ball. The purpose of Crystal Ball is not to drink heavily, but to dress in drag and have fun. That is why we put so much effort into the event. So when people do not respect this simple yet important request, we feel as though students on campus do not respect us or our efforts.
All we’re asking is that our fellow students perform drag respectfully and to respect those of working hard to put on the event. It’s easy—much easier than you may think—to treat our event and our culture with the respect it deserves. Check out our tips on table tents and posters for cheap, easy, respectful drag that you should be able to find scattered across campus. And if you’re going to drink heavily, please do so after you come to Crystal Ball.
Thank you for your time. We hope you have a great Crystal Ball!