Drag performer Quinn Laroux as a "Gulf Coast oil spill mermaid."
"Especially right now, everything in the news is just getting more and more ridiculous," says drag performer and producer Quinn Laroux, mentioning a recent tossed-off presidential remark about a military space force
. "With drag, you're already starting on a note that's a little ridiculous to begin with."
That idea — commenting on the food-processed 2018 news cycle through the excesses and outrageousness of drag — is one Laroux has had for a while. In more satirical, conceptual performances, she's performed a reggae-based number that skewered cultural appropriation and sent up Kendall Jenner's racially-tinged Pepsi ad fiasco
to "Where Is the Love?" With Extra: A Political Drag Cabaret
, Laroux brings an entire show's worth of political drag and variety acts to AllWays Lounge & Cabaret March 27.
Laroux says this new production was partially inspired by how she felt listening to other performers reflect on controversial comments
by well-known performer RuPaul, who said that he wouldn't welcome a transgender performer on RuPaul's Drag Race
. After those remarks, some members of the drag community suggested that perhaps drag queens weren't supposed to talk about politics.
"I really disagree with that," Laroux says. "I feel like [drag is] a really important space, and it's a really cool art form that's gaining a lot of traction that I personally love — but I also have a real love for talking about politics and building movements. ... I [felt] like I wanted a show that did all of that."
The resulting performance, which may be the first of a short series, will feature six drag artists presenting topically-themed numbers inspired by current events and hot-button issues. Acts will include the drag king Napoleon Complex impersonating a member of Louisiana GOP leadership and a draglesque act themed around Black Panther,
as well as other numbers engaging with sometimes-difficult topics.
"Through drag, I've been able to express [myself on] issues in a way that's more easily received by people," Laroux says. "Because we have this medium where we can do literally anything ... I think it allows us to tackle these issues in a way that makes things that aren't funny, funny again."
This event also will include opportunities for audience members to connect with community organizing and activist groups. In her role as host, Laroux also plans to mention and highlight some upcoming demonstrations and organizing meetings, especially ways to advocate for the rights of immigrants in New Orleans.
Laroux says drag audiences are often "on the side" of community organizing groups, but that doesn't necessarily mean they always know how to get involved. Given the current political climate, she hopes performers and participants alike will come away from the show with a renewed interest in taking action.
"I think that people often say that getting in drag is inherently political, and I agree with that, but I also think that now it's kind of like ... it may not be far enough," she says.
Extra: A Political Drag Cabaret opens at AllWays Lounge & Cabaret at 10:30 p.m. March 27. Admission is $8.