On the smoky, marijuana-inspired “holiday” known as 420 Day, the LGBTQ student organization Friendly Colors from Mesa Community College will present a groovy, queer showcase of Phoenix-area drag performers themed around the psychedelic ’60s.
The showcase will combine an educational experience in drag along with a complete performance revue.
Haute Mess and Burandy Wine will host the drag show, which will include one set from each performer, and will follow with a Q&A portion for community members to learn more about the tradition of drag performance and its importance to queer culture.
Friendly Colors previously hosted drag events, and developed local connections with the Mesa Police Department in order to find better ways to protect LGBTQ individuals in related situations. On March 9, the organization also sponsored the second annual Women’s Empowerment Summit.
Co-host Keith Haffron, who performs under the name Haute Mess, is the vice president of Friendly Colors. He told Phoenix New Times that the show plans to present a “fully immersive drag experience.”
“I wanted to create a show that allows people of all ages to see and feel what drag truly is: an art form, a skill, a performance and a community,” Haffron says.
He says his “hosting experience comes from living in Boystown, Chicago, and working with This Free Life at the drag bars/clubs. … I like to think of Haute Mess as very in-your-face and bright, but still down to earth.”
Co-host Burandy Wine says she has “been doing drag for at-least three to four years; I love the art and fashion behind it all. I like to express myself in many ways, so, you’ll never know what Burandy Wine is going to do, she just does it.”
The show will feature performances from 2019 Mister Volt and first alternate to Mister Phoenix Pride Cruz Daniels, 2018 Arizona Entertainer of the Year Eva Angelica Stratton, 2018 Miss Charlie’s Sassy Diaz, 2016 Miss Gay Arizona America Savannah Stevens, crafty comedy queen Joann Michaels, Ohio transplant Lola VanHorn, newcomer Leif, and back-on-the-scene queen Blair Phoenix as well as Burandy Wine and Haute Mess.
Lola VanHorn also tells New Times about what drag means to her:
“Drag has been my center for a long time. For me, drag began as a very loud statement saying ‘I will be seen!’ Now, my drag is about ‘we will be seen and heard.’”
In addition to performances, organizers said there will be a raffle, food trucks, a merch booth, and a best-dressed competition.
“I want to spread love and good vibes,” Haute Mess says. “And who doesn’t love a 4/20 drag show?”
The Psychedelic Dragshow, Saturday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center, 1520 South Longmore Road, Mesa. Tickets: $10 at the door, or $5 for those who bring their MCC school ID or a nonperishable food donation.