By Joseph Garcia —

After last year’s performance was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “PINK!” a student-run drag show hosted by U of L’s Engage Lead Serve Board with the help of the LGBT Center, returned this spring for the first time ever as a virtual show. This year’s show was dedicated to Jaison Gardner, co-host of the Strange Fruit podcast and PINK emcee, who was absent this year due to a medical emergency.

Madison Fogle, co-director of ELSB’s Community Peace committee and co-organizer of PINK, said that the show gives students a chance to participate in the university’s Cardinal Core Principles by simply enjoying and supporting one another.

“PINK really showcases that Diversity and Inclusion isn’t just panels and policies, it is entertainment and fun, too,” she said. “It’s also a great way for us to give back to our community.”

Anyone is allowed to perform at PINK, Fogle said “that’s the beauty of the show.” This year Reva Deveraux, JTwoTimes, Leo the King and Ace performed.

Fogle said planning for the spring show began back in October of 2020. She said that COVID safety was a number one priority in designing and planning for the event.

The normally in-person event, went entirely online opting for a livestreamed performance, which was prerecorded. Performers would come in at different times to record their parts and surfaces were frequently sanitized by student workers in-between sets to keep everyone safe, but the digital format presented new challenges that prior years didn’t experience.

“Filming and editing the shows were definitely more difficult than just having the performances,” Fogle said. Her and co-organizer, Eli Cooper put in over 60 hours with filming and editing alone for three weeks prior to the livestream. “It all paid off tonight watching the show come together though,” she said.

It’s traditional that at drag shows you support the queens and kings by tipping, and that was still an integral part of the event as performers Cashapp and Venmo accounts would be on screen if people wished to support them.

Audiences could also show support by donating to the LGBT Center. Donated money goes toward funding LGBT+ scholarships and LGBT+ student organizations on campus.

Missed the show? Check out the full 40-minute performance on ELSB’s YouTube channel here.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal