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The Carletonian

Carleton’s-a-drag hosts “the last refrain of Carleton confessions”

On Saturday, May 4, students and Northfield community members filled the chapel to watch Carleton’s-a-Drag’s spring term show, titled “The Last Refrain of Carleton Confessions”. This was the first time a drag show has been hosted in Skinner Memorial Chapel, with previous shows being performed in Sayles-Hill Campus Center and the Great Hall. The organizers worked with the new location, mixing plenty of religious imagery with pop songs and explicit jokes. 

To start the show, the MCs introduced themselves and laid out the ground rules of Carleton’s-a-Drag shows. The hosts: a pure angel named Mari Cona and a rebellious nun called Sister Genesis previewed the show, with each performance being a different “confession.” During and after each dance, attendants voted with a QR code poll whether the performance was sinful or “hole-y,” and an animation on the projector screen would display a scale, with holy water and an angel appearing with a hole-y performance and a devil image being displayed for a sinful one. Just before the first performance, the hosts shared the rules: bring your enthusiasm, bring your wallets (or Venmo, to support Carleton Mutual Aid) and consent is mandatory.

The first confession was by Genesis. The act started with a backing track of Catholic Mass-like chanting as Genesis walked through the aisle. They kneeled in front of the chapel and the chanting changed to “Judas” by Lady Gaga. Genesis then jumped on the stage and the audio changed to a voiceover listing sins, followed by “I love you Jesus” by Trisha Paytas. Genesis ended their dance sitting on the stage, looking up with their hands in prayer. 

After  banter between the MCs, declaring the confession “a confession of homosexuality,” Genesis’ confession was voted hole-y. Jamie Klein ’25 performed next, beginning their act by dancing to “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry interspersed with voiceover. Their act consisted of several different songs, including “Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato. During the dance, Klein took off a bathrobe to reveal a bright pink dance outfit and interacted with the front row of the audience throughout the performance, which was voted sinful by the audience. 

The next confession was, according to the hosts, about being “prideful and boastful.” Jackson Rankin ’27 performed this act, wearing a black outfit adorned with chains and a black wig. Their routine was a fast dance with a montage of songs, including “I’d Rather Be Me” from the Mean Girls musical and “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato. 

“I’m ready to get real hot, really sweaty, real sportsmanlike,” Genesis said, previewing the next act. This confession, starring Margie Clauss ‘24, began with Clauss and two other dancers walking on stage with Clauss dressed as a football coach, a football player and a basketball player. The three then acted out the “I’m Viola” scene from “She’s the Man” (2006), and Clauss took off their coach outfit as the other dancers stood on either side of the stage as cheerleaders. Clauss danced up and down the aisles as beach balls were thrown into the audience for viewers to hit around the crowd, and the routine ended with Clauss being adorned with a medal and eating a hot dog.

“I thought I was here for Sunday Mass, turns out it’s Saturday,” Mari Cona said after the routine was voted “hole-y.” The hosts then led the attendants in an interactive activity where Genesis walked around the chapel to have members of the crowd whisper their “confessions” in their ear. 

The next performance was a vocal performance as well as a dance routine. The performer danced in front of a glitching projector, walking up and down the chapel stairs throughout the routine, which the audience voted hole-y. 

Justin Bieber (or an impersonator) made an appearance in the next dance. The performer was dressed in a hoodie and a baseball cap, and danced to “Baby” by Justin Bieber. The song then switched to a montage of Ariana Grande, including “Dangerous Woman” and “God is a Woman.” 

As Carleton’s-a-Drag organizers walked through the chapel with “collection baskets” to raise money for Mutual Aid, the Bieber act was voted sinful. The next routine was performed by a group called “Doctor Magina and the Electric Ladies.” The dance started with a dancer dressed as a doctor dancing as another performer laid on the stage with a sheet covering them. As the covered performer was revealed, the doctor fell to the ground, and the new dancer performed a dance to “Electric Lady” by Janelle Monae. The audience voted this display hole-y. 

The two final acts were performed by Temitope Williams ‘26 and Taaja Foster ‘24. Williams performed first, dressed as an angel in a white outfit with a large, gold headpiece with an eye painted on it. Their routine began with angels singing, but the music soon changed to a fast routine and Williams removed the headpiece to reveal white makeup. The act was voted hole-y, much to Mari Cona’s dismay, who claimed Williams was a “dirty angel.” 

Foster danced the final act, which was especially significant because, as a senior, this show was their last performance in a Carleton drag show. They wore a cowboy hat with ears and heeled boots. Their routine started with a “Bojack Horseman” voice over, which then changed to “Ram Ranch” by Grant McDonald. Foster then revealed a lasso, and wielded the prop to “It’s Not My Fault” by Princess Nokia. The audience gave Foster an extra-long round of applause, but they were voted sinful. 

Overall, those in attendance thought that the drag show was an enjoyable experience and a dedicated effort by the organizers. “The commitment to the theme and the hosts’ infinite well of religious jokes were very impressive,” said Jess Knachel ’27. “I thought the hole-y or sinful polls were a fun new way to engage as an audience member… it was an admirable commitment to the bit by all involved.” 

The drag show’s location in the chapel made for a unique viewing and performing experience, but the Office of the Chaplain said they were wholeheartedly behind current and future shows occurring there. “The chapel is a natural place for drag. Drag is fundamentally about human expression, the joy of being oneself and the freedom to live our truth fully and unapologetically. Drag, like queerness, and like the best forms of religion, is liberatory. It challenges norms, systems and behaviors that artificially and harmfully insist on our conformity. Drag is a radical statement of belonging, freedom and resistance, and has been instrumental in the work of collective liberation from Stonewall and beyond,” said College Chaplain Schuyler Vogel. “It is especially important that the chapel celebrates drag, given the history of queer religious harm and repression. Drag can be as beautiful an expression of the sacred as any hymn, liturgical dance or sermon. We were honored to have hosted this term’s performance and hope that the chapel can be a home for drag for many years to come.”

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About the Contributor
Isaac Kofsky
Isaac Kofsky, Viewpoint Editor
Hi there! I’m Isaac (he/him) and I’m a first-year prospective religion or geology major. I’ve been described as “the chapel’s press liaison” and I love eating dinner at 4:45pm, reading non-fiction, wearing sweaters, and drinking two cups of black coffee at every meal. When I’m not in Carletonian pitch meetings or in religion class, you can normally find me doing homework in the chapel or drinking tea in the religion lounge.   Isaac Kofsky '27 was previously a Beat Writer.  

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