Bobcats Having Balls
Multicolored lights zigzagged across Bobcat Ball attendees, some clad in bustiers and stockings in honor of the event’s burlesque theme, as they danced to House music during the November event held at Bar One41 in San Marcos.
The biannual event, hosted by Lambda at Texas State, raised funds Saturday, November 16 for the on-campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied community group.
“(Lambda) provides a safe space and an outlet to socialize,” said Terena Cloud, Lambda president, as she checked to make sure her fake mustache was in place.
Fake sideburns, red pants with suspenders, a black-and-white striped shirt and a fur coat completed Cloud’s ensemble. Having the opportunity to dress in costume is an aspect of Bobcat Ball that Cloud enjoys.
Since the event began in 2000, Cloud said it has provided a positive way for people to celebrate the LGBTQA community and bring them together.
Some members of the Texas State and San Marcos communities came out to show their support for Lambda, like Bobcat Ball emcee Kelly Stone, family and consumer science lecturer, and Thom Prentice, San Marcos City Council Place 2 candidate.
“We have a really good, supportive administration (at Texas State),” said Jesse Almazan, former Lambda president. “I’ve heard and I’ve experienced it’s one of the best ones, where they’re really open.”
As the music pulsed throughout Bar One41’s loft-like quarters, Corpus Christi resident Alizae Marie Riverton prepared for Bobcat Ball’s amateur drag queen and king competition in the small employees only area at the back of the bar with other members of the four piece “Riverton Clan.”
“It’s basically an alter ego,” said Riverton of what defines a drag show. “You get to bring yourself out like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, how she has her 50,000 different ones, it’s pretty much like that and like how you get your point across.”
Riverton, originally from Houston, said he found out about the event from “drag momma” and former Texas State student Shannon “Gaga” Cantu, now “Gaga Riverton,” who he met through another drag queen in Corpus Christi.
This was his first time attending Bobcat Ball, and the 45 minutes it took him to dress would not be in vain.
From Alizae Marie Riverton’s long, curly brown wig, neon green bra and formfitting sparkly, black leotard, to his fishnet tights and black, kitten heel shoes, he was ready to perform his lip synch and dance routine in front of the dozens of Bobcat Ball attendees.
“You have to be humble because if you’re not humble then you’re pretty much not gonna get anywhere,” said Riverton, adding that he plans to undergo hormone therapy soon. “You have to be strong minded and you have to have the power to do it. … It takes a lot of guts to get in drag and to step out on stage. It really does.”
Cigarette smoke and fog from a machine on stage hung loosely in the air as Stone, who moonlights as a stand-up comedian, introduced the 10 drag queen and king contestants.
After some technical difficulties, Riverton performed first. But his “Texas hair,” as Stone referred to the wig, may not have been enough to win the contest, although he was in the top three.
Two male strip teases caused audience members to giggle, cheer, and reach for their wallets, but they, too, were not crowned the winner.
Before audience members chose the winner, Stone’s brown chaps provided much fodder for some, as three volunteers, after being asked, attempted to rip them off, exposing the denim shorts underneath.
A brief “make out” session between Stone and a volunteer subsequently ensued. Then it was time to crown the winner.
Drag queen Regina Silverthorn held the paper crown on top of his head with “X” marked hands.
To Stone’s question about how Silverthorn would solve world peace – with liposuction.
Bobcat Ball concluded the night’s formal festivities with a back-to-back performance by Cantu, lip synching and dancing to two songs by Lady Gaga.
“I do Gaga; I do whatever I feel like doing,” Cantu said.
Read more Drag stories at austinchronicle.com/gay. The Gay Place’s 5 Days of Dragmas! runs online Monday-Friday, December 23-27.