Lights! Cameras! Caravan of Glam!
Fans decked out in in drag showed up to the Caravan of Glam show last Saturday at 8 p.m. at The Pub. Caravan of Glam was started to show audience members, mainly those of the queer community, that it is okay to be who you are and do what you want. The entertainers, Isaiah Esquire, Amora Dior Black, Spyke Naugahyde, and Johnny Nuriel, are also big on respect.
Before the show, Nuriel went over a few ground rules. First, tipping is very much appreciated. Second, flash photography is “Mandatory.” And Third, consent: do not touch the performers without their permission.
Nuriel then opened the stage for fans to come up and take pictures. The line stretched past the back row of seats and reached near the front doors.
Naugahyde took over the stage and joked with the crowd. The audience howled with laughter as Naugahyde, who is not from Alaska, explained that Fairbanks locals tell you that -14 is not that cold, while Naugahyde exaggerated how cold they were. Once Naugahyde had the the audience engaged, they went back stage and the show started.
Each performer showed their special talents as their glamor clad bodies shimmied to the music. In every act the performers entered the seating area to shake hands with audience members and dance with people who stood up to tip. Some audience members almost experienced a lap dance also.
The show opened with local talent Penny, who showered the crowd with confetti. They sported a pink coat and short blue skirt, while using a gift bag and a huge teddy bear card for props as they danced on stage. They lip synced to a song, which had the crowd singing along.
Dior Black, dressed in a black one-piece covered in sequins and feathers, showed off their flexibility with the splits, high leg kicks, and rapid dance moves. Deep base pulsed with each of Dior Black’s move. Their presence in the crowd had many people standing and handing them tips.
Esquire twerked to a more up beat song as the audience cheered. Their blue and purple bodysuit allowed their body to move with high kicks and low squats. Esquire defied gravity while dancing in six-inch heels around the establishment. People moved to the tempo of the music, almost hypnotized by the lights and pulsing beat.
Nuriel’s perfomance began with a provocative dance that slowly ended in a strip tease. Each bit of clothing, incorporated with brilliant, gold sparkles dropped to the floor as Nuriel removed each article of clothing. The stage was then set on fire with ribbon dancing; the fabric caught on the low ceiling once throughout the performance. Tips rained down in abundance from the pleased crowd.
In between two acts, Esquire had a heart to heart with the crowd. He opened the floor up for questions as the stage was being cleared of confetti, and one fan asked how he dealt with the haters.
“If you do not affect my life positively, then you do not exist in my world,” Esquire said, and the crowd cheered louder.
Before the show, Johnny Nuriel and Spyke Naugahyde expressed their love for what they do.
Naugahyde explained that “the connection with people and being able to meet a whole basic new group of friends and fans and people who love what you love” is important to their inspiration.
“The most rewarding thing about performing is always having some new thing over the horizon and know that you are brining this form of queer art to smaller cities,” Naugahyde said.
Nuriel shared a similar sentiment, expressing the need for queer art and for different expressions of gender.
Nuriel then touched on some moments close to his heart.
“Any time that someone is moved emotionally. That always stands out,” Nuriel said. “You don’t always know where someone is at emotionally and what weight, you know. Maybe they had a horrible day and they’re coming to the show and this is what turns it around for them. And I’ve had people come up to me and been very emotional or in tears, and just feeling like I could possibly move them to that place is definitely something that stands out in my mind. I’ll never forget if someone expresses that emotion to me.”
The Caravan of Glam has performed at UAF a total of five times and plans on returning in the future. They do shows for students 18 and up as well as for those 21 and up. Tickets are generally $15-20. For more information on the Caravan of Glam check them out on social media or at http://www.caravanofglam.com/