Photo Essay: OUT at the Amphitheater

On Friday, Oct. 28th, the new Epstein Family Amphitheater witnessed an electrifying night of Halloween-themed drag performances. Hosted by Amber St. James and Luna Deathwish, “Out at the Amphitheater” featured other local San Diego queens Maddy Mokes, Strawberry Corncakes, and The Nebula. Headlining the event were the iconic LaLa Ri and Daya Betty, both known for their roles in RuPaul’s Drag Race (seasons 13 and 14, respectively). The music was provided by DJ Almond Eyez, also based in San Diego. Organized by the UC San Diego Undergraduate Colleges, LGBT Resource Center, and Triton Fest, the show was free for all current UCSD students.

The night entailed several performances by each queen, from Luna Deathwish’s exhilarating take on “Bad Romance” and Strawberry Corncakes’ Paramore number to LaLa Ri’s dynamic Beyonce-inspired dance, with a brief intermission for an audience dance-off. The second half acts included The Nebula’s “Scream Queens” styled mashup, Maddy Mokes’ take on Rina Sawayama’s “Frankenstein”, and Daya Betty’s delivery of Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” in her iconic bug-inspired outfit by Joshuan Aponte.

Amber St. James delivered a Black Lives Matter tribute that was both poignant and uplifting, getting the entire crowd to clap along as she ran through the audience with the words “Black N Proud” showcased on her back. The background accentuated her performance, from playing words by Dr. Angela Davis to displaying a seemingly endless list of Black lives ended by police brutality. She wielded rainbow Pride and Trans Pride flags before disrobing to reveal the a vest with phrases scrawled across in red including “Fight Classim” and “Fight the Patriarchy”.

The night concluded with all the queens (excluding Strawberry Corncakes, who had to leave early) gathering on the stage to thank the audience. Members of the crowd were able to crowd at the foot of the stage and meet the performers, taking pictures together and sharing words of love. The buzz of the show hung in the air for the rest of the night.