Live drag to return with Beach Bash in Sheffield

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For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit the county, live drag is returning to the Berkshires.

To Boxxa Vine, a Monterey-based queen who performs full time, the pandemic had been a “huge hit,” forcing cancellations of performances for which she already had acquired costumes and built sets. But, "Boxxa's Beach Bash" on Thursday, she hopes, can provide “a little relief from everything” or a brief “non-COVID moment” for those who attend.

Noelle Diamond, of Albany, N.Y., and Ruby Madness, of Troy, N.Y., also will perform at the hourlong show at Dewey Hall in Sheffield. For safety reasons, the performance will take place outdoors, and audience members will be spaced out and required to wear masks.

“To me, it sounds like Boxxa has really taken into consideration all of the concerns and sort of found a way to bring live shows back to being live shows while still taking safety into account,” Diamond said.

Like much else, drag shifted online during the pandemic. Vine usually conducts a drag pageant, but it has been rebranded into the virtual "Boxxa's Berkshire Drag Race."

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The shift online has allowed some promising opportunities — the drag race will be conducted through a series of online challenges — but performers expressed anticipation for the return to live performance.

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“Oh, my god, I haven’t even put makeup on since April,” Vine said. “Hopefully, it still looks good.”

“A lot of the drag community has gone to doing online content,” Diamond said. “It’s not the same, but it’s pretty interesting because you can connect different people from different areas. That part of it is pretty cool, but being online is not the same as making a connection with an in-person audience.”

A previously scheduled performance, "Bingo with Boxxa," was canceled because of rain Sept. 10, but there is another showing at Dewey Hall on Sept. 24.

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The “summer-type” theme Thursday might be loosely interpreted, but those who attend can expect a blend of dances to popular music and campy, irony-tinged bits of humor.

“I’m doing a mixture of those things on Thursday,” Diamond said. “Probably more on the campier side, but I do dabble in both.”

"It'll hopefully let people just kind of have a little bit of escapism," Vine said.

Danny Jin, a Report for America corps member, is The Eagle's Statehouse news reporter. He can be reached at djin@berkshireeagle.com, @djinreports on Twitter and 413-496-6221.


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