Be Gay [Do Crime] takes drag beyond the 21-and-over crowd

click to enlarge A drag performer with slicked-back hair, wearing a red outfit and face paint, smiles as they do their makeup.
Photo: Jeremy Burnworth (Photography by Grasshopper
Be Gay [Crash the System]
From brunches to BINGOs to dance parties, drag performers are hitting the stage every weekend all over Pittsburgh. This includes Be Gay [Do Crime], an 18-plus “drag show concert” created by college students for college students.

Organized by Patrick Mayoral, a sophomore acting major at Point Park University, Be Gay [Do Crime] promises to be an inclusive show for younger students typically excluded by venues’ 21-plus policies.

Though they’re now 21, Mayoral says they remember feeling robbed of queer nightlife experiences early in college.

“The point of having these 18-and-up spaces is so that, for these kids who are just getting to college, just getting out of the house from their parents, they have the chance to go out into the world and be themselves and explore who they want to be,” says Mayoral.

Taking place Fri., Feb. 10 in The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, the event will also provide the opportunity for Mayoral, aka Miss Demeanor to take the stage. Miss Demeanor will host an impressive lineup of seasoned Pittsburgh drag performers such as October, Leshy, Miss V Van-Cartier, Ezhora DeComer, Scarlet Fairweather, and Mayoral’s “drag sister” Belair Banks.

A Mac Miller musical number will kick off the event, and from there, expect pyrotechnics, dancing, beats from DJ Lemonline, and feats of musical prowess, like Scarlet Fairweather’s five-minute version of Taylor Swift’s 10-minute-long track “All Too Well."

“We wanted to format the event into what Be Gay [Do Crime] was meant to be — a concert series — and incorporate things that will help elevate the unique experience of drag,” Mayoral says.
click to enlarge A drag queen with long black hair and wearing a black tuxedo jacket with writing on it holds a mic as they perform on a stage.
Photo: Jeremy Burnworth (Photography by Grasshopper
Be Gay [Crash the System]
Mayoral says the first Be Gay [Do Crime] started as a “happy accident” in June 2022 after a performance slot opened at Thunderbird Music Hall.

“With two weeks and no budget, me and my friends postered all over the city," says Mayoral. "We printed. I believe. about 400 flyers and postered everywhere from Shadyside to Lawrenceville to Millvale. and were lucky to move about 200 tickets for that first show,”

After that first event, Mayoral organized Be Gay [Crash the System], a second drag show at Mr. Smalls inspired by “the system is a lie” movies like The Matrix.

Mayoral attributes the success of the first two events to Pittsburgh’s drag community. Mayoral, who relocated to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles, Cali., says they immediately found support in the community, despite being a young drag performer not originally from the city.

“I claim Pittsburgh drag and the Pittsburgh drag community as my family,” Mayoral says. “The community has been nothing but supportive of me.”

From here, Mayoral plans on incorporating more young performers in future events, keeping the art of drag open to people of all ages.

“Drag has the unique ability to play with our perception of reality and play with what we, as a society, think are traditional norms in gender, politics, societal stances, and so forth,” Mayoral says. “I just think that drag is gonna be the gateway moving forward for challenging what our societal expectations are.”

Be Gay [Do Crime]. 10 p.m. Doors at 9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 10. The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. 18 and over.