Davis is Burning is the largest drag show in town, featuring performers from UC Davis and the community.
The event is put on each year by the brothers of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men. From humble beginnings, Davis is Burning has evolved into a highly successful event to help those in the LGBTQ community.
Davis is Burning is a collection of extravagant song and dance numbers. This year’s theme was Divas of Cinema, and was the largest Davis is Burning production to date.
Daniel Lathrop, a third-year women and gender studies major and the president of Delta Lambda Phi, Xi Chapter, said the event has evolved greatly over the years.
“It started 24 years ago in one of the brother’s apartments. They used a hallway as a runway! Now we’re in Freeborn and putting on the biggest show yet,” Lathrop said.
Davis is Burning is not only meant to showcase freedom of expression, but also to raise money for the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and has served as a crisis and suicide prevention resource for troubled youth of the LGBTQ community.
Chris Peeters, a fourth-year political science major, stressed the importance of raising awareness for the services the Trevor Project provides.
“Sometimes it’s hard to realize how much help you needed, until you look back and wish you had known about something like it,” Peeters said.
Some performers even said that drag itself can be an important tool.
One of the community performers, using the stage name Mia, said that drag shows make her feel empowered.
“Drag really helped me get out of the bad times. I was always interested in it, but I was scared to try. Now that I do it, I feel like I really understand myself,” Mia said.
This year’s performance marked a new milestone, with the majority of the audience having never been to Davis is Burning before.
“When we asked how many people’s first Davis is Burning it was, the majority of the crowd responded that it was their first show,” Lathrop said. “We are getting a larger new student turnout than ever before.”
According to Lathrop, the event raised over $300 from ticket sales and from a donation box one of the brothers was holding while people waited outside in line. All of the money will be going toward the Trevor Project.
“[This] makes us very proud, since there are so few of us, but we are still able to make a positive impact within our community,” Lathrop said.
Lathrop said that Delta Lambda Phi’s goals for next year are to increase attendance by involving more groups around campus in the show.
“[We hope] we can include a broader representation of the student body at our shows,” Lathrop said.