Get out your girdles, wigs and grease paint—the drag show tryouts are almost here. At 5 p.m. on Jan. 15 and 16 in VU 460, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance (LGBTA) and the Sexual Awareness Center (SAC) will be holding tryouts for the “16th Annual HIV/AIDS Charity Drag Show.”

Everyone is welcome to the tryouts, those in the LGBT community and those who aren't, said Rebekah Hook, LGBTA assistant coordinator. The LGBTA encourages people wanting to participate to bring any and all of their ideas to the tryouts. Last years acts included lip-syncing, live vocalists and skits such as a reenactment of “Saturday Night Live” skit “Dick-in-a-box.” Bellingham's own drag queen, Betty Desire, is in attendance, usually performing and sometimes hosting, Hook said.

LGBTA coordinator Melissa Derry said that participants aren't limited to dressing as the opposite of sex. She described drag as more of a performance in which participants dress in a way they normally wouldn't. For a woman this could mean dressing in either highly femme or butch attire, Derry said.

The drag show is one of the LGBTA's most anticipated yearly events, said Hook. Last year's performance sold out the PAC concert hall, Derry said. And it's no wonder why. Last year Western senior Victor Cuellar and friends performed to Britney Spears' “Lucky.” The skit highlighted the highs and lows of the pop princess's career. Cuellar said he wore copious makeup, a pink jazzercise tank top and pig tails while dancing among audience members. Cuellar said fellow group member Matt Kenny walked in and out of a door marked rehab with armfuls of progressively harmful drugs, while Devin O'Reilly sat in the center of the stage shaving his head.

“I just feel I have this confidence that exudes even when I'm wearing women's clothes,” Cuellar said. He does intend on participating again this year although as to what he is still undecided.

Besides being fun the event also raises money for two important local HIV/AIDS organizations, the Sean Humphrey House and the Evergreen AIDS Foundation. The 2007 show raised around $2,300 for both organizations, Derry said.

“As fun of an event as it is it's also raising money for a great cause,” Hook said, “AIDS is a worldwide epidemic, one that is not just effecting the LGBTQ community.”

The drag show also raises awareness of the Resource and Outreach Programs, specifically the LGBTA and SAC.

“These campus organizations provide great resources for students as well as quality programs,” Hook said.

Hook said that the drag show was the first event she attended as a freshman and it opened her eyes to the large LGBT community on campus. The show brings awareness that the LGBT community is present and welcoming, Hook said.

During the drag show there will also be an auction in which you can bid to have your friend given a drag makeover in front of the entire audience. Tickets for a raffle will also be on sale with prizes donated by the community. There will also be “I Saw Yous” for sale, similar to those in The Stranger, in which you can write a message to a friend or stranger in the audience. The “I Saw Yous” will be read sometime during the show. Derry said this year she wants to produce a CD of the show to sell and raise additional money.

So whether you want to support the charities of this event or simply dance around in costume, don't forget about the tryouts coming up right after winter break.