Over the summer of 2023, Senior Aspen Bradley, also known by their stage name Mary Muerte, organized and participated in a drag show called “Drag Me to Skippack” in Hazel Mac, a boutique store. Bradley wanted to provide access to a show that was closer to our community because most drag shows that are closest to us are in Philadelphia, which can be a 45-minute drive.
Bradley wanted to have a place where others could be comfortable and express themselves. The show that they organized marked their first show since they weren’t able to go to Philadelphia to participate before. Bradley was into the idea of drag since they were younger and was always interested in costuming and the more feminine side of things, but they never got into drag until this past year.
“Organizing the entire event was very easy at first,” Bradley said. All Bradley had to do was find people to participate because they knew the owner of Hazel Mac, Mackenzie. Before the event they had already been friends, and Mackenzie had told Bradley that if there was something that they were planning for the community she would help them. Casting went quickly in the beginning, but then people who were participating either dropped out or had other commitments.
After those setbacks, Bradley was able to find people to participate by reaching out to people in Philadelphia who they were friends with online. Bradley’s sister was also new to the drag scene and participating in this show marked her first one. “My mom really helped a lot because she has a lot of experience with hospitality and hosting events,” Bradley said.
The name Bradley chose, Muerte, has an extensive backstory to it. In the church, Santa Muerte is the Saint of Death who assures people of all backgrounds of the afterlife. Because she did not discriminate, she got exiled from the church. That resonated with Bradley because the church that they grew up in was homophobic. They also thought it was fitting that their family was from South Italy and a significant belief and worship in that culture is of the dead, specifically the treatment of bodies in death. Bradley came up with the name when listening to a song called “Santa Muerte” by Twin Temple.
In the future, Bradley is hoping to keep participating in these shows for as long as they can. They would love it if the shows could expand to different venues and hopefully bring more people in. “I want to hopefully make it more accessible for people because it is a beautiful art form that not many people get to experience,” Bradley said. “It is really targeted toward those who need to find a way to express themselves and have a community there for them. It is to make people feel seen, heard, and loved.”
All Bradley wants to do for the community is to make it a place for everyone to feel safe and comfortable. If students are looking for a safe place to express themselves comfortably, they can find it at “Drag Me to Skippack” in Hazel Mac. The next show that they are hosting is on September 29th, 2023 at Hazel Mac and the tickets are $20 for nonstudents but for students, they are only $10 if you bring your school ID. Their Instagram is @ut.supra.et.infra.