“Cosplay and drag are equal in that they’re more like addictions, rather than hobbies,” says Dax ExclamationPoint. “As soon as you finish one costume, you’re thinking about the next costume, and the next one.”
Widely known for being on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Dax is relatively unique because her drag consists entirely of cosplay — dressing up as a character from a book, comic, movie, TV series, or video game. Over the years, she has portrayed a wide variety of characters, including X-Men‘s Storm, Rogue and Scarlet Witch, Batman‘s Poison Ivy and Catwoman, The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Black Cat, Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and even Sailor Mars from the Sailor Moon anime series.
“The appeal of cosplay is being able to express and embrace the fandom that you love, whether it’s paying homage to a character or franchise or storyline,” she says. “When I put a costume together, it’s because it’s a character I relate to, or want to celebrate, or who inspired me at any time from when I was young up until now.”
Next Thursday, Dax will host Ropeburn, an annual event to raise money for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. This year’s theme is centered entirely around cosplay, with a panel discussion introducing the concept prior to the on-stage performances. Because last year’s Ropeburn was a fetish, leather, and kink-themed event, Dax warns there may be some overlap in terms of the costumes on display.
“With queer nightlife, there’s always going to be an underlying hint of kink or fetishism. I can definitely guarantee there’s going to be three guys in a pair of Batman underwear, a cape, and not much else.”
Dax says those unfamiliar with cosplay shouldn’t shy away from attending. “It’s a party with a cause,” she says. “Ticket sales are going to support something that’s creative and unique to the D.C. area: the Gay Men’s Chorus. Plus, it’s Halloween season, it’s a reason to dress up, it’s a reason to go out and socialize.”
Ropeburn 2: Guardians of Equality is Thursday, Oct. 18, at SAX Restaurant and Lounge, 734 11th St. NW. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $80. Costumes are optional but highly encouraged. Visit gmcw.org.