Bringing together the Hispanic Heritage Month and OUTober, celebrity drag queen Cynthia Lee Fontaine will be the caller for Drag Queen Bingo on Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. on Zoom.
Hosted by CSU Bakersfield, the event will be free to attend virtually for all students, staff, and faculty.
Attendees can expect the game of bingo to be like the game they may be familiar with playing in person.
“Some bingo guru, not us, figured out there’s this thing called the Bingo Banker. The night of, as students, staff and faculty join us, they will get a link to download it. Then they’ll get a card,” Emily Callahan, Director of CSUB Campus Programming, said.
Players will still get to track the numbers as they are called verbally, as well as announce their win by unmuting their microphone and yelling bingo. Though, Callahan reminds attendees that only students can officially win and claim a prize.
After a student calls out “bingo,” Campus Programming will verify the win on their end. Winners will not need to come to campus to collect their prize, as they will be sending all the prizes out virtually.
“You can send these gift cards via Amazon through email, so it’s immediate,” Callahan said.
Attendees are invited to take part in the department’s traditional game without the risks involved with large gatherings, as well as the benefit of getting a highly unlikely bingo caller.
“We’ve done bingo for the last couple of years during Hispanic Heritage Month, but it’s called Loteria Lunes,” Callahan said.
Instead, this year’s game brings together Hispanic Heritage with OUTober with goals for Runners to have fun and connect with communities that may differ from their own.
“When this creative way was brought up, and someone brought up having a celebrity call the numbers, it was the perfect way to still keep the traditions of bingo. Although it’s a little bit different, but the opportunity to connect and have fun is still available to us,” Callahan said.
The chat will be open for attendees to use, and discussion is highly encouraged. Students are welcome to join them and just enjoy the conversations while they play.
“We want that. The Queen wants that. We’re very clear with that; the interaction is important. We did do this at the end of last spring, and I think that even more fun than the bingo itself, was the interaction with the Queen,” Callahan said.
With Fontaine being most famous for his role on Rupaul’s Drag Race, the rare chance to talk with the Queen may be enough for some fans to attend the event.
“For fans of Rupaul’s Drag Race, this is exciting. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to interact with the Queen and ask questions,” Callahan said.
Callahan explains that if this year’s bingo game had been in person, CSUB may not have had the ability to bring in an entertainer of her status for the event. With the bingo being moved to Zoom, the cost of hiring many entertainers is much lower.
While Runners may not be able to gather in person this year, Callahan said it may be the only way the department could afford to hire someone like Fontaine as the caller. With most events going virtual, many entertainers and public speakers have reduced their prices during the pandemic.
Staying true to both occasions for the event, Fontaine will be calling out the numbers in both English and Spanish while in full costume and makeup. With multiple aspects of the Queen’s identity on display, Fontaine’s intersectionality will also help open the door for questions attendees may not have other opportunities to ask.
Callahan suggests students attend even if they don’t know much about drag queens, the LGBT+ or Hispanic communities, as this is a perfect opportunity to learn a little bit more about another culture.
“It’s the time and this is the opportunity to challenge those stereotypes, to ensure they are knowledge about this community, or how to not be stereotypical and be supportive,” Callahan said.