SUNY Adirondack celebrates return of annual drag show

Pissi Myles
March 28, 2022

Queens, led by Pissi Myles, are back on campus for wildly popular event

QUEENSBURY, New York (March 28) — Joe D’Angio has a degree in musical theater and was a struggling actor when his husband made a life-changing suggestion.

“I wasn’t booking jobs because I was a character actor, but I was too young to play the parts I was right for,” D’Angio said. “I would get final callbacks for all these shows, but never book them. I said, ‘I’m too talented to just sit here,’ so my husband said I should be a drag queen.”

That was the beginning of a career that has taken Pissi Myles — a name inspired by Hollywood character actress Missy Pyle — sashaying across the country, around the world, to the Trump impeachment hearings and to the height of drag queen stardom.

Myles will headline Slay, SUNY Adirondack’s Drag Show, at 7 p.m. April 8 in the college theater. Also performing are Lexxi Pro, Sara Tonin, Gemmarhoid, Typhoid Mary, London Jae Precise and Emily Precise.

Early in her career, Myles landed a spot in Cycle 4 of Mimi Imfurst’s “Philly Drag Wars,” a 13-week competition structured much like RuPaul’s “Drag Race.” She won.

“That was a pretty nifty little experience for me,” D’Angio said. “That launched everything else.”

His career as Myles took off, so he moved to New York City and now performs four nights a week. “As a kid, I loved drag, watching movies like ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ and ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ so it was all in my vocabulary already,” D’Angio said. “But really I started to do drag as a way of performing.”

And performing he does. “Pissi’s a monster,” D’Angio laughed. “I’m definitely a bit more subdued than she is. I’m probably a bit more reserved, a bit more introspective.”

That has served Myles — and D’Angio — well, as her fame skyrocketed at a time drag culture is being recognized as an influential entertainment powerhouse. With shows such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Dragula” and “Legendary” wildly popular on streaming services, there’s no doubt: Queens reign supreme.

“Drag has been changed by this culture as much as it has changed it,” D’Angio said. “The change in culture has changed drag in a funny way: Drag used to be much more niche. People would go to drag shows expecting to have a crazy time, so you could get away with doing a lot more. 

“Now people look at drag queens and see people as pillars of the community,” he said. “We are still people who work from 10 at night until 2 in the morning in seedy bars. It’s a balancing act figuring out how to be a standup pillar of the community.”

D’Angio is a trained performer, a comedian and, increasingly, an activist. As Pissi, he reported outside former President Trump’s impeachment hearings, earning the informal title of “Impeachment Queen.” On International Women’s Day, he released a video speaking out for transgendered people, which “also inadvertently went viral,” he said. 

“The thing people should know best about me is that I don’t shy away from making a point,” D’Angio said. “People make the mistake of thinking that because drag queens are now public personas that they have to have some kind of decorum, but I think the beauty of drag is that it turns everything on its head.”

The entertainer remembers an exercise in college in which students wore masks that didn’t move with facial expressions. “We had to convey an emotion using just the body, and most people experienced a sense of loss of inhibition because they weren’t the ones anyone saw being responsible for their actions,” D’Angio said. “And that’s kind of what drag is: ‘I didn’t do it, this person did.’ It’s an interesting thing to feel that kind of loss of inhibition.”

That has, in part, helped D’Angio process living through a point in time when so much seems dismal. “I gave a Ted Talk about how I use comedy to cope with hardship, and I think that’s something I’d love to see the new generation learn. If you make people laugh at something they shouldn’t laugh at, you take away its power and, when you rob something of its power, that’s when it becomes funny.”

Pissi will bring some of that dark humor to SUNY Adirondack in Slay, which, D’Angio said, will be “as PG-13 as I get.” (Insert a wink of substantial false eyelashes here.)

The show kicks off with a meet-and-greet event at 7 p.m. at SUNY Adirondack’s Theater, with the performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are free for SUNY Adirondack students and $20 for all others, are available in SUNY Adirondack’s SEDI office in Warren Hall or online at