Yorkville drag show debate becoming a part of city council routine

Drag show opponent Molly Krempski of Yorkville displays social media posts of drag queens at the Oct. 11, 2022 Yorkville City Council meeting.

YORKVILLE – The controversy over drag shows is becoming a staple of Yorkville City Council meetings.

The proceedings have settled down to a familiar routine as drag show opponent Molly Krempski delivers a fiery address to aldermen in which she assails Mayor John Purcell, contends that the drag shows violate city code and warns of dire consequences.

A few people speak in support of Krempski, often invoking the Bible, while one or two others speak against her, charging the Yorkville woman with bigotry and religious extremism.

Throughout this public comment period at the end of every council meeting, Purcell and the aldermen sit in polite silence.

Krempski and about 20 of her supporters, now billing themselves with the “Let Kids be Kids” slogan that they wear on their red T-shirts, appeared at the council’s Nov. 22 meeting after first saying their customary prayer outside the city hall building.

The group presented the council with a petition, signed by 23 individuals, asking the city to “operate in truth and uphold and equally apply the law with respect to adult entertainment that is currently being allowed to occur in Yorkville.”

Specifically, the petition seeks an admission from the city that the June 11, 2022 drag show at Southbank Original Barbecue, 129 E. Hydraulic Ave. violated the liquor control ordnance because buttocks were exposed.

The petition also seeks to have drag shows defined as adult entertainment, requiring special zoning and licensing.

There was no mention in the petition of PINZ Entertainment Center, 1211 N. Bridge St., which has hosted three of the shows this year.

In her remarks to the council, Krempski described drag queens as “sex workers” and charged that the city has “recklessly allowed adult entertainment” in the community.

Kendall County Board member Amy Cesich, who was in the council chambers to receive honors for her service on the Yorkville Park Board and her imminent departure for another state, decided to speak.

Cesich blasted the drag show opponents.

“They do it in a mindset of ‘we’re here to do the Lord’s work,’ but it’s just hate,” Cesich said.

Cesich praised Purcell for his stand to allow the shows to continue.

“There are many community members in support of you,” Cesich told Purcell. “Keep up the good work. I trust our leadership here.”

Krempski and her group first attended the Aug. 23 Yorkville City Council meeting, two days after staging a protest outside a drag show at PINZ. Except for one meeting, the group has been present ever since.