Bushwig: A Drag Revival

Photos, video and text  by ADAM GOLUB
April 2013

A drag renaissance is currently taking place in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Since the discontinuation of the Wigstock festival (an annual drag fest which took place in the East Village throughout the 1990s and early 2000s) in 2003, drag culture was in a period of latency in New York City. In September of 2012 the first annual Bushwig festival began and the House of Bushwig was founded. Join the sisters of the house in an exploration of how the culture has evolved, how it has adapted to a new age of connectivity and RuPaul’s Drag Race (the show airs on Logo, a Viacom channel, and the 2013 season debut of Drag Race was the highest-rated premiere in Logo’s history) and how the legacy of community continues to live on in marginalized communities.

As real estate prices in Manhattan have skyrocketed in the last decade, drag culture and arts culture have been priced out of the center of New York City. Brooklyn has seen a lot of changes since, but most surprising has been the explosion of drag. Just two years ago there were only a handful of drag queens performing in Brooklyn and they were not regularly collaboration. There was also only one venue/nightlife event that regularly hosted drag performers (A party called “Clump” at a place called Trophy Bar in South Williamsburg). Today there are over a hundred regularly performing drag queens in and around Bushwick and there are drag performances every night of the week at various locations across Bushwick and Williamsburg.

The House of Bushwick has been at the center of creating spaces of convergence for all the people in this culture. The first annual Bushwig festival in 2012 and the first annual Brooklyn Nightlife Awards in January of 2013 have brought 50-60 performers together to one space, performing and presenting themselves before the community. The Mr(s) Williamsburg Pageant which began in March and ended in April of this year (2013) brought less high-profile queens into the limelight and among the prizes was a prime spot at the Bushwig Festival.

 

MistyMocha Glimpse 2 from Adam Golub on Vimeo.

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