Shanty You Stay
An important cornerstone of modern Gay culture is Drag. Drag entertainment is evident in history from the times of ancient Greece. In almost all parts of the world, there is an under ground or very out Drag culture. Through the past century there has been notable Drag performers in big cities around the world. Sometimes celebrated and too often shunned.
Many Gay travel destinations have a bar and clubs featuring nightly or frequent Drag entertainment. Some destinations have long been identified with Drag culture and entertainment. And many big events feature Drag entertainers. But big Drag-focused events are few.
In the 1980’s, Wigstock emerged and grew to be a “must see” Drag festival every labor day weekend. It’s was stellar Drag magic that rocked the Wigstock festivals in Tompkins Square Park and on the West Side Piers.
“Hosted by co-creator Lady Bunny, the festival was held in its first years in Tompkins Square Park. According to Lady Bunny, the event began spontaneously in 1984 after a group of drag queens became inebriated at the nearby Pyramid Club and decided to put on a show in the park. In the mid 90s the Giuliani administration prohibited the festival being in Tompkins Square and Union Square and moved it to the Hudson River so the event would lose its grassroots activist appeal. Lady Bunny said that 2001’s Wigstock would be the last, but in 2003, 2004, and 2005, Wigstock and Bunny returned to Tompkins Square, this time under the auspices of the Howl Festival.”
Too often it has seemed that Drag culture and entertainment was sidetracked. Many venues closed for reasons ranging from changing demographics to sky rocketing real estate prices. But we all know, you can’t keep a real Drag Queen down. And there no Queen like Ru Paul.
Thanks to Ru Paul, Drag is more popular than ever. Ru Paul’s Drag Race always popular with Gay Men, has crossed over to being mainstream entertainment. The popularity of the show has in many ways re-energized Drag communities and entertainment.
Ru Paul’s Werq the World Tour had 63 shows. (18 in North America, 36 in Europe, and 9 in South America).
Ru’s recent Drag Con in Los Angeles and New York City (just last week) a glittering success.
September was the month for the return of fabulous drags events. Wigstock 2.0 returned to New York City.
“Wigstock is back. The festival of drag fashions, sequins, stilettos, big hair and, in almost every conceivable way, Burning Man’s opposite, has sprouted up in Manhattan for the first time in years. More than a decade since it was last staged, the new iteration of Wigstock, “is back in NYC as the hormonal convergence issues in the age of asparagus,” its original founder in the eighties, Lady Bunny, explain, tongue firmly in cheek, to the Guardian on Saturday. But which of the two should be interpreted for greater cultural significance is open to question. The New York festival, held on a pier at the south end of Manhattan on Saturday afternoon and into the wee hours, promised a cavorting extravaganza from the who’s who of drag and outré cabaret acts in the city. Bianca Del Rio, Lypsinka, Joey Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Murray Hill, Sherry Vine and Amanda Lepore were among 50 drag acts, all wrangled by veteran drag queen, comic and activist Lady Bunny.” The Guardian
But for now we can all look foreward to the high holy holiday of Drag: Halloween. Drag Queens made Halloween a Gay holiday. In New York and in cities around the world Drag Queens are conjuring up the Gay spirits and entertaining celebrants.
Featured upcoming Drag Events
28 -30 September | Drag Festival | Gay Men | New York City
Ru Paul’s Drag Con: Three days of Art, Pop Culture and all things Drag
19 – 28 October |Fantasy Festival | Gay| Key West
31 October | Halloween | Gay |Worldwide
5 – 17 October | Festival| Gay Men | Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain
15 – 18 November | Drag Festival | Gay Men | Austin,Texas
Broken Heals: How Drag has Transformed a Mining Town in Australia