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Events Festivals Timeline

Bushwig 2021 – Day 2 (NSFW)

BUSHWIG DAY 2

(NSFW)

09-12-21

KNOCKDOWN CENTER, QUEENS

Looks and performances from the first day of Bushwig featuring Casey Spooner, Dahlia Sin, Evah Destruction, Jasmine Kennedie, Kevin Aviance, La Zavaleta, Maddelynn Hatter, Miss Malice, Neon Calypso, Rify Royalty, The Dragon Sisters, and much more.

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Alexey Kim

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Events Festivals Timeline

Bushwig 2019 – Day 1 (NSFW)

BUSHWIG DAY 1

(NSFW)

09-11-21

KNOCKDOWN CENTER, QUEENS

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Alexey Kim

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Events Nightlife Timeline

Chiquitita’s “Chromatica”

CHIQUITITA’S

CHROMATICA

C’MON EVERYBODY. BK

NIGHTLIFE

08-28-21

Brooklyn-based performer Chiquitita hosts six sold-out shows that pay an homage to the queerly beloved Lady Gaga album Chromatica, with back to back performances by NYC’s best: Tina Twirler, MTHR TRSA, Fabiana, Beaujangless, Magenta, Laurel Charleston, Macy Rodman and Chiquitita herself.

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Timeline Videos

Junior Mintt: The Only Voices You Need to be Listening to are Black Trans Voices (VIDEO)

Brooklyn Liberation March

06-14-20

Around 15,000 people wearing all white showed up for the Brooklyn Liberation Action in support of Black Trans Lives. Brooklyn-based drag artist West Dakota drew inspiration from the 1917 Silent Protest Parade organized by the NAACP that was held in response to an attack on the black community in East St. Louis.

In the video below, drag preacher/activist Junior Mintt explains why we can’t be truly inclusive until we listen to what Black trans women have to say.

Fran Tirado, Eliel Cruz, Dix Peyton, Raquel Willis, and organizations like G.L.I.T.S., The Okra Project, For The Gworls, Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and the Emergency Release Fund joined the movement.

Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Events Timeline

NYC’s Biggest Drag Festival Sort of Just Happened in Spite of Corona

EVENTS | FESTIVALS

Bushwig 2020:

Corona Edition

One of the world’s biggest drag performance festivals, just kind of happened on Saturday, October 3, in spite of coronavirus.

10-03-20

Bushwig, one of the world’s biggest drag performance festivals, originating in Brooklyn in 2011, just kind of happened on Saturday, October 3, in spite of coronavirus. The official three days of the festival that usually happen at Brooklyn’s Knockdown Center around this time of the year, were scrapped just a couple of months ago, when the prospects of opening up New York spaces that could accommodate large crowds were slim to none.

Horrorchata

The social-distancing event happened over the course of a Saturday evening in Maria Hernandez Park in Brooklyn. The official Bushwig IG page posted a flyer about the event just a few days before it happened, giving unusually short notice to the festival’s fans. The post advised everyone to wear a mask and a wig, and to keep 6 feet apart. Instead of the usual 300+ performers that would have been scheduled over the course of the three days at the Knockdown Center, only 12 performer names were featured on the flyer. Amongst the night’s slated performers were Bushwig’s old-timer Charlene, Ms. Bushwig 2018 Chiquitita (née Harajuku and then Juku), Sasha Velour’s NightGowns show’s regular Neon Calypso, the self-proclaimed mother of Brooklyn drag, Merrie Cherry, and Bushwig’s co-founder Horrorchata herself.

The crowd warmed up with the DJ set from Babes Trust, the second co-founder of the festival, who eventually came out onstage to start off the shows and tell everyone that the idea to throw the event was very last minute, and that all of the proceeds would go to the performers and the Bushwig organization team “to survive and strive.” The evening’s shows were split in two parts with a 10-minute intermission. Lady Quesa’Dilla opened and MC’d the first part of the evening, with Rify Royalty and drag king Myster E Mel Kiki following right after. Chiquitita, formerly Juku, debuted her new stage name to Sade’s “Is It A Crime,” sensuously embodying her womanhood in front of the large crowd; Neon Calypso followed up with poem “Capitalism” by Porsha Olayiwola, a 2014 Individual World Poetry Champion, breaking into “Bitch Better Have My Money” with her signature flips and splits; Merrie Cherry and Horrorchata closed out the first half of the performances with a joyous duet.

Charlene

Chiquitita

La Zavaleta

Merrie Cherry took over the MC duties for the second half of the evening and attempted to thank the NYPD for not kicking everyone out of the park. Most of the crowd booed and several people screamed out, “Fuck NYPD!” To which Merrie Cherry conceded and said that she was just grateful that everyone could come together and celebrate Bushwig.

The larger-than-life Dragon Sisters opened up the second act with a bang, while the multi-talented opera singing aerialist Marcy Richardson showered them with a thick stash of dollar bills; Charlene followed up with a fierce hairography thanks to her signature portable fan, her unruly bosom continually popping out of her deeply V-necked ensemble; Zavaleta kicked off her heels, one of which managed to hit someone in the crowd in the head, at the start of her performance and then cried bloody tears through plastic tubes attached to a pump; Miz Jade introduced everyone to a “Toxic” X “WAP” mashup; the last two performances belonged to Magenta and then Horrorchata’s duet with Charlene.

Performers of Brooklyn

The night wrapped up with an iconic photo op of all the Brooklyn-based performers in attendance and a DJ set by mrjpatt. The organizers of the event are already setting their eyes on next year. In Bushwig’s most recent IG post, part of the comment reads, “See you September 11th & 12th 2021 at @knockdowncenter ~ Tickets on sale soon“. Here’s to hoping that things will go back to somewhat normal in the upcoming year and the Brooklyn LGBTQIA+ community will be able to celebrate with each other once again under the roof of the Knockdown Center.

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Alexey Kim

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Activisim EDITORIAL Events Timeline

15K People Show Up For Black Trans Lives At Brooklyn Liberation March

EVENTS | ACTIVISM

Brooklyn Liberation:

An Action For Black Trans Lives

Around 15K people wearing all white showed up to Brooklyn Liberation March for Black Trans Lives.

On June 14, 2020, around 15,000 people wearing all white showed up for the Brooklyn Liberation Action in support of Black Trans Lives. Brooklyn-based drag artist West Dakota drew inspiration from the 1917 Silent Protest Parade organized by the NAACP that was held in response to an attack on the black community in East St. Louis. Fran Tirado, Eliel Cruz, Dix Peyton, Raquel Willis, and organizations like G.L.I.T.S., The Okra Project, For The Gworls, Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and the Emergency Release Fund joined the movement.

Raquel Willis, Junior Mintt and West Dakota

Ceyenne Doroshow

The rally’s hosts Junior Mintt and Joshua Obawole asked Black trans people to move up to the very front of the crowd. Heartfelt speeches by Ianne Fields Stewart, Ceyenne Doroshow, Raquel Willis, and the family of Layleen Polanco followed next. Doroshov, an author, activist, and the founder of G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) has been housing 5 Black trans people recently released from Rikers Island. During her passionate speech on top of the Brooklyn Museum, Doroshov broke down in tears, sharing that almost $1 million has been raised in order for her organization to be able to buy two buildings in NYC to house Black trans people:

“We have always been last, that’s not gonna happen anymore. We’re first… We have never had equity in the city of New York. Motherfuckers, we do now.”

By the time the Brooklyn Liberation March of over 15K people has reached its final destination at Fort Greene Park, Doroshov announced that someone had just contributed $9,000, pushing the donations to the $1 million goal. But the fundraiser doesn’t stop there.

“Ceyenne has BIG plans, if we can keep the momentum going we’ll be able to impact the landscape of sustainable housing for Black trans people for decades to come,”

states G.L.I.T.S.’ e-mail campaign. If you would like to donate, head over to the G.L.I.T.S. donation page.

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Alexey Kim

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Events Festivals The Mixer Timeline

My First Time At Bushwig

THE MIXER | EVENTS


09-07-19

My First Time At Bushwig Festival

You are definitely in for a treat if this is your first time attending Buswhig. Read about Mark Minton’s experience.

The first time I even heard of Bushwig was just before it started last year. I had just moved to New York less than a month prior and was paying rent to sleep on a couch in a one-bedroom in the South Bronx. Trekking to Brooklyn usually took me longer than an hour, and at the time I was so rattled by the impulsive decision to quit my job in Kansas and move to NYC with minimal savings and no income that I decided to stay home and cry instead of going to what is arguably the best drag fest in New York City.

I now live a 30-minute walk and a seven-minute Uber ride from Knockdown Center, the event space that hosts Bushwig. So this year staying home really wasn’t an option. I had already secured a press pass after accosting Horrorchata at the Bushwig On Top takeover a few days prior at Le Bain, and I was ready to attend a festival dedicated entirely to the art of drag for the first time in my life. 

Molestia Child

The weird thing about Bushwig is that it starts early in the afternoon at around 1 p.m. So when I got out of my Uber five hours later at the corner of Flushing and 55th St., wearing Puma sneakers, a short golden dress I got at a thrift store down the street for eight bucks, no makeup, and the signature patent leather tufted beret I rescued from a stock room at Bloomingdale’s in Soho, I felt strange. There was a draft between my legs. The evening light had not yet waned. Shadowy drivers catcalled as they passed me in their cars. Pedestrians whistled at me from across Flushing Ave. I didn’t want to wear pants to a drag fest, so I wore a dress, but to me that was the bare minimum. I thought I would get out of my Uber, disappear into a swarm of drag queens and kings and in-betweens, and reemerge into the comfort of a moonlit darkness where social norms seem to disappear, or at least sleep. 

It took a moment before I even saw Knockdown Center. I started walking the wrong way, and then I turned around. As people waved and whistled I smiled bashfully and wrapped my arms around my waist to hug myself in reassurance as I crossed the street. The smile said, “I’m in on the joke,” but the body language said, “Holy fuck why does this shit start at 1 p.m.?” But just as soon as I was lost, I found myself in that magical crowd of people in full face and look in the day’s last, gloaming light — wigs down to the ankles, lips overdrawn to the cheek, pads and bodysuits and choruses of “Hey sis!” I had found safety, but now the embarrassment was less that I stood out too much and more that I didn’t measure up to the legions of drag artists who had all shown up with something to show.

Charity Kase

Bimini

Georgia Tasda

After I feverishly gulped down a pair of diminutive $15 tequila sunrises, I lingered by the stage and watched from the back of the crowd as the “London Takeover” segment of the festival got underway. The first artist I watched was Georgia Tasda, who walked the stage with a giant white flag graffiti’d “Fuck Brexit.” My favorite picture of the performance only got the “Fuck” part of the message. The silhouette of the crowd obscured the rest. But “Fuck” to me said it all perfectly enough. “Fuck.” It felt right. Other queens in the act such as Bimini and Charity Kase gave some of my favorite performances of the night and got me thinking about a trip to the UK (feel free to book me for any big upcoming events, London ladies). It was a reminder that drag is like a universal language, bringing people together from all over the planet.

Most of what I do is photograph parties and, more specifically, the attendees of parties. The performances at Bushwig were nonstop, back to back, and after standing stageside for what must have been at least two hours, I felt sated by some of the amazing numbers by artists such as Blake Deadly, God Complex, Violencia Exclamation Point, and Tammie Brown.

Violencia Exclamation Point

I decided it was time to get some food, so I followed some friends to the food trucks in the outdoor commons. The lines were long, the turnaround times were long, and I’d been drinking for about 30 hours straight and had neglected to feed myself. So I left Knockdown with Willie Page and found a cluster of bodegas a few blocks away. On the way we passed a big white clown face built into a white wooden wall. Bushwig felt like it extended beyond Knockdown Center. It somehow seemed like all of Brooklyn, maybe even all of New York City, was eclipsed by the happening of Bushwig. Cashiers asked if there was a party going on. Somehow it was a hard question to answer.

When we got back, I milled through the crowd and found a few friends. Luka Ghost wore his quintessential white Deer Goddess regalia and crouched in a creepy nook I couldn’t divine the purpose of. Basit Shittu and Kylie Smith from the first fully queer season eight cast of Are You The One? just so happened to be wearing neon-green spaghetti-strapped garments that perfectly matched a neon-green spaghetti strap dress that West Dakota wore. They posed for a photo together and talked like old friends, but I think it was truly a coincidence that they were all wearing neon-green outfits with green spaghetti straps. It might have been planned though. I might have been drunk(er) by then. 

Candy Sterling looked hot. Her dancers looked hot. They all posed against a wall with their asses out. It was hot. Serena Tea was dressed like cocktail fish and I snapped a photo of her on the metal stairs of a storage (barn?) unit. She didn’t know and I didn’t know and nobody else knew (I don’t think) that the next night she would be crowned Miss Bushwig 2019. I didn’t know anyone was going to be crowned Miss Bushwig, though. I’m learning more every day.

Luka Ghost

Kylie Smith, Basit Shittu & West Dakota

Candy Sterling and dancers

J Rosa

When we got back, I milled through the crowd and found a few friends. Luka Ghost wore his quintessential white Deer Goddess regalia and crouched in a creepy nook I couldn’t divine the purpose of. Basit Shittu and Kylie Smith from the first fully queer season eight cast of Are You The One? just so happened to be wearing neon-green spaghetti-strapped garments that perfectly matched a neon-green spaghetti strap dress that West Dakota wore. They posed for a photo together and talked like old friends, but I think it was truly a coincidence that they were all wearing neon-green outfits with green spaghetti straps. It might have been planned though. I might have been drunk(er) by then. 

Candy Sterling looked hot. Her dancers looked hot. They all posed against a wall with their asses out. It was hot. Serena Tea was dressed like cocktail fish and I snapped a photo of her on the metal stairs of a storage (barn?) unit. She didn’t know and I didn’t know and nobody else knew (I don’t think) that the next night she would be crowned Miss Bushwig 2019. I didn’t know anyone was going to be crowned Miss Bushwig, though. I’m learning more every day.

MTHR TRSA

Overall, the first night of Bushwig was a night I’ll never forget. As I left, MTHR TRSA (pronounced “Mother Theresa”) was lying in the parking lot eating pretzels with her mouth full, the sharp signature contour of her cheeks dancing to the motions of her insatiable masticating maw. We left Knockdown and J Rosa posed next to corrugated sheet metal and a graffiti’d rape van in a long-sleeved black Calvin Klein shirt and a clown beat. All the way home, Bushwig kept going and going. 

I didn’t make it to the final night of Bushwig because I foolishly decided to stay in Manhattan, and I also didn’t know a Miss Bushwig 2019 crowning was a thing, but throughout the weekend I was amazed by the talent and bravery I witnessed both online and in person at that festival. It was such an amazing space for so many drag artists to come together and show how wide-ranging, diverse, and intrepid the art of drag really is. Let’s just say it’s the actual NYC DragCon.

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Categories
Events Festivals The Mixer Timeline

Bushwig: The Future Of Drag And Queer Expression

THE MIXER | EVENTS


Bushwig: The Future Of Drag And Queer Expression

Bushwig 2019 just happened this past weekend! So bizarre to think of this being my fourth time at the festival. It goes without saying, that this weekend was just as amazing as the years prior. I’ll always have a soft spot for this festival, since Bushwig 2016 was my first ever queer NYC experience. I’ve met so many of my Brooklyn friends and family that year… 

The festival rattled me to my core and had me contemplating life, love, and everything in between. I had been playing around with drag and design for a couple of months at that point, but seeing so many queers in one space is some inexplicable shit. We can only try to put the experience into words, but at the end of the day, a person needs to see it, hear it, and feel it for themselves.

This was the first year that I was able to go both days to the Festival, which I would fully recommend. I had two days and plenty of time to connect with friends and capture the bountiful creativity around me. Bushwig had an interesting dynamic this year because it was on the same weekend as DragCon. Which epic drag event does one go to?!

For me the choice was obvious, but of course for our talented queer friends the choice might not have been as effortless. I sympathized with those who decided to go to both events, because that must have been exhausting. There were many creatives roaming the Knockdown Center. I couldn’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been if the events didn’t conflict. Would the Knockdown Center be even more occupied? A part of me wishes they were on different weekends, as I always have a sense of FOMO. It would have been cool to check out DragCon this year, but there was nothing that could keep me away from the nostalgic and magical feelings that Bushwig stirs.

Regardless of the conflict in events, the freedom to be your unique self was quite palpable and unwavering at the Knockdown Center. Not only did that uninhibited energy come forth in everyone’s personal presentation, but especially in the thriving and captivating performances. The one thing stronger than everyone’s individuality is the strong sense of community. Moments that especially reminded me how beautiful the BK family is, was watching artistic icons like Charlene and Juku crown the current reigning Mx. Bushwig Serena Tea. I’m thankful to have witnessed this moment. Not only because it was entertaining as fuck, but because its history in the making!

Bushwig is growing, and to be a part of its timeline and family tree is exciting and memorable. This festival exhibits the future of drag and queer expression, while also withholding the authenticity and importance of our community’s history. Sometimes it is hard for us to celebrate when we remember our community’s ongoing struggle. I am reminded on weekends like this, that family and friendship is the best fuel to move you forward. We are far from finished but we will not move forward alone. Thank you, Horrorchata, for creating such an important weekend for many of us.

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