Drag Queens Were Out in Full Force at This Year's Bushwig

Photographer Maro Hagopian captured fierce faces for the annual festival's sold-out sixth anniversary weekend.

by Maro Hagopian
Sep 29 2017, 8:45pm

Last weekend, Bushwig, the festival of drag, music, and love, returned to Long Island City's Knockdown Center for its sold-out sixth anniversary event. There were drag performances, art installations, projection-mapped art, disco dance floors, interactive performance booths, world famous DJs, live music, a locally sourced smorgasbord, and a boutique with more than 30 vendors offering wigs, clothes, jewelry, art, and more.

"To create an opportunity for anyone to experience and participate in the art and culture of drag, music, and love has been the intention of Bushwig since day one," explained Bushwig co-creator Horrorchata. "What's come of Bushwig over the last six years celebrates the drag community, which has always, and continues, to inspire pop culture."

Since its creation by Brooklyn-based artists Horrorchata and Babes Trust, Bushwig has aspired to be a celebration of anyone for everyone. The festival functions as a platform for more than 200 artists from around the world to come and share their acts alongside some of the most well-known drag performance artists. VICE photographer Maro Hagopian traveled to Queens to ask some of the attendees what brought them to Bushwig.

Co-founder of Bushwig, Horrorchata: "I started Bushwig six years ago. There was this drag explosion in the neighborhood. All my friends were doing drag so it was a natural evolution that we would come together in one place. I've always looked up to Lady Bunny and loved Wigstock. I talked to Lady Bunny about this, and she said the same thing about Wigstock—that all our friends were doing drag, so it made sense to create an event around it."
Jacquee Kennedee: "Drag is my favorite thing. It's such the perfect way to express your creativity, play with gender, meet so many talented people with amazing skill sets."
Desiree Dik: "I love doing drag because I love expressing myself and being weird! I just love the applause and excitement people have when I perform. I'm all the way from DC, so I'm representing!"
B Hollywood: "Bushwig is incredible because it's so diverse and unique. I do drag because it's the way I create infinite possibilities of myself."
Untitled Queen: "Bushwig is like a floating house, with every queen, king, singer, performer, patron, child, babe, freak, outsider, insider, and friend as the bricks and mortar. Whether it is your very first time or your sixth, you are a part of the family when you are at this festival."
Alotta McGriddles: "What I love about the performances is that they have queens who have been doing this a year and queens who have been doing this for way longer all on the same stage. You get to see a variety of people. Very supportive, very open. If you come with a cool pair of sunglasses on, you're in drag girl."
Taylor (left) and a friend: "I love to cover myself in glitter and gold. I'm a hoarder, so I like to wear a bunch of crazy shit."
BeBE Deluxe: "I'm not a human being so much as I am three raccoons stacked up in a human suit. I come to Bushwig every year because the dicks are uncut, the liquor pours, and the drag is good."
Ben: "I love Bushwig because it deconstructs or constructs. It's really empowering—fun, lots of glitter, and rad people!"
Adele Computer: "I'm a copywriter at an ad agency. I do drag to feel pretty. I love Bushwig because I love Brooklyn, and I love the drag community. It's so fun to get everyone together."
Lady Havokk: "I love Bushwig. It is the highlight of my year. I'm surrounded by thousands of freaks and geeks and weirdos. It's such an experience to be part of this every year. And I do drag because it pays my bills!"
Priscilla Poilu: "Priscilla is an homage to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Poilu means 'hairy' in French. I like doing drag because you get to express who you want to be and others get to experience whatever it is you express. There's so much magic in there, along with some shade!"
York Deluxe: "I'm intoxicatingly intoxicated. This is my first year dressing up. I love the transformation from boy to drag queen. "
Mr Lee VaLone Velour: "I'm doing my Gandalf number today because they're aren't that many drag kings here, so I wanted to represent something a little campier and represent me as an artist: nerdy."

Follow Maro Hagopian on Instagram.

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