Right here come the sequins, stilettos and large hair — Wigstock is again!
After greater than a decade’s absence, the enduring counterculture drag pageant returns Saturday to South Road Seaport’s Pier 17.
Granted, drag is extra polished and accessible lately, thanks partly to actuality TV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” However Neil Patrick Harris — who launched this revival along with his husband, David Burtka, and pageant founder Lady Bunny — guarantees to take Wigstock again to its nutty roots.
“We are attempting to create a giant, big tossed salad of drag enjoyable,” the actor tells The Publish. “And I don’t know what fan of drag doesn’t like a giant tossed salad!”
The eight-hour extravaganza will characteristic a Who’s Who of drag and cabaret acts: Lypsinka, Joey Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Murray Hill, Sherry Vine and Amanda Lepore amongst them. There will even be a number of “Drag Race” alumni, together with Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio and Season eight winner Bob the Drag Queen.
“You’ll get a little bit style of all the things,” Burtka says, “from punk bands to comedy to lip syncing to DJs to bop routines.”
Lady Bunny, a ok a Tennessee native Jon Ingle, began the ball rolling in 1984, with an impromptu, late-night efficiency by drag queens in Tompkins Sq. Park for an viewers of homeless individuals.
“I wished to showcase drag expertise from the Pyramid Membership, Boy Bar, the theater,” she recollects. “I assumed New York drag was reaching a zenith and may attain an even bigger viewers than the 250 those that would slot in Pyramid Membership.”
Wigstock was “nothing to put in writing dwelling about” when it formally kicked off a yr later, in the identical East Village park. “We had no promoting funds. There have been Xeroxed posters — keep in mind Xerox?” says the 56-year-old Lady Bunny, laughing. “And that was earlier than we even knew Photoshop our photos, although we had been youthful then and didn’t want it as a lot.” Even so, she says, by day’s finish, the occasion had crammed the park.
For the subsequent 16 years, Wigstock attracted 1000’s because it bounced between Tompkins Sq., Union Sq. and the piers off Christopher Road. After 2001, although, the pageant appeared sporadically and in abbreviated kind, usually at the side of different occasions.
By the years, it welcomed expertise like RuPaul, Boy George, Deee-Lite, Crystal Waters, Extremely Naté and Blondie’s Debbie Harry, who appeared many occasions.
Lady Bunny says one in every of her favourite moments got here in 1998, when she joined CeCe Peniston onstage for a thumping model of her membership hit “Lastly.”
“While you heard that bass line, the gang was simply bouncing and shaking and celebrating,” she says. “I assumed the pier was going to interrupt off into the water!”
Previous audiences have dolled up almost as a lot because the performers, and Lady Bunny hopes Saturday’s crowd will, too. “We encourage individuals to place a wig on or are available in a dressing up. It creates a carnivale ambiance,” she says. “The viewers is extra susceptible to get together together with us and is usually as entertaining because the performers onstage.”
There will even be a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who was laid to relaxation on Friday. Lady Bunny says that former “Drag Race” contestant Latrice Royale, who can remodel herself into the Queen of Soul, is planning a “rousing” shout-out. There will even be a number of salutes to homosexual icon Patti LaBelle.
“After we misplaced Aretha, I stated, ‘You already know what?’” Lady Bunny recollects. “‘Let’s have a good time our divas whereas they’re with us.’”
One Wigstock authentic making her return is transgender dancer and actress Candis Cayne. Throughout one 1995 efficiency — a handspring-filled routine set to the Toni Basil hit “Mickey” — a dozen backup dancers dressed as cheerleaders hoisted her excessive into the air in a “basket toss.”
Don’t anticipate to see her do this once more.
“I haven’t achieved a again handspring since then,” Cayne, 47, says with amusing. “I’m not gonna get pleasure from it now!”
Harris — who cross-dressed his option to a Tony Award in 2014’s “Hedwig and the Indignant Inch” — is raring to relive the gritty drag days of previous.
Taking part in the title position in John Cameron Mitchell’s musical gave the previous “Doogie Howser, MD” star a brand new respect for drag performers, and the “difficult, considerably masochistic and particular” choices they make to be stunning.
Harris says he additionally desires to salute longtime artists who haven’t gotten the Instagram likes their “Drag Race” contemporaries have loved.
And he simply could slip on Hedwig’s gold stiletto boots on Saturday — together with a number of different issues.
“Yeah, I feel Hedwig could return in all her glory,” he tells The Publish. “I’ll be clutching pearls — and a Tony.”
Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m., Pier 17 at South Road Seaport, 89 South St.; tickets $95 and up; Wigstock.NYC