For decades now drag queens Lady Bunny and RuPaul have been close frenemies, first performing together in New York City during the early ’80s. Since then RuPaul has expanded his empire immensely with the show Drag Race, but now Lady Bunny is reviving her very own drag convention, one that predates RuPaul’s own DragCon by several decades.
The Lady Bunny-founded Wigstock, which began as a day-long drag convention that took place in Manhattan’s Thompson Square Park and even earned its own documentary, is coming back. The New York Times reports that even though Wigstock eventually fizzled out in 2001 largely due to Rudy Giuliani’s oppressive nightlife laws and a few rained in festival days, Lady Bunny is bringing the festival back this Labor Day weekend at NYC’s South Street Seaport with some help from Neil Patrick Harris.
The “tentative” performer list reportedly includes drag queens and performers like Alaska, Amanda Lepore, Bianca Del Rio, Dita Von Teese, Latrice Royale, Justin Vivian Bond, Taylor Mac and more. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Pride Media, the publisher of Out and The Advocate, are also involved. The newly improved Wigstock has a lot to live up to, especially as the drag fandom has expanded and people expect conventions the size of DragCon. But you could argue that Wigstock’s resurgence is a way for performers and fans to get the genre back to its roots, since RuPaul’s influence on mainstream drag certainly has its detractors.