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Bushwig

The five acts to see at Bushwig

The annual Bushwig festival hits Ridgewood this weekend; here are a few of the many sure-to-be highlights

By Ethan LaCroix
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New York City has always been home to the world’s greatest drag queens (suck it, Provincetown), and over the last few years a thrilling new breed of queen has emerged out of the primordial ooze of the North Brooklyn arts scene. These ground-breaking performers aren’t your mom’s queens (not that there’s anything wrong with your mom’s queens, of course), and they’re as likely to sport back hair and Converse high-tops as they are sickening wigs and sky-high heels. The brightest stars of the scene come together every year at Bushwig, a two-day party packed with music, dancing and (of course) outrageous drag. This year, the fest officially outgrew its original home of Secret Project Robot, so it’s moved north to Ridgewood, perhaps cementing the Queens hood’s status as NYC’s coolest zip code.

The best acts at Bushwig

AB Soto
Photograph: Aaron Cobbett

AB Soto

Not all of the Bushwig queens wear drag. The adorable electro-rapper AB Soto can charm the pants off any crowd, but the Bushwig audience is especially inclined to lose their shit for his hilarious, infectious dance-pop songs, which take on everything from gender fuckery (“Daddy Queen”) to NYC nightlife nuisances (“Fuk Dat”). He’s also an impressive dancer, and prone to shedding layers of his colorful, glittery costumes throughout his set.

Bottoms
Photograph: Amy Lombard

Bottoms

Creepy, shameless and completely hilarious, this electro-punk trio (featuring Bushwig cofounder Simon Leahy, a.k.a. Babes Trust) isn’t for everyone. It can be a bit much listening to frontperson Jake Dibeler shriek about dark subjects including body dysmorphia and AIDS—but it’s all set to a highly danceable beat and presented with a heaping helping of gallows humor. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself giving in when he starts shouting, “Clap your hands if you hate your body!” For a hint of what you’re in for, check out the band’s deeply twisted Twitter.

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Crimson Kitty
Photograph: Elisabeth Fuchsia

Crimson Kitty

Drag queenery isn’t just for the boys. Female queen Crimson Kitty takes gender subversion to the next level with her highly exaggerated look. Her roots are in burlesque, but as she told us in our recent interview, she’s left the bumping and grinding behind to pursue her uniquely queer brand of drag, which has made her a rising star on both sides of the East River.

Horrorchata
Photograph: Maro Hagopian

Horrorchata

The Bushwig cofounder serves up mean lip-sync and fierce, boundary-pushing drag, but her secret weapon is her emcee abilities. After all, it takes a talented host to keep the audience engaged while a performer is awkwardly clearing the stage of glitter/fake blood/clothes/wigs. She’ll keep the proceedings moving along nicely, dropping witty quips and good-natured insults. As the party comes to a close each night, keep your eyes on ’Chata—she’ll be heading to the best after-parties.

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Lady Bunny
Photograph: Billy Erb

Lady Bunny

New York’s most iconic queen hops over the river to make her Bushwig performance debut this year. (Last year she caused a stir just walking through the crowd.) Her legendary annual Wigstock throwdown, which grew out of a spontaneous gathering in Tompkins Square Park in 1984, is a spiritual forerunner of Bushwig. There have been rumblings of Wigstock’s return, so perhaps Bun Bun is testing the waters on the Bushwig stage.

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