Founded more than a decade ago, Bushwig, Brooklyn's premier annual drag, dance, and music event, returned over the weekend to the Knockdown Center in Maspeth (which, yes, we know, is in Queens) with two marathon days of lip-syncing, DJs, and dancers. Co-founders Horrorchata and Babes LaBeija originally took their lead from Wigstock, the fabled Labor Day drag extravaganza founded by Lady Bunny, which ran from the mid-1980s through 2005, and have run with it for 11 increasingly ambitious seasons.
Now, Bushwig has been declared "the Coachella of Drag" by music trade publication Billboard, and dubbed the "gay Super Bowl" by co-founder Horrorchata in a 2021 interview when the celebration returned after pandemic. A glance at this year's roster confirms its celestial status: In addition to all the fresh and emerging talent on hand, Lady Bunny herself was part of the Saturday lineup, and Amanda Lepore and Joey Arias turned up on Sunday. A stacked DJ roster boasted Bottoms, No Bra, Papi Juice, and NYC's newest celebrity mixer, Chelsea Manning.
Photographer Sai Mokhtari, who previously has called Bushwig "the most underrated festival in New York," was there to witness the fabulous procession of extraordinary performers and personae. "I would say that Bushwig is infinitely cooler than Coachella in every way," Mokhtari says. Check out her photos, and look for some agreeably raunchy video clips on the Bushwig Instagram page.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, the location of Knockdown Center was misidentified. The venue is in Maspeth.