Just in time for the 35th anniversary of the legendary Wigstock festival, a new documentary of the event is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival next month. Lady Bunny, who founded the event in 1984, has been working with drag queens since the very beginning, bringing to light the talents of RuPaul, Coco Peru, Jackie Beat, Joey Arias, Lypsinka, as well as musical powerhouses like Deee-Lite, Crystal Waters, CeCe Peniston, Debby Harry, and Boy George!
We recently interviewed Lady Bunny during the Red Bull Music Festival where she performed before a screening of the 1995 cult classic documentary Wigstock. She then participated in a Q&A where she discussed the struggles to stand out as an LGBTQ+ individual in today’s community.
Lady Bunny said:
When I was young I had no idea why I was on that stage except that I wanted to be part of that scene. I may not have had anything to offer, but I’m saying that it was very much a work in progress and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we hope that it will include the next generation of Jackie Beats and Coco Peru and Vaginal Davis, Dina Martina, Varla Jean Merman, etcetera.
Wigstock was on hiatus until it was revived in 2018 featuring drag personalities that may be more recognizable in the mainstream like Bianca Del Rio, Alaska, and Sharon Needles. And with the revamping of Wigstock comes a resurgence of today’s drag that has been captured in a new HBO documentary Wig.
The film is directed by Chris Moukarbel, who directed Me at the Zoo with Chris Crocker. The cast of Wig includes Charlene Incarnate, Flotilla DeBarge, Kevin Aviance, Neil Patrick Harris, Willam, Linda Simpson, Naomi Smalls, Tabboo!, and Lady Bunny herself!
Neil Patrick Harris and hubby David Burtka helped produced the film.
The Tribeca Film Festival provides a Wig description:
Wigstock was an annual drag festival which glamorously signaled the end of summer for the gay community in New York City for almost 20 years. Late one night in 1984, Lady Bunny and a few friends drunkenly wandered from the Pyramid Club in the East Village to Tompkins Square Park and staged an impromptu drag show in the bandshell. This would soon become an annual drag bacchanal that lasted up until 2001. And now, Lady Bunny has brought it back. This past summer, the festival returned, bringing together legendary queens with some of the new children of drag, into one of the largest drag performances ever staged.
Wig explores the origins and the influence of the historic festival through rich archival footage, as well as provides a look into the contemporary drag movement that the festival served as a foundation for. Wig is a celebration of New York drag culture, and those personalities and performances that contribute to the ways we understand queerness, art, and identity today.
Screenings for Wig will be held on May 4th and May 5th during the festival run. This season marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Visit Tribeca Film Festival for more details.