As RuPaul’s DragCon takes ovaaah NYC this weekend (September 9&10), and queens from all over the world come to congregate and carry with their chosen, respective tribes, who better than native New Yorker and pop culturalist Michael Musto to give his top picks on where to go for a REALNESS NYC kiki! WOWlebrity MX Qwerrrk did a hilarious #DownInTheDM Q&A, on QwerrrkOut, with the author/columnist. Check it out below! (Musto pic by Andrew Werner, Mx Qwerrrk pics by Santiago Felipe)
Mx Qwerrrk: Best weekly party?
Michael Musto: Battle Hymn at Flash Factory (229 W. 28th Street). The Ladyfag-hosted bash was Sundays, then Saturdays, then Fridays, then no days, but the buzz is that it’s coming back as a Sunday sometime very soon. It’s friendly, upbeat, and very dancey, with non-gays allowed too!
Best drag bar?
Boots & Saddle (100A 7th Avenue South). The raucously fun hangout is a shrine to drag queens, from up-and-coming to down-and-going. You never know quite what you’ll get here, which is part of the fun. And some of the performers are tops, like RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 9 contestant Alexis Michelle (who’s singing with me at Club Cumming, 505 E. 6th Street, on September 23).
Best place to kiki with Amanda Lepore?
On Top, Susanne Bartsch’s weekly summertime party at the Standard Hotel (happening this Tuesday) usually attracts Amanda as a host. The two-level soiree (848 Washington Street) spans both the Le Bain area and the roof, and is the perfect al fresco way to examine Amanda’s attributes up close.
Best place to meet Michael Musto?
Marie’s Crisis– the long running piano bar at 59 Grove Street, is my favorite place to kick off my surgical shoes and sing the entire score of Chicago with a bunch of inebriated strangers. This is the ultimate house party in the body of a bar.
Best old school gay bar?
Industry Bar (355 W. 52nd) is a flashy Hell’s Kitchen attraction that by now is old school in the way it presents fairly traditional drag, at its most polished and fun. Among the drag stars there are Monet XChange, Sherry Vine, and Kizha Carr.
Best nu school gay bar?
Brooklyn is where so much of the nightlife has moved…so, anything Brooklyn is automatically nu school! Macri Park (462 Union Avenue) is a cool hangout with drag shows, a back garden, and lots of drinking.
Best sex clubs/video stores?
Bianca Del Rio’s hotel room!
Best cheap eats?
I live in Murray Hill, which is delightfully near the Indian neighborhood, ‘Curry Hill’. Of the many restaurants there, Haandi (113 Lexington Avenue) is possibly the dumpiest, but for $9, you get two meats, rice, a veggie, a salad, and nan bread! And it’s delicious.
Best tea house/cafe?
The Cloister Cafe (238 E. 9th Street) is quiet, sequestered, and utterly charming. I go there anyway.
Best art exhibits?
The Museum of the City of New York (1220-5th Avenue) always has stimulating exhibits zeroing in on NYC’s most fascinating qualities. Right now, they have exhibits dealing with AIDS, activism, salsa, patriotism, and history. Your price of admission gets you into all of them.
Best place to get geish?
Ricky’s are all over the city, and are a great place for your henna, lipstick, and other gels. For clothes, try Screaming Mimi’s (240 W. 14th Street) and Reminiscence (74 Fifth Avenue)…two vintage stores where only the best has been culled (usually from my own closet).
Best place to buy a last minute wig?
At Halloween Adventure (104 Fourth Avenue), every day is Halloween. You’ll never go bald again.