For the first time , the Tribeca Film Festival hosted Pride celebrations with a day-long event yesterday in New York City.
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch director and its first star John Cameron Mitchell, Gay Men’s Health Crisis founder Larry Kramer, non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon, and podcast hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low had talks during the day. It also featured other panels that focused on queer storytelling and activism.
And the day ended with a screening of the new HBO documentary, Wig about the Wigstock festival on its 35 anniversary.
Wig was directed by Chris Moukarbel and Harris and husband David Burtka co-produced and the cast includes (some but not all who performed at Wigstock 2.Ho) Harris, Linda Simpson, Naomi Smalls, Tabboo!, and Unitard, plus Lypsinka, Joey Arias and Sherry Vine, Raven O, along with Alex Newell, Amanda Lepore, and Candis Cayne, and RuPaul’s Drag Race faves like Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Latrice Royale, Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska, and Sharon Needles. (Note: Not all listed appear in the film, I hearing many performances were “left on the cutting room floor”, as they say…)
The Tribeca Film Festival says about Wig,
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.
Bunny said to Instinct at the Red Bull Music Festival where she performed before a screening of the 1995 documentary Wigstock,
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…
There’s no trailer for Wig yet (but it hits HBO this summer) so, here’s one from 1995’s Wigstock: The Movie. Odd to think, that this, being the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and Stonewall, that Wigstock, which combined the two, is just 15 years younger at 35.
(Photographs, Ruben Natal-San Miguel; via Instinct)