Bushwig Came Back With a Bang

Bushwig Came Back With a Bang

Introduction by Kenna McCafferty / Photography and interviews by Serichai Traipoom

On the (even higher) heels of Fashion Week, Bushwig returned earlier this month to showcase the best of Brooklyn drag at Knockdown Center. Bringing together every borough and beyond, Bushwig paired legendary lip-synchs and DJ sets from the depths of New York nightlife alongside international acts.

Always inviting the unexpected, Brooklyn staples like Bottoms, No Bra, Papi Juice and Babynymph underscored a surprise set from NYC’s newest spinstress, Chelsea Manning, that brought a twist to tradition. The lineup also notably included Kevin Aviance, who was sampled on Beyoncé's RENAISSANCE album.

The annual event, co-founded by New York legend Horrorchata, has been called many things, from the "Coachella of Drag" to the "Gay Super Bowl," but as mainstream festivals become increasingly vapid content farms, Bushwig 2022 cemented the get together as a true community practice.

The festival ran over the weekend of September 10 and 11, and showcased more than 150 performers. This year’s focus was on reaffirming the festival as a safe, inclusive LGBTQ+ space and platform for the drag community. ICYMI, PAPER attended to capture some of the best looks and personalities, below.

"Bushwig is sickening." –Jay Kay

"I sewed it myself. I’ve been working on it for a couple months. I work full-time, so it was like: come home, sew the outfit." –TJ Maxxx

"I found this outfit in my closet. I cut these titties off on stage." –Brigitte Bandit

"We’ve been doing it since year one." –Mocha Lite

"This look is made out of 20-foot by two-foot panels of fabric wrapped around my body to make a sickening outfit." –Dawn

"I just went through a really big break about three months ago and this was my closing the books to it. I plastered his text messages on the screen behind me while I danced, said 'fuck you' and moved on." –Ms. Hap

"I wore this to the Chromatica Ball and couldn’t let it go to waste." –Jef Poulin

"This is my second time being here and I saw pictures of me being promoted as goth, so I was gonna come as a nun, but I decided to do my Bettie Page look. It’s always classic, giving the Mugler." –Joey Arias

"I'm from South Beach Miami, honey, and I am in a royal blue outfit that's about to give you all the skies." –Fantasia Royale Gaga

"In my performance I killed my sugar daddy, had him cremated, then I got a little lonely and thought, 'Maybe I shouldn’t have killed him?' Then I got horny and fucked his ashes." –X-Emma

"Clearly, people need to vote. The fact that we have to actually deal with this is bullshit. If you can go out and buy a gram of weed, get a drink and go dancing, then you can take five minutes and vote." –Tyler Ashley

"This is my look for my number. Bushwig 2022 is gorgeous. Love you, muah." –Sequinette Jaynesfield

"I got here literally five minutes before I went on and it was sickening. I wasn’t plan on getting naked, but then it happened and it felt right." –Mel 4Ever

"It’s a pleasure to come to Bushwig for my second year." –Amanda Lepore

"This is a Tina Turner-inspired outfit by Pierretta Viktori. This is a reveal piece, this is just the cover up." –Neon Calypso

"The look is very vampire chic and I'm sweating balls in it." –Rify Royalty

"My look is inspired by the J. Lo Versace dress, but a little touch of Bushwick." –Warhola Pop

"I am a liminal woman, looking for the space between liminality and non-liminality, preferably in the bathroom stall, where the staff adore me." –Xalvador

"I did a Dumbledore number from my show, called Fagtasia, that I do here in Brooklyn, that's basically taking the classic Dumbledore elements as if he were a closeted trans woman." –Baby Love

"My outfit tonight is an orange jumpsuit that is hugging every curve of this body to a tea because I’m trying to give them pussy at Bushwig and let the girls know. It’s rhinestone, head to toe, with probably 50,000 rhinestones." –Nicky O

"Kembra Pfahler gave me this dress." –Gage

"My garment was made by Patti Spliff. It was an old Garth Brooks song from my childhood, and any drag number you can choose that vindicates your childhood is a winner in my book." –Charlene

"I am a deity and otherworldly being, that is, in mystical forms — a nonbinary they/them from Austin, Texas." –Gothess Jasmine

Photogrpahy: Serichai Traipoom