NYC drag queen Babes Trust is in L.A. this weekend, but not for RuPaul's DragCon. She and creative partner Horrorchata are hosting the first SoCal edition of Bushwig, a sort of edgy alternative to the star-studded drag extravaganza that's taken over the L.A. Convention Center this weekend.
"For me drag isn’t about perfection, it's about non-perfection," Babes Trust says via email. "It's punk. It's about finding beauty in the ugly and disrupting the status quo."
Taking place Saturday and Sunday, simultaneous to the DragCon festivities, Bushwig culminates in a Sunday night drag show at Faultline in East Hollywood that honors L.A. disabled drag legend the Goddess Bunny for her lifetime contribution to the art form. (She's slated to perform, too.) Bunny — also known as Sandie Crisp and/or Johnnie Baima — had polio as a child, leaving her limbs depleted and crooked. Her unique look and zest for performance made her a star in the underground club scene and beyond.
Babes Trust, who's basically a drag scholar, rattles off the Goddess Bunny's achievements: "She entertained generations of gay punks through her tap dancing, film roles and avant-garde performances. ... She modeled for Rick Owens, posed nude with swans for acclaimed photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, appeared as a puppet in Dr. Dre's 'Puppet Master' music video, became the breakout star of Marilyn Manson's 'The Dope Show,' acted opposite Carrie Fisher in the 1986 cult movie Hollywood Vice Squad and played a female mobster and a number of Tennessee Williams heroines in a series of films directed by the filmmaker and archivist John Aes-Nihil."
In the internet age, videos of Goddess Bunny's tap performances have delighted and mystified a whole new breed of young gays (and more than a few trolls).
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Besides performances by Goddess Bunny, Babes Trust and Horrorchata, the Faultline show features Brooklyn's Thorgy Thor, Merrie Cherry, Momo Shade, Patti Spliff and Kandy Muse.
It'll be a different kind of drag experience than the high-glam of DragCon, but, in the end, drag is all about inclusivity. "We embrace all types of queens," Babes Trust says. "Yes, some performers have been critical of what RuPaul has done. Yes, we can all agree that there are queens with very little talent who think just putting on a wig [and] dress and being good at makeup will make you a star. We love it all as long as someone is being true to themselves and are expressing their ideas."
She continues, "Also Ru’s drag has give the children a community, online [and] IRL. It’s sort of like the Boy Scouts for faggots."
Bushwig kicks off on Sat., April 29, at 2 p.m., with a warmup party at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown (RSVP at bushwig.com). The main event is Sun., April 30, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., at Faultline Bar, 4216 Melrose Ave., East Hollywood; $8-$30. bushwig.com.