Lineup subject to change, performers subject to sex change!
New York's famed drag festival, held annually from 1984 to 2001. In 1995 it was the subject of the full-length feature film Wigstock: The Movie, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and in 2001 was featured in a sixty-minute documentary produced by E! Latin America. Wigstock has been featured in programs on CNN, BBC Television, and MTV News, as well as in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, the Village Voice and Screw Magazine. Wigstock has played host to performances by RuPaul, Debbie Harry, the B-52's, and a live appearance by Hedwig and the Angry Inch (courtesy John Cameron Mitchell).
- 1984 - After horsing around on the Tompkins Square Park bandshell in the middle of the night, several friends come up with the idea of putting on a show there. One, Lady Bunny, goes ahead and gets the necessary permits.
- 1985 - Wigstock draws 1,000 spectators and includes performances by Lady Bunny, The Fleshtones, Lypsinka, and a number of others from the Pyramid Club.
- 1986 - A few thousand people come to the show. John Sex gyrates to "Secret Agent Man," porn star Dean Johnson performs, and John Kelly (as Dagmar Onassis) sings his version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" - "By the time we got to Wigstock we were several thousand falls...and I dreamed I saw the drag queens spraying hairspray in the sky and it made all the yuppies die!" The song becomes the traditional Wigstock finale.
- 1987 - There are now as many trannies and freaks in the audience as there are onstage.
- 1988 - Held just three weeks after the Tompkins Square Riots, the show draws a crowd of 5,000. The morning sees the debut of Deee-Lite, and in the afternoon ballerina Ekaterina Sobechenskaia performs.
- 1989 - Screw Magazine describes Wigstock as "the hormonal convergence that ushered in the Age of Asparagus."
- 1990 - The crowd reaches 10,000 and there are nearly as many camera crews as drag queens. Someone attempts to steal $700 from the concession stand but is apprehended.
- 1991 - Wigstock moves to Union Square and offers portable toilets for the first time. RuPaul, who is scheduled for five minutes under the name Starbooty, performs for fifteen minutes in hopes of getting a recording contract; Ruth Messinger, president of the Borough of Manhattan, officially proclaims "Wigstock Day."
- 1992 - Wigstock is back in the East Village and features the debut of Flotilla DeBarge, Empress of Large, as well as performances by Lypsinka and Satellite Dish.
- 1993 - Tompkins Square manages to hold 25,000 people and Debbie Harry appears for the first time, performing "If You Don't Wanna Fuck Me, Fuck Off!"
- 1994 - The tenth anniversary of Wigstock draws 35,000 to the Christopher Street Piers. The Duelling Bankheads butcher a cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" until Debbie Harry runs onstage and picks a fight with them. Crystal Waters performs her hit "100% Pure Love."
- 1995 - Again at the piers, this time with a twenty-foot video screen so more of the 50,000 attendees will be able to see. Ryan Landry presents AFTERGLOW: Assholes Fighting Together Emulating Real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, including Bonecrusher Murphy versus Demonica Carrie in a pit of baked beans.
- 1996 - Wigstock is not held due to lack of venue and cooperation from administration. Lady Bunny does offer a small indoor show, dubbed "Wignot," to raise money for Wigstock '97.
- 1997 - Back on the piers of the Hudson River but having made no profit the previous year, Wigstock organizers are forced to charge admission fees to meet costs, but also raise $30,000 for Beauty Cares and the Gay Men's Health Crisis.
In 1999 and 2000, Wigstock continued to charge for admission but had poor turnout due to bad weather. At the start of 2001, the festival was no less than $25,000 in debt, and organizers decided that if they could not raise $75,000 in sponsorship by May 1, they would not continue. At the deadline, they had obtained less than ten percent of their goal. Lady Bunny said "...people think we're rolling in it, but the first Wigstock cost under $1,000. Now we're up to $120,000. It's pretty insane." In an interview published in the Washington Blade, Bunny said, "Some tears will be shed. Wigstock is my claim to fame. It's my baby. It's hard to give up. It really is. I just don't see that there's a choice."
Official website: http://www.wigstock.nu/
Sources: official website and Washington Blade article "The Last Blow-Out" by Mark J. Huisman, published August 31, 2001. Article online at http://www.washblade.com/point/010831b.htm.