One of NY drag’s most beautiful queens shined brilliantly this year: serving the boys fish during a summer residency at Fire Island’s the Island Breeze, gracing National Sawdust in Brooklyn with a luminous multimedia performance via Sasha Valour’s first “NIGHTGOWNS” there, hosting the all-are-welcome weekly Monster party KWIR, and starring in the titular role of The Legend of Yma Sumac at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. And on top of all that, this year she’s a GLAM-nominated Door Queen. And she’s prettier than us.
Hillary Clinton’s most devoted drag impersonator had an otherwise great 2017, which included a much celebrated number during the “So You Think You Can Drag” All-Stars season where she reinterpreted all four hours of Kill Bill Parts I & II – with a huge cast of nightlife cameos – in about 7 minutes. Catch her at Lips, or hosting her own Wednesday show at the Duplex.
A serious performer who encompasses visual art into her stage movement and her kabuki-inspired looks, Untitled is a perfect fit for the recurring cast of galpal Sasha Velour’s “NIGHTGOWNS.”
There are not many nightlife performers around today who can still genuinely shock you with their stage antics, but this trans warrior has done everything from perform completely nude at Bushwig to shooting up hormones onstage; yet everything this brilliant queen does has a point. Catch her doing the punk queens of old New York proud monthly at Metro Bar, co-hosting Horrorchata’s “Be Cute” monthly at Littlefield, and throwing epic house parties whenevs.
146) Thorgy Thor
This kooky genius hasn’t performed in New York all that much since appearing in last year’s eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race made her a breakout star, and that probably won’t change in 2018 when her return to the franchise via All-Stars Season 3 is airing. But we’ve enjoyed her appearances here and there while feeling her influence in Brooklyn and everywhere (plus she’s very incognito-supportive of her sisters’ shows when in town), and look forward to her co-hosting the GLAMs in January.
Bringing levels of taste and intelligence rarely seen to nightlife drag, Gloria stunned audiences with her handmade vintage looks in “So You Think You Can Drag All-Stars,” not to mention her loving, achingly nostalgic recreations of live Judy Garland performances in showcases at New World Stages and Stonewall.
144) Markus Kelle
New York’s most in-demand door personality remains both a stylish and snarky-as-fuck standup insult comic onstage, while still an endearing sweetheart behind the scenes. This year she roasted Michael Musto, appeared in the movies Hurricane Bianca and the ever-filming Killer Unicorn, and received her umpteenth GLAM nom.
Taking her act on the road for much of 2017, America’s arguably highest profile Ladyqueen (”bioqueen” is a dirty word) still got in a few memorable local gigs – including headlining some showcases for her Ladyqueen troupe and a turn with Dragula’s Erika Klash
at Bizarre Bushwick. Plus, she was a star at the Austin International Drag Festival.
142) Misty Meaner & Mocha Lite
The infamous veteran drag duo doesn’t give a fuck WHAT you think… they’re still here, doing it their way, – mostly at Macri Park and Phoenix these days – and their fans love’m for it.
141) DJ OhRicky
Providing the soundtrack for some of the biggest queens in the biz (Shequida, Paige Turner, Sutton Lee Seymour, etc.) as a resident of Hardware in HK and sister bar Pieces in the West Village, our quietly funny diva OhRicky makes time for VJ’ing Eurovision parties and all things Kylie Minogue.
Living up to her Friday night Rockbar show’s title “Miss Runner Up,” this good time queen has come so close to winning a number of bar pageants this year. But proving herself to be a funny emcee and a strong vocalist on top of an incredibly dexterous plus-size dance diva, our gal has showed us she won’t be going anywhere but up from now on.
139) Sapphira Cristal
Beauty, grace, singing, dancing, sold lip sync, engagingly warm personality and good humor – this queen has it all! She’s taken Philly by storm, and after winning Fire Island Entertainer of the Year this September (and second place at Miss Monster), New York is next!
138) Club Evolution
Queens County’s only gay dance club is also the most popular bar on the Latin strip of Jackson Heights. Enjoy a cheap AF happy hour, a sexy bar staff (about half of whom are straight but whatevs), Latin beats from visiting South American DJs, glamorous Latina queens alongside popular karaoke hostess Victoria Chase, and a pageant every. Other. Night.
137) Justin Angel
This pretty, androgynous party host rocks some creative looks while branching off to produce his own events, like the fashion forward Friday night kiki at the Museum of Sex.
136) Catrina Lovelace
Boots & Saddle’s Wednesday night happy hour hostess knows how to keep the party rolling with jokes and splits, and she brings those good vibes to the dozens of benefits, competitions and guest spots she does all over town.
135) Whendy Whaxwood
A vivacious performer who channels Divas Past, this queen keeps us in stitches monthly at the West End and Saturday happy hours at Boots & Saddle. She also had a fun turn at this year’s “So You Think You Can Drag All-Stars.”
The cherished Brooklyn DJ spins many of the biggest drag shows in Macri Park (including “Mondays on Mondays”), ran the booth at the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards, and frequently supports Misty & Mocha in Phoenix.
Despite being a lively performer, this bearded queen has nearly had to walk away from drag partially due to her enormous demand as a gown designer for celebrity queens. Sasha Velour’s iconic red gown during her rose petal reveal for the “Drag Race” finale? That’s Florence!
132) Morgan Royel
A longtime favorite hostess and showgirl at Lips, this queen recently took over the reins of Drag Race-bound Peppermint’s popular Thursday night at the Ritz. Now you can also find her emceeing The Monster’s new Monday night house music party, “Magnetic.”
Making waves as a third of the silly / fun drag dance trio the Haus of Umpteen Corpses, Mini branched out as a solo queen after the Haus collapsed. Catch her doing zany, funny shit all over Brooklyn, including a weekly Sunday show at Pizza Party.
130) Kedwin Zapata
This hot-as-balls Hennessy-certified bartender is a main reason why Boxers HK’s Saturday night Latin party is such a big hit. These days Kedwin is also hosting events all over, including Posh’s Gogo Tuesdays.
West Village fans were sad to see their favorite hostess with nightlife’s largest karaoke songbook leave Boots & Saddle… then delighted when she finally returned to the hood, this time at Pieces. Meanwhile, she’s still Jackson Heights’ biggest drag karaoke queen, with two nights in Club Evolution and one in True Colors.
128) Santiago Felipe
Brooklyn’s favorite photographer got to shoot Bjork in a stunning editorial series this year… enough said.
Our native daughter enjoyed her recent Drag Race fame (infamy?) on tour for much of 2017, but New Yorkers got into her GLAM-nominated cabaret It Takes a Woman at Feinsteins.
The West Village has it’s fair share of tour guides, but none quite like this hilariously bizarre and wise-beyond-her-years Aussie transplant. In fact, it’s hard to put her in any sort of genre box. That’s why she’s equally at home hosting karaoke in Tribeca (Belle Reve) and a crazy monthly cabaret at Metropolitan in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn’s best known dancing queen keeps it cute with her monthlies at Metropolitan and Macri,Park, while occasionally venturing out to turn it in Manhattan venues like Club Cumming and Boots & Saddle. She’s even done a “NIGHTGOWNS” with Sasha Velour.
124) Cacophony Daniels
A musical theater impresario in Boy Form, this belting queen spends lots of time on the road touring with shows. But she broke through big time as a singing queen this year: co-hosting “Broadway Mondays” at Hardware with Sutton Lee Seymour and recurring spots at Albatross, plus a GLAM nomination.
The Instagram superstar and founder of DragQueenMerch doesn’t perform a whole lot in her home city of NYC these days, beyond the monthly benefit show “Wallbreakers” she presents at Macri Park. But Bible’s presence at New York DragCon was huge, and the epic afterparty she hosted at Stonewall had a line of hopefuls stretching around the block.
The renown burlesque and porn star ventured deeper into the world of sexy scripted stage shows this year. His latest is the one-man-play Porn To Be a Star, where he sends up the the adult film industry that made him famous, and shows peen in the process. Chris also debuted a monthly burlesque revue at the Slipper Room, and earned a GLAM nom.
Having the unique distinction of being NYC’s greatest “reveal queen” helped make her a real crowd-pleaser this year at the “So You Think You Can Drag” All-Star series finale, she revealed a multitude of layers both literally and artistically. And she’s adorable as can be on the new Fusion reality series focusing on a group of HK drag queens, SHADE: Queens of NYC. Gig-wise, catch her alternating her Wednesdays between Barracuda and the Ritz.
120) The Deep End
Don’t let the town of Ridgewood know, but technically it’s in Queens. You certainly wouldn’t be able to tell from its new restaurant / bar edition, run by event promoter
as a very Brooklyn-friendly destination. The Deep End’s nightlife event calendar features drag shows from the hippest new queens and sets from up-and-coming DJs. It’s also the new home of JEM’s famous “Otter Box” party, among other things. The food looks tasty, but when it’s time for a big event the tables are cleared and it’s an old-school thrash house.
119) Chris of Hur
A drag performer whom you’re just as likely to see lip sync James Brown as she would the B-52s, Chris is a performer who feeds on soulful, expressive vocals. With gorgeous and creepy costumes reminiscent of a Terry Gilliam cartoon, she owns your life during “hur” monthly revue “PURSUNz” at Bizarre, or any stage she might share with fellow “art queens” Patti Spliff, Untitled Queen, Sasha Velour, etc.
118) Gilda Wabbit
This opera singing newlywed queen has seen her star rise this year, thanks in part to increased visibility from the crazy “this is the future that liberals want” meme, but also because she’s just become a more dazzling and versatile performer. Catch her shows in Astoria bars Albatross and Icon, co-hosting Sunday brunch at L&W Oyster Co. with galpal Gina Tonic, and popping up in shows and events all over the city.
Being cast on the Fusion reality TV series SHADE: Queens of NYC informed the world that beneath the lovely and talented exterior, Chelsea is cute trade! She’s also the newest member of Industry’s all-star drag revue, QUEEN. Additionally, see Chelsea weekly at Boots & Saddle and every other Wednesday at Barracuda. And an original cabaret show is coming in February!
Props to Pep for showing the world from the Drag Race stage what every NYC queen knows (her better than most): above all else, a queen needs to be entertaining. Despite her 2017 success and busy itinerary, she came home a number of times to her regular gigs. We’ll see her again for sure in January when she co-hosts the GLAMs with Thorgy.
When her kiki “Baby Tea” ended after a long run at Wise Men in the East Village, artist / dancer / drag host Tyler brought it to the Pines for a few final epic installments (it’ll probably resurface somewhere else soon) These days, the Dauphine is busy hosting the weekly variety show “Mary” at Club Cumming and co-hosting “PURSUNz” with Chris of Hur at Bizarre Bushwick.
“The one where they dance on the bar.” It’s fun, though! The dancing bartenders are actually really talented, and cute / charming pourmasters to boot. This HK joint is owned by a (lovely) straight couple and it’s touristy and cheesy, but you’ll get over it. The guilty pleasure of nightlife!
This funny and friendly queen has been a beacon of light in nightlife for years: entertaining us at Lips and the Ice Palace, and seasonally hosting the “Stonewall Sensations” singing competition.
112) The Nobodies
This Brooklyn trio (
Lady Bearica Andrews) has been giving us shows and entertainment outside of even the weirdest Brooklyn boxes for a bit now, and this year they have finally found their rather unconventional niche: a YouTube series where they critique the fashion choices of pro-wrestlers during their matches. It’s oddly hilarious, even if you don’t know who any of these people are. And it’s led them to
a large cult following,
a friendship with Jaymes Mansfield, and some fun live tapings of the show. Meanwhile, they’re hosting a monthly party at Brooklyn Bazaar, plus the all-oddballs-welcome “Mx. Nobody” pageant in the summer, and the SLAMs (an award show parody of the GLAMS honoring nightlife’s worst) TBA.
A queen who is constantly metamorphosing, we’ve all seen Liz evolve from a pretty brunette dancer to an avant-garde glamour queen. She’s mostly at home with the Brooklyn children for her Metropolitan and Macri Park shows, but nowadays she’s also turning it with the HK kids for Hardware’s Saturday night kiki with longtime partner-in-crime Ruby Roo.
Ferociously funny, fashionable and unfiltered, it’s
always a treat to see
this queen perform. After co-hosting an epic cycle of Miss Lady Liberty with Brita Filter, she’s decided to slow it down a bit and look towards other things. You can still find her weekly at the West End, occasionally a the Ritz and on rotation for Industry’s epic drag revue QUEEN.
One of those rare queens who showed such early promise that things just started happening immediately (thanks also to nightlife Svengali Vincent Cooper and the Miss Lady Liberty drag competition), this Broadway-influenced singer, dancer and goddess just took off in heels running. See her hosting open mic night Mondays at the West End and singing monthly at Stonewall, and catch while you can her shows as a third of the blowing up singing drag trio, Stephanie’s Child. And this just in: did you see her on The Voice????
108) DJ Ickarus
Like many in Brooklyn nightlife, he’s a multimedia artist – nearly everybody in the borough is is using his designs for their event flyers these days. But Ickarus is also the house DJ at the Rosemont, and taking his brand to venues all over the borough. On top of all that he’s producing his own events, and did a bang-up job keeping order in the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards. Ickarus may be the rightful heir to the throne of Merrie Cherry!
107) Phi Phi O’Hara
Her superb “365 Days of Drag” series of high concept cosplay looks she posted on her social media last year was not quite enough to silence her thousands of haters who were responding to the” bitch’ they perceived her to be on Drag Race. But NY nightlifers who knew Phi Phi to be sweet and professional were not having that nonsense, and came blatantly to her defense.That’s all cooled down a bit this year, and Phi Phi remains a popular performer in Industry’s “QUEEN” rotation, while occasionally tending to other projects (like ex-foe Sharon Needles’ new music video) and international gigs.
There are many great reasons for Daphne Sumtimez to have become Daphne Always in 2017, from fully embracing her beautiful trans identity to becoming one of the year’s most interesting, genre-crossing nightlife stars. Whether she’s singing a lovely / hilarious parody about being “passable” during her tenure as the house queen of the new Club Cumming, or gogo dancing in the Too-Chic-For-Us The Box, or returning to where it all started for her (and gaining a whole new squad of fans in the process) with a stellar showing at “So You Think You Can Drag All-Stars,” Daphne is just Always Amazing.
105) Kizha Carr
While devoting most of her Boy Time to starring in the ensemble of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, this much-respected queen really only has one night a week to be Kizha (Sundays at Industry). But what a night! Few queens can incorporate high fashion and abstract paint into incredible showmanship the way Kizha can. This year she also filled in for Judy Darling for a few weeks at Barracuda and hosted the Miss Industry pageant, and when she returned to drag bearded after a “Me Time” hiatus she just seemed fiercer than ever.
Horrorchata’s drag DJ protege has become a major in-demand talent in her own right, spinning for what seems like two thirds of all the major parties and shows in Brooklyn nowadays… and turning some cute, exotic looks in the process.
This “drag bull in a china shop” plowed through 2017, and we were all along for the ride! Ending last year on a high note with a strong second place showing at Miss Look Queen, this dancing comedy gal owned her summer residency at Fire Island’s The Island Breeze. And when she got back, she grabbed a new gig at Barracuda while returning to host Saturday nights at Atlas and Phoenix’s karaoke Wednesdays.
102) Henrietta Hudson
Manhattan’s lone lesbian bar is still going strong in the West Village. Longtime owner Lisa Cannistraci keeps it simple and gives the ladies’ what the want: great DJs, hot gogo girls and a fun atmosphere.
Probably NYC drag’s biggest breakout star this year, she’s another queen that had an explosive debut in the Miss Lady Liberty competition armed with singing chops, politically edgy comedy, Broadway-worthy choreo, polished looks and a respect for drag history. She won the crown, a lot of press and immediate gigs at Icon and Albatross, plus a brunch at Honeywell and a karaoke hosting gig at Pieces. She’s additionally slaying us as part of the successful new singing drag trio, Stephanie’s Child (holy shit, they were just on The Voice!) The future is very bright for Kizha Carr’s newest drag daughter!