150. Miz Jade
The dance teacher and Drag Queen Story Hour activist doesn’t always have the time to be one of Brooklyn’s legendary dancing drag divas, but you can bet that when she does it’s always appointment viewing for the children. These days she’s part of Phoenix Bar’s weekly cast of “She Wrecked” Saturday performers, a monthly hostess at Metropolitan Bar and a preferred guest performer for sis Thorgy Thor whenever that RuGirl decides to do something.
149. William Francis
The DJ beefcake continues to make Friday nights at Club Cumming one of the East Village’s hottest weekend soirees, while also joining other DJs and gogo boys for the sexy “Qruisers” every Thursday at The Q.
These two fierce Puerto Rican-born fashionistas make for a smartly entertaining hostess team and have quickly become an essential Brooklyn drag experience unto themselves, serving frequent brunch shows at eatery Forrest Point while also making several appearances (together and separately) in venues like The Rosemont, C’mon Everybody and 3 Dollar Bill.
147. Vegas Valentine
A singer / songwriter who’s known for soaring vocals and a majestic flare to his live performances, Vegas co-hosts and co-produces the ambitious “Vinyl Fantasy” with Marcel the Artist at 3 Dollar Bill which revisits entire albums by classic artists in original track order. 2021 was a breakthrough year for Vegas: the brilliantly nightmarish Matthew ZanFagna-directed video for the remix of his original song “Fathoms” is a Best Video GLAM nominee, and Vegas himself is nominated for Best Male Artist.
146. Ariel Sinclair
The lovely and funny lady of Lips Restaurant enjoyed a busy summer with her other big gig, resident performer and bingo hostess at The Ice Palace.
145. Serena Tea
One of a growing number of performers to move into the fashion world from Brooklyn nightlife and social media curation, gorgeous model Serena has appeared in several editorials while participating in big cast shows at venues like C’mon Everybody and 3 Dollar Bill.
144. The CoverGworls
2021 was a strong year for drag sister acts, and Mo’riah and Dev Doee slayed their fair share of gigs throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan with their dancing and fashions. They used the “Covergworls” moniker less frequently later in the year even when they were in a show together, and have also become prolific performers as separate queens. Dev, in fact, stars in a new weekly show “CxNT” at HK’s HUSH with Essence, Stasi and Beaujangless.
143. Thorgy Thor
The Drag Race All-Star, violinist and wacky matron of Brooklyn drag did her fair share of global traveling this year, but also kept her hometown fans happy with a popular Drag Race viewing party at straight sports bar Tailgate and a weekly trivia night at Le Bain… not to mention a recent holiday stage show at The Q. Now, time will tell if we’ll see Thorgy cheering up frumpy housewives with her TLC’s Dragnificent castmates for a second season.
142. Boy Radio
We’re always looking for new music from this talented Brooklyn Human Dream, but we will settle for many pretty pictures and cute social media stories. That’s certainly not all that Radio’s been up to in 2021, though: he’s been collaborating with West Coast sis Alaska Thunderfuck, performing live with her and appearing in her music videos “Red” and “Beautiful (Night 4 a Breakdown).” He’s also been modeling and performing in shadowcasts, courtesy of some Brooklyn nightlife tributes to Rocky Horror and RENT at 3 Dollar Bill.
141. Janae SaisQuoi
A daughter in the prestigious House of Cummings who turns out both Broadway glamour and ferocious dance moves, Janae hosted recurring shows at Alibi Lounge, Toolbox and The Q in 2021.
Hot, musclebound bartenders in red shorts occupying sports bar settings with tasty snacks and cheap happy hour drinks was a pretty bankable formula for the Boxers brand. At one point they had as many as four locations in Manhattan, plus one in Philly. Post-lockdown, only the original in Chelsea remains, but soon the HK branch will return in an address just across the street from the prior one. Boxers certainly has its fans, and owner Bob Fluet continues to take risks and expand their gay bar holdings: he just opened new bar HUSH at the site of Therapy, and it’s already a massive hit.
139. Nick Gaga
The Russian born makeup artist evolved into arguably NYC drag’s most devoted Little Monster, with flawless Lady Gaga look recreations and choreography. She’s also a longtime hostess at The Ritz, a skilled photographer and videographer, the youngest sister of popular drag coven The Assassins, and co-host of the elaborately staged “Climax” Sundays at Playhouse.
Pattaya Hart’s lovely daughters are both ladies of Lips Restaurant and now co-host two weekly shows together: “Tiffany & Clarice’s Sexy Game Night” Mondays at Monster and “#?*! Me Up Fridays” at Stonewall. They both have a presence at Rockbar as well, where Clarice hosts a Broadway night and a seasonal singing competition, and where Tiffany was crowned Miss West Village a few years ago (a title she still holds).
137. Steven Cunningham
Known for bringing disco and pop to the manly masses on both coasts, Steven focused on NYC in 2021 with many nights at Rockbar, The Eagle NYC, Metropolitan, Club Cumming and the new HUSH.
136. Richard Cortez
A gogo boy with an old soul that became the band leader who brought jazz into the gay clubs, Richard came back swinging post lockdown with a talented roster of musicians and gigs in venues as diverse as Rebar, Club Cumming, Metropolitan, The Q and even the legendary jazz club Birdland in December.
The hostess and DJ respectively of The Ritz’s weekly kiki “Do The Right Thing,” Morgan and K Styles know how to turn out a party. Ms. Royel is also one of the grand ladies of Lips Restaurant, while K spins at the iconic East Village rock music venue Arlene’s Grocery.
134. House of Yes
HoY owners Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke had a pretty rough go of trying to reopen their beloved venue after the city-wide lockdown was officially lifted. Originally opened in 2007 by the two friends who had backgrounds in circus theater management and famously incorporated aerialists, burlesquers and carnival elements into their lavish warehouse dance parties, Yes lost it’s liquor license during the turmoil of lockdown’s beginnings thanks to confusion about whether letting outside food vendors serve the outdoor drinkers was permitted or not. But after some legal work and fundraising, the venue (which caters to both queer and straight partygoers) finally opened bigger and better than ever in August. In fact, Sapozhnikova and Burke have branched out to external event production, as well as a whole new additional space in the basement of the Public Hotel called “House of X.”
133. Xavier Mazara
The adorbs fan favorite (and GLAM nominated) DJ can be found spinning drag shows and dance parties most frequently at Barrcauda, Industry and The Ritz; he’s also Inita D and Tina Twirler’s music maker for Tito Murphy’s Sunday drag brunch.
132. Essa Noche
Another uber-popular Brooklyn drag queen-turned-editorial fashion figure, Essa broke through as a drag bartender at C’mon Everybody’s kid sister bar Good Judy. She’s since evolved into a more dynamic performer who commonly appears in large cast drag shows in Brooklyn, while also hosting a weekly Sunday brunch of her own at the Plaza of the The Standard Hotel.
An important figure in Astoria nightlife where Icon Bar operates like a small theater with top notch lighting, stage effects and acoustics and Albatross’ stage is also formidable, GLAM nominated DJ Gingy keeps the beat alive… most notably on the weekend dance parties. These days they’re also supporting Jacklynn Hyde in her Haswell Green brunch shows, and recently produced some brunch shows of their own at The Cauldron in Lower Manhattan (where they also work with Jacklynn and her co-hosts Holly Box-Springs and Hibiscus on Thursday nights).
130. Yuhua Hamasaki
Although her appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 back in 2018 were limited to just a few episodes, few queens in the history of that franchise have stayed in the Greater Fame Game more efficiently than New York’s own hardworking and wacky fashionista Ms. Hamasaki. Besides turning it out every Friday at Pieces Bar, Yuhua’s social media presence is top notch thanks to gorgeous Instagram spreads and prolific YouTube videos–most notably her popular Drag Race fashion revue “Bootleg Opinions” that pairs her with many stars from the show. If you wanna see a queen go in on those runway fashions with a seamstress’ / designer’s precision, Yuhua on “Bootleg” is for you. Also, buy her calendar!
129. Phil Chanel
Jersey-turned-Bronx Boy Phil has been making it big in NYC for awhile now, both as a GLAM nominated event promoter / host (these days you can find him meeting-and-greeting at parties like “Papito” at The Ritz, “Super Size Queen Fridays” at Hardware and various circuit events) and as a producer. His best known creation is still the popular drag competition “Polish the Queen,” which began at Stonewall but has recently celebrated its 30th successful week at Playhouse Bar.
128. Sherry Poppins
The delightfully unhinged Ms. Poppins has been a mainstay of Astoria drag since she moved there from Brooklyn several years ago, and hosts her own solo shows at both Albatross and its sister bar Icon. But Sherry also remains true to her Brooklyn roots, and returns monthly for shows with her original avant garde production trio STR8 to DVD (the other two being Qhrist Almighty and DJ Ten Yards).
127. Lady Bunny
One of the world’s most famous, iconic drag comediennes (who never competed on Drag Race, but made several appearances across the franchise in various capacities), the high-haired Bunny remains a global and unfiltered phenomenon. Whether she’s touring with stage shows or standup sets, DJing tea dances at Monster in the West Village or major Voss Events RuGirl showcases around the world, triggering people online with hilariously un-PC jokes and memes and progressive screeds, or co-hosting the GLAM-nominated podcast “Ebony and Irony” with California sis Monet X Change, this Bunny’s paw remains firmly on the pulse of relevance.
126. Casey Caldwell
The brilliant Brooklyn-based artist is one of the most prolific designers in drag and costume fashion today, with his unique looks often showcased on Drag Race and We’re Here that run the gamut of regal, sexy, monstrous, silly, bizarre, etc. Check out Casey’s Instagram to see all the queens he’s dressed this year (or just check out the beautifully terrifying headpiece he made for Rosé in the above pic)… it’s all jaw dropping!
125. Jiggly Caliente
A New York queen who’s probably never given a forgettable performance and has never been known for holding back in what she says or serves, Jiggly also has the honor of being name dropped as one of RuPaul’s all-time favorite Drag Race contestants. She oddly hasn’t spent much time actually performing in New York since her first time on Drag Race (Season 4 in 2012), but is loved globally as a fierce performer. A lot’s changed for Jiggly over the years: she’s come out as trans and looks quite lovely in her fully realized femme self, she’s a recording artist and outspoken activist, she co-hosted a talk show with other trans RuGirls and played a recurring character on POSE, and she rejoined the Drag Race franchise with All-Stars this season. Sadly she was eliminated too soon, but at least the world got the Jiggly Fix they’ve long been craving.
124. Sutton Lee Seymour
Every year, one of NYC drag’s favorite bawdy Broadway comedy queens leaves us too soon and for too long for destinations far and wide (but usually Puerto Vallarta for long, successful residencies). In 2021 though, we at least got several weeks of Sutton turning it out in her original show bar, Albatross in Astoria, as well as monthly sessions of the “Diva” live sung show at Stonewall. And when she returns to New York in 2022, she’s joining sisters Cacophony Daniels, Paige Turner and Evita Loca (or whoever among them is in town at the time) for “Schmoozical Mondays” at the new HUSH… we can’t wait!
123. In Living Color
The trio of Juniper Juicy, Junior Mintt and Filthy June (the name similarities are coincidental) have been serving “In Living Color” shows to an avid fanbase in Brooklyn now for two years; the shows fuse political and humanitarian messaging with abstract artistry and all the goops and gags that make a fun drag show. Ringleader Junior in particular has a strong voice in the community as well as her own indie makeup palette, and is even about to release original music in 2022.
122. Avant Garbage
An unconventional queen in an unconventional scene, Avant Garbage of Astoria has certainly found her niche as gamesmistress of Icon and show queen of Albatross. Known for her impeccable mop top wigs, dazzlingly spooky makeup, gowns and costumes that could pass for couture if they weren’t made of actual trash, a wry humor, and risky stage numbers that she rarely repeats, Ms. Garbage will never be your Basic Bitch’s drag, but she will be (and is) an artistic genius.
121. The Cock
When you are accustomed to the dark corner naughtiness of the Cock–a staple of East Village gay culture that’s survived several venue switches, morality police crusades and the shifting levels of engagement from later generations–nothing else will do. We’re not sure how its regulars got through Covid and lockdown, but everyone is glad as fuck that The Cock’s hold is firm once more. Although on a serious note, this bar’s staff and many admirers beyond its walls are still very much mourning the loss of Nashom Wooden, a Cock bartender / DJ and longtime nightlife legend who was tragically one of Covid’s first victims in NYC in 2020. When you’re not exploring The Cock’s dark corners, have a drink for Nashom.
120. Devo Monique
It’s not always easy getting something new started in Brooklyn nightlife, let alone a weekly show, let alone during the chaos of the last two years. But cheers to Brooklyn dance diva Devo for doing just that — “Dream Queen” at Metro has stood the test of time as a popular Wednesday destination, attracting both fierce guest stars and big crowds. In general, Devo’s upped her production game over the years both with events (she’s also produced a number of cool things at C’mon Everybody) and in multimedia (her looks and photo edits on Insta are quite eye catching), and she remains a major force in the scene.
119. MTHR TRSA
Star and producer of Brooklyn’s popular out-of-the-box show “Hole Pics” and several one-off large cast shows, this MTHR is creating a scene and making things happen in the borough. And she’s not limiting her reach just to stage time; TRSA is also a popular photographer in the Brooklyn, making her sisters look fab while also selling prints and limited edition zines of her work. Her social media game is also well-played, never shying from launching truth bombs from behind creepily hilarious Botox Face Insta filters.
118. The Carry Nation
The pairing of iconic DJs Will Automagic and Nita Aviance continues to be a popular draw to deep House and EDM fans post-lockdown. This year they frequently played Brooklyn’s Good Room, the site of their usual residency, as well as Ladyfag’s “Battle Hymn.”
117. Ruby Fox
With stunning club looks that never seem to repeat and a good time persona, Ruby is a necessity to the “club kid” fashion-centric dance party scene helmed by the likes of her judies Ty Sunderland and Frankie Sharp. But Ruby is also an increasingly dynamic performer and no stranger to the drag bar scene… she’s a favorite guest queen within the Pieces / Hardware / Playhouse bar family, and now frequently guest hosts in place of absent queens as well. Could her own weekly show be right around the corner?
116. Gloria Swansong
Still our reigning Miss Hell’s Kitchen, drag performer and designer Gloria has long been admired for her vintage aesthetic and deeply informed repertoire of classic numbers and artists. But in the noisy and, let’s face it, often quite Basic gay bar environment there are not many good spaces available for someone who isn’t going to just crank out the same Ariana and Cardi numbers that all the other girls are doing, let alone someone who might reach back into vintage catalogs for their inspo. Enter The Q, with its wildly diverse programming catalog and atmosphere that’s been making stars out of nightlife performers pushed to the margins, and you finally have the right platform for Gloria and her admirers: “Judy & Guest,” where she channels her idol Judy Garland every week. With a guest!
Vibrant, sassy and unpredictable with a palette straight from Jem & the Holograms, this queen has been shaking up the Astoria drag scene for over a year now. But why stop there? 2021 saw Essence guest perform for several Manhattan and Brooklyn shows, and toward’s the year’s end she was even given co-hosting duties (along with Beaujangless, Dev Doee and Stasi) for the new weekly “CxNT” at HUSH Bar.
114. Adriana Trenta
She’s been a very visible dance and comedy queen for a minute now, but 2021 still felt like a breakthrough year for Ms. Trenta. Not only is she sporting some pretty sweet merch and is co-hosting the GLAM-nominated podcast “My Wig” (with Isaac Butler), but she’s also hosting two popular weekly drag shows: “Knuckle Up” Sundays at Rebar in Chelsea, and “Trenta Sized” Thursdays at The Spot.
113. Chauncey Dandridge
The man who has long been keeping the legendary Stonewall Inn in Beats proudly returned to the DJ booth post-lockdown for another year of Stonewall events (even though the nature of many of those events have changed… more on that later). Chauncey was also able to work in a few sessions of his own performance art-based variety show “Freak-Out” back onto the Stonewall stage, DJ’ed non-Stonewall gigs like Bear Milk and The Urban Bear Weekend, kept his mixes churning on his weekly BBOX Radio show, and even got to perform a fun, original neo-disco single “The Delight” with co-performer Van Hechter at several venues.
112. Audrey Phoenix
The Astoria queen of comedy has been lighting up the stages of both Albatross and Icon with popular weekly shows all year, and it’s led to an interesting development: the huge success of “Leather & Lace,” Albatross’ monthly celebration of fetish and raunch that Audrey co-produces with Bar Babe Dean Dante, has been GLAM nominated in it’s maiden year. Beyond Astoria, Audrey also hosted a Lower Manhattan brunch at The Cauldron for a few months, and remains a go-to graphic designer for girls in need of hot show posters.
This pleasurable pairing of DJ and drag queen have become a Fire Island Pines tradition thanks to “Showtunes Sundays” every summer, which showcases clips of the greatest Broadway performances mixed in with Bubbles’ fun numbers, Mike’s mixing and lots of audience participation. Off-season, you can find them serving “Showtunes in the City” at Playhouse; Borowski also spins several nights on the Playhouse / Pieces / Hardware bar family schedule including Hardware’s “Super Size Queen Fridays,” and out of giesh Ms. D’Boob is Playhouse’s resident coatchecker.
110. Heidi Haux
Armed with tons of smart, fun references in her drag and stage numbers, this Haux In The Know can build feature length stage shows with carefully mined soundbites that would make Lypsinka proud. When she’s not doing her amazing thing as a cast member of the Lips Restaurant dinner showgirls, she’s hosting the epic weekly “Get Happy” Saturdays at Pieces. Also, did you catch the digital revision of her hit stage show First Haux back in February?
109. NY Social Bee
A long time, good time promoter and host for DJ-driven kikis like “Ty Tea” and “Horse Meat Disco,” Terence Edgerson aka NY Social Bee began a hit party of his own with “The List is Closed” at Le Bain.
108. Ari Kiki
One of New York’s favorite (and GLAM-winning!) comedy mess queens, the matriarch of The Haus of Kiki is serving Taylor Dayne in a leopard print sports bra monthly at her longtime home base Stonewall, and hosts weekly karaoke at GYM Bar. Also, her podcast “The Shade Parade” (co-hosted by sis Viki Villainess), that started up in 2018 long before every other drag queen got one, is finally getting some well-deserved, GLAM-nominated love.
107. Petti Cash
Glamorous dancing comedy doll Petti’s profile is very much on the rise as we enter 2022. Not only is she slaying Astoria each and every weekend (Fridays at Icon, Saturdays at Albatross), but she’s also had an acclaimed run at the Ice Palace this summer, and is new to Barracuda’s weekly show schedule as well.
106. Daniel Nardicio
It was another banner summer for OG event producer Daniel–his long-running weekly underwear party raunchfests at The Ice Palace well-attended, and Team DWorld produced some excellent intimate events at their beachside headquarters Reflections. We’re looking forward to the opening of Nardicio’s new Manhattan venue RedEye, which will apparently serve as a fully functional TV studio and an event e-tickets distributor as well.
105. Nicky Ottav
The veteran club kid has thoroughly reinvented herself into a fashion forward drag queen and event producer over the years. 2021 was Peak Ottav (so far), with several hit parties and events at 3 Dollar Bill as well as a popular twice-monthly, new-diva-each-time tribute kiki at C’mon Everybody called “Discography” plus a stylish weekly brunch at The Standard.
The founders of kiki conglomerates Discakes and Club Carry respectively, DJs / producers Pauli and Antpuke are spearheading a growing movement of rave parties that seems to be epicentered in Ridgewood, Queens (at venues like Nowadays, Trans-Pecos and H0L0). The scene’s sound is dominated by high BPMs, distortion, deconstructed pop and just fun noise–like an exploding arcade–and the partygoers embrace gender fluidity and trans freedom. It’s an important sub-culture that’s likely to continue to evolve and produce some fascinating art and talent.
103. Anida Tension
This dancing queen has been turning out the party in Jersey for years, under a few different names over time. Now she’s known as Anida Tension, and if it’s attention she needs then we’re happy to give it. The performer has proven herself to be quite a capable, funny hostess with glamorous vintage rockabilly / fancy housewife looks, and was the entertainment director for both the short-lived but exciting Jersey venue Headroom Lounge and its pop-up follow-up Menage (we may get a new version soon, stay tuned). She’s also making waves on our side of the river, having taken over Marti Gould Cummings’ weekly bingo hostess role at Pieces Bar, and is a favorite brunch queen for venues in both states.
A favorite Brooklyn DJ for a few years now, Paul A. Tomasiello still helms The Rosemont’s fan favorite Saturday kiki “Fake Nudes” while bringing other parties to venues like 3 Dollar Bill, Metropolitan, and Manhattan’s “The Q.”
101. Club Cumming
The programming and ambiance of Alan Cumming’s small East Village venue have never been easy to describe, but when you see it you go, “that is so Club Cumming.” Many people report that the venue is no longer considered “queer,” particularly in post-lockdown New York, but truthfully it was never pigeonholed for any specific audience. With burlesque, jazz, comedy, theater, sketch modeling and drag on stage at any given moment, there’s still a lot for a large cross section of folks to enjoy. Club Cumming also needs all the support it can get for keeping counterculture alive in the East Village, so let’s celebrate them for that. That, and for the archetypal neon red sign which has become so forever engrained into our brains as a symbol of provocativeness.