200. Richard JMV
Being honored with a Best Gogo Dancer GLAM nomination this year was just one of many moments that made 2021 a big year for Richard. Other such moments were hosting a December benefit for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS (an organization they’ve long worked with) at The Spot where they now perform regularly with Zeta Jones. Zeta and Richard also turn it at The Spot’s big sister bar Rise, where Richard now bartends, and after embracing their trans identity Richard gave a memorable performance at Night of 5000 Thots in July.
199. Luxx Noir London
Already heralded as one of the most exciting new social media look queens of the Lockdown Era, New Jersey’s Luxx has more than proven herself to be a capable live performer as well; she’s GLAM nominated this year for Breakthrough Artist, in fact. And it’s not just lip synch and dancing–Luxx dropped her six song EP Pretty Privilege in July, and it slaps.
198. Kenni Javon
The creator of the massively popular, self-described “medium ghetto” dance party “DickAppointment” that regularly attracts a loyal queer POC following to 3 Dollar Bill, Kenni makes magic for an important and often undervalued demographic in queer nightlife. And with regular gigs at The Q and across Brooklyn (including Ladyfag’s Chirstina Aguilera headlined “Ladyland” festival), he’s becoming known for his DJ skills even beyond this party.
197. Mini Horrorwitz
Brooklyn’s Ho-riffic comedy queerdo was very visible in 2021 with several appearances at C’mon Everybody, notably hosting a Drag Race UK viewing party and DJ Sean McMahill’s monthly “Yes Homo” affair.
196. Crystal Hart
One of the regular hostesses of Phoenix Bar’s Saturday night “She Wrecked,” Crystal’s drag numbers can be funny, sultry and /or witchy. She also taps into some very different energies as the resident tarot reader of Metro Bar’s “Madd Mondays.”
195. Miss Ogeny
Memorable for her quirky humor and fantastic costumes, drag and immersive theater star Miss Ogeny co-hosts “Snatched” with Izzy Uncut at Pieces on Wednesday nights.
194. Tammy Spanx
Last year we were sad and a little envious to see this musical comedy cowgirl move to Hawaii, but as promised she returned to New York drag at Cherry’s on the Bay and Island Breeze on Fire Island this summer. We’ve also gotten to see Tammy join forces with judies Tina Burner and Bootsie LeFaris for a trio of fun cabarets parodies at The Q: Witch Perfect in October (a GLAM nominated show), The First Knives Club in November and How the Bitch Stole Christmas in December. So wait, does this mean she’s moved back to NYC? Whatevs, we’ll take all the Tammy Time we can get!
193. Lola Michele-Kiki
Although Lola’s been scaling back from regular weekly and monthly shows (she recently passed the torch of her long-running party “The Kiki,” which has had several incarnations over the years most recently as a Stonewall monthly, to her good sis and frequent co-star Catrina Lovelace), this dancing / Broadway / comedy queen of the Haus of Kiki is turning up as a guest star and guest host in more places than ever before. And while we can see her behind the bar out of drag at The Cock, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll catch a Lola moment at a venue near you soon enough.
192. Yasmin Delano
A dancing queen who became known as one of the competition scene’s most frequent winners, Yasmin eventually became a drag daughter and frequent guest star of Tina Burner. She also became the co-host of Barracuda Bar’s Wednesday show with two other Burner-adjacent babes, Holly Box-Springs and Egypt, and appeared in Tina’s music video for “Turn It & Burn It” which aired on Drag Race.
191. Kedwin Zapata
Kedwin’s on most New Yorker’s favorite bartender list thanks to his great pouring and matchless charm. But even his cult followers were unprepared for the thirst trap he would lock them into, care of those photos in a December issue of Get Out Magazine. The Boxers bartender was there to discuss that bar’s new kid sister venue HUSH, where Kedwin is also a main attraction. But he’s a host and event producer too–this September he co-created “Caramelo Mondays” in the Bronx.
190. CT Hedden
The Bartschland beauty, fashion influencer and instantly recognizable scene queen hardly needs a tHOTlist when she’s on Vogue and Page Six’s radar, but no such list would be complete without her. The iconic CT continues to make whatever party she’s at that much more relevant with every look she turns, even if she’s turning the rest of us into supporting characters in the process.
“NYC’s Geeky Latinta Goddess” is a genuine star of both cosplay and drag, having portrayed ghoulish monsters and lavish princesses from across the genres and from her own imagination. The still-reigning Miss Nerd 2019 performed several gigs as part of a Coven of drag witches that included Zavaleta, Virginia Thicc and Missleidy the Plant Lady at Brooklyn’s Happyfun Hideaway. She also hosted a Drag Race viewing party at Mom’s HK, and in November headed an acclaimed Madonna tribute “The Inaccurate Collection” at 3 Dollar Bill.
188. Xunami Muse
The edgy queen, fashion model and daughter of RuGirl Kandy Muse hosts and performs at parties all over the city while keeping active in the fashion world, but can be found weekly at Pieces for Monday’s “Queen 4 Queen” along with Janelle No. 5 and Beaujangless.
A DJ for the trendy queer Asian-led party conglomerate BUBBLE_T, David Chan aka DJ TheLimitDoesNotExist founded a party brand of his own in 2021: “sksksks,” which blasts social media-fueled subgenres of dance like hyperpop and nightcore for the alt-rave scene that’s now dominating Ridgewood clubs.
186. Jayse Vegas
One of our personal favorite nightlife performers and a multiple GLAM nominee (again this year for Best Male Artist), Jayse presents polished, original indie pop with smooth vocals, fluid moves, and wonderfully bold outfits (when he’s wearing clothes, that is). This year he dropped a tropical-flavored single “Feel Me” in August, performed in venues like 3 Dollar Bill and XOXO Bar as well as in a live digital episode of NextSoundStudioNYC, worked the door at new HK club HUSH and started a new show at Rebar with The Dragon Sisters near the year’s end.
185. Lyra Vega
The adorbs, multi-talented Mark Oleszko gives and gets the best of both worlds as a go-to piano bar entertainer (at Townhouse, Uncle Charlie’s, the Monster, the Pines Blue Whale and the first floor of The Q) both in boy form and in drag as Lyra. Ms. Vega also pops up several times sans piano as a guest performer, lip syncing or singing or playing the more-portable flute. In December, Lyra performed a holiday show with an all-drag band, The Bad Judys… could this be the start of something huge?
184. Papi Juice
A popular queer POC-centric party brand that turns out big crowds every few months in Brooklyn (mostly at Elsewhere), Papi Juice is the creation of art director Mohammad Fayaz and DJs Adam R and Oscar Nñ–although the extended family of music makers, pop-up performers and other creatives that show up to make each night different is vast. Just as much a community movement and living art instillation as it is a fun party, Papi Juice has collaborated with such prestigious institutions as The Brooklyn Museum, MoMA PS1, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, just to name a few.
183. Lauren Ordair
Larger than life with a talent to match, vocalist Lauren has been a mainstay of the Lips Restaurant drag dining experience for years. In 2021 she also co-hosted a popular show at Fire Island’s Cherry’s on the Bay with Hawaii’s Sabel Scities, and towards the year’s end joined the cast of new bar HUSH’s “Big Girls Club” alongside Catrina Lovelace and Gigi Deetz.
New nightlife power couple alert! The Ñaño drag brunch hostess and the producer popular of “consenting adults” party SCUM tied the knot at the end of the year. This was also the year that Senobyte became an in-demand DJ for drag shows in the Pieces / Hardware / Playhouse bar family, and it was at Pieces (the site of many a celebrity cameo) where guest performer Chicky recently did Eurovision star Netta’s “Toy” in front of Netta herself.
Welsh born neo-disco popstar Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, had a busy 2021 with the post-lockdown return of his popular Club Cumming party “Romy & Michele’s Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance” and musical releases including non-album singles compilation So Gay, So Dramatic and several remixes of previous hits. He also performed live in venues like Rockwood Music Hall.
180. Prada G. Major
A dance queen and animal print enthusiast who’s been turning out the party in the West Village since the early days of Boots & Saddle drag, Prada currently hosts the popular monthly “Major Saturdays” at Stonewall. It was also another successful year for “Don’t M.S. with Major,” her annual benefit for Multiple Sclerosis aid and research; M.S. is a condition that afflicts Prada, but never slows her down.
The end of lockdown meant the return of these two vital DJs to their home base, The Manhattan Monster Bar, where they spin dance parties and support the venues many drag and gogo boy showcases.
178. DD Fuego
Joining Skye Walker and Elektra Lite on the Hardware stage every week for “Crush Wednesdays,” Mexican-born DD has become known for her vibrant looks and eclectic comedy mixes. But her creativity isn’t limited to her onstage antics, lending her multimedia skills to several sharp and funny videos for social media, the production of merch including candles, and designing for other queens like Lemon’s denim look on Drag Race Canada last year.
177. Linda Simpson
The observational humorist emerged from the early-90s bohemian era of East Village drag, and continues to be an important trailblazer today. Linda’s also become an unintended archivist of sorts due to the tons of photos she took of her friends and her scene, and in the spring of 2021 many of these photos were compiled in the book The Drag Explosion. Linda and the book have made the signing rounds all over town, including a particularly fun one at the gallery Fotografiska; meanwhile she continued to host her signature brand of drag bingo at various venues.
176. Eugene Edo
Veteran dance party and drag show DJ Eugene didn’t indulge in much digital spinning like some of his colleagues did during lockdown, but came roaring back to the bars in a big way once they reopened. In fact these days there aren’t many bars he doesn’t work in: Playhouse, Hardware, Metropolitan, Industry and Atlas Social Club just name a few.
Roll call: Esther, God Complex, Menthol Menthol, Pinwheel Pinwheel and DJ Ten Yards! This ragtag troupe of brilliantly Bizarro performers bring back some much needed alternative flavor and risk to modern drag, in a theatrical setting: namely The Cell Theatre in Chelsea. UEC also serves a unique take on drag brunch at Moonrise Izakaya uptown, and this year both Pinwheel and Ten Yards happen to be well-deserving GLAM nominees for Best Fashion Designer.
174. Jolina Jasmine
The beautiful dancing demigoddess of New Jersey and New York needs a show of her own in 2022! Hearing the audience goop every time she takes the stage is truly a Moment. You can usually find Jasmine guest performing at Paradise in Asbury Park (where she currently co-reigns as an honorary Miss Paradise 2021 alongside drag mom Victoria Courtez, and was crowned properly with the title a few years back), Pieces Bar in the West Village, or any number of Tri-State venues. Also proving herself to be a skilled mic hostess, it’s clear that the Year of Jolina will soon be upon us.
Formerly known as Tinkerbell, this dance performer was a regular presence in the Brooklyn bar scene before fully embracing ballroom. Now as full-on drag queen Spindarella, she’s back in the bars and serving both movement and fashions to a rapidly growing fanbase, and is even designing looks for other queens like Janelle No. 5.
This dynamic drag duo (on and offstage) may be Brooklyn folk heroes at this point, but they have drag roots all over NYC and Fire Island. During 2020’s lockdown they produced some appointment digital drag viewing and later showed us how to do outdoor shows properly and safely. With a lot of their former home bases not yet reopened to full capacity in 2021, comedic hostess Misty’s and cosmic dancer Mocha’s appearances have been plentiful, but more spread out: Hardware in Hell’s Kitchen, The Deep End in Ridgewood, Wonderville in Bushwick, etc. And here’s a bonus shoutout to Misty, who’s blossoming wig styling skills granted her a Best Hair Design GLAM nomination this year.
171. Cacophony Daniels
The popular showtunes-slinging comedienne spent most of 2021 entertaining a global population in foreign lands, on cruise ships and via her popular livestream “Cacophony Live in Isolation.” Fortunately she’s part of the rotating cast of HUSH Bar’s new “Schmoozical Mondays,” so when Cac’s in town she always has a stage!
170. Pierretta Viktori
The much in-demand fashion designer and occasional performer has recently expanded their reach beyond New York nightlife to performers in other cities and genres, but of course their most featured looks were on RuGirls like Kandy Muse, Jan, Rosé, Jackie Cox and Sasha Velour.
This pair of celebrated burlesquers created a powerful brand of comedic sexiness in 2021, hosting monthly revues at Rockbar, C’mon Everybody and The Liberty NYC.
168. Jackie Cox
Most RuGirls have to work through that transition from noisy chaotic bar shows to more scripted, one woman stage events, but Drag Race Season 12’s Jackie Cox was already a pro of that genre long before TV fame. On her season, “Persian Princess” Jackie showed the world that she had a magnetic intelligence and quick schtick, but New York drag fans already knew that thanks to her many cabaret style stage shows. In 2021 Jackie and her season’s castmates finally got to enjoy a bit of global touring post-lockdown, and here in NYC Ms. Cox served us JackieVision at Green Room 42. She also endorsed cosmetics and a men’s razor, and in a surreally complex meta moment she reprised her Lisa Rinna drag from Drag Race opposite the actual Lisa Rinna doing her own Days of Our Lives character on that soap’s limited series spin-off Beyond Salem... whew!
167. Mathieu Blue
Hardware bartender Matthew Gagnon co-created and co-produced that bar’s long running “Super Size Queen Friday” weekly party with Shawn Paul Mazur, along with the fan favorite summer party FLY Sundays at the Monarch Hotel. Shawn has since moved out of New York, but this comely fellow keeps it all going. He now goes more commonly by the name Mathieu Blue, and in addition to nightlife producing is both a recording artist and… weatherman!
166. Alotta McGriddles
Her thirst trap game is strong, but Alotta is first and foremost an iconic Brooklyn drag queen with hot fashions and ferocious numbers. Post-lockdown, she’s resumed hosting her popular weekly trivia night at Metropolitan Bar, and is one of a cadre of queens serving “She Wrecked” Saturday nights at Phoenix Bar.
165. Lady Celestina
Although the Jersey drag scene has mostly been known for sparkly dance divas, the unique Lady Celestina emerged in Jersey City with her top hatted drapery and Broadway repertoire. In no time she became a presence on both sides of the river, and among various brunches and pop-ups she co-hosts Sunday nights with Octavia Anyae and DJ Steve Sidewalk at the Ritz.
164. Gigi Cutina
She comes in a small package, but Gigi’s talent and charisma are nearly as massive as her hair. The glamorous Westchester dancing queen has a new weekly hometown show of her own at Yonkers’ El Cantito Cafe, and commutes to slay the boroughs with a drag brunch at Queens Beer Factory (with Robin Rose Quartz) and frequent guest turns at Pieces Bar in the West Village. It doesn’t take a genius to see true stardom in Ms. Cutina’s drag future.
163. Andrew Barret Cox
Self-described as a “post-binary femme Halloween weirdo freak,” Andrew’s a major collaborator with longtime sis and RuGirl Jan as far as her looks and music go. Andrew is a fashion designer, singer / songwriter, musical composer, club kid, beloved Hot Rabbit party emcee, drag queen, choreographer… they’ve got a hand in pretty much all nightlife and performance art-related activities. They even wrote music for The Cock Destroyers‘ reality show! Andrew’s production company Neon Coven was among the first folks in the scene to utilize the “sex dungeon factory” atmosphere of 3 Dollar Bill and it’s excellent sound and lighting capabilities (care of their immersive theatre show Oscar at the Crown); this year at that venue they presented the choreography showcase “Dance to the Moon” and tributes to Burlesque and Rocky Horror.
Brooklyn’s longtime carefree dance queen has taken over the hosting duties of The Rosemont’s popular Saturday night party “Fake Nudes,” and continues to make appearances elsewhere in the borough at venues like C’mon Everybody and 3 Dollar Bill. Lately Magenta also brings that Brooklyn flavor to new Manhattan venue The Q, and can often be seen serving fierce pop-up moments at Thursday night dance parties there.
These event producers are best known for monthly circuit parties at Rebar Chelsea: Diogo’s sexy Brazilian affairs “Pegate” and “Clandestino” and Antonio’s uberpopular masc “CALIBR.” Also, they might be rivals for the unofficial “best torso in nightlife” award, depending on your own “tit for tat” personal choices. And this just in: Diogo now produces The Q’s new weekly party, “LatinQ.”
160. Kamilla Kockman
A member of the game-slaying, sorcerous drag sisterhood The Assassins, musical theater starlet Kamilla is beloved as an entertainer at Fire Island’s Cherry’s on the Bay where she spent this summer as their resident bingo hostess. Nowadays, Kamilla and all The Assassins host one of Friday night’s most thrilling drag shows at Playhouse Bar, and Kamilla is back to ball rolling for Boxers’ new weekly bingo night.
159. Haus of Quench
Self-described as “Brooklyn’s newest and stupidest art collective,” the off-kilter clan of queens, kings and things was founded by Paris L’Hommie, Silly Brown, Cuntyham and Sterling Tull. The Haus’ current primary base of operations is Brooklyn bar All Night Skate, where they’ve amassed a large following by staging silly, surreal shows with themes like “church” and “murder mystery.” Quench’s founders’ and guest performers’ diverse talents bring much needed, entertaining unpredictability to the scene, and their shows have made All Night Skate an unexpected queer destination.
158. Octavia Anyae
Vibrant Jersey-centric dance and pageant queen Octavia has been hosting Morningside Heights venue Suite Bar’s Saturday night party for over a decade now, so it’s only appropriate that she’s finally getting more love here in NYC. In addition to occasionally guest hosting the “Polish the Queen” drag competition, Octavia’s now the co-host of The Ritz’s Sunday night party alongside Lady Celestina.
These two iconic Brooklyn drag performers have in more recent years evolved into DJs, with fascinating and celebrated results. Simon serves sugary pop and dreary goth (and everything in between) for dance parties in venues like Farewell and Happyfun Hideaway, while also supporting Hell’s Kitchen bar HUSH’s new drag show “Red Light Special” starring Virginia Thicc, Missleidy & Neon Calypso. Meanwhile, Zenobia lights up the night with sets that celebrate POC artists in Brooklyn mainstays like Metropolitan and The Rosemont, and also streams high quality lip sync videos on her social media and Patreon.
156. David Serrano
While the veteran Manhattan DJ still spins nights at bars like Rise and The Spot, David is lately refocusing his creative energy towards photography. He’s currently a favorite portraitist for drag queens, and assisted Jeff Eason in shooting the cover of Get Out Magazine’s GLAM Awards edition… and he’ll likely DJ the GLAM Awards ceremony itself as well, as he’s done years prior.
When Maddelynn Hatter describes a girl as her wildest drag child, you know you’re dealing with a real firecracker! But it’s that large personality that makes Stasi stand out as a hostess and guest performer at the always-crowded Ritz Bar & Lounge in Hell’s Kitchen, despite her small size. Nowadays she’s also co-headlining new HK bar HUSH’s Thursday night drag show “CxNT” (along with Dev Doee, Essence and Beaujangless), and is turning out to be a pretty great portrait photographer as well (see above).
154. SIXFOOT 5
Dashing model and recording artist Carson Elliott became a real power player in the scene recently as music producer SIXFOOT 5, presiding over the pristinely polished pop music from local artists like Cory Alexander and Lagoona Bloo — in fact, the album he produced with Lagoona, AQUA, became a big streaming hit with her massive fanbase. Carson went on to make music with Lagoona’s Stephanie’s Child bandmates Jan and Rosé as well as the trio’s recent holiday album, and helped score the short film Life of Riley.
153. Boyish Charm
After hosting drag bingo at Kirvens in her native Bronx for most of early post-lockdown 2021, Boyish made the transition from “drag queen who can DJ” to “DJ in drag.” She’s been busy in the booth ever since spinning dance parties and drag shows with her many sisters, but is probably best known for making the music happen (and no easy feat, that) at Metro’s massive “Madd Mondays,” aka Maddelynn Hatter’s explosive GLAM-nominated open stage that’s changed the game in Brooklyn. Boyish is also a resident DJ at Phoenix, and co-hosts “The BFF Party” at 3 Dollar Bill with Rayne.
Kudos to Members Only founders Milo Pony and Twinky Boots for doing everything possible to make digital burlesque interesting during lockdown, but the return of their live shows after the re-openings was certainly a welcome development! The troop’s brand suggests that only the best boys (and girls, and beyond) in the business share the stage with the pair, which makes their sexy / fun shows at Caveat and the Laurie Beechman Theatre so popular. Former Ms. Rockbar Coco is also the perfect fit as the group’s main emcee, no doubt honing those stage skills she used to great effect as Homer in The Simsinz and for some upcoming Beechman shows of her own.
151. Michael Musto
Forever synonymous with “nightlife writer,” multiple GLAM nominee and winner Musto remains the go-to expert in that sexy grey area where New York nightlife and Hollywood stardom co-mingle. When the freelancer isn’t busy contributing to such high profile publications as NewNowNext, Queerty, OUT or the recently-revived Village Voice (the original version of which put him on the map), he’s singing parodies for us on social media, making various TV appearances or suing indie directors on Judge Jerry.