The 2014 Drag March, [entering its 21st year], was so much fun, and really big. Every year it is a challenge to get all the differently diverse people, from a plethora of places and paradigms (including the NYPD), all together in complete solidarity and fabulousity… carving and celebrating a safe space, inclusive and incredible–and so worth the work. [“you may say I’m a dreamer, but I'm not the only one…”]
Every year we gather in Tompkins Square Park, before sunset, on the Friday before Manhattan's Heritage ofPride march, (essentially June’s last Friday), and then we march west to the Stonewall Inn. (For many this symbolically ties the Tompkins Square riots with the Stonewall riots.)
The Drag March was dreamed up by Gilbert Baker and Brian Griffin (aka Harmonie Moore of the Church Ladies for Choice), after reading a press release regarding Stonewall’s 25th Anniversary Celebration ‘asking’ that Drag Queens, Leather-men (and other marginalized LGBT queers) forgo attending, or at least adorning their “Drag” in efforts to better present 'the public’ with a more homogenized, hetero-normative ideal.
As Brian & Gilbert sewed a giant rainbow flag (of Gilbert’s design) for the very celebrations they were seemingly being dissuaded from attending… Gilbert and Brian (aka Harmonie Moore) hatched an idea to instigate the first Drag March–they created flyers, organized and endeavored and thousands showed up to be visible in all their fiercest queer finery.
Though a leaderless event, the Drag March has always been rich with communication, sharing ideas and diverse partnerships invoking inclusion, mirth, solidarity and celebration. Over the years many different individuals have planned, championed and lovingly cared for the Drag March alongside [original] groups like theChurch Ladies for Choice and the Radical Faeries, to [more recently] the NYC (dis)Order of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Any-who-which-way-or-other, here are some photos of sister-lotti-da from this year’s Drag March march, I was pretty busy herding and coordinating all the amazing Queens, Kings, otherwise and in-betweens along w/ NYPD’s finest. (a huge thank you to Det. H. who has long been a Drag March champion and super swell guy.)
Needless to say, i didn’t take any photos… but these images of Sr. Lotti Da made their way to me, so I’ll use them as an excuse (however narcissistic) to have a Dear Diary moment… =)
& on the Drag March horizon … there is a short and sweet spell of a poetic video [created with AsobiNY’s Rico Noguchi] coming soon… ;-)
The New York City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were incredibly honored to be a part of the 7th annual 2014 FIERCE BOWLATHON. We were able to raise over $1800 in support of FIERCE and had so much fun bowling… we so love this organization and the amazing work they do, which continues thanks to over $25,000 raised. ( and the New York City Sisters took home the supernova prize for highest fundraising by a non-Fierce member or board member.) www.fiercenyc.org
I have been remiss in updating this blog, but wanted to shout out to my Sisters who were utterly amazing at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Small Works for Big Change way back in March…
All in all SWBCraised over $25,000. for SRLP’srevolutionary services. It is such an honor to be a part of this. Thank you to all of the artists, host committee members, volunteers, and sponsors who helped make this such a sexy, successful night. What a blast!
As I look back, this has to be one of my prouder moments. Joining ACT-UP & Queer Nation in protesting the hypocrisy of Metropolitan Opera’s admirable choice of celebrating a gay Russian composer (Stravinsky) at the Opening Gala for their season—and the counterintuitive decision to showcase two Russian celebrities, (the conductor & principle soloist) who publicly support the notoriously anti-gay Putin regime.
The current climate in Russia is simply murderous for Queers. Atrocities are now righteously institutionalized and enacted daily. The fact that Russia is (following China’s lead) seeking global validation while hiding legacies of human rights’ atrocities behind [hosting] the Olympics and their own cultural elitism… is Shameful! To my mind, the MET actively endorses this endeavor with their obligatory silence.
So when Jackie Rudin told me about this protest, I knew I had to get there. Despite the fact I was flat broke, (vet bills, medical bills, and a myriad of other ‘unplanned fiscal disruptions’), and I didn’t have time to do the trademark ‘full Sister face’—I scraped some change, grabbed my “itty-bitty polkadot bikini” and hopped on the subway.
Once I got to Columbus Circle, I ducked into a public courtyard to transform. I had just finished adding glitter to the ‘blood’ leaking out of my eyes when the security guard asked me to leave. I apologized to and for him (for his shitty job), and bid him ‘happy trails’.
Upon arrival at the protest gathering, I was met with the usual number of raised eyebrows from my activist colleagues. Bieng ‘big enough’ to entice a spotlight for a cause or movement, without overshadowing it, is a slippery slope open to subjective interpretation.
Personally, I find I reach more people one on one, with a little bit of ‘honey,’ and a little bit of shiny. Additionally, beyond simply being scandalous, we’re simultaneously (and somewhat subversly) serving as a catalyst for [visibility and] dialog by embodying an image that’s ‘unapologetically gay’ and/or ‘gender-fuck’ fierce (with “a spoonful of sugar”).
Theatrical farce and shared laughter are effective teaching tools. Bertolt Brecht wrote, “Let this learning be pleasurable. Learning should be taught as an art… and the practice of art is pleasurable.“ As a 7ft psychedelic drag nun in a bikini, I needn’t yell to get your attention—and once I have you engaged (often with a wink and a smile), it is in Solidarity and Loving Kindness I hold you, safe.
Standing in front of the Metropolitan Opera with my fellow activists, reaching out and engaging those present: challenging the hateful Putin regime; challenging the hateful strangle-hold of the Eastern Orthodox Church; (and, perhaps most importantly) sharing a knowing nod and wink of solidarity to our queer counterparts in Russia. A visual love letter to those struggling and suffering: an image; perhaps even an opportunity to smile. If “a picture is worth a thousand words,” I hope those are a few. That would be worth a lot in-deed; that would make me proud.