The Internet has been quietly aflutter lately with a sort of drag debate: drag kings rallying for their place in the scene after RuPaul recently said kings and queens “don’t really mix”; “faux queens” or “bio-queens” asserting that their drag is as valid and subversive as other drag queens only to garner an entire response essay picking apart their argument. Though drag is indeed replete with layers and a multifaceted history, including its ongoing relationship with trans and gender non-conforming folk, Ru did classically say, “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag.” However, one could look to the ever-growing medium of Internet Thinkpieces and get a sense that the scene is much more fragmented than that.
Bushwick’s vibrant drag community is gearing up for the third annual Bushwig Festival—a celebration of all things drag that has grown from a small, one-day affair with just 30 participants to a weekend-long extravaganza featuring over 160 acts.
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When I meet Adam Golub, under the elevated tracks of the M train on one of the hottest days of the summer, he’s wearing a sleeveless top, shorts, sandals (the Teva-esque type that all Israelis seem to own) and slightly chipped metallic blue nail polish.
Golub chuckles wryly about the electrifying effect the varnish often has on those around him. Who knows how these delicate passersby might react to his drag identity, Shalmuta (“slut” in Hebrew)—a Bayiou-born Southern belle with a hankering for fried chicken and a love of suspenders and tartan.