Before RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was rather exceptional for a gay-famous artist or drag performer to go on tour or gain any kind of international notoriety based on their art. Sure, acts like Leigh Bowery and Divine became unlikely icons overseas, but they were the exception and certainly not the rule. Now, with a preponderance of young and old queens garnering both mainstream and underground attention, we’ve seen the formation of a handful of nightlife supergroups, pooling their ferocious powers in attempts at total world domination. Of course, no city is better at this than Brooklyn, where we like our queens both hyper-talented and extra weird.
In recent years BK has become densely saturated with every kind of all-gender drag troupe, each tossing the traditions of the art form out the door and wooing fans along the way. By combining forces, these teams are storming the scene and taking our dollar bills with them. Now we’re counting down the cream of the crop amongst Brooklyn crews, houses, and squads. Could any of these gangs someday become the drag version of the Spice Girls? Check out our collection of newcomers and stalwart (s)heroes, below!
Haus of Aja
Based in: Bed-Stuy
Members: Aja, Kandy Muse, Momo Shade, Dahlia Sin
See them at: Hardware Bar
Season 9’s banjee queen Aja became one of the more polarizing figures on Drag Race in recent memory, but her crew have been beloved by Brooklynites since long before her stint on RuPaul’s stage. Equal parts Harajuku and Bed-Stuy, this ballroom-influenced team can vogue down any venue. (And we’re basically all waiting for another member to get on Season 10.)
Based in: Bushwick
Members: Crimson Kitty, Krymson Scholar, Sugar Magnolia, Pierretta Viktori, Cream Victoria
See them at: Bizarre Bushwick
One of the only collective of female, trans, and non-binary queens, Ladyqueen has proved that drag is an art form for everyone. Mother of this house, Crimson Kitty, has even begun instructing aspiring girls on the art of drag, offering courses on makeup and performances and concluding each sequence with a fabulous showcase.
Haus of Umpteen Corpses
Based in: Ridgewood
Members: Angelica Sundae, MEGABABE, Mini Horrorwitz
See them at: Pizza Party
Describing themselves as a mix between Destiny’s Child, TLC, and The Sanderson Sisters (but better) this deliciously spooky trio, led by Mother Sundae and dressed in custom-made outfits from MEGABABE, aims to make their viewers uncomfortable. When they’re not performing, you can find them smoking at home and arguing over who is the Michelle of the group.
Switch n’ Play
Based in: Prospect Heights
Members: Divina GranSparkle, K.James, Miss Malice, Nyx Nocturne, Pearl Harbor, Stanley Steamer, Vigor Mortis, Zoe Ziegfeld
See them at: Branded Saloon
This combination drag and burlesque troop pushes the boundaries of each art form. With gender-bending performances, the Switch n’ Play gang guarantees a night of “guts and glitter” at every show. Founded in 2006, the group has garnered two Brooklyn Nightlife Awards and a handful of other honors since their formation. This year, they’ve been nominated for the BNA Hall of Fame.
Str8 to DVD
Based in: Bushwick
Members: Qhrist with a Q, Sherry Poppins, DJ Ten Yards
See them at: Goldsounds
Looking for artsy, experimental drag? This crew’s got you covered. With inspirations ranging from Klaus Nomi to Britney Spears, this gang’s eccentric nights are far from the Broadway and Disney numbers you’ll more commonly see in Manhattan. Ten Yards spins an eclectic mix of pop, new wave, and J-pop to keep the crowd going all night.
Leave a Reply