To my fellow queer folks who live in the overlap of reality and drag: Our time has come.
On Friday, A Queer Pride (AQP) announced its headliners for Chicago Is A Drag, the city’s first festival 100 percent devoted to drag. Set with intersectional intentions, the fest’s organizers say they’ve curated performers from across generations, neighborhoods, and performance styles, with special attention paid to issues of race and gender.
Inaugural headliners will include: Raja, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race S3, Candis Cayne, drag king Spikey Van Dykey, TS Madison, and Tiffany “New York” Pollard (Yes! The one from I Love New York). The Andersonville fest will be held on June 28 from 4–11 p.m. in the Cheetah Gym’s parking lot.
A Queer Pride’s Abhijeet Rane notes that this is the first-ever outdoor festival to showcase Chicago’s drag culture and scene.
“I started doing drag back in 2015 when there were very few opportunities for up-and-coming performers to try things out. Over the course of four years, the landscape of drag in Chicago has changed so much, allowing for a lot more upward mobility and community building,” the performer says. “[Chicago Is a Drag Festival] is so special to me because I have the opportunity to give a platform to the thing I stan the most: Chicago drag!
“We’re so lucky to be in a city that is a central hub for generations of drag and showgirl pageantry, as well as being at the forefront of current and popular drag culture, and we’re celebrating the artistry and legacy of all that.”
Performer Bambi Banks-Couleé echoes Rane’s sentiments.
“When I started drag, AQP was the first group to take a chance and booked me,” they expand. “Since then, I have watched them grow into an amazing team and present Chicago with queer safe spaces and opportunities for artists to display their art and get recognized! CIADF is gonna be one of the biggest events queer chicago has ever seen!”
This particular Pride month is cause for extra celebration, as it marks a number of anniversaries: 50 years of Chicago Pride, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and 50 years of Chicago’s Baton Lounge.
AQP will announce the remaining lineup Monday, Wednesday, and Friday via their social media channels from Monday, May 6 through Friday, May 31. General admission and VIP tickets are available at www.chicagoisadrag.com. v