A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 27, 2004
"Wigstock" is an annual drag festival.

Late one night in the spring of '84 a drunken group of friends, seeking more diversions, closed the Pyramid Club and traipsed over to Tompkins Square Park, six-packs in tow. Brian Butterick, Michael "Kitty" Ullman, Wendy Wild, The "Lady" Bunny and a few members of the Fleshtones were horsing around in the bandshell when someone (no one remembers who, it's all such a blur) came up with the idea of putting on a show - a day-long drag festival - and calling it Wigstock. It was Bunny who was foolhardy enough to take the idea seriously, going recklessly ahead and getting the necessary permits.

The "Lady" Bunny kicks off the world's most offbeat, sick-adelic (and only) outdoor drag festival with a jazzed-up version of "I Feel The Earth Move", wearing a black double-knit rhinestone-studded pants suit with chain belt and platform wedgies -- this in front of a crowd of a few hundred mostly unsuspecting onlookers. By the end of the day 1,000 or so people have gravitated to the bandshell in Tompkins Square to witness the spectacle -- a whimsical, and demented, collection of performers from the legendary Pyramid Club who will become the staple of Wigstock's line-up for years to come: Tabboo!, Hapi Phace, Lypsinka, Ethel Eichelberger, John Sex, Wendy Wild, John Kelly, Sister Dimension, The Fleshtones, Baby Gregor, Tangella DeVille, and founder, organizer, grande doyenne The "Lady" Bunny!

4 September 1987, New York Times, pg. C8:
Wigstock '87, an outdoor festival of music and performance art, will take place Monday from 2 to 8 P.M. at Tompkins Square Park, Avenue A and Seventh Street. The festival - the third sponsored by the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge - will feature the performers Ethyl Eichelberger and Joey Arias, and the groups Kooky Kabuki and Dean and the Weenies.

31 July 1994, New York Times, pg. CY5:
Forget Woodstock. Whither Wigstock?

The East Village's Labor Day drag festival, Wigstock, is looking for a new home - in the West Village.

The annual transvestite blowout "grew like Topsy and has gotten too large" for Tompkins Square Park, said Henry J. Stern, the city's Parks Commissioner.
John Ingle, who founded the festival and is better known as Lady Bunny, said, "We'd like to have a home and not go through this battle every year."

5 September 1994, New York Times, pg. 21:
If There Was Ever a Place for Big Hair, It's Wigstock
The festival is no longer held in Tompkins Square Park, as it was every other year except one. This year, to cope with its expansion, Wigstock was held on the Christopher Street waterfront, and organizers estimated the crowd at 2,500.

From Small Beginnings

Wigstock's debut, in 1985, was sponsored by the Pyramid Club, a popular East Village nightspot, and consisted of a handful of acts in the park's band shell. The total cost that year was about $1,000, said the emcee, John Ingle, also known as Lady Bunny, who was one of the original group.

Goods and Services IC 041. US 107. G & S: entertainment services in the nature of a music and performance festival. FIRST USE: 19850800. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19850800
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74339370
Filing Date December 11, 1992
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition July 20, 1993
Registration Number 1798261
Registration Date October 12, 1993
Owner (REGISTRANT) Wigstock composed of Scott Lifshutz and John Ingle, both U.S. citizens PARTNERSHIP NEW YORK 74 Fifth Avenue, #10C New York NEW YORK 10011
Attorney of Record Lawrence E. Abelman
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20031215.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20031215
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
Holidays/Events/Parades • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 27, 2004 • Permalink

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