While the fashion set raced between runways and coated Manhattan’s streets with an even-better-than-usual style showing, a crowd of another kind was gathering in Brooklyn for Bushwig, the annual celebration of drag, music, queer style, and unabashed joy.
“As a photographer, it’s just visually stunning,” says Chris Sorensen who captured the event for InStyle for the second year in a row. Bushwig 2019 featured more than 100 performances spread over two days at the Knockdown Center, a warehouse-turned-event space, with indoor and outdoor stages, a bar with frozen cocktails, and vegan Mexican food to keep everyone fed. Though it’s fair to say anyone who went was serving — and subsisting on — looks.
Eve Deluxe, pictured here, says “it’s a beautiful melting pot of cultures, styles, and personalities,” and one for which her look took a good month and a half to plan. “The looks are just so amazing and varied. It’s like Halloween and Mardi Gras got married and had a threesome with the Met Ball. Everyone is so creative and daring. But what keeps me coming back is the people,” Sorensen says. A queen who captured his heart (and lens) at this year’s event, Ms. Ter, adds that “Bushwig is an amazing celebration of love, art, and drag. It’s a special place where everyone is welcome and the lines of gender and reality are blurred (or sometimes erased all together) with no questions. It’s almost a utopia.”
Like any event where a community opens itself up to outsiders, the outcome is both fun and a learning opportunity. “I’m constantly amazed by the breadth of what drag can be,” Sorensen says. “When I first went and shot it, my concept of what drag could be was pretty limited and probably antiquated. But femme, masculine, kings, genderqueer, non-binary, anything can be drag, and it’s wonderful to see creative people make something unique. Now that my knowledge and expectations have grown based on my experiences, the artists still manage to surpass them every year.”
Hear from some more of those artists, and see Sorenson’s bursting-with-beauty photos of Bushwig 2019, ahead.