Mistie Bonet, Miss Toto, Tarah Cards, and Kimberly Clark were among the fabulous drag royalty I cheered at the inaugural Bushwig South festival of queer culture, experimental music and love in New Orleans over my long Mother’s Day weekend trip with Harry. I promised in my last post to share pictures of the outfit my kid Harry (aka drag artist Amber Alert) styled for me, and Amber’s awesome look, too. So have a look below and keep scrolling, because there are a few more fave photos from the fest, including one of the queen who triggered a remarkable little convo between Harry and me.
Amber, by the way, clued me in that the gold metallic thread in my vintage-thrift Palazzo pants is called Lurex. Of course, she would know that.
The awesome leaf sculpture pictured above was just one of many at host venue Castillo Blanco Art Studios. My favorite was R2D2 in lipstick.
The queen I connected with the most was NOLA native Tarah Cards. I loved her zigzag-striped body suit, flaming red hair, bubble umbrella, and eclectic mash up of diva power tunes. But it was the interspersed taped quotes from eccentric, eye-patch-wearing Nadine Hurley of Twin Peaks that released my epiphany.
It was after Tarah’s lip-sync of Nadine’s “I’m going to have the world’s first one hundred percent quiet runner” that I turned to Harry’s ear with the confession that somewhere deep inside my soul, there was a drag queen waiting to be unleashed.
Harry laughed. “I’ve always thought of you as somewhat gender-nonconforming, Mom.”
“You have?” I asked, feeling wholly validated.
“Sure. Don’t you remember what I told you about your wardrobe when I was two?”
I flashed back to an afternoon in the fall of 1992 where Harry was waiting for me at the back door when I arrived home from work.
“You don’t have any dresses!” he accused.
His nanny informed me that Harry had wanted to look in my closet that day. My pint-sized fashionista had nailed it. I wore skirt suits or dress pants to the office and jeans or leggings at home.
“I have a purple dress. Did you see that?”
He shook his head. “You need more dresses, Momma.”
And there I stood in a billowy pair of silk pants, eager to jump on stage and let my freak flag fly. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so free to express my inner diva. I smiled up at Amber, so appreciating her wit and wisdom. It was a very special mother-child moment of the gender nonconforming kind I’ll never forget.
I’d planned to have someone at the festival take a photo of Amber and me together, but somehow I forgot. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fantasy, fun, and magic of Bushwig! On our last night, when I realized no photo of the two of us in NOLA existed, we took a selfie on the balcony of our Airbnb.
I’ll be sure to get a glamour head-to-toe shot of us together at Bushwig 2017 in September. Maybe we’ll even see YOU there. In the meantime, wherever you are this weekend, have fun, be you, and, by all means, express yourself to the max!
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