Lil Park Drag Show in the East Village offers artful celebration of drag and ‘Gender Euphoria’

Lil Park Drag Show in the East Village
Lena Horné, making a statement with Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”
Photo by Bob Krasner

Let’s take a moment to be glad we live in New York City, the place that the late Spalding Gray referred to as ” an island off the coast of America.” In a time when so-called patriots are attacking anything that doesn’t conform to their idea of “normal,” we can spend the afternoon reveling in a fabulous celebration of non-conformity in the East Village.

On Saturday afternoon, Aug. 20, Double Mx. Ectomy presented the grand finale of 12 spring and summer events by the Lil Park Drag Show at La Plaza Cultural Garden. With a cast that included Mx. Ectomy, Oliver Herface, DeMéz, Lena Horné, Glitter Macabre, Bad News Bear, Bertha Vanayshun, Om3n Onyx and the Pinc Louds, the performers pooled their talents to produce a free, all-ages show entitled “Gender Euphoria.”

“It’s a celebration of queerness and gender nonconformity,” said Mx. Ectomy.

“The shows provide a safe, accessible space for queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming people of all ages to explore and enjoy the art of drag,” they continued. “Since most live drag is confined to age-restricted and substance centered spaces like bars and clubs, the art of drag is often inaccessible to so many people. Holding drag shows in public outdoor spaces lets us bring drag out into the light of day, allowing every kind of person to experience this beautiful art form.”

Oliver Herface , almost ready for showtimePhoto by Bob Krasner
Host /organizer/ performer Double Mx. EctomyPhoto by Bob Krasner
@alexxpeaches selling his handmade wares in the shadePhoto by Bob Krasner
Part of the audience at the Lil Park Drag ShowPhoto by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
DeMéz performing with Phineas and Ferb’s “Chains on Me”Photo by Bob Krasner

The diverse audience loved it, responding to the wildly entertaining drag acts with robust applause and dancing wildly to the wonderful musical energy of Pinc Louds.

“These performers are so dedicated to a kind of joyous and unapologetic self-expression that really works when the community shows up to support, witness, participate and dance!” exclaimed Wendy Beyer, an abstract artist. “That’s what true art is!”

“You could feel the community in the air,” commented DeMéz, one of the performers. “Nothing but queer, trans love and vibes!”

Claudi of the Pinc Louds answered our query about their take on the day with this summation and gave us something to ponder as well.

“There was no better place to melt on this hot hot Saturday than La Plaza Cultural. The great thing about melting is it allowed us to mold ourselves into colorful new shapes and leave behind the rigid ideas that cement us to the past,” they mused. “What is drag? What is gender? What is music? What is love?”

Om3n Onyx picking up a tipPhoto by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Claudi of the Pinc Louds putting 110% into their performance, as alwaysPhoto by Bob Krasner
When Pinc Louds are playing, people are dancingPhoto by Bob Krasner
Bad News Bear’s performance went through a few costume changes, with this one emerging at the endPhoto by Bob Krasner

Alternating sets with the drag performers, Pinc Louds fit in perfectly. As Mx. Ectomy explains, “It was amazing to partner with Pinc Louds because they were a huge inspiration in starting Lil Park Drag Show in the first place back in April 2021. Performing in public as anyone who could be perceived as trans can be extremely scary. Seeing Claudi performing in parks, subways, on streets, and not just being accepted, but being embraced, loved and celebrated by so many people really inspired me to start having park shows of my own. Pinc Louds’ electric energy combined with our celebratory atmosphere and the beautiful setting of the garden created a comfortable, accepting environment for people of all ages and genders to have a lovely evening, full of live queer performance.”

Audience member Doc Kelley had this to say: “It was so refreshing to see creative young people challenging gender in a safe space and with such love. I thought the band really rocked and made everyone (including myself) want to get up and dance! “

Summing up, Mx. Ectomy noted that “the Grand Finale was a magical celebration of trans art, gender nonconformity, and reminder that trans love and joy exists and is powerful and beautiful.”

The Lil Park Drag Show can be found on Instagram at @lilparkdragshow and Pinc Louds post regularly at @pinclouds.