“Going Out” is a column celebrating the legacy of our founder, Andy Warhol. Long ago, in the disco ball-refracted days of The Factory, Warhol’s Interview chronicled the comings and goings of the downtown scene, spotlighting its ever-eccentric populace in their favorite dimly lit haunts. For this edition of “Going Out,” Ernest Macias celebrated Stonewall 50, and World Pride, partying with Ladyfag and an army of lovers at the outdoor queer music festival, LadyLand, held at Brooklyn Mirage.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City. The lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer people inside the bar had two options: 1) take the beating and arrests, like many times before, or 2) fight back. 50 years later, millions of people flooded the streets of Manhattan, decked out in rainbow lewks, leatherwear, jock straps, and heels, to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots—as well as the bravery and resilience of people like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who fought back against the police that day, with literal bricks and a dash of glamour, of course. This year’s Pride celebration also happened to coincide with the first WorldPride celebration in the United States, which attracted approximately 4 million queer (and fabulous) people from across the world to our very own backyard.
Needless to say, parties were aplenty across New York and its boroughs. From Kim Petras to Mykki Blanco to Madonna, queer icons from across generations and genres descended on the Big Apple ready to entertain the multitudes hungry for strobe lights, nightlong ragers, poppers, and the space to simply be. Queue LadyLand, a two-day queer festival—scratch that—a two-day queer space created by Ladyfag, New York’s favorite nightlife enchantress. With two stages, and frosé on tap, the festival brought together queer performers and allies for a two-day extravaganza that featured powerful performances from Mykki Blanco, Honey Dijon, Pussy Riot, Violet Chachki, Allie X, Rina Sawayama, and Yvie Oddly to name a few. The weekend came to a close with a slight tinge of drama: a last minute line up change, swapping out indie-rock band Gossip’s much anticipated return to the stage for Brazilian powerhouse Pabllo Vittar, who sang (and I mean sang) and danced her heart out, as Ladyfag’s army of lovers danced the night away and into the next morning—or so I recall. The one thing that I do remember is the feeling that brought me back to LadyLand: the embracing, and punk, energy that powers the entire event. Pride parties come and go, but spaces like LadyLand where self-expression, faggotry, and diversity are truly embraced are few and far between.