A Ladyfag party is as much a sensory experience as it is a throwback to the legendary parties of New York’s queer ’70s underground—ask anyone who’s been to her monthly fete Holy Mountain. Friday (June 22) in newly-minted Bushwick venue Brooklyn Mirage, she capped off the peak of Pride month with her biggest soirée yet: LadyLand Festival. Equal parts Coachella, Berlin nightclub, and queer warehouse rave, there was something for everyone under the Mirage’s palm trees. The all-night romp started at 5 p.m. and ran well into the wee hours of the morning, bolstered by a bill as freewheeling as it was sonically diverse.
The lineup featured, among others, pop darling Kim Petras, rappers Tommy Genesis and CupcakKe, and avant-garde electronic artist SOPHIE, who closed out the night in Brooklyn Mirage’s King’s Hall, which earlier that evening hosted Ladyfag’s famous Pop Souk market before transforming into a chamber of techno. Included in the mix was none other than Aquaria, the queen predicted to take the crown on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Performing a mashup that included La Roux’s “Bulletproof” and a monologue by O’ren-ishii from Kill Bill, she stayed true to the acerbic wit we’ve come to expect from her, encouraging the audience to throw dollar bills her way: “I might be the number one queen in America soon, but I still need your money.”
Not one to leave out the legendary, Ladyfag enlisted rap queen Eve and two surprise acts: house singer Crystal Waters and New York City queer nightlife icon Amanda Lepore. The eclectic mix—and the crowd that it drew to Brooklyn Mirage—kept the party going in a way that felt disjointed, energetic, fun, and entirely of Ladyfag’s doing. As the night wore on, Ladyfag made periodic announcements and played a worthy host to the 18,000 square foot outdoor paradise, undoubtedly her biggest venue yet. “This is my first festival,” she yelled at the crowd after an unexpected rainstorm caused technical difficulties for several of the sets. “I don’t know if you could tell…but it’s still New York fucking City!” When the rain started getting harder and the crowd began to scatter, she stood with the crowd: “I want to get wet with all of you!” Flanked by two inflatable green fists with red shellac nails on stage, she reminded everyone of the political aspects of Pride, and encouraged partygoers to donate to the charities the festival partnered with. “If you can splurge on Kim fucking Petras, you can donate $2 to homeless LGBT youth.”
As the rain continued to pour, the crowd scattered around the large venue. After about thirty minutes of chaotic movement and punk rock courtesy of Kembra Pfahler and the Girls of Karen Black, everyone regrouped into an ocean of glitter, leather harnesses, and skin as CupcakKe took the stage: “This rain is wet, but my vagina’s wetter,” she snarled into the mic before segueing, appropriately, into “Vagina.” Before this sweaty moment of glory, the spirit of LadyLand was captured by a brief moment of defiance. As the rain poured down on Brooklyn Mirage, Ladyfag stood in the rain overlooking a thinning crowd after Kembra Pfahler’s set. “This is punk rock,” she screamed into the mic, raising her fist in the air. “This is what New York fucking City was about, and still is about!”