A note about Wigstock 2.HO tickets!
Hey! I was thrilled by the positive response to Wigstock returning. I wasn’t thrilled by the disappointment from some when they learned that the cheapest tickets were $95—apart from a few blocks of $18.95 tickets. If you think that’s too high, then you know I think it is. When I post about DJing Sundays at The Monster, my favorite thing to type is “Free!” at the end. When I performed Trans-Jester! for two years at Stonewall Inn, I loved making tickets affordable to most at $19.99. I shun VIP anything, so you know that way higher than $95 VIP tickets was not my idea. Some forget that when we moved the event from Tompkins Square Park to the much larger piers, the production costs grew and we had two choices: to charge admission or not put on the show. We felt so guilty about charging at all that we donated 1/2 of our net profits to GMHC. This year’s tickets sales also contribute a portion to GMHC. So if you think I’m gouging, please know that gouging just isn’t in my nature.
I hope you’ll understand that the last outdoor, full-fledged Wigstock was around 17 years ago. And I’m sure you’ve noticed that the city has changed a lot since then, and is far more upscale. Tompkins Square Park’s bandshell is razed and that rusty pier is shut. I used to pay a permit fee of $50 to the Parks Dpt. for the use of Tompkins Square. The new space costs $35,000 to roll in equipment and use for rehearsals the day before, and $75,000 to use the day of the show and then roll the equipment back out. A whopping $66,000 go to union wages. I was never in charge of Wigstock’s finances, but lordy did I gag at the over $15,000 “filing fee” on this year’s budget. I was too defeated to even ask what that filing fee was for. But we lost our first location and then found this brand new, rooftop concert venue Pier 17 where Diana Ross will perform later in September. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me, I thought. It is gorgeous, and the view of water in the back and a wall of skyscrapers beside the stage is splendid and unique. But not at all cheap.
We’re also paying performers this time around, which only ever happened the two years we did that Wigstock-themed cruise. I’m happy about that, but paying 50+ performers adds up. Around 13 of them are from out of town and they must be flown in and housed in hotels for two nights because the show starts at 3PM. They can’t arrive the day of the show from LA or SF, and the show needs Lina and Candis and Glamamore and Alaska and Juanita More and Latrice to rule. And if the oldest performing drag queen in the US—Darcelle XV from Portland–needs an assistant along her trip, then I want to provide two tickets for her. Bianca Del Rio will literally wipe off her make-up backstage and hop a flight directly from the festival to Sweden for a gig which pays her more than I ever could. So if her assistant carrying her extra bags of merch needs to accompany her, I want to pay for that. (I never said her plane would actually land, however.) A bus for the 8 acts coming from Provincetown costs thousands to hire for 24 hours. But these gals have been doing back to back shows all summer and have taken the day off on their last weekend to lose money at Wigstock, departing at 4AM from P’town and back that same night. To me, they are all drag stars who are doing me a huge favor by appearing at all. I can’t repay them with a crappy bus which signals to them that I’m not concerned with their comfort. And have you seen Dina Martina and Ryan Landry? They definitely need to catch up on some beauty rest en route! Desmond Is Amazing needs edits on his track—that comes out of my own pocketbook and I’m happy to pay it. The festival didn’t last for 20+ years because I have a reputation of mistreating talent–or Flotilla. But the costs incurred by talent and the splashy new venue naturally get transferred to ticket buyers.
Most agree that our line-up is a sensational. And while $95 IS pricey, the show is 6 hours long. I totally understand that it may not be affordable for everyone, but that’s what it costs to bring Wigstock back—which is what people all over the world have begged me to do for decades. So we are back on Saturday, September 1st, and I sure hope you can make it!