A Dragtastic Weekend

Austin International Drag Festival returns for its second year

Hold onto your wigs, y’all. The second annual Austin International Drag Festival starts Thursday and promises to truly make an international bang.

Japan's Ladybeard (Photo by Naoko Tachibana)

The “Infamous” Boom Boom is flying in all the way from her home in Dubai, Ladybeard will be in town from Japan, and performers from the UK, Germany, and China will grace stages throughout town.

Drag Fest is the world's first ever 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to the education, support, and advancement of drag artists. Austinite, founder, president, and CEO of Drag Fest, Jamie Steward Bancroft says he started the foundation in 2014 “because it was the right thing to do, and I absolutely adore the drag community.”

The foundation’s mission is “to educate, support, and promote the drag artist community. We do this by providing resources and opportunities for individuals seeking to further their careers through showcases, festivals, and various other mediums. As a result of this mission, the general public is further educated about the drag community.”

Laganja Estranja (Photo by Austin Young)

Bancroft considers drag an art form. “I went to college here at UT, I was a club kid in the Nineties. I’m also in theatre, so I have a tremendous respect for drag.” His goal is to help all queens, new and longstanding, “get a leg up.”

Thursday’s opening ceremony will have a drag memorial video (Drag Angels), blessing by Sister Roma and Sister Bearonce of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a keynote by Jackie Huba, as well as an unveiling and presentation of the Official International Drag Pride Flag, and entertainment by the outrageous Wendy Ho. The weekend’s festivities include The ABC’s and XYZ’s to Becoming an Amazing Showgirl, Spandex Leotard Construction 101, Gender-Bending Through Time: A Performance Lecture, and some panels and showcases including Laganja Estranja’s Drag Dance Workshop.

The festival will also include film showcases of Kings, Queens & In-Betweens and Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. Beloved drag film, Girls Will Be Girls will have a reunion Friday from 12:30-3pm at the North Door. And the infamous Day Drag Showcase is back, presented by 97.5 Pride Radio Austin on Saturday. Drag lovers can also expect live podcasts including Feast of Fun, Nina West’s DragCast!, and The Gayest Channel on Earth! Starring Jonny McGovern and Lady Red Couture. This year’s Drag Market will feature vendors from all over the country who will be selling wigs, costumes, small trinkets, original art, and gifts.

Austin's debaucherous queen, Christeene (Photo by Austin Young)

And, have no fear, Austin’s thriving drag scene will also be well represented. Local performer, celebrity, and current RuPaul’s Drag Race star, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, will be hosting her own Celebration Showcase Thursday at Swan Dive. Catch Austin artist and queer catastrophe, Christeene, performing Thursday night at Sidewinder for the Underground Filth Showcase. For a full list of performers see the website. For showtimes, locations, and headliners check out this week’s Gay Place listings.

The Boulet Brothers (Photo by Karen Hsaio)

Tickets are still available and range in price from $15-99. The Royal Pass will set you back $99, but ensures you access to anything and everything. The Opening Ceremony/Welcome Party kicks off Thursday night, and the 2016 festivities conclude Sunday from 9am-1pm at Bout Time II with the Bye Felicia Breakfast.

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Austin International Drag Festival, Austin Drag Fest, RuPaul's Drag Race, Christeene, Ladybeard, Lagana Estranja, LGBTQ, Queer ATX

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