It was just after 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning at Ladyfag’s Shapewear Tank Tops first Battle Hymn party of Pride weekend when a towering drag queen whose look seemed to recall a very regal French poodle slinked past a young man in a mesh tank top. Nightlife icon Amanda Lepore, done up in purple lingerie, chatted with another club kid in a leotard bejeweled to read “baby slut” while 15 feet away two ripped male models in little more than black bikini briefs solicited partygoers to take photos.
Arm Shaper It’s a party where one can neither be underdressed or overdressed, and the only real fashion faux pas is to be neither. Of course, as roughly half of the male-dominated crowd realized, that can be easily remedied by taking off your shirt and stuffing it into the back pocket of your jorts.
A bit of sin is encouraged, but the gospel-tinged house music spun by DJs Hex Hector and Steve Travolta promises to take everyone back to church. The dance floor of the Flash Factory, the 10,000-square-foot Chelsea nightclub the party calls home, was packed because no one wanted to miss out on the sweaty action. Attendees ran the gamut of gay taxonomy: bears, twinks, otters, femme queens, muscle boys, daddies, zaddies, whatever. Category is everything and anything. Although you can tell for most of the butch queens, it isn’t their first time in drag at a ball.
“This party is my dream party that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. You can’t always plan it and you have all these ideas that you want, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s going to happen,” said the woman behind all the madness, the party promoter best known as Ladyfag, who deserves a category all her own.
“You’ll see like leather daddies, and then you’ll see the supermodels in the corner. Literally. You’ve got the club kids, and we’ve got the voguers in the back. We’ve got porn stars. We’ve got Chelsea gays. It’s such a melting pot, which doesn’t usually happen. They don’t always all want to be together. But people come out and dance and you see them connecting with each other on the dance floor instead of just dancing with their friends. I don’t know that many parties in New York where that happens.”
After moving to New York from her native Toronto 12 years ago, Ladyfag quickly moved up the ranks of New York nightlife, from performing as a go go dancer at Kenny Kenny’s parties at Happy Valley to one of the busiest and most revered promoters in the city. Battle Hymn was just the first of three parties she’ll throw throughout Pride weekend.