Outrageous costumes and wigs, fierce false lashes, and over-the-top personalities to match the look. Who doesn't love a drag queen? Of course, when Lips NYC opened in the Village 20 years ago, the world wasn't nearly so accepting. But with RuPaul's Drag Race on TV and changing attitudes, drag culture has definitely gone mainstream.
Today, at the new Lips NYC location on East 56th Street, countless women (and a few men) come to celebrate birthdays, bachelorette parties and major milestones. Many come from across town, and some come from around the world. But why?
The answer is right there in that shocking glittering gown coming down the aisle doing a summersault, cartwheel or split. If "Ginger Snapped," "Miss O" and the rest can completely let loose with their outfits and personas, well, it's permission for the rest of us to do the same. You can stand up, sing, dance and be yourself here. You won't stand out. You can be as bold as they are. You won't be judged. You're just part of the scene.
I'm on assigment, but it's easy to get lost in the enthusiasm of the audience at a recent Broadway Brunch. They're eating, drinking, and having the time of their lives. So I'm a bit suprised to hear that some audience members call an afternoon here a needed escape from the difficulties of everyday life.
Ginger and Miss O say many people come aftering having a bad day or week and just need some guaranteed happiness. They come to laugh the blues away. Ginger asked one woman recently what she was there celebrating. She was with an entire table of women dresses in pink. Birthday? Anniversary? The woman told her, "no, I'm cancer-free."
So yes, it's a glittery good time at Lips NYC turning the funny into the hilarious and the party into an extravaganza with its campy show. But the Lips Drag Queens are also enlightening people about the gay community, drag culture and the importance of being comfortable with who you are.