Sometime around 1984, a group of inebriated drag queens left the Pyramid Club in the East Village in Manhattan and wound up at Tompkins Square Park, where a spontaneous performance before a bunch of homeless people turned into a festival called Wigstock.
For a decade and a half, it was an annual rite on New York City’s L.G.B.T. calendar, a “circuit party” for people who wouldn’t normally be caught dead on the circuit. It outgrew the park and moved to the piers along the West Side Highway.
Then something happened, according to its founder, Lady Bunny. “It rained,” she said.
Not once, but two years in a row.
Some of the queens scheduled to perform were annoyed about their running mascara, but the bigger issue was ticket buyers, who largely stayed home. With money reserves depleted and a downturn in night life (as part of Mayor Giuliani’s quality-of-life initiatives), Wigstock died in 2001.