Once upon a time, in the mid-’90s, chicks with dicks, leather-clad fairy princesses, and never-been-kissed Drew Barrymore headed over to Manhattan’s Don Hill’s for its weekly SqueezeBox! party. It was a haven for outsiders who defied the stereotypes associated with sexuality. For better or worse, feather boas and Celine Dion covers were replaced by drag queen rockers. Everyone and everything was welcome. Debbie Harry (pictured left, with Roger Harry) performed there. It was there that John Cameron Mitchell gave birth to Hedwig’s angry inch. Then, during Rudy Giuliani’s determined effort to sanitize the city, the big, bad mayor blew this house of sin down. Now, seven years after its final bow, directors Zach Shaffer and Steve Saporito return to the debauched underground with their new documentary, SqueezeBox!, which premiered on Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival.
At the festival after-party, a crowded affair within the Blender Theater at Gramercy, guests like Perez Hilton, John Waters, and Justin Bond watched as Harry briefly took the stage, followed by a slew of performers in drag. Also in attendance were short shorts, fun fur, and sparkles. Many of the young gentlemen seem to have gotten their shirts stolen on the dance floor. Inspired, we ducked out early and headed to a karaoke dive across the street.
Photo courtesy Patrick McMullan Company