“Do you know what day it is?” asked Rebecca Black on a Friday night, kicking off Pride weekend, underneath the Kosciuszko Bridge in Greenpoint. Protected from the constant rumble of traffic and wearing a leather-black miniskirt that read, in clear hand-stenciled letters, “Trans Liberation Now,” she ended her opening set at LadyLand with a euphoric, reinvented hyperpop version of “Friday” that bounced and ached gleefully in the night air.
The body, as a locus for reinvention, was a major theme that night, from the backup dancers behind Black, who gripped their enormous, paper-mache breasts with gusto to the elaborate, set later that night from Peaches, the Canadian electroclash singer who performed her anthems of personal sexual liberation with an ever-changing run of costumes that evoked everything from kink to self-love.
Or, perhaps, it was the brief, jovial banter from Gottmik, the RuPaul’s Drag Race star who poured vodka over the crowd while urging them to fight the ever-changing institutions of trans repression, dressed in warm, satanic reds. Or even the yearning, late into the night, from the New York rapper Junglepussy, who encouraged the packed crowd to rearrange their personal life to find new forms of emotional and physical satisfaction.
No longer located in the warehouses of East Williamsburg, the annual Pride weekend-themed music festival had found new spaces to locate queer joy, illuminating the long-stodgy waters of Newtown Creek in a rainbow-colored hue. Even a Superfund site can be reinvented too.