Lypsinka Might Have Invented Modern Drag


Lypsinka dishes on her fellow queens and what NYC was like back in the day.

We spoke with the Legendary Queen to find out what she thinks of being nominated and how the LGBTQ community can keep moving forward.  Here’s what she had to say:

Metrosource:  How would you describe your place in or relationship to the LGBTQ community thus far?

Lypsinka:  I think I’m a very minor person in the scheme of things.  But I keep hearing “legend” and “icon!”  And Sasha Velour says I invented modern drag.  The OG?  Maybe it’s so! 

MS:  What do you hope to contribute to the LGBTQ community moving forward?

Lypsinka:  In an Age of Ugliness (you know who I mean), let’s try to be good people. 

MS:  Is there a community-related charity you’d like to give a shout out to as part of our salute to you?

Lypsinka:  How about God’s Love We Deliver?

MS:  Which of your fellow nominees do YOU love?  

Lypsinka:  Bunny and I are old friends.  Actually I’ve known Joey even longer, back to when he was the gregarious greeter at Fiorucci’s on East 59th Street and I was a shy idiot, c. 1979.  Sherry paid me a nice compliment at Wigstock this year.  Thank you, Sherry!  Always a pleasure to bump into He…I mean, SHEquida.  I don’t know Tina Burner!  (But I did see Tina Turner’s big comeback at The Ritz – now Webster Hall on East 11th Street – when…1981?  It was amazing, thrilling.  It’s depicted in the biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It.  New York was really something then.  I also saw Lena Horne’s Broadway show that year!  Electrifying!  And AIDS was just around the corner…)

See one of Lypsinka’s iconic performances from her award-winning performance in “Lypsinka! The Boxed Set!”

Cast your vote for Lypsinka below or head to our “Legendary NYC Drag Queen We Love” page for a full breakdown of all the queens!

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About Lypsinka


Lypsinka is nominated for “Legendary NYC Drag Queen We Love.” Image by Steven Menendez

Lypsinka (John Epperson) is an American drag artist, actor, pianist, vocalist and writer. He was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi.  Lypsinka first appeared in 1982, and for the first time Off-Broadway in September 1988 when Epperson’s performance I Could Go On Lip-Synching! was a late-night addition to the bill of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York.

She has appeared in several evening-length solo shows Off-Broadway since, including Lypsinka! The Boxed Set(Drama Desk nomination for Best Sound Design) and Lypsinka! As I Lay Lip-SynchingLypsinka! A Day in the Life (Drama Desk nomination for Most Unique Theatrical Experience), The Passion of the Crawford and Lypsinka! The Trilogy. For his show Lypsinka! The Boxed Set, Epperson won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Sound Design, the LA Weekly Theater Award for Best Solo Performance, and the Helen Hayes Award (Washington, DC) for Best Non-Resident Production in 2003.

His original musicals Ballet of the Dolls  and Dial ‘M” For Model played at The Pyramid Club and La Mama in the 1980s.  A Medea parody My Deah was an Obie Award-winning production in 2006.  Epperson appears in the 2010 film Black Swan as a rehearsal pianist. In 2015, he played Queen Aggravain in the Off Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress. During 2016, he appeared at Feinstein’s/54 Below and Joe’s Pub in his cabaret show John Epperson: The Artist Principally Known As Lypsinka. In early 2017, he acted a male role in a play by Wallace Shawn, Evening at the Talk House, which was performed with Shawn, Matthew Broderick, Larry Pine and Jill Eikenberry.  Also in 2017-18, he was the guest curator of the Club 57 film series “You Are Now One Of Us” at the Museum of Modern Art and Cross-Dressing On Film at Anthology Film Archives.


Last modified: December 19, 2018