Celebrate 25 Years of Sushi’s New Year’s Eve Drop at the Key West Museum of Art & History
May 15, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). On May 31, the Key West Art & Historical Society will open its latest exhibition, “Sushi in the Shoe: Celebrating 25 Years of New Year’s Eve Drop” that will showcase many of the iconic dresses designed and worn by world renowned drag queen Sushi, also known as Gary Marion. The exhibition will also contain a sampling of accompanying jewelry, shoes, portraits, and global coverage of the annual event. The Society welcomes the public to a special reception on May 31 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front Street, to mark the exhibit opening and to help kick off Pride Month.
For a quarter of a century, Sushi starred in the Bourbon Street Pub’s New Year’s Eve festivities—a warm weather takeoff on New York City’s Times Square ball drop—that is styled the Red Shoe Drop. Each December 31, wearing an extravagant self-designed and hand-sewn gown, Sushi balanced in a woman’s sparkly red heeled shoe constructed of fiberglass and glitter high above Duval Street, exciting the thousands of partygoers below. Seconds before midnight, the red shoe containing Sushi was lowered from Bourbon Street’s second-story balcony as the clock neared midnight. The New Year’s Eve Red Shoe Drop became so well-known that it has been featured numerous times on national and international New Year’s Eve television programs such as CNN.
“The shoe drop started twenty-five years ago. OMG, it’s been a wild ride,” says Marion. “Joey Schroeder approached me and said, ‘I am building a red high heel shoe and I want you to sit in it!’ At the time he asked, I was the janitor at the Bourbon Street Complex cleaning toilets seven days a week. I also did a drag show there once a week. I said, ‘Of course, darling, sounds fabulous.’ I never knew that it would become as iconic as it did.”
Each year, the extravagant dress worn by Marion was kept secret until he maneuvered into the red shoe high above the crowd. Eager to astonish the crowd, Marion spent months leading up to the drop poring through fashion magazines to find inspiration for each elaborate dress. No two are alike. They range in color, style, material, and accessories. Once the drop concluded, Marion placed the dresses, wigs, and jewelry into storage. This exhibition will bring together several of the original gowns along with short narratives about the dresses’ origins and material source.
“Sushi in the Shoe: Celebrating 25 Years of the New Year’s Eve Drop” runs until July 2, 2023, in the Bryan Gallery and is sponsored by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture and The Helmerich Trust. For more information, call Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x 507 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your Museums. Your Community. It Takes an Island.
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