New York mayor marks Hector Xtravaganza Day in honor of ballroom icon

Hector Xtravaganza at a Q&Q at the Bronx Museum earlier this year

Hector Xtravaganza, the legendary ballroom voguer and HIV activist, was memorialized in an event on Saturday in New York City.

At the event, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a message officially declaring 9 March as Hector Xtravaganza Day, according to

Attendees at El Museo Del Barrio stood-up and applauded the announcement.

‘Trailblazing New Yorker’

De Blaiso praised Xtravaganza’s ‘boundless creativity.’

His message said: ‘I am pleased to join in paying tribute to this trailblazing New Yorker who exemplified the diversity, inclusivity and spirit of generosity of our great city.’

Attendees included trans Pose actress Dominique Jackson, longtime NYC musician Kevin Aviance and Paris is Burning director Jennie Livingston.

His legacy

Xtravaganza passed away last year, aged 60.

Furthermore, the House of Xtravaganza confirmed the leading ball figure’s death on Facebook.

‘It is with profound sadness the House of Xtravaganza family announce the passing of our beloved Grandfather Hector,’ House of Xtravaganza posted on Facebook.

‘He was a friend to everyone he met, a source of inspiration for all who knew him, and a cornerstone of our House family.’

Who was Hector Xtravaganza?

Born Hector Crespo, by 14, he was skipping school and taking a PATH train to the Christopher Street piers, then a mecca for black and Latinx queer a youth. 

Xtravaganza did not posses the popping and locking abilities possessed by his friend Willi Ninja who danced for Queen Latifah.

Neither were sparkling gowns and saucer-shaped headdresses – the kind that earned Pepper LaBeija 10s across the board.

Instead, Xtravaganza worked the ball circuit for over 40 years. 

From Manhattan to Brooklyn 

Thrown out of his house after telling his mother he was gay, Xxtravaganza sashayed back onto the Christopher Street piers in the late 70s, in search of kinship and community.

He found it. And after doing so, triumphed over racism, HIV and homophobia.

While he shares the name with the house, Hector Valle founded House of Xtravaganza.

Moreover, Valle conceived it on a PATH train platform in 1982, which became the first Latino house in NYC’s ball scene.

Xtravaganza ruled as the father of the House of Extravaganza from 1993 to 2003. he was afterwards made grandfather.

He provided financial assistance and shelter to his chosen children.

Across his sequinned life, he featured in the ground-breaking ball culture documentary, Paris is Burning, in 1991.

More recently, he worked as consultant for FX’s critically acclaimed drama Pose.

But with a 20-foot-long runway, elevated two feet off the ground, running through the living room, Xtravaganza lived in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, for the last two decades of his life.

He didn’t even have furniture, just a runway and a chaise lounge.

Paris is Burning

From ‘read’ to ‘shade,’ Paris is Burning brought the patois of ball culture to public attention.

The documentary tracked the daily lives of three houses: Ebony, Ninja, and, of course, Xtravaganza.

Xtravaganza called Paradise Garage, an after-hours joint on King Street in SoHo, their home.

Furthermore, it acted as an escape hatch for QTPOC kids, holding balls in which members were judged on their voguing and costume skills.

See also

Paris Is Burning selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

Controversy as ‘Paris is Burning’ screening removed from Singapore festival

Here are 9 books, TV shows, and movies to enjoy for Transgender Awareness Week

Author: Josh Milton

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