Banda de Ipanema is the Carnival event with the highest concentration of drag queens in Rio.
They come from all over the universe - and beyond, to party together at this yearly street Carnival celebration.
Drag queens come in all shapes and sizes. Some play the same character every year, others come in groups with coordinated costumes, you never know what to expect from them! The results are hilarious.
Men dressed up as women have been part of Brazil's Carnival scene since the beginning of times. To give you an idea, those traditional baianas you see at the samba parade today, were originally men in charge of security - and most were experts in capoeira!
And then there's Banda de Ipanema. It all started as a celebration of something like 30 or 40 friends way back in the 60's - none of them in drag truth be said... Nobody really knows when or how they joined the scene, they just started showing up, and became a welcome addition.
When, where, and for how much?
There are three parades of Banda de Ipanema each year. The first one is on Saturday, two weeks before Carnival. The other events are on Carnival Saturday and Tuesday. You will run into Carmen Miranda, Snow White, Wonder Woman, Superman, the Little Mermaid... Costumes may be glamorous, bizarre, or anything in-between. Some drags flaunt a different outfit every day, while others impersonate the same character the whole Carnival through.
Some of these drags have become celebs at the Banda. One started as a rattlesnake, and a decade later looked more like a boa that just swallowed a baby lamb ... (she retired the character in 2007). Isabelita dos Patins, PMGay, detectives Sucker & Fucker (after TV characters), Carmen with the luggage are some that come to mind.
They will stop the traffic, hop on buses or into cars, maybe even kiss the driver. Cheerful, chubby and a little bald? They will be drawn to you like files. Enjoy the moment, ask your friends to take photos.
Street Carnival is free, meaning you don't need to buy tickets. The parade is not cordoned off, there aren't any special T-shirts you need to get in. People from all over participate. Click a Drag using the miniatures as a guide, or choose a theme. Our original photos come with insider's tips, and lots of local gossip.
Click a Drag - Special Theme Galleries
Click on the images or the theme of our choice, and start your Dragorama experience. Each page comes with its own webclip, insider's tips and dozens of images. Select individual photos, or watch the special-themed slide shows of your choice!