Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes the public to a special reception on May 31 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibit, ‘Sushi In the Shoe // Celebrating 25 Years of the New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop’ at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front Street.
After 25 years of ‘dropping’ in a giant red glitter high-heeled shoe on New Year’s Eve, Key West’s legendary drag queen Sushi has hung up the heel.
For a quarter of a century, Sushi has starred in the Bourbon St. Pub complex’s New Year’s Eve festivities, a Florida Keys takeoff on New York City’s Times Square ball drop that’s dubbed the Red Shoe Drop. Each December 31, wearing a lavish self-designed and and hand-sewn gown, Sushi perches in a super-sized replica of a woman’s red shoe high above Key West’s Duval Street, bantering with thousands of revelers below while entertainers perform on a streetside stage. Seconds before midnight, the red shoe-carrying Sushi is ‘dropped’ from the complex’s second-story balcony, landing amid fanfare and applause as the clock strikes midnight.
‘The way I feel in the shoe is amazing,’ said Sushi, whose real name is Gary Marion. ‘It’s been a growth experience for me, because the first year I didn’t know what was going on; I didn’t realize that thousands and thousands of people would be watching me in a red shoe. So it’s exciting, it’s sort of dangerous because you don’t know what’s going on and you’re above the whole audience — but I enjoy every minute of it.’
Since its inception, the Red Shoe Drop has become so famous that it’s often featured on national and international New Year’s Eve television programs including CNN.
Funding for this exhibition was provided through a grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust.