Balls, Costumes and the Life of Héctor Xtravaganza

Héctor Xtravaganza (left) and Billy Porter. (Tweet by House of Xtravaganza)

Héctor Xtravaganza, who was both father and grandfather in one of the first Latinx families in New York’s ballroom scene, the House of Xtravaganza, died at the end of last year. On March 9, El Museo del Barrio will honor him and celebrate his life. His associate and close friend G Xtravaganza told Sherry Mazzocchi of Manhattan Times that Hector “‘adopted’ many LGBT youth. The familial role meant he offered advice and helped with balls, costumes and life in general.”

G said that when he lost his apartment, Héctor took him in.

“He was very generous,” G said. “To this day, I don’t think there is a count to how many gay sons and gay daughters he has, and nephews and nieces. He had so many, there must be about 300 plus easily—not to mention many that have passed away. I know he has kids all over the place.”

For many, the recent Oscars ceremony served as an introduction to a signature Hector Xtravaganza look. Actor and activist Billy Porter took to the red carpet with a tuxedo gown by designer Christian Siriano – an ensemble that Hector had worn years ago.

Born Héctor Crespo, he came to New York from Puerto Rico in the 1970s, was featured in “Is Paris Burning?”, the movie about the ball scene in the city, and went on to be a consultant to the FX television show “Pose.” He was designing displays for Bloomingdale’s just before he died of lymphoma at the age of 53. Go to Manhattan Times to read why G says Héctor was “all about excess.”

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