Squeezebox!: 4 of 5 stars

Sentinel Staff Writer

So many “scenes” being born or dying at any given time in New York that a body could go starkers trying to track them. Most of us are off the hook for not knowing diddly about “Squeezebox,” a weekly ambisexual gathering of drag queens who love to rock.

But you probably have heard of at least one act that emerged from that musical maelstrom – Hedwig and the Angry Inch. John Cameron Mitchell invented Hedwig on the stage of Don Hill’s bar and took the “botched sex-change” victim and glam rocker to off Broadway and into film.

“Squeezebox” was born as almost a consequence of the Rudy Giuliani years of New York City -- crackdowns on everything from panhandling to nightclub occupancy and noise ordinance violations. The club owner hired some promoters to find something to pack the joint on weekends, and what they came up with was drag shows with live music -- no lip-syncing. A house band performed album rock tunes, “the music of gay bashers,” while performers in and out of drag sang and vamped outrageously on stage.

John Waters and Michael Cunningham (The Hours), Deborah Harry and Johnny Knoxville, gay or straight, male or female, young or old, the joint was packed.

Squeezebox! filmmakers Steven Saporito and Zach Shaffer celebrate those nights, the music, the crowd and the whole “This won’t last forever” hedonism of the place.

Screening at: 12 midnight, April 3, Regal; 12 midnight Saturday, April 4, Regal.