RuPaul is honoring ’80s party icon and LGBTQ champion Susanne Bartsch in a new documentary that follows one woman’s artistic impact.
In a PEOPLE exclusive clip from the documentary Susanne Bartsch: On Top, the host of RuPaul’s Drag Race speaks about the woman who played a role in launching his career.
“All the kids my age who moved to New York, we all wanted to experience Andy Warhol,” the 57-year-old says in the clip. “So from near and far people would come, change their names and want to become a Warhol star.”
The torch was passed on, however, as Warhol’s death in 1987 brought in a new era of up and coming artists — specifically, Bartsch, who took up the mantle finding and supporting newcomers in the New York art scene.
“Most of the Warhol scene was gone,” RuPaul says. “Susanne Bartsch picked up where Warhol left off.”
Bartsch’s over the top parties, which were seen as a safe haven for much of the LGBTQ community in New York City, became the place to see and be seen by drag queens, artists, actors and actresses.
Called the “monarch of the downtown party promoter, the role model for most of the club kids” Bartsch gave exposure to brand name designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs.
Susanne Bartsch: On Top opens in Los Angeles on Sept. 7 with a VOD release on iTunes and all major platforms on Sept. 11.