I waited a little longer than normal to purchase my ticket to RuPaul's DragCon in NYC. I had a handful of friends going, but I didn't want to make a commitment until I knew what the programming would be. In hindsight, the wait for the panels was SO long that even just walking around the convention center floor was entertainment enough.
Day One - Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Who knew that so many people would come out for DragCon!? Organizers were saying that 25,000 people would be at the Javits Center over the two days of the convention! I was almost ready to give up when I saw that the line to get into the building wrapped down the block, around the corner and down by the expressway!
Luckily, my friend, Whitney met up with me in line and we gradually made our way into DragCon. (Oh wait, once we were inside the building, we had to go back downstairs and through security, then back upstairs to actually get into the exhibitors area! Whoa.)
I knew that I had plenty of time to explore the booths, but our first stop was Jeffree Starr, so Whitney could get some make-up. After wandering around a bit and getting my photo with a giant inflatable "squirrel friend", we split up, only to run into each other again at RuPaul's booth, where got some peanut butter chocolate bars, of course! Hanging above Ru's merchandise area were many of her costumes from various seasons of Drag Race. I never knew how tiny she really is! My hands down favorite, was the shiny, gold bodysuit. I love anything with a sparkle.
Many of the queens had merchandise booths; where you could buy a t-shirt, photo, enamel pin and get your photo taken with them. My first stop: the Asian queens! I got a few postcards and a photo with Ongina, but the line for Kimchi was nuts!
Then I made my way to my first panel, the Fashion Panel, with a few of my theater friends, who were in attendance. The panel was Detox, Isaac Mizrahi, Milk , Miss Fame and Naomi Smalls. It was moderated by Mickey Boardman from The Village Voice and was a blast. It was interesting hearing how each of the queens were inspired the fashion industry and how drag goes hand in hand with high fashion and pushing boundaries. It was a little bittersweet, since my Mom had always loved Isaac and she would have been so excited for me to get to be in the same room as him.
Post-panel and snacks, I tried to see Sasha Velour, but her line was nuts! So, I picked up a few merch items: pins, t-shirt, earrings and look book, before heading to Thorgy's booth. Her line was relatively short; about a 30-45 minute wait and since I'd been to many of her DragRace viewing parties at Metropolitan in Williamsburg, I knew I wanted to say "hi" to her and Ragamuffin! Her rainbow outfit completely complimented my Care Bears dress and she was very sweet and sincere.
I wrapped up my Day One with a panel about social awareness, which was supposed to be the only panel that Sasha was going to be at, but she couldn't make it. However, I did get to stare at Nico Tortorella (Younger) for the whole experience, which wasn't a bad swap out. The message about #FakeNews was interesting and how each of the public figures dealt with how they pass on information to their followers.
Day Two - Sunday, September 10th, 2017
When I got to the Javits Center for Day Two, it was off to a better start, since the wrap around the block line was gone. I was determined to try and meet Kimchi, but her line was already going to be at least an hour wait! I spotted Milk, lounging on a couch, in her Marc Jacobs Beauty sponsored booth, but avoided waiting in her line, too. On my way back around the center, I saw Jade Jolie's booth! Even more gorgeous in person, I jumped in line quickly to snap a photo with her, before wandering back to try and get a glimpse of Sasha.
Little did I know, but I had walked right in behind Sasha Velour that morning! I didn't recognize her with her big, red, curly wig; since she's often bald. I was so close to her! I snuck a few photos and wandered off another way. I made a quick $5 donation to Jiggly Caliente to get a photo with her. If only I had been to see her show at Wet, before it closed! (I guess an Asian gay bar wasn't in as high demand these days...)
I tried to spot Acid Betty, but her booth was pretty well covered and decorated in all sorts of treats, including a big pink inflatable doughnut. After missing out on food yesterday, I packed a light lunch, so ate my sandwich and chips before waiting to meet Alexis Michelle. Although New Yorkers seem to have very strong feelings about her, as a fellow "Theatre Queen," I knew I had to meet her in person before the Broadway Queens panel, later in the day. While I was waiting in line Farrah stopped by to say hello and we got to watch Alexis as the true diva that she is, controlling the angle of the photo and the lighting. Alexis was very courteous and patient with her line of fans, which I appreciated.
Again, I tried to see Kimchi, but just managed to get a candid photo. As, I was waiting in line to see the Broadway Queens panel, Cynthia Lee Fontaine walked by me, in a gorgeous floral dress. I was able to get a great seat for the panel, featuring Alexis Michelle, Ginger Minj, J. Elaine Marcos and the diva herself, Sheryl Lee Ralph. They talked about where their love of theatre began, what some of the favorite projects have been, but it was Sheryl who stole the show! The crowd was dying for her comments about "put a cork in it" and how to really sell yourself through performance. She also talked about the gay community and how everyone should remember to be respectful. My favorite quotes: "In real theatre, you don't get the opportunity to be late!...The only reason the curtain goes up late is because Barack & Michelle had not arrived yet!"
All-in-all, a great way to end my first DragCon experience! Yes, it was way more overwhelming than BroadwayCon, but I would totally consider going again. Maybe next time around, I'll plan out more time to meet some of the queens...but hopefully, the organizers learned how to manage the lines better, since no one comes to these events to line up more than an hour in advance for panels!