RuPaul’s Fifth Annual DragCon Slays LA This Memorial Day Weekend
It was a holiday weekend in LA and while many people trekked to Palm Springs for a few days, thousands of fans descended on the LA Convention Center in Downtown LA for the largest ever RuPaul’s DragCon. They came from over 44 different countries, some as far as Australia and Japan. They were all ages and they were dressed in the fiercest of outfits and the highest of heels.
Thousands of fans came for a kiki with over 75 of the world’s Drag Queens, lining up to meet their favorite queen. They came to sit in panels. They came for makeup tips and tutorials. They came to shop at the 350 booths. And they came to party! “Five years in, RuPaul’s DragCon has become the most inclusive party on earth – a safe place to laugh, dance, and celebrate every color of the rainbow.” RuPaul said.
Make no mistake about it; RuPaul’s DragCon is an extravaganza and it is a phenomenon. It’s the Comic-Con of Drag Culture and no other show on TV- no other Emmy-Award winning, Producer’s Guild Award-winning, Critics Choice Award-winning show has achieved this level of success. It defies all demographics. It is a sight to be seen and experienced. “There are more people at DragCon than at Trump’s inauguration,” Vicky Vox commented at one point.
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What does attending DragCon LA mean to the thousands of people who attend? “I can’t talk about this at home. Here I get to be who I am, and I get to be with my people,”one attendee said. RuPaul’s DragCon represents love, life, creativity, family and community. It’s a place where everyone feels welcome. It’s a place, like the show, where the art of drag is truly celebrated.
RuPaul’s DragCon much like RuPaul’s Drag Race is truly inspirational. The LGBTQ community has always existed, across the world. Hate and discrimination have always existed, but RuPaul and Drag Race have brought Drag into homes across the world and across America where families all sit down to watch the show, and now for the fifth year in a row, come to DragCon together.
“DragCon has become a giant hug that the world really needs now,” said World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. “This year, we previewed our new film Stonewall Outloud, a timely reminder that this party and celebration began thanks to the courage of trailblazers who refused to be oppressed and tore down the walls of bigotry and hate. From DragCon LA to DragCon NYC and beyond, we are so grateful to everyone involved for sending a message of love and inclusiveness all around the world.”
From RuPaul DJing on the main stage to the panels, to the Kids Zone, there was something for everyone and for all ages. Fans lined for hours to see favorites Alyssa Edwards, Alaska and Miss Vanessa Vanjie.
Saturday opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by The Queens Entrance. Trixie Mattel, Aquaria, Alaska, Yvie Oddly, Blair St. Clair, Raja, Aquaria, Sharon Needles and Adore Delano sashayed down the pink carpet giving the Met Gala a run for its money.
When fans weren’t in line or watching Carson Kressley gets a drag makeover from Trinity the Tuck Taylor, they were sitting in one of the many panels. The panels are such an important part of DragCon. From RuPaul sharing stories about being a GoGo dancer in Atlanta to the Pit Crew talking about how the show has changed their lives. Pit Crew member Jason Carter who also hosts ET Live talked about the global phenomenon of the show, and fellow Pit Crew member Bruno Alcantara said when he goes to his home town Brazil, he gets recognized. “They’re obsessed with it.”
The panels cover a range of topics. During the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence panel, The Sisters focused on how non-binary, non-cis and people of color have played parts in and used their gender for liberation and activism. “Gender activism is intersectional. Having that in mind when you are doing activism is very important.”
Despite current political volatility, the panels always set out to address social and current as well as political issues, but are always inspiring and thoroughly entertaining.
In a fitting moment, a VIP reception hosted by World of Wonder founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey celebrated their new documentary, Stonewall Outloud by presenting a first look clip. The documentary commemorates 50 years of the Stonewall Riots and will screen on WOW Presents on June 29.
“I think it would be hard to imagine what our community would be like were it not for Stonewall.” Bailey said as he addressed the crowd. “There would be no RuPaul’s Drag Con.” Barbato added.
Bailey continued, “There would be no RuPaul’s Drag Race. There would be RuPaul, but I think his life and our lives would be different.”He went on to say, “Two or three weeks after the Stonewall riots, we landed on the moon and walked on the moon. 50 years later marriage equality happened. The other thing to bear in mind, giving what’s going on right now, is the fight really still continues.” Bailey said
When last season’s finale aired on VH1, a record 527,000 tuned in to watch. The adulation for the Queens rivals that of pop icons. RuPaul’s DragCon and RuPaul’s Drag Race have made a global impact in a way no other TV show has. It’s a cultural force that extends beyond TV.
If there’s one word that describes the weekend, the show, it’s LOVE. Whether you watch the show or attend RuPaul’s DragCon, you feel the love, but you also see the positive impact this show has had not just here in America, but around the world – it’s a celebration of uniqueness and celebrating who we are and what makes us unique. There’s no hatred and no negativity. And in a time when hatred is being spewed from the highest levels of authority in this country, RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s DragCon provide a haven and teaches us to express our own truths.
Check out some highlights from the celebration that is RuPaul’s DragCon and don’t miss this Thursday’s season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH1