Hollywood (bluebay700) — Today was the first day of attendee registration of RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles (RuPaul’s DragCon LA). Now on its’ fourth year, DragCon continues to grow. Thanks to the success and many accolades RuPaul’s Drag Race (and spin-offs) and RuPaul has received in the past few years, the show’s move to VH1, World of Wonders’ (the production company who produces and owns Drag Race) expansion to paid streaming service with WOW Plus, and the success of Drag Race franchise in the international arena… Drag Race expanding ecosystem is reaching more and more fans.
The now mainstream drag reality competition television show has created a booming industry that has benefited not just the cast it churns out, but also other artists, talents and creators of anything related to the drag art-form from A to Z.
DragCon : Bigger and Better
This amazing growth is reflected in this year’s DragCon, which will be held for three days instead of the usual two. The event moved to a bigger venue, South Hall of the LA Convention Centre.This year there are more talents, more exhibitors, more panels, and more activities.
DragCon also added new attractions that will be definitely draw a huge line… like the real Werk Room set on the show. At a glance, they’re more organized and thorough. Fans can expect more security — everyone coming to the convention will now go through metal detectors — and more rules… to keep the peace and order.
The LA Journey
I’ll be chronicling my experience this year with DragCon like in the past. I went to the convention center today to pick-up my VIP badge. Although I’m attending this year as a foreign press, I’m also going to experience the event as a regular attendee; meet RuPaul again, to say “Hi” and “Hello” for a few seconds, and meet some of the the high interest talents, like Drag Race Thailand hosts and other big names. The badge has also become a collector’s item for me.
I flew in from Vancouver, BC last night with less than an hour of sleep. I tried to score some shut eye on my flight. My flight’s takeoff was delayed for almost an hour, which was a blessing. As soon as I arrived in Los Angeles, I took Lyft to my hotel. It’s nice to arrive in a sunny and very warm city. It lightens up the mood. I always have great and interesting conversations with Lyft drivers. After I check-in to my hotel and did my shopping and lunch, and a brief rest, it was already three o’clock. I headed out to LA Convention Centre to pick up my VIP badge and goodies. The funny thing about my commute was, as I was sharing my story about my flight, trip and DragCon my African-American Lyft driver, he said that my story is very familiar. He said, last year, he vaguely remember driving a foreign press from Vancouver to the convention center, also to claim a badge. He thought it could be someone else. I told him, as far as I know, I’m the only drag photographer from Vancouver who does press and attends DragCon. Vancouver is a very small city. Last year, there were Vancouverites who attended the convention, but they were talents. I told him I’ll check my records when I get back to the hotel. But it was a very interesting coincidence. The same Lyft driver taking me to the convention center to claim my badge last year could possibly be my driver again this year. Existence is a mind boggling thing; all the events and chances that preceded a situation happened to make a current situation possible. Anyway, I just looked at my ride history… lo and behold, it’s the same guy Tony!
When I arrived at the convention center, the first thing I noticed was the huge sign on the grounds, “Everybody Say Love,” RuPaul’s mantra and quote from DragRace. Then I saw two lines… not very long but descent. I approached the last person on one line and asked her if it was for DragCon, and if the line was for VIP.
I found my line, which was the other one, thanks to her. It didn’t took too long before we were ushered in. Registration didn’t took too long either, or maybe I was preoccupied surveying the new location and setup. I was trying to figure out which way was to the panels, hall, etc. The yet inoperable metal defectors at the entrance were hard to miss. When my turn was up, I was about to walk up to the guy at the counter when a lady approached me. She asked me if I’m VIP and then scanned my ticket. The lady behind me cut passed me, after being told to by another usher, and walked to the guy at the counter instead. In the mean time, I stood there confused, “Is she going to process/pre-process me or what?” I wondered. After some procedural notes exchange between the staffs, they got it right. She processed me next to the counter. I got all my stuff, except for the DragCon guide book, which was on the counter, which she didn’t have… because she was only holding a scanner gun. Nevertheless, I walked back and ask for one. Disaster averted. #Untucked.
The whole process didn’t took more than half an hour, and I was almost at the end of the line. It was swift.
I took a few photos of the lobby and outside, and helped other fans take photos of themselves. I also meet a Seattlite at the VIP area, which was fun.
And finally, I decided to do my extra To Do item while there was time. I checked out RuPaul’s new star outside World of Wonder’s HQ on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s amazing and still shiny.
Now, it’s time to plan and rest. After this update. I’m writing this piece with RedBull in my veins.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day!