Hollywood (bluebay700) — The fourth annual RuPaul’s DragCon LA rolled into its’ second day in full throttle. Aside from the apparent influx of attendees on the exhibition hall, the panels and press rooms were also buzzing with activities as expected. But there were quite a few surprises that definitely left a lasting impression.
The Ribbon Cutting
The ribbon cutting was much more organized than in the previous years. And this time it was done inside the exhibit hall. RuPaul was joined by the show’s contestants (past and current), mainstay judge, Michelle Visage, co-founders of World of Wonder, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and hosts of Drag Race Thailand, Art Arya and Pangina Heals.
Only the media, press, a few guests and some VIP were allowed in. As before, RuPaul delivered a speech before cutting the giant pink ribbon with a big shear.
I went ahead and did my photo opportunity with RuPaul after the ribbon cutting. I missed some of the events in my checklist as a result, because I picked the first photo op schedule: Winner’s Runway Walk, Pangina Heals’ performance and Art Arya’s lip sync for your life judging. But it’s all about priorities, and meeting RuPaul and hearing his keynote speech are priority one. It’s always great to meet RuPaul, and then he remembers you, and is appreciative of your efforts. He looks straight in the eye when he talks to you, and holds you close when taking the photo. He’s very warming and engaging. I didn’t prepare anything to say. I just wanted to say, “Hi“… and maybe “adopt me” for humour. I didn’t said the latter. I assumed it was a very quick exchange of pleasantries, but when he gave me time to speak. I rambled… about me being grateful of him for being an inspiration. I had to tell myself to shut up because I started to get emotional. I didn’t say congrats on any of his recent achievements, because he doesn’t want that… as he says in the podcast. I concluded with “What’s the tee?” after saying goodbye as I walked out of the booth. I had to take a break to regroup. His presence really touches your core, very calming.
The Press Room
The booths were too busy, that to even ask for a press shot, even with VIP access, seemed unfair. I decided to cover the press room instead. It gave me time to process what just happened… meeting RuPaul. Still in awe and grateful. Then the co-creators of World of Wonder were giving a press interview. I took a few photos of them, which made my coverage of the “Blessed Trinity of Drag Race” complete. A number of Drag Race alums visited the press room to do interviews. That made my whole morning easier, and checked off a lot of my checklist items.
Everything was flowing nicely at this point. Right before noon, I handpicked remaining panels of the day to cover.
The energy drink I drank in the morning was losing its effect. Fortunate, I didn’t have to run anywhere on the exhibition hall.
I manage to cover a few panels, such as “Billy Eichner Wants You… To Glam Up The Midterms”, with Peppermint and Alaska Thunderfuck; “Werk It, Wax It, Tweeze It, Pluck It: Taking The Hair Off“, with April Carrion, Naysha Lopez, Sugaring LA, Josh and Scherer and host, Christina Wolfgram; and “Partners In Drag: Committed Queens“, with Chad Michaels, Ginger Minj, Dusty Ray Bottoms and their respective partners, and host Alexander Kacala of Hornet.
While the two former were either pushing for a product or an agenda (like politics and citizens’ duty), the latter highlighted relationships. The lively host seamlessly moderated and guided the discussion about a personal but very familiar topic. It really got interesting when Ginger Minj and partner CJ revealed they’ve been trying to have a baby for two weeks now through surrogacy. And if that wasn’t enough, during the Q&A portion, the last audience member, Alex, to ask a question walked up to the panelists, in knee-high black high heel boots, and read a speech he previously prepared. He worked through his nerves as he concluded his speech, microphone in hand.
Then the second surprise happened. In front of the audience and the panelists, he called his then boyfriend, Christian, to join him because he’s got something to ask him. And yes, you guessed it, he proposed! Everyone cheered! He pulled out a box from his pocket, knelt on one knee, opened the box and ask the question. He said, “Yes“… everyone was gagged and applauded. Kacala, visibly excited and emotional, cried out, paraphrasing, “This is what we’re talking about! Everybody say, “Love!” EVERYBODY SAY, “LOVE!”” The audience yelled “love!” and cheered. Some of the panelists got misty eyed. It was magical.
Condragulations to Christian and Alex! There should be footage of the whole proposal on everyone’s social media, lol. There were plenty of people recording.
By the time my third panel was over, it was half past four in the afternoon. I went back to the exhibition hall to look for a frew Queens; Sasha Velour, Bebe Zahara Benet, Art Arya, Pangina Heals, Mayhem Miller and Bianca Del Rio.
I only manage to get half of my list done. With the last queen, Bianca Del Rio, who yelled at me, “I’ve been there, you asshole!” lol. So endearing. Instead of introducing myself — I was fortunate enough to photograph the debut of “Not Today Satan” in Vancouver, BC — and take so much time, and she will need more time to remember, so I just blurted out, “Vancouver!” as I stood in front of her. And… it worked!
Tomorrow is the last days of DragCon, and I have only one big item in my checklists… the keynote speech.
Check out some more photos from our May 11 coverage.
Operations-wise, DragCon did very well this day.
This year’s bluebay700.com DragCon press coverage is sponsored by K3Ops.
Raul’s DragCon LA – Day 1 & 2 (May 12, 2018) Recap
RuPaul made an inspiring speech prior to the official ribbon cutting while surrounded by queens including Trixie Mattel, Manila Luzon, Mayhem Miller, and Kennedy Davenport. RuPaul quotes include:
“All the young people today will get to witness what it means to be the architect of your own path.”
“All the queens here represent the American spirit of being an entrepreneur and following your dream – no matter what anyone else has to say about it.”
Billy Eichner was joined by Alaska 5000 and Peppermint for a “Glam Up the Vote” panel on the importance of activism as part of a partnership between DragCon and Eichner & Funny or Die’s “Glam Up the Vote” initiative.
Trixie Mattel kicked off DragCon on Friday afternoon performing an acoustic set from her debut album Two Birds, including “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress”, “Little Sister”, and “Moving Parts”. She also performed a cover of “Kitty Girl” from All Stars 3. WATCH HERE
The Crowned Queens Walk: RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars winner Trixie Mattel rode into the walk on a kids’ Barbie dream car. Mattel was joined by Sasha Velour, Sharon Needles, Alaska 5000, Jinkx Monsoon and Bebe Zahara Benet as they sashayed down the pink carpet in front of thousands of fans.
Unreal star Constance Zimmer posed for a photo with her Drag Race super-fan daughter.
About World of Wonder:
For more than two decades, award-winning production company World of Wonder has introduced audiences to new worlds, talent and ideas that have shaped culture. WOW is home to multi-platform programming from established and emerging talent, provocative documentaries, award-winning specials, and more. Programming highlights include: Emmy® Award winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1/Logo), “Million Dollar Listing” LA & NY (Bravo), “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” (Fuse), and “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” (National Geographic); award-winning films and documentaries including “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” “Inside Deep Throat,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “I Am Britney Jean,” “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” “Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking,” “Monica in Black and White,” Emmy-winning “The Last Beekeeper,” and Emmy-winning “Out of Iraq”. Seven of their films have premiered at the Sundance Film festival including “Becoming Chaz” and “Party Monster.” World of Wonder has created a substantial digital footprint with its YouTube channel WOW Presents, SVOD digital platform WOW Presents Plus, along with an award-winning blog, The WOW Report. Co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey authored The World According to Wonder, celebrating 21 years of production, which can be found online at http://worldofwonder.net/. Randy and Fenton were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award in December 2014, celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community. World of Wonder creates out of a historic building/gallery space in the heart of Hollywood.