Drag artists of all description (and their many, many admirers) packed the big main rooms at the Javits Center over the weekend for RuPaul's DragCon 2019, the now-annual gathering on Manhattan's far west side that's equal parts spectacle, celebration, political rally, and shopping center. After RuPaul got things started with the official ribbon cutting and announced a Drag Race residency in Las Vegas next year, the event was filled with panels, photo-ops and dance parties.
RuPaul did a RuTalk with fashion legend Diane Von Furstenberg, who emphasized that she is "100% a feminist. I have always been 100% a feminist. Which doesn’t mean I can’t also be feminine. And, I still have room for the man in me as well.” Trixie Mattel led the Queens Mainstage Walk on the broad pink carpet, a group that included Brooke Lynn Heights, Manila Luzon, Yvie Oddly, Miss Vannnnjie, Monet X Change, Trinity “The Tuck,” Aquaria, Bebe Zahara Benet, Tammie Brown, Nicole Paige Brooks, Pandora Boxx, Venus D Lite, Plastique Tiara, Merecedes Iman Diamond, and Shuga Cain.
Elizabeth Warren sent a video that was aired on the convention floor, in which the Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful discussed violence against trans women, and the fight for full LGBTQ+ equality. "We have a lot of work to make sure that everyone is free to be who they are" said Warren, "and to love who they love." Members of the progressive, defeat-the-GOP organization Swing Left were also on hand, working to instill the importance of political engagement.
There was a Disney on Broadway panel with stars from Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King offering up tips on makeup and costumes, and well as stories of life on the stage. As Michael James Scott from Aladdin said, “Beauty and the Beast was my first show I saw. There was one chocolate man that was a spoon in the 'Be Our Guest' number, and I was like, 'I could be a spoon too!'”
Local nightlife icon Michael Musto moderated a Queens of New York panel with Dusty Ray Bottoms, Brini Maxwell, Merrie Cherry, Flotilla Debarge, and Marti Gold Cummings, who told the audience: “When I started in Drag back in the day, I had no wig, no boobs, no pads, barely a piece of make-up or lash, and these other queens would be like, 'How did this bitch get booked?' Because I’m good at what I do, I’m funny and I’m talented. Do your aesthetic but don’t rely only on your looks. It’s all about how you handle the mic and performance."
Mostly though, there was just thousands of fantastic artists—queens, kings, and straight-up cosplayers—and their fans who came to have fun and take millions of photos of each other. And shop, of course, for clothing, shoes, accessories, wigs, makeup, art, and toys. The Kids Zone was hopping too, bouncy castle and all, though everyone was rapt during Drag Queen Story Hour.