Kelly Meehan Brown
Hello, my dear readers, and welcome to another exciting edition of my life in words. I attended RuPaul's DragCon in NYC this week, and boy, do I have some real-life art for you.
Before I tell you what I really thought of the convention (trust me, I have some views), first let me bring you some of my favorite “lewks” from the Con. The cost of each costume ranges from $20 to over $2,500. It just goes to show, you don’t have to spend mega money to look like a million bucks. Or a million plastic bags. You’ll see.
The bad boy above cost more than a whopping $2,000. With that attention to detail and the sheer span of it, that’s no real surprise. This was the first costume I saw that made me go “holy shit,” but the weekend had only just begun.
After a Statue of Liberty tribute, this has to be one of the most New York City looks out there. It’s handmade using MetroCards, though not by the wearer, and cost a total of $200, with the earrings costing $15 a piece. Amazing.
Not gonna lie: I was gagged when I saw this. Even though pastels and iridescent colors are common enough now after being all the rage before, I’m still a sucker for this material. It cost well over $1,500, and she made the shoulder pads herself!
@TheOnlyTrashQueen, or Avant Garbage
The Only Trash Queen, aka Avant Garbage, turned out this masterpiece in NYC over the weekend. There’s nothing I hate more than the overuse of plastic bags, but this queen saw an opportunity and ran with it. Getting free bags from her job, the entire handmade costume cost just $15, with the cheesy garlic bread handbag being the most expensive part. Unbelievable. I’m in love.
This married couple has their own design business, creating amazing drag outfits like these two. They didn’t have a price for me for the bearded lady’s outfit, but the fiery red ensemble, handmade and handstitched, can be broken down as follows:
The outline and mesh design cost $230, the stoning alone cost $200, and the shoulder detailing was $120. So beautiful. Nothing can ever truly beat handmade.
So What’s Up With RuPaul's DragCon?
Let me start by saying that it was a wonderful celebration of art and queer culture. The sheer volume of creativity, fearlessness, and C.U.N.T. (charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent) was breathtaking.
The stalls with handcrafted jewelry, costumes, wigs, and more were amazing, and I wish I had “one hundred thousand dollahs” to buy every single thing. (Though even if you can't go to RuPaul's DragCon yourself, you can find great wigs through sites like MsBuy.) I settled on a beautiful pair of earrings from IslyNYC for $45 and three pots of glitter for $10 instead. Worth it.
We saw Alyssa Edwards’ panel, where she premiered the beginning of her new Netflix show, “Dancing Queen.” The line for that was long as hell, but worth every second.
We also got to witness the legendary Miss Vanjie in “She’s Got More to Say: Queens Who Left Too Soon.”
But we didn’t get into the Trixie and Katya panel because the rules said you couldn’t queue up until a half-hour before the gig, and we were stupid enough to believe them. No one else followed the rules, and the room was full an hour before the show. This is why society is crumbling.
The ticket for the entire weekend cost $70, which is a great price. But what they don’t tell you is that to meet any and all of the RuPaul's Drag Race queens, you better cough up more cold, hard cash.
Drag is an art form, and each queen is an artist. Artists need to make money.
But when you’re constantly a broke-ass bitch, you can’t justify spending $20 to $40 on each individual queen, no matter how much you love them.
I had read this somewhere before, but forgot about it until I was slapped in the face with it. I’ve met a couple of queens at shows before, and paid the extra to do a meet and greet, so I knew the worth you get from the few seconds that you get to spend with the queens. My bank account just didn’t know the funds, sadly.
Meet ’n’ Greet
The only queen I met personally was Trinity Taylor, who was my absolute favorite on Season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Picture pending because her lovely boyfriend Leo took them professionally, and they’re not up on the site yet. To meet her, I bought two pins for $10 each. So damn worth it. She was a joy, though she’d kill me for saying that. LOL.
My best friend flew all the way in from Ireland to go to this convention, and the one queen she had her heart set on meeting was Katya. “Psh, yeah,” I hear you say. “Her and everybody else.”
Yes, Katya’s line was by far the longest, going way beyond a four-hour wait at times. We queued up Saturday and were told that while Saturday was sold out, buying Katya’s $25 tote bag would guarantee us meeting her the next day.
That was a lie. We had the highest hopes to meet Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova (Katya), and they were promptly dashed when we arrived and were told there was no way in hell. Honestly, it was being guaranteed that annoyed us more than not getting to see her. But we live.
If your end goal is to meet as many RuGirls as possible, make sure you have that bank robbed well in advance, Henny. But if you just want a celebration of art and culture, a welcoming space for each and every person, and a chance to show off your design or makeup skills, RuPaul's DragCon is it.