It’s never too early for glitter buffets, BDSM photo ops or Lady Gaga. At least, it wasn’t too early at 4 p.m. today when we stopped by the Javits Center for a preview of RuPaul’s DragCon NYC.
The convention, devoted to all things drag queen, runs through the weekend, and includes vendors (makeup, wigs, glitter), personalities (RuPaul is, in fact, going to make an appearance) and shows (Mean Girls may have performed sexy “Jingle Bell Rock” first, but the queens and cast of the Broadway production took it to the next level).
Javits has gone from drab to fab with a pink carpet, “Crowned Queen Entrance” and attendees of all ages #werqingit.
The crowd ranges in style, sexuality and gender, but no matter the age or preference, a common attitude of acceptance is abundantly evident. Young queens new to the scene feel accepted. Veteran performers who’ve done it for years feel rejuvenated. It’s a good time to be in fishnets and size 12 heels, a consensus felt among those in wigs, holding supportive signs or supporting friends.
Anthony Pelrine used to fake illnesses at school to be able to come home and practice his makeup in the privacy of his home. Now, in a neon yellow wig and black corset, he says he’s proud to show off his diva, especially when he’s surrounded by many others like him. “The convention helps [drag queens] feel accepted,” Perline said. “It makes me feel great.”
The 17-year-old came with his sister, cousin, friend, and his mother, who drove him in from their hometown of Stoneham, Massachusetts. That kind of support is new to the drag queen world, said Candy Snatch, a self-proclaimed “queer shock” performer from West Virginia. Snatch travels all over the States performing Bible burnings on stage as well as burlesque acts — all, she says, “very tasteful.”
Her friends come out to show support, but her family never will, she said. But seeing families like Perline’s in the crowd gives her hope. “It’s new to see this [acceptance],” she said. “It’s amazing to see love and support from parents.”
The dress code isn’t strict, so people came in dinosaur costumes, Handmaid’s Tale red robes and anime-inspired getups.
Caleb Basser, 19, from Bushwick, didn’t blink an eye at others’ looks. He was busy serving it — and eating a crepe — with his best friend Amber Walker.
Walker attended last year, and brought Basser along to experience the convention. He said he’s “enamored and starstruck” by the people and the experience. And he’s especially excited to see younger kids react similarly. “When I was discovering myself, this would have been amazing to see,” he said. “Young gay kids and queens are not usually in the same room.”
At the world’s largest drag convention, anything can happen.
The convention’s events begin 11 a.m. Saturday and 10:15 a.m. Sunday. Todrick Hall and Rebecca Black are scheduled to perfom, along with Trinity Taylor, Carmen Carrera and Jiggly Caliente. For a full schedule, go here.