Scarlet's booth was the Envy of the show. (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)
I spent two exhausting days at RuPaul's Drag Con NYC, meeting queens — and also guys in drag!
Daniel Duggan & Alex Melendez, the Skull & Bones boys (Day 2, butt could not wait)
This year, I hit the show on Friday, Day 1, thinking it might be easier to get the queens in their booths to pose for me. I was not wrong, and the only queen I had an issue with was Nina West. For whatever reason, she was in a rush going somewhere, so her handler wanted me to come back another day. I wanted to instead just steal a shot from the side (which wouldn't slow her down), but it really got crazy and she wouldn't pose for me, though I got cute pics of her being Q&Aed by Mike Diamond of Fierth TV. (Not that Nina was rude or a diva, it was just a scheduling thing.)
Everyone else said YES, YES, YES and PLEASE and THANK YOU.
Lots of cute kids in the crowd in drag and drag-adjacent gear, and several very hot guys in underwear, as per uszh.
My favorite outfit at this age was jeans and a T-shirt, both of which I still wear.
Day 1 wore me right out, but Day 2 was The Posing Dead for me — just having gotten over being sick, it was a lot of walking, and I'd gotten so many of the queens it removed the quest element.
Ran into TikTok star Rami Zein, who I have hyped on this blog.
The pink carpet in the morning was a clusterfuck. As press, I had free access to it, but there were no rules so photogs were all running up the middle for shots. When I did it, the house photographer — who was not known as such by me until then — shoved me out of his way. The whole event is pro-love, anti-racism, pro-consent, etc., and their hired hand is trying to manhandle people instead of saying he's the house guy.
The first slate of queens I shot on Day 1, starting with Manila Luzon. Then: Willam, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Monét X Change, Blair St. Clair, Miz Cracker & a slimmed-down Jiggly Caliente
Once I knew that, I moved off to the side, and had to deal with being told to move back constantly while other photographers were as far out or more as I was. It was like ... do you want press? They were just doing their jobs, but it seemed like had rules been established in advance, it wouldn't have been as messy. It didn't help that the WoW social media guy was plastered to each girl as she emerged, blocking shots.
These boys at the Chaz Dean booth (with a Manila drive-by) were just crowning around.
After that, RuPaul emerged and did a DJ set. He mostly just picked and played songs — this was not a continuous mix. Very mainstream and cute; people seemed to enjoy his presence, although he was far above the stage and away from us.
From the (you should pardon the expression top: Vivica Galactica, guess who & James St. James; Laila McQueen & Brooke Lynn Hytes; Dusty Ray Bottoms; Tammie Brown; Venus D'Lite; and Pandora Boxx
Check out the pics and if I have failed to name anyone, let me know of my oversight. No way I can make it back for Sunday, and my condolences to the girls, who must be so spent.
John Polly, Milk, Kennedy Davenport & Simon Doonan, who discussed Simon's Drag: The Complete History
The above two pics were people in the crowd — but they deserved booths.
From top: Meeting Aquaria; Soju; Naomi Smalls; Yvie Oddly
From the top: Mercedes Iman Diamond; Detox; Thorgy Thor; Gia Gunn; TS Madison; Soju & Ariel Versace; A'Keria C. Davenport
Daniel Franzese was both large and in charge — of advocating for queer kids.
When this cute guy bought a Shuga Cain ticket ...
... bet he never saw this comin'!
Above: Darienne Lake; Vivacious; Monique Heart; Alexis Michelle; Mariah Balenciaga; Miss Fame; Cynthia Lee Fontaine
Honey Davenport & The Vixen; Yuhua Hamasaki; Ongina; Acid Betty
One of my absolute favorites? Trinity! I had her pose with Rami Zein and she was beyond nice. But here she is alone, and in a position of honor (last among queens):
Day 2 pics tomorrow ... !