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The Magic That is RuPaul's DragCon

Michelle Baines

Posted on May 30 2018

It's been about 3 weeks since DragCon and to be honest, I'm still a bit exhausted from the preparation everything took. In March, my mom had some major medical issues and was in the hospital for about 10 days. After she was discharged, I had to manage health things with my Aunt and was going back and forth between her house and mine.

Needless to say, I was not prepared for an unexpected health issues and it certainly impacted how much time I had to prepare things for upcoming shows. 

Thankfully, I'm really organized when it comes to large shows and while I could have been more prepared stock wise, I had been working on my booth vision and branding for months. (Not really great with written to-do lists, but mentally always have one.) 

 

(The LA convention center - DragCon 2018 prep)

Our first day of setting up did not go as planned. All the tape and items I ordered to help with the set-up, of course didn't work. Thankfully my partner in all things life, is incredibly talented and resourceful. He was able to figure out a way to secure my decorations, by using zip-ties and sticks. It was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The second day of prep went a bit smoother, although the friends that agreed to help me for the weekend ran into some problems and missed the whole first day of selling. It was a bit stressful, however we pulled it together and made the 2 person booth work for us.

Friday day, I was able to meet Ginger Minj, who was so fucking perfect. She walked me to my booth and took the time out of her busy schedule to visit for a few minutes. I also was able to meet Eureka O'hara, who is my favorite queen. She was full of personality and just fucking wonderful. Every queen I met was fabulous and kind. Being able to wander around while set up was happening, was it's own kind of special. Seeing queens walking around to check their booths and set ups, had me feeling a bit like a cool kid. I couldn't help but squeal at all the behind the scene looks I was able to witness. 

(My Squirrelfriends / unicorn helpers meeting Willam.)  

I honestly didn't realize how excited I would be, to actually be a part of DragCon. I literally screamed after meeting Eureka. (Which apparently all the vendors setting up inside the convention center, heard.) There were tears that fell at some point; more so because of the excitement from meeting Eureka and feeling such a deep connection to everyone. 

DragRace / Drag queens and the LGBT community hold such a special place in my heart. It's incredibly empowering to see people embrace themselves wholly, especially in the face of ignorance and hatred. The weekend was full of people doing just that. Everyone came together to lift each other up and to show pieces of themselves they normally keep hidden. I spoke with a few people that explained they ONLY show their drag or full personality at Dragcon; to do so outside in the real world is too scary or can affect them personally/professionally.

I was also able to connect to some very special people. I spoke with a mom who was with her daughter, celebrating Mother's Day the whole weekend. Their love and bond was beautiful to witness and their story of tragedy to triumph was so touching to hear. It was so much fun to witness how excited the daughter was over meeting Trixie and some of the other Queens. They made a point to visit me a few times throughout the weekend - which was a highlight, for sure.

The whole weekend wasn't perfect - there was some technical issues with people not realizing my vinyl banner was vinyl- which resulted in 1 person falling backwards into my booth. Thankfully no one was hurt. I also had people steal my glitter cardstock words and unicorn headbands, which I used in the photo booth I created. That was disheartening a bit, but the majority of people we met DIDN'T steal my photo booth items and had fun embracing their power words.

While I didn't do as well as I planned financially, it was still a great weekend. I met with so many wonderful people and was able to learn from the mistakes I made that weekend, so next year will be even better. One of the best decisions I made, was getting 10x10 square padded mats for the booth. Everyone that stepped in my booth commented on how comfortable they were walking on the flooring, compared to the cement within the convention center. I spoke with a few vendors whose feet were aching after the first day and honestly NEVER had that issue. That mat made a hard weekend, totally doable. 

(My booth set up for the first 2 days of DragCon. I ended up moving the vinyl sign and adding another table on the last day. And forgot to take a photo.)

All in all, I plan on doing Dragcon next year. I have a better game plan on how to make it more financially successful and have some fun decorations that I can use again, so the cost will be less than I spent this year. Other than that, I also am just thrilled to be able to witness and partake in all the love and support. It was the most magical thing of all!

 

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