@worldofwonder

Thousands Sashayed into RuPaul's Record-Breaking DragCon

Over 50,000 fans sashayed into the fourth annual RuPaul’s DragCon LA this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Created by mother Ru herself and World of Wonder, this was the largest #DRAGCON to date since it was first held in 2015. And no, it didn’t blow up--there was no sign of Tyra Sanchez anywhere—HALLELOO!

DragCon was packed with over 350 exhibitor booths which included hundreds of meet & greets, performances, and panels which included the following:

RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Bianca Del Rio, Trixie Mattel, Billy Eichner, Brian McCook (Katya) Alaska 5000, Jinkx Monsoon, Alyssa Edwards, Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Blair St. Clair, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Eureka, Kennedy Davenport, Manila Luzon, Alexis Mateo, Vanessa Vaaaaaanjie Mateo, Kameron Michaels, Mayhem Miller, Miz Cracker, Monét X Change, Naomi Smalls, Bebe Zahara Benet, Raja, Shangela, Sharon Needles, Valentina, Violet Chachki, Sasha Velour, Chad Michaels, Ross Mathews. For full list of talent, click here.

Thousands of VIP pass holders were able to walk the convention floor hours early while enjoying a live acoustic performance by current All Star reigning queen Trixie Mattel. VIPs also got a first-chance to see the Werkroom replica before everyone else as well as snapping selfies at the over 30 instagrammable spots on the convention floor. Not to mention, they got dibs on the sick’ning vendors with everything your drag-loving hearts could ever desire.

 

 

On the first official morning of DragCon, RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars winners Trixie Mattel, Sasha Velour, Sharon Needles, Alaska 5000, Jinkx Monsoon and Bebe Zahara Benet Sissied That Walk down the pink carpet in front of thousands of fans for an epic Crowned Queens Walk.

 

 

As if seeing so many fierce reality television queens wasn’t sensory overload enough, DragCon attendees turned it out with their looks to give other visitors a run for their money. They served face, body, head to toe extravaganza that put many to shame while leaving others gagging.

 

 

This was my first visit to DragCon and what can I say? It was a beautiful experience. It was incredible to see that this tiny show that I use to watch nine years ago had not only grown, but exploded into world domination, inspiring and touching the lives of the young, the old, the marginalized, the disabled, the persecuted, the judged, the misunderstood, the queens—in every one of us.

RuPaul shared about the importance of this event, now more than ever:

In this time of chaos and lies, for three days tens of thousands of big-hearted, super-creative, and sensitive souls peacefully gathered to celebrate their truth at RuPaul’s DragCon. Seeing all the young people and families and queens has filled my heart with gratitude and hope. The future is going to be fierce.

During his Keynote address on Sunday, May 13th, RuPaul expressed:

Here we are in a time when it seems like the world's gone backwards....politically and everything, the pendulum has swung all the way...it's up to us and how we see ourselves on an emotional and personal level to push the conversation forward.

Before entering the convention center, all DragCon goers were greeted with a larger-than-life “Everybody Say Love” sign that set the tone of tolerance, inclusivity, and peace at the convention.

But let’s get down to it. As I mentioned, this was my first time at DragCon and ultimately, I had a great time. I met some amazing people, witnessed more death drops than I have ever seen in real life, and got to kiki with my favorite queens. Still--with all that, and with every event, there was chaos.

First you should know that if you are going to DragCon, YOU MUST HAVE MONEY. We're talkin' CASHFLOW REALNESS. If you plan on just paying for your pass and then coming to enjoy everything without spending a dime…that may be hard. Aside from paying for whatever you want to buy, you will have to pay for something or even pay for a meet & greet if you want to smile and pose with your favorite queens. This isn’t like meeting them at the bar or the club, they are there to run a business and their teams have it on lock making sure that they are making their coin. Completely understandable, though. RuPaul’s Drag Race has made entrepreneurs of them all over night and they need to sustain their very expensive careers. Just know that if you plan to get a picture, it’s gonna cost you, so don’t be offended if you are turned away.

One thing that was a great escape at DragCon that cost no extra money was The Runway. Throughout the weekend contests and presentations were held on the convention floor that had the crowds LIVING! If you were looking for the hot spot with all the music, The Runway was the place. With hosted and scheduled performances by Eureka, Alexis Michelle, Chad Michaels, Mayhem Miller, Trinity K. Bonet, Detox, Latrice Royale, Morgan McMichaels, Laganja Estranja—the queens were bringing it to the runway.

Special guests Evan Michael Lee and Chase Kolozsi from World of Wonder’s The Gaymer Guys, hosted a special cosplay contest that flipped the wigs of judges Jiggly Caliente and Pandora Boxx. And another highlight was the season finale of Hey Qween with Jonny McGovern, Lady Red and Peppermint.

The perfect opportunity to spend some more time getting to know the queens is by attending sessions and panel discussions, which also make DragCon a meeting of the minds. Sessions do cover a lot of points for RuPaul’s Drag Race fanatics, but at their core, these panels are a dialogue for drag and LGBTQIA culture that truly elevate visibility.

That being said, for DragCon LA, scheduling and timing for all sessions was a bit of a disaster. There was overcrowding in the lines and staff was having a hard time getting everyone in order because we all seemed to be in a haze. One late session potentially pushed back all the sessions in the room which interfered with the ability to run to the next line and wait for the next session. I know DragCon is only 4 years old, so maybe they will learn from these mistakes and have better communication among their team to insure that people don't get out of hand because—let me tell you—Drag Race fans can be VICIOUS and entitled!

If you were lucky enough to get into the sessions of your choice, it was definitely worth the wait. From Brian McCook (Katya) giving an uncensored, uncut and inspirational “DEB Talk” in the style of a TED Talk about the Drag Entertainment Business to Billy Eichner Glamming up the Midterms, the DragCon sessions were meaningful and insightful—but also tons of fun!

During one session, the RPDR Season 3 queens Ru-united to dish about what life has been like for the queens since they were on the show and how they have seen the evolution of drag and Drag Race over the last 10 years. It was an honest conversation about how drag has manifested into a popularity contest with social media and how most fans forget that paramount to everything, drag is art! Panelists included Phoenix, India Ferrah, Mariah Paris Balenciaga, Raja, Stacy Layne Matthews, Manila Luzon, and Alexis Mateo. The panel was moderated by Michael J Freeman.

Billy Eichner and Funny or Die partnered with DragCon to present their efforts in Glam Up the Midterms, an initiative started by Eichner to encourage voting citizens to cast their votes in the midterm elections in order to make the changes we so need in this world possible. Eichner was joined by Alaska and Peppermint for some “Billy on the Street” style games that got the audience pumped and had them rolling on the floor. Eichner also welcomed three community powerhouses who are creating political and social change in the Los Angeles area.

Jasmine Masters’ Class was also in-session during DragCon as she gave her humble opinion and had real talk with sister queens Kennedy Davenport, Tempest DuJour, and Shea Couleé. The four loud-mouthed queens dished about their time on Drag Race, the difficulties that come with being in the public eye, and they even down and dirty discussing their favorite sex positions before taking questions from the audience. Jasmine Masters definitely had something to say and panel attendees were present and ready for class!

Attending DragCon was an unforgettable experience. Yes it was three long days of walking, talking, dancing, standing, waiting, not eating, taking selfies—but by the time you realized your feet were numb, you were ready for the next day. I don’t recommend heels if you’re not use to them! I wore some butch flats instead.

I think there are a lot of sides to the idea of DragCon. Hardcore Drag Race fans will either love it or hate it. Drag purists may feel like it is a crazy whirlwind mega bitch of consumerism that is so far removed from the essence of the art of drag that they would wonder why anyone would spend a dime to visit. In my honest opinion—and I’m no Jasmine Masters—DragCon is part of the LGBTQIA revolution that has come to ignite discourse about the celebration of the obscure and what is different, and glamorous, and beautiful. It may also be the only place where people feel like they can freely express themselves without the fear of being in danger.

Expensive as it may be, DragCon and what RuPaul’s Drag Race has given to the gay community is groundbreaking. We forget that behind a simple reality show there is a message of tolerance and appreciation for individuals who have had to fight their whole lives to stand out, to be accepted, and to survive. We are truly lucky to be alive at a time where DragCon can even exist and where thousands can gather to honor pioneers and future generations of not just drag culture, but the LGBTQIA community that just wants to love and be loved—with heels click clackin’ about.


DragCon returns to New York in September. Badges and VIP Packages for the second annual “RuPaul’s DragCon NYC” will go on sale May 14, 2018 at RuPaulsDragCon.com. If you’re in the area, you bettah getchu some and start saving those monies, Henny!  

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

World of Wonder Launches World of Drag Quarterly Subscription Box

The holidays have clearly come early for all you RPDR fans out there! World of Wonder, the multi-platform production company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and Untucked, present the World of Drag quarterly subscription box... hunty. 

World of Wonder twirled the globe searching for the most sickening items from your favorite queens. The result? World of Wonder’s World of Drag box - a curated collection of custom products designed for your inner drag queen.  Picture this to be your very own version of QVC, or shall we call it, RuVC? 

Check out the items that will come with your first delicious and big box:

Purse First makeup bag by Bob The Drag Queen-  Running late with no time to put on your face? Toss your makeup into the official Bob the Drag Queen makeup bag and head out the door--purse first, purse first.

Exclusive RuPaul metal art by artist Jason Mecier - You’re born naked and the rest is drag. And art. The way Jason Mecier crafts stunning portraits out of pop culture’s detritus is the very definition of drag; that fabulous alchemy of making something out of nothing. It’s an honor to bring you his iconic portrait of RuPaul.

Sasha Velour playing cards - Whether your aesthetic is the Queen of Clubs, Diamonds, Spades or Hearts, these Sasha Slaying Cards will dazzle and distract your opponents in any game. Break them out for a round of strip poker.

Special collector's item edition of The DIVA Rules by Michelle Visage- READING is what? FUNDAMENTAL. Michelle’s book teaches you to ditch the drama, find your strength, and sparkle your way to the top.

This box, and its looks to be a very nice box, is available for pre-sale today.  Check out the link here!  Here's Bob to tell you more: 

 

These guys know their way around a BBC (Big Black Controller)

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the awesome programming on WOW Presents Plus, you’re missing out. It’s all the YouTube videos you love watching—and then some! One series you might be missing on YouTube right about now is Gaymer Guys, the green screen commentary show that discusses all things gaming—by and for gays! If you love UNHhhh, Fashion Photo RUview, or BRO’LASKA—you’ll love Gaymer Guys!

Hosted by Chase Kolozsi and Evan Michael Lee, Gaymer Guys is the seriously nerdy chat you wish you could be having at the bar with all the non-gamer gays. For all the times you stayed up all night playing video games and the days you spent dreaming about gaming instead of focusing on work, Gaymer Guys is here to power you up!

From video game fashion reviews to being on location at video game expos, Chase and Evan will have you shaking in your ocarina boots! And did I mention how cute they are?

 

Xbox or PS4? Tag someone that's a gamer and what you play on. I'm curious

A post shared by Chase Kolozsi (@chasekolozsi) on

 

DENIM •  by @dancewithck • • #america #red #photoshoot

A post shared by Evan Michael Lee (@evanmichaellee) on

Sexy AND nerdy--what more can you ask for?

Okay, all thirst aside—Gaymer Guys is exposing the interwebs to a subculture that has its share of stigmas in and out of the LGBTQ+ community. Most video game companies find a niche market in white, male heteros—but what about our queens? Through this web series, WOW (Not World of Warcraft) is breaking down these barriers and infusing gay culture with the gaming world toward an evolution of more diverse representation in video games and those who play them.

I got in touch with the Gaymer Guys so all of us at Instinct could get to know the men inside this virtual reality.


How did you get into gaming?

Chase:

My parents had a pretty tumultuous divorce, and when they started to argue in front of me it was always “go play your video games”. From that I think I just started associating video games as my savior when I get very stressed and since that happened at such a young age I think it’s hardwired in to me now. It started with Pokemon and the Sega Genesis and then moved to Crash Bandicoot and other PS1 and Xbox games like Halo before I really started getting in to more hardcore games like Mass Effect and BioShock. I would say 2006/2007 is when I really started getting in to games that non-gamers did not know.

Evan:

Growing up, my cousin gave me and my brother her Atari and it sort of took off from there. Following Atari, we had a Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, N64, Playstation 1 and 2 and so on. As I went to college and beyond I got an Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and a PS4. Video games are a great way to be social and make friends. That’s what I would do growing up. If you were into video games, it didn’t matter what you looked like. You and I were friends.


What is your all-time favorite video game?

Chase:

The Last of Us: the only other games I consider perfect are Dead Space 2, Batman: Arkham City, and The Witcher 3 (Uncharted 4 was close). My favorite series is Mass Effect (have not played Andromeda) and honorable mentions to Gone Home and Spec Ops: The Line as those games, flawed as they may be, are ridiculously important pieces of art that everyone should play.

Evan:

Hands down it has to go to Metal Gear Solid. The storyline, the character development, the action, the tension, the music, the voice acting, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a video game masterpiece. 


What do you like to do when not gaming?

Chase:

I like to work and focus on my acting career. I’m insatiable in trying to find out what my next project or move is, but on a casual level I love going to the movies (MoviePass ftw), bowling (although I haven’t been in forever; I was a state champion bowler in high school), and traveling (Colombia is my favorite country).

Evan:

In no particular order: Workout, Meditate, Hike, Movies, I’ve gotten more into yoga these days, play with my roommate’s Boston Terrier Fenway.


Do you UP + UP + DOWN + DOWN + LEFT + RIGHT + LEFT + RIGHT + B + A + START BUTTON on the first date?

Chase:

Nah. Too much work. If we have multiple dates all I have to do is blow in to the cartridge and the rest works out the way I want it to =)

Evan:

Mama always said get the money upfront ;)


Controller or joy stick?

Chase:

Neither. Mouse and keyboard.

Evan:

Controller. Janet Jackson said, “it’s all about control”


If you were to create your own video game, what kind would it be?

Chase:

Definitely a story based FPS/third person single player experience in the far future with a focus on movement in combat and deep, diverse characters. Add the conspiracy, mystery, and open ended approach to levels of Deus Ex and Dishonored with the deep characters and lush sci-fi world of Mass Effect and KOTOR and then stir in a dash of Portal 2’s comedy as well as the tension brought from the Metro series before you bake at 451 degrees. Does it make sense why I am so excited to see more of Cyberpunk 2077?

Evan:

ACTION! Without Question. The story of Metal Gear Solid, the pain of Max Payne(no pun intended), the stylish flare of Devil May Cry & the fast pace of a battle scene in Attack on Titan. In the words of WWE Superstar Bobby Roode, it would be GLORIOUS!!!


Any dating tips for gaymers?

Chase:

I’m just trying to not get put on read like the rest of us so I don’t think I’m the best person to be giving any tips. LA is so full of ghosts you’d think it was purgatory.

Evan:

Yes. Realize that if you start dating another gaymer, they may not necessarily like all of the games you do & that’s okay. You can both share your love of video games with each other and be content with that. Don’t attempt to change people. Let them change on their own if they choose to do so.


What can viewers expect from upcoming Gaymer Guys episodes?

Chase:

Drama, death, and buffoonery. Ok maybe just one and a half of those things. I can’t say exactly what we have planned, but you could expect to perhaps see some guests in the future from both the game industry and the Drag Race world. We try to strike a balance between fun contact, nostalgia, and education like us talking about representation in the video game world to just having fun with an entire episode being a mock Fashion Photo Ruview of video game characters ala Raja and Raven. We’ll definitely be at Drag Con too and plan on hosting some sort of gaming panel so if you’re coming definitely come say hi! Other than that, there are some unexpected things in the works and I would rather it be surprise if and when they materialize.

Evan:

Ridiculousness. Pure ridiculousness. Haha no, but in all serious viewers can expect to witness the joy & magic that video games bring to our lives. In the world of competitive gaming (which I’m all for), we have to remember that video games are fun. We play with our friends, family, and coworkers. It’s a bonding experience. We should remember that & we hope that comes across. Oh & Chastity’s wig.


Anything else you'd like to add for our Instinct readers?

Chase:

Yes, thank you for enabling shows like this to exist.  We are literally the only professional gay gaming show (I looked) so I think it’s important this show does well so more shows like this can succeed. Share the show, this article, and follow us on social media so we can talk or even recommend what to play. Representation of any kind is important, and if there’s one kid out there that feels like he or she doesn’t have anyone to relate to and our show somehow changed that then this was all worth it. I really believe Gaymer Guys has not hit its full stride yet and I would love for you to be there before it does so we can experience the wackiness together.

Evan:

Yes. Thank you for taking the time to read about us and watching Gaymer Guys. We truly have a great time making the show and we hope that you’ll share it with your friends. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll reply. =)


If you still don’t love these two, check out this preview clip where Chase and Evan review Dream Daddy, the dad dating simulator app where you build your ideal ‘daddy’:

Okay—GAME OVER.

World of Wonder Severs Ties with FedEx After The Company's Refusal To Boycott The N.R.A.

World of Wonder proudly announced this week that they will no longer be using FedEx due to the company's’ refusal to sever ties with the NRA.  The production company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race, Million Dollar Listing - and more - is calling on other companies to join the #BoycottFedEx movement.

Co-Founder of World of Wonder, Randy Barbato said:

“We support the call to boycott the NRA by no longer using FedEx for our company’s shipping needs.  We salute the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  We are inspired by their leadership and are committed to their safety!”

In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, businesses including Delta, Enterprise, and United all joined a movement to drop their discounts for NRA members.  FedEx, however, will still offer N.R.A. members up to a 26% discount.

The company released a statement saying: “[FedEx] has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions on issues.”