Drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community are facing threats across the country, but that didn’t hold back RuPaul’s DragCon 2023 from making a point that drag is here to slay. The two-day event drew thousands of drag babies, drag legends and drag fans from all walks of life to the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday and Saturday (with some special events on Thursday evening).
Presented by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, RuPaul’s DragCon returned in-person with a fan-clapping convention that brought charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to celebrate drag culture from all over the world. The drag queen convention dates back to 2015 to give the art of drag, queer culture, and self-expression a platform and bring people together.
The Los Angeles Times reports that there were over 70 confirmed international queens coming from as far as the Philippines, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and France. Ts Madison hosted “Bring Back My Girls,” one of WoW‘s hit shows, live from the convention floor. This year’s main convention hall featured live events with Bianca Del Rio, two DJ sets by RuPaul himself perched high above the main stage, and of course, countless performances by drag icons like Jaida Essence Hall, the Teletubbies, Baga Chipz, Shea Couleé, Pangina Heals, Alaska, Kylie Sonique Love, Sasha Colby and so more.
One of the biggest gags of the entire weekend was the opening of the pink carpet on Saturday morning. It’s a chance for the queens to make an entrance and work a runway for waiting fans who had to get up pretty early to secure a good space to see it all. The pink carpet runway is also a chance to see all the queens before the bigger names hide inside a booth and are only allowed to be seen for a charge upwards of $30 in merchandise in exchange for a meet and greet and a photo op.
Then there were the booths selling shoes, wigs, clap fans, makeup, jewelry, candles apparel and pretty much anything gay or draggy.
Micky’s WeHo was a main sponsor. They had a double booth near the main entrance offering makeup makeovers, photo ops, music by DJ Paulo, and of course, Go-Go Dancers. Micky’s also hosted drag queens on their booth for meet and greets throughout the event.
Let is also not forget to mention the local West Hollywood queens that graced Dragcon 2023. We’re talking about Selinas Estities, Morgan McMichaels, Willam, Sasha Colby, Mayhem Miller, Ongina, Kalista Stage, Vivienne Vida, Jordan Jayro, Manila Luzon and Sabbyiana to name a few… in no particular order.
We ran into Love Connie who was a guest on the most recent RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15. She was working the pink carpet in her usual Love Connie fashion to promote Cash App, which is one of the sponsors. “I love this event,” she told WEHO TIMES. “I believe I’m allergic to the pink carpet fibers. I have to keep using my prison warden hankie to wipe my sweat off. But I’ll survive.”
Connie said she was not a fan of the children at the convention and she hoped they were acting up, throwing a tantrum, and wrecking havoc. She also said she was impressed by the Andrew Christian boys where were throwing a beach ball around and twerking the entire day.
“There was one little girl that I really loved,” Love Connie added “This little girl looked at me and said, ‘you’re a boy. I can tell you’re a boy, but you’re dressing like a girl. And I know why. I’ve seen Rupaul’s Drag Race. She’s a producer’s daughter and she was so cute the way she was figuring it all out. I just smiled.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder partnered with the ACLU this year and were proud to donate to “The Drag Defense Fund” in support of the ACLU’s LGBTQ+ rights work. The Dragcon website had a page allowing fans to make a tax-deductible gift to this crucial fund.