NYC DragCon 2019

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My favorite time of year has come… DRAG CON NYC!!! I went last year with one of my best friends, Rachel, and we were eager to get back again this year. We had a blast at DragCon 2018, but now that we knew the lay of the land, we were ready to make out even better than before for 2019.

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Okay first, let’s talk about my wig. I wore a white one last year, that was cheap and just ordered off of Amazon. I really loved it, but it was very obvious that it was a wig. Not that I cared, it was just fun to participate. I did the same thing this year and ordered a new wig online, this time picking a lavender color with bangs. After posting a few things on my Instagram, everyone was complimenting me and asking about “my new hair.” LOL – I had to let several people know that this was a wig. I honestly did not think that it looked super realistic, but I’m still getting comments about this look a month after the fact.

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Anyway, like I said, Rach and I knew what we were doing this year. We got there in time to watch the queens arrivals again on the pink carpet, and then we were quick to jump in some lines. We got to IMG-5735meet SO MANY QUEENS!! It was really incredible. It started with Michelle Visage, from whom I also bought a signed autographed copy of her book, Diva Rules. Kennedy Davenport had a short line at her booth, as did Jiggly Caliente, IMG-5743so we were already making out great just within the first few hours of the day. Soju and Ariel Versace were together in a booth, so we actually got to meet both ofIMG-5771 them at the same time. My favorite queen that I met that day was Willam, who has always been one of my all-time favorites. Willam was releasing his new line of makeup called “CoverBoy”, and was sitting in a giant chair taking selfies with fans. I told her I was a ‘friend of the pod’ (Race Chaser Podcast), and we talked about the shade that she threw on her season. It was unbelievable! RuPaul was right on the main stage for a majority of the day, playing DJ and dancing along to all his favorite songs. It was honestly captivating to just watch him up there, standing less than IMG-5741100 feet from me. Later on in the day, Rachel and I were sitting against a random wall to give our feet a break while we scarfed down some hot dogs from a street vendor. Rachel was right in the middle of sentence when she saw Ru walk around the corner, and she immediately yelled out a quick, “HI RU!!” I snapped my head around just in time to see Ru wave hello directly to Rachel before going into a VIP louge. IT WAS AMAZING.

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To end the day, we went to a panel where Ross Mathews was reading an exclusive exert from his upcoming book, Name Drop. (His current best-selling book, Man Up, can be found anywhere fine books are sold.) I actually made sure that we were first in line, so that we could be front row. One of the staff noticed my eagerness for Ross, and actually gave us some free passes and also moved uIMG-5773s into the reserved section so that I was directly in front of Ross, completely in his eye sight! The panel was great, the exert was hilarious, and I got to talk to Ross to ask a question during the panel. He actually recognized me, and laughed about the fact that I had left him one of my famous voicemails earlier in the day. We took a picture together after the panel was over, and we are now definitely well on our way to becoming best friends. Just wait.

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And so concluded day one. We stayed with my friend Brian, who I’ve been close to since elementary school. He and his boyfriend live in Brooklyn, and the two of them provided us with some high quality NYC fun that night. We went to a Burning Man themed party, and were out til about 5 in the morning. I truly have no idea how I was able to be awake and functional for day two.

We got there the second day just in time to make it to Ivy Oddly’s Odd School – a panel about her fashion during her time on the show. Since she is the reigning queen currently, it was super IMG-5866cool to just be in the same room as her, listening to her iconic laugh. After that, we got right back to the booth lines. We were able to seeIMG-5890 Manila Luzon, who was always one of my favorites even before her time on All-Stars. We also got to meet the lovely Gia Gunn, who is such an influencing trans icon. There were plenty of other queens whose booths we may have been able to make it to, but some of the minimums kinda turned us off. (In order to meet a queen at her booth, you usually have to purchase something from her merchandise. Some required a minimum, so you had to buy at least $30 or so worth of stuff in order to get a picture. Personally, I don’t like the minimum purchase requirement, as it diverts some people from getting to visit some of their favorites.) The bestIMG-5854 queen of day two was the same as my favorite from last year, Ongina. I just love her so much – she’s so funny and adorable and 
super fun to just be around. I so hope to see her on an upcoming season of All-Stars or something, cause she is such a star and totally deserves more fans.

The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping within the vendors between booths and watching a totally awesome pole-dancing competition. We also had IMG-5895some fun playing around with the big photo props. There’s always iconic sayings from the show printed on huge signs with impeccable lighting. We spent so much time running around that we actually IMG-5911stayed all the way to the end of the event, where they started turning lights off and packing up to leave. We definitely got the full use of our tickets this year, between all the amazing queens we got to meet and the panels we got to attend. Not to mention, of course, all the photo opps for my Insta. The day ended with another street vendor hot dog and a long bus ride out of the city.

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DragCon is without a doubt one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and I look forward to many many more! This tradition for us will not be short lived, and I’m thinking maybe for 2020, we’ll attend Drag Con 2020 LA…?!

Thanks for reading!

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle movie was released in 2017 and quickly became one of my absolute favorites. I saw the movie originally because of the big name cast, but instantly became immensely intrigued by the ridiculousness of the family and the way they lived. Naturally, when I couldn’t get enough of the movie, I found myself reading the book by the real Jeannette Walls.

FILM-WALLS-QANDAThe book starts out with similar stories that we see in the movie, such as the fire accident while Jeanette was cooking hot dogs, and hospital escapades that followed. Then we hear more about how they move from city to city, including living in Las Vegas and a variety of other cities, which was condensed into a montage in the movie. I quickly noticed the pattern in the book that temporary solutions often became long-term, and the children are usually the ones who suffer the most. 

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The general feel of both the movie and the book are similar, and it’s easy to find times where you want to laugh along with the insane antics and funny anecdotes. However, by the end of the book, I absolutely hated both the mom and the dad. Just like the kids, I grew frustrated by the selfishness of the father’s alcoholism and the mother’s laziness and inability to care for anything other than herself. It’s easy to love Woody and Naomi in the film for their charm and familiarity, but the selfishness of the real individuals was shocking. No matter how hungry the kids were, their father would spend any money he could at the bars. No matter how much money the kids were able to save on their own, their dad would find a way to steal every single penny and drink it down. And even when the kids were able to leave their rundown place in Welch, the parents still followed them to New York City and attempted to mooch off of everything they had made for themselves there.

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Not only does the movie downplay some of the evilness if the parents, it also skips over the development of little Maureen. I feel as though both of these things were done to protect the author’s loved ones on the big screen. I certainly wish the movie had included more on young Maureen in NYC, including when she stabbed her mom before running off to California. However, it was nice to have the parallel of last scene, where they sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner and remember their father fondly, in both the movie and the book.

Jeannette WallsPart of the reason that I was so interested in reading the book comes from one of the real photos that was shown at the end of the movie, where there is a family picture that includes someone that may or may not be a drag queen, or is just wearing a whole lot of make-up. From reading the book, I was actually not able to determine who this person was. I’ve done extensive google searching, and still cannot determine the answer, so if anyone has some information on this subject please reach out to me! (I’ve also sent an inquiry in to Jeannette Wall’s email and Facebook page, so we’ll see if someone replies.) UPDATE: I got a reply from a representative of the company that works with Jeannette Walls! He was able to confirm for me that this was individual is Maureen, which furthers my point that I would have loved to learn more about her path in life after leaving the family back East. 

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You certainly go through a lot of emotions while hearing her retelling of stories, which is much how you feel while watching the film. There are, of course, many stories that make the book and not the movie. Overall, however, it stays true to the message – recounts of funny stories mixed in with some truly sad memories that will make your heart drop.

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If you haven’t yet seen The Glass Castle, it’s currently available on Amazon Prime and probably many other places as well. It stars Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts and is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. HIGH RECOMMEND – both the movie and the book.

Thanks for reading!

NYC Drag Con 2018

OH MY GAAAGG, HUNTYYYY! This was my first year attending RuPaul’s Drag Con, and I will never ever ever miss it again. I went to the NYC convention on September 29th and 30th. There is an LA DragCon every year as well in the spring, so as a result of the coasts there are different queens that are able to attend each one. Either way, I promise, you will not be disappointed.

drag con 1There was some shenanigans that happened on the Friday night of the event, but because of work, my friend and I were going to arrive into NYC too late to attend anything. So we made sure we got a fresh start Saturday morning to get there at the opening to watch the grand entrances of the queens.

First was the Crowned Queen arrivals! This included season 1 winner Bebe Zahara Benet, all-stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel, season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, and the reigning queen from season 10 Aquaria. Next was the other arrivals of queens, including Mayhem Miller, Viviacious, Acid Betty, Blair St. Clair, Ongina, Miss Vanjie, and more. Rachel and I had decent enough spots on the pink carpet to see everyone walk right by us! (Other queens were at the convention as well that just did not take part in making a grand entrance.)

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Rachel and I decided to look the part of DragCon so we both wore silly wigs and jumpsuits to the event. Ru provided us with many photo opportunities, not just with our favorite queens in their booths, but also in a large photo area! This area had many different back drops, themes, props and displays to take pictures with – and we took full advantage!

After having some fun in the photo booths, we made our way to one of our favorite queens: Detox. We had an amazing experience with Detox and her booth as a whole. First, the booth was right next to drag con 4Alyssa Edward’s, and we were lucky enough to be standing in line while she made her entrance to her booth!! That helped to make the line go super quick, so it didn’t feel like we waited long at all. We purchased photos for Detox to sign (there was a minimum, but Rachel and I were allowed to combine our purchases so it was only $10 each), and then were shown to where Detox was posing for pictures. Detox is soooo tall! Which is hilarious, because she was actually not wearing any shoes at all in the pictures. Her panel blocked it, and she was still taller than basically everyone. She talked to us for a second and we totally got starstruck and fumbled with our words. Then we got our autographs and photo and that was that. She was so kind and present and I loved her just as much after meeting her.

drag con 5When we got out of line with Detox, there was a short line for Blair St. Clair, so we jumped right in. Unfortunately, she was taking a break and took a long while to come back. The line really wasn’t long so we thought it would go quick once she was back, but she took A LOT of breaks. I could kind of see her while she was in her “backstage” section, and she was spending a lot of time looking in the mirror and fixing her hair while her fans waited. We were in line for about an hour with not even a lot of people in front of us. Her people definitely have her on a pedestal, because the treatment was totally different than when we met Detox. Blair just didn’t seem as down to earth, and her guy only took ONE picture. With Detox, I had like 15 to choose from, and with Blair we had ONE. I still like Blair, but I definitely like her a little less after meeting her.

drag con 12There are many panels that take place throughout the weekend, but it can be hard to get into some of them since seats are limited and there are some favorites in the house. We had several panels that we wanted to go to that got filled up, including Katya (insert heart shattering imagery here). We did, however, make it into a fashion discussion panel with Ongina, Bebe Zahara Benet, and Miss Fame. I absolutely adore Ongina and loved everything she said – she is a real treat. Bebe honestly didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation, but I find her beautiful and entertaining as hell. Miss Fame definitely felt the most qualified for this panel, flaunting her relationship with designers such as Marc Jacobs. Some of what she said was interesting but she totally talked for way too long and made it largely about her.

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YOU KNOW I HAD TO SEE MY MANS ROSS MATHEWS!! I wasn’t able to make it into the Judge Judges panel, but you best believe I was front row for Bossy Rossy’s Runway Games. In between his silly games, Ross did some crowd work and I was able to get his attention and tell him that he has talked to me on the podcast before! Heremembered when I called in and it mademe wildly happy.

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The second day, we were moving a little slow as a result of being out late the night before, but we had more queens to see! We didn’t do wigs the second day, as they had gotten a little itchy by the end of the day. Instead, we wore colorful outfits and took advantage of the shorter lines to do some shopping in the merch booths.

drag con 9Meeting Ongina literally might have been the highlight of my weekend. She was absolutely incredible, charismatic, and stunning. We really caught her at the end of the weekend, so the line was short and the merch was cheap – like, generously cheap! I told her that people in high school called me “gyna” and she called me her long lost cousin! She also spilled some T when I told her I saw her at the panel, throwing shade on Miss Fame for taking over. It was amazing. I felt like I was chit chatting with my friend for a minute, which is exactly the experience you want out of DragCon. Ongina is truly special, kind, adorable, one of the best queens ever ever ever, and I loved her so so so much more after meeting her.

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To have a great end to an awesome weekend, we made it into the final live taping of Rupaul’s  podcast, What’s the T? with Michelle Visage. There was 3 different tapings throughout the weekend, but the one we attended was with guest Kathy Najimy, who is known for her appearances in Veep, Hocus Pocus, Sister Act, and more. It ended with a song, which felt like the right way to conclude the festivities.

For more pictures and videos from DragCon NYC 2018, you can go to my Instagram @ginafinio and watch the highlights story on my profile.

Thanks for reading!