May 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm PDT | by Rebekah Sager
RuPaul’s DragCon rules a world of wonder in downtown LA

The three-day event celebrating pop culture, art and all things drag comes to LA this month. (Photo courtesy Fenton Bailey)

Thousands of drag fans are expected to pour into downtown and the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles) May 11-13, to attend the fabulous event known as RuPaul’s DragCon Convention.

Whether attendees are there to celebrate the art of drag, take a few selfies with one of their fan favorites, pick up some fabulous merch, listen to panelists, watch the runway shows or catch a glimpse of the man himself, RuPaul, DragCon has gotten bigger every year since its launch in 2015.

Spearheaded by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, the 210,000-square-foot exhibitor space, with more than 200 vendors selling drag merchandise, has morphed into the Comic-Con for drag queens.

Last year’s event saw over 15,000 drag fans and allies in attendance, and with the addition of a Kid Zone, offering art projects for even the youngest drag lovers, the crowds are expected to be bigger than ever.

“I think young parents know how important it is to expose their children to this diversity, especially in this current political climate. This is a place where they can go and expand their lives and see that there is more than one way to live a successful, abundant life. It doesn’t have to exist in this box, and it involves all the colors of the crayon box. We are so proud of this because it give our queens an opportunity to meet them, fans that wouldn’t necessarily go to a nightclub to see them,” RuPaul told the Los Angeles Times before last year’s event.

Additionally, for the first time this year, producers have added three performance nights to the weekend-long extravaganza: “Battle on the Runway,” “World of Queens,” and the first annual “RuPaul’s DragCon Pageant.”

The festivities kick-off Friday night with a unique interactive experience, with “Battle on the Runway,” drag fans will have the opportunity to sashay around the custom-built runway, that runs through the center of the historic Belasco Theater (1050 S. Hill St., Los Angeles). Then they will watch a legendary battle of “Looks versus Dance!,” as the entire cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 10 takes the runway for an unforgettable show combining fashion and high-energy dance performances; all hosted by Shangela.

On Saturday night, after the convention, drag fans will travel the globe at “World of Queens,” taking off at the Orpheum Theatre (842 S Broadway., Los Angeles) with stops at the favorite countries of Acid Betty, Detox, Kim Chi, Kennedy Davenport, Latrice Royale, Violet Chachki and Valentina. Doors open at 8:00pm and performances start at 9:00pm.

Then on Sunday, it’s the premiere of the first annual “RuPaul’s DragCon Pageant,” at the Orpheum Theatre featuring eliminated queens from various seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — including Coco Montrese, Jaymes Mansfield, Naysha Lopez, Pandora Boxx, Porkchop, Tempest Dujour, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Venus D-Lite. The ladies will display their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to earn fan votes. The event will be hosted by Michelle Visage.

But there’ll be no kiki, or autograph signing for one “Drag Race” queen. Ms. Tyra Sanchez, winner of season two, is banned from DragCon all together.

Sanchez has been locked out of the convention, after posting a video on Instagram attacking fellow season two queen Tatianna and season four’s Phi Phi O’Hara with threats of violence.

“But when you see Ms. Phi Phi and Ms. Mother F*cking Tati’s ass stretched out on the motherf*cking ground, you will know it was me. Yeah, I may not have physically did it, but it will be my doing. Remember that sh*t, bi*ch,” Sanchez is quoted as saying in the video.

As reported by Queerty, Sanchez initially would have been given a pass for her video outburst by World of Wonder, if she recorded a “sincere public apology” denouncing violence.

World of Wonder reportedly emailed Sanchez back with: “We received your video, but unfortunately the apology is not clear.”

According to Queerty, Sanchez wrote back to World of Wonder:

“I will not be apologizing again for something that happened last month. I apologized then for my anger, my temper, my behavior and my choice of words. Multiple times I have stated that violence is not the answer and that queens of my upbringing sometimes express ourselves different than most. I understand you may not understand this as you have only appropriated our lives, our attitudes and our mannerisms.”

In one of Sanchez’s latest Facebook posts, just in case you thought she might pull her threats back in, she stated: “You can continue to push your narrative that I’m some angry black queen, but you and I know that is simply untrue. If you want to remove me from DragCon because of some drag queen drama then by all means remove me.”

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