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Last weekend my friends and I went to NYC to attend RuPaul’s Drag Con: a Comic Con for people who love the show, and have actually been to first base. (I’m jk, comic people..)

We got there Saturday morning and waited in the best dressed line in herstory. It was wrapped around entire blocks and VERY entertaining to a man leaning out of his truck to gawk at the scary monsters and super creeps.

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We walked in and headed towards the RuPaul shrine, beautifully outfitted with his dresses from the show

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Then we hopped in the line to meet James St. James, who could not have been nicer, or more engaging, with every person he met. He looked bright and cheerful, wearing Vera Bradley’s fall collection. (I’m joking, James. I loved your colorful suit and sensible-but-chic slippers). We chatted for a bit and he autographed his book Freak Show and hugged me for a pic that is now my profile picture on FreakBook.

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While standing in line we saw Joanne the Scammer walk by, and heard people cheer wildly or ask their friends, “…Who?”

I don’t think Joanne even had a booth – scamming RuPaul out of paying for one, I guess – but was just walking around so that people (like me) could salute her with their iPhones.

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I was also super excited to meet Randy Jones – the cowboy from The Village People, especially since I went through this weird phase at age 13 when I exclusively listened to 1970s punk rock or disco… He was super sweet and I told him that my favorite song is “Go West” – a song that my friend said was obscure enough to make him like me. (It wasn’t even listed on the poster, thankyouverymuch).

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Also, we picked a weird time to be in NYC since it coincided with the premiere of “It.”

We saw creepy clowns and their luftballoons all over the convention.

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Sunday started off in complete chaos, as we were herded like sheep into a packed floor to try and meet RuPaul- 2 hours before the event opened. Finally, security guards went down each line to say that the (barn) door would open and we should WALK, NOT RUN to the stairs as a giant group.

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Of course, everybody pretty much ran, anyway, and yet I was the only one to fall while hustling up the stairs. This was karma for me watching the staircases on Saturday to see if any of the (wo)men wearing 4 inch stilettos would topple over.

As the mob made its way upstairs it was LITERALLY a drag race, but none of us ended up winning since the tickets to meet Ru were evidently sold out.

It was still a fun day, though, as I got to meet Amanda Lepore, Tammie Brown, and our president

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At the end of the day, as we sat on the floor to rest, I noticed a carpet show going on and wandered over to this separate event out of curiosity.

“Can I come in to Carpet Con?” I asked the lady, noting that I was from Drag Con and just wanted to look around for a minute. She didn’t find “Carpet Con” funny, I guess, because she wouldn’t let me in. But it’s ok because I laughed at my dumb joke enough for the both of us.

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We left shortly after- going outside to people watch and sing the RuPaul songs that had been pumping from the speakers all day. It was an amazing, unforgettable weekend, but it was finally time to Sashay away.

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yelp lady

I was thinking earlier that people usually only go on Yelp to bitch, so I made an account to rate all my favorite places and say nice things. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and all that.. But it turns out that Yelping is actually pretty fun and a good way to procrastinate, so I’ve been sitting here for like an hour coming up with random reviews like:

“I go here a lot and always enjoy myself. The food (especially the crab cakes) is amazing and very reasonably priced. My friend and I like to sit in one of the ‘hidden’ booths in the back corner of the restaurant and pretend it’s a VIP lounge, even though one or both of us is probably wearing jeggings… Plus I always think that the very nice waiter will forget about us / our food order but he never does! Great place.”

I know how seriously some businesses take Yelp reviews (one place I worked at had a whole staff meeting after a particularly biting review), so after some time I started to feel  oddly powerful.

“That gross restaurant that fired me for no reason when I was like 17? I should rip. them. apart,” I started to think.

But before I even searched for that place, I remembered that I started my Self-Yelp journey for good, not evil. I wanted to be the anti-Gordon Ramsey and rave about deserving restaurants, and simply ignore the ones I don’t care for.

Eventually, though,  I started to get really annoyed at fellow Yelpers– especially the ones trashing my favorite places. So I became the snarky commentator I had hoped to avoid, adding lines to my (still positive!) reviews, like:

“The best crab dip I’ve ever had. I dk why this Danielle person below thinks it “tastes like cream cheese” but she is wrong.”

Yeah, that’s right Danielle – I’m calling you out. I might get banned from the site for cyberbullying or something, but

“You either die a hero, or Yelp long enough to see yourself become a villain.”

oprah lohan

I’m not a big hugger. I don’t know what it is about physical contact, but I generally just.. don’t like it. I like people, I like my friends, but I don’t usually want to be wrapped up in anyone’s arms if I can help it. I will try to avoid your friendship tentacles even if you mean a lot to me and we haven’t seen each other in a while (sorry), but if you DO grab me – I tend to go limp and do a quick pat before breaking our embrace after like 10 seconds because I feel too awkward.

So it was a relief years ago when I found yet another way to be inspired by Oprah – someone worshipped by the people but rarely touched by them – who would much rather give out a car than a hug. I watched as she ’embraced’ guests on her show (and Lindsay Lohan in the above pic): giving them the illusion of a hug but actually keeping her arms extended in a “Don’t move any closer” stance of love.

I respect this move a lot and have started to use it. People feel like they’re getting something kind of resembling a hug, and you feel like you get some distance.

Cheers (but not hugs) to you, Oprah.

 

oprah wine

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Even though I am uncoordinated, have a weak right ankle, and at the age of 25 still can’t REALLY roller-skate without toppling over: I’ve always had this desire to have a disco roller rink moment with a playlist featuring songs from David Bowie, Donna Summer and the Village People (who I am embarrassingly love).

The above photo is from a roller-rink in Brooklyn that my then roommate and I visited in 2014. It was actually really fun to try to learn to balance on skates (…again, I feel like I should know this by now..) and the instructors would skate up to you, offer helpful advice, and try to make you feel like less of an idiot when you inevitably BIT IT in front of everyone. I remember crawling to the bench at one point, my bruised up shins hurt so bad, and then giving myself a permanent time-out while my roommate skated loops around me and my throbbing legs.

Anyway, the point of this post -fluffy and kind of pointless…just like disco- is that I’m making a public commitment to learn how to roller-skate without embarrassing myself.

 

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They say not to meet your idols because they will only disappoint, but not everyone’s idol is the self-described ‘Pope of Trash’ and author of the following quote: “To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. If someone vomits during one of my films, it’s like getting a standing ovation.”

I was able to give John Waters a standing ovation -not the vomit kind- after his performance on his annual Christmas speaking tour: because he was insightful, hilarious, and entertaining, and -most importantly – lived up to all of my (high) expectations.

I’ve been fascinated and delighted by Mr. Waters since I was a kid – growing up not far from Baltimore and always feeling like a weirdo. In all honesty, “Hairspray” never really did it for me, but once I got older and started to read JW’s books and see his other movies (meaning, all the ones in “category: other”), my fondness for Mr. Waters and his Dreamland began to grow.

I love(d) his dark, twisted sense of humor and his off-beat intelligence and felt the need to read everything he’s written. I’ve also seen most everything that he’s directed- including Pink Flamingos (…which I don’t have any desire to see again).

I would even study John Waters’ work in school at Marymount Manhattan College in a  class on “Trauma in Literature and Film” taught by a brilliant and creative professor, Michael Colvin, whom I would consider to be a fellow ‘John Waters scholar’. The class explored how various forms of art depicted and dealt with trauma, and the John Waters’ unit, where we read Shock Value and watched Female Trouble was, of course, my favorite part.

So after loving and even studying John Waters work, I was thrilled to buy tickets to his Christmas tour where I knew he’d share his bleak take on this stressful holiday and ease my own December discomfort. (I’m not always a total Grinch but the ONLY Christmas song that I don’t completely loathe is U2’s cover of “Baby Please Come Home“.)

Therefore, the idea of seeing my own Jesus (I mean… if I HAD to pick one) felt like a Christmas miracle, and observing John’s holiday hilarity in its full glory will now always be one of my favorite ‘Christmas’ memories…

I remember JW offering such ‘advice’ as filling your medicine cabinets with marbles for nosy guests, and, after a few cocktails, I somewhat hazily remember getting to ask him a question from the audience.
Mr. Waters has said that he was quite the LSD user in his youth, so I asked “Have you ever had an acid flashback?” and was told “No, and I loved acid. I never had a bad experience in my life. I used to take acid once a week. My mother said not to tell young people that but I just did…”

Then, after the show, I stood in line to get “Shock Value” signed and got to meet John Waters himself. I introduced myself and told him that I was a writer, to which he replied “Wonderful! Keep writing!” and happily signed my book and posed for the photo.
It was an unforgetable night. And I still haven’t gotten over the shock value of meeting him.

*PS: The remake of “Hairspray” is only worth turning on to creep everyone out because John Travolta’s fat suit makes his eyes look squished together and his face like a bloated gerbil*

Next we wandered over to The National Museum of Natural History which, speaking of booger-handed tots, is probably the best museum to take kiddos to as it has sparkly gems for the little ladies and dinosaur bones for the boys. Yes, I know it’s 2017 and boys can like gems, girls like dinosaurs, etc; but I’m going off of my experience, which is that Brendan (boy) was way more excited about the dinosaurs, and I (girl) was way more excited by the gems. Pretty stones like:

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The Hope Diamond: which is way more interesting when you read about its curse and how it once belonged to Marie Antionette (…while she still had a neck to wear it).

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This mineral rainbow that was basically made to be Instagrammed

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Something cooked by Walter White

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This black hole looking crystal in the gift shop

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A reassuring sign (yes – they do)

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And my australopithecus friend Lucy, who was named after the Beatles song, and probably had better posture than me.

The other day Brendan and I went to The Smithsonian and did some learnin’. The first thing that HE learned is how stressful driving in DC is, with all those traffic circles and confused tourists looking at cherry blossoms instead of oncoming traffic.

The first thing that *I* learned was that The Smithsonian is more than three museums (I thought it was, you know- art, history, and the space one). This is particularly sad as I have been to more than 5 or 6 of them at some point in my childhood, on school field trips or with family, but none of that rang any bells and Wikipedia told me that there are actually 19 Smithsonian museums.   So, first we went to “the history one” which was The National Museum of American History.

It had:

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This light up thing in an exhibit for kids. (Thousands of booger-handed tots had pushed on those buttons before us and yet I get shit for carrying Purell everywhere…. ) Anyway,

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This terrifying suit from a NOT funny example of “crop dusting”

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A VHS tape of Jumanji aka My childhood

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Bert & Ernie from 1969. No jokes come to mind.

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And two happy campers taking a selfie on an old iPhone that will be in the museum shortly…

 

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Here’s my best New York photo because it’s got

Lights

(my) Camera

Action,

a man pretending to be oblivious to his own rudeness, and urine. All quintessential New York things. I<3NY and I also love Times Square for all of its disgusting glamour, but ‘real New Yorkers’ hate TS, I am told, so my award* winning photo is titled “Times Square Is a Toilet” so that I can fit in.

*citation needed