In Deeply Blue New York, a Midterm Battle to Darken the Hue

Republicans can point out that, under Trump, the economy has seen the longest bull market in history. Meanwhile, a “cultural bull market” of steady social progress has come to an end. With the executive branch in Republican hands for two to six more years, and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, there is a fierce fight to flip one or both chambers of Congress in the coming midterm elections. Liberals boast of a “Blue Wave,” while conservatives predict a “Blue Bloodbath.” However, of the 35 senatorial seats up for grabs this year, only nine are not currently controlled by Democrats — and Democrats must flip two of them to take control of the Senate. This makes the House of Representatives a more likely path to victory for Democrats. In New York City, a deeply blue city in a deeply blue state, political groups are hard at work trying to influence both the national and local levels. We spoke to some politicians, organizers, and activists about their fight to swing the country, or at least more of New York, to the left. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Off-Site Kryptonite: New York Comic Con’s ‘Spaced-Out’ West Side Subplot

It was just a few hours into the first day at New York Comic Con (NYCC; Oct. 4-7). A cheerful PR woman at a booth told me that Thursday at this year’s con was a little more crowded than usual. “But it’s not like Saturday,” she added, with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, “Nothing is like Saturday.” Two days later, NYCC was bursting with so many fans that the Javits Center couldn’t hold them all. As the domain of the Con expands culturally beyond print comic books and their traditional fans, this annual event has also expanded physically, sending waves of nerds all over Manhattan’s West Side. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Renegades to Role Models: RuPaul’s DragCon Expands its Reach

Drag was once on the fringe of society. Gender rebels performed their cutting-edge material in nightclubs and cabarets that most citizens never knew existed. Now drag culture is mainstream enough to warrant an industry convention that fills half of the Jacob Javits Center. The attendees at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC (Sept. 28-30) were an even mix of pro queens and their civilian fans — and this edition asserted itself as a place for parents to bring their kids, wholly in spite of the sexy outfits, bawdy humor, and free samples of alcoholic beverages on the show floor. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Pop-Up Museums Provide Perfect Selfies, Promote Insta-Fame

If you can get enough loyal followers to follow your social media feed, and let businesses know that you’re willing to tag their product in your posts, then you’ve got it made as a highly-paid social media “Influencer.” But how can a nobody look glamorous enough to build such a following in the first place? There are places in New York that exist primarily to facilitate selfie fanatics in their quest for Insta-fame. They call themselves “pop-up museums,” and wannabe Instagram stars can get pictures of themselves in dozens of photogenic locations. For a price. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Drag, Trans, Next Gen Artists Share the Stage at Wigstock 2.HO

There’s nothing worse than middle-aged New Yorkers complaining about how the city has changed since the “good old days” — but it’s wonderful when cranky old coots get up and actually do something to recreate the lost wonders of the city. That’s exactly what drag queen Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris have done with Wigstock. The long-running outdoor festival of drag performances was held in NYC for nearly twenty years in the ’80s and ’90, but fizzled out back in the early 2000s. The event was resurrected as “Wigstock 2.HO” at Pier 17 on Sept. 1, as a day-long festival with scores of performers, wig cannons, the world’s oldest drag queen, and several close contenders for that title (SNAP). Aside from being a fun show, it also showed how cultural attitudes towards gender identity and drag have changed since the ’90s. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Geeking Out on Inclusion: Flame Con Grows as it Redefines LGBTQ Culture

Last weekend, subway riders in New York might have noticed costumed nerds were flooding the city. International Cosplay Day took place in Central Park, Liberty City Anime Con at the New York Marriott Marquis, and, at the Sheraton Times Square, there was Flame Con. Billed as “The World’s Largest Queer Comic Con,” this was the event’s fourth year, and its third change of venue (previous installments took place in Brooklyn). Flame Con continues to grow in attendance and scope. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.

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Three Cheers for Pride Parades!

 Everyone loves a parade — but marching in a parade is much more fun than watching one. I perform with a team of LGBT cheerleaders called Cheer New York, and every year the squad marches in New York’s Pride parades. Cheer New York doesn’t cheer for a sports team; we cheer for charity. Most of our time is spent at walkathons, fundraisers for LGBT organizations, and performing on stage at events. But the annual shotgun of parades in June is what it’s all leading up to. Three weeks ago, on the morning of Queens Pride, 40 cheerleaders were taking our first synchronized steps of Pride Month. On June 24, we’ll march across the finish line at Manhattan’s Pride Parade — tired and sunburned, but full of cheer, and proud. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com

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