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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Games for Change Festival has always been ahead of the game, in terms of the social impact of video games. Each year, its panelists and curators examine how games can be used to promote positive change in civics, education, and health. With its 15th installment taking place June 28-30, the festival looks back at its own history, while looking to the future. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com.
Any time there’s a royal wedding, a royal birth, or even a Brexit, Americans suddenly embrace their colonial roots and develop an obsession with all things British and fancy.
Nothing is more regal than a tea party, complete with extended pinkies and refined manners. So, in preparation for the impending royal wedding (May 19!), I took it upon myself to learn the correct way one should comport oneself when “taking” tea. Although I fancied myself quite the refined lady at the start, my education in tea etiquette was swift and brutal — but delicious nonetheless. Continue reading at ChelseaNow.com
The Barbie doll has been a feminist boogeyman (or boogeyperson) for decades. As an inanimate object, she’s an easy target — but there are real people behind the doll. The documentary “Tiny Shoulders” looks at Barbie’s journey from groundbreaking toy, to cultural lightning rod, to her most recent redesign for 21st century sensibilities. Continue Reading at Downtown Express.
ìThe Chargettes perform.î Shari McDonald in SIDELINED. Photo credit: Jack Schwaesdall.
My review of this documentary: “In television sports coverage, it’s called a “honey shot” when they point the camera at one of the cheerleaders instead of the players. For most of the 20th century, cheerleaders were just on the sidelines of sports coverage — but in the ’70s, the exploitation of NFL cheerleaders became big business. The filmmakers behind the short documentary “Sidelined” pin this on the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, who rose to mainstream awareness thanks to a convenient honey shot, and their skintight short shorts. Most other cheer teams, like the San Diego Chargerettes and Chicago Honey Bears, got caught up in the rush. When Playboy magazine capitalized on this trend, and did a spread with cheerleaders, it destroyed at least one squad. “Sidelined” looks at this scandal from a variety of perspectives to explore just how much the “girl next door” can be sexualized before going too far. Continue Reading at DowntownExpress.com.