Fear and Loathing at BravoCon

With apologies (and gratitude) to Hunter S Thompson

Sara Benincasa
9 min readOct 21, 2022


Photo by the author, 10/16/22, NYC

We were somewhere around Flatbush Avenue Extension on the edge of the Manhattan Bridge when the cold brew coffee began to take hold.

Every now and then when life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Brooklyn to the Jacob Javits Center.

I did that on two October weekends in a row. One weekend, I went to New York Comic Con, which is like San Diego Comic Con but much smaller, and soaked in a barrel of scrappy East Coast old school comix fandom. It’s not as glamorous as San Diego, and everyone agrees the venue is claustrophobic, but it’s a good time.

Then the next weekend, I went to another convention, where I was an anthropologist on Venus, or some planet-like pop-up exclusive experience bathed in pink and purple, resplendent with fresh balayage on long tresses attached to excited bodies flown in from towns small and large all across America.

I went to something called BravoCon, which is a convention of Bravo fans and “over 100 Bravolebs!” as per the marketing website.

Why? I love my brother. I love his wife. And she loves Bravo shows.

I have seen one season of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, various clips from the New Jersey iteration of the franchise, and some episodes of a show called Southern Charm. This is a show about sunburned white people in Charleston, S.C. doing things like drinking beer and sewing and playing golf. I think there are some cast members who are not white, but mostly it is red-faced white people and their alcohol and pillows.

I watched the aforementioned programs while hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law after she gave birth to my first giant-headed nephew, in the summer of 2017, and after she gave birth to a second large-noggin’d lad, on the first day of 2021. They have both grown into their heads and are enchanting, adorable little people who wear excellent clothes and love Elmo and Halloween. But they did not get here without effort on my sister-in-law’s part.

A woman goes through that kind of thing, you gotta say yes when she asks if you’ll go see…



Sara Benincasa

Author, REAL ARTISTS HAVE DAY JOBS & other books. Writer of scripts. Host of WELL, THIS ISN’T NORMAL podcast. Patreon.com/SaraBenincasa