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DragonCon 2010

Dragon*Con by Erin Wall

DragonCon 2010

Dragon*Con Intro and Interview with New Yorker Michael Chlebowy

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By: Leisa Foretich

Dragon*Con has been “storm trooping” through Atlanta since 1987. It was initially a convention for sci-fi and gaming fans, which at that time hosted around 3,500 people. Today, there are over 35,000 fans who congregate all over downtown Atlanta to purchase collectibles, star gaze and review panels of people in the industry; including celebrity actors, writers, and animators.

Most people spend hours in lines and hundreds of dollars just to meet and receive a photo or an autograph from their favorite sci-fi superstars. But, I think most people come to people watch. Thousands of people come to Dragon*Con to become “stars” themselves. There is an amazing masquerade featuring some of the best homemade (on the verge of professional) costumes you will ever see. Fans dress as their favorite characters, march in the annual parade and pose with strangers for pictures, just like a celebrity would. I witnessed a woman dressed as the Mad Hatter from the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie grab some lunch, sit down, take off her hat and was then approached by a fan asking her to put her hat back on to pose with the photographer’s friend. She obliged. I laughed to myself and thought, “Well, she wanted to be a celebrity today, right?”

Mike Chlebowy, 40, from Buffalo, NY has been coming to Dragon*Con since 1998. A fan of many things sci-fi especially Star Wars, Michael recalls the very first Con he attended. “The decision to drive over 900 miles is easy to make when you combine a sci-fi convention with your best friend (bass player in the local band POOR OTIS) who lives a half hour from the convention site, and he’s a sci-fi junkie, too!” Michael explains that his first time was not the best of experiences due to the fact that it was held in July, the hotels in the area were already seasonally booked and his hotel was over 4 blocks away from the main hub. “Back then, it was easier to get around, to do and see everything you wanted. Waiting in line for hours for your badges and several more hours to get into panels is what you have to go through now.” This is because of the massive fan base and locals getting in on the action to see what it’s all about. This annual getaway is Michael’s recharge from his everyday hustle and bustle. He’s a pro now. He stays in one of the host hotels, plans his itinerary for the day, and he’s ready to go. One of his favorite memories of Dragon*Con was a few years ago, “We had a room at the hotel. We had a budget of $200 for food and beverage for the weekend. We spent $20 on food. Yes, it was a party weekend, but we had a blast. We were out until all hours of the morning, got in, caught a few hours of sleep, and then back out for more. The Dawn show was amazing that year…one of the best I think they’ve had, and the Masquerade was great too. It was just a great time.”

Well, it certainly sounds like Michael has it down, I mean, people watching, chillin’ at one of Atlanta’s most prestigious hotels, sci-fi celebrities, fans, collectibles and enjoying it all with his best friend… what more could you ask for? We’ll be sure to see Michael back next year and every year after that. Maybe he really should consider that Eternal Membership….

I’d like to thank Michael for taking a moment out of his busy Dragon*Con schedule to do a little interview with me! YOU ROCK! See you next year and have a safe trip home!

Oh wait! Live Long and Prosper.

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DragonCon 2010

Dragon*Con by Leisa Foretich

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Super special thanks to our awesome photographer Leisa!

She came out and shot the Dragon*Con parade and some of the costumed people! Great job Leisa!

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DragonCon 2010

Dragon*Con wrap up by Ange

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So Dragon*Con came and went…

I actually miss it. What a great opportunity to have so many creative people in one area. It was amazing to just walk from one hotel to the next, one room to the next and meet someone you have watched on T.V.

I can imagine how that must feel for some very die-hard fans. What an experience of a lifetime. Thank you Dragon*Con.

This was my very first Dragon*Con. I had my preconceived ideas about what it would be like. Of course I thought it would be wall to wall Star Trek people. Not the case.  I was impressed by the amount of people dressed in costume! As Stan Lee told me, “The number of people dressed in costume outweighs the regular civilians!”. It is a pretty cool sight to see.

Everyone that worked at Dragon*Con really had their stuff together! They we’re quick and efficient. Always ready to tell me where something was.  Wait until you find this out… “They are all volunteers!!” Yep, all the workers at Dragon*Con are volunteering their time to bring this event to Atlanta. So for all of you who came out and might not have been so nice to one of them… I guess now is the time you should feel like crap.

First of all I want to thank Emily Danyel with Tribooking. She was so on her game. She had her schedule out, ready to book interviews! She booked the interview with Billy West and Phil Lamar.

Erin Gray and Kevin Schwartz were so nice to deal with. They answered our calls, promptly returned text messages and had the all important task of setting up our interview with Stan Lee.

Also, Gene, who was so gracious in letting us have a few minutes with Mr. Larry Hagman himself! Good times!

I do have a dishonorable  mention:  Unfortunately…. Steve Himber.  Steve was handling Luke Perry. We contacted him to request an interview and he was very rude on the phone.  So rude in fact I felt the need to go over and meet him the next day to inform him that I was not impressed with him, and had he agreed to the interview maybe Luke would have had better success at the event. I never saw anyone lined up to meet him. Very sad.  So here is how my meeting of Steve Himber went down:  I walk to him, extend my hand and say ” Hello Steve?, I am Ange Alex of  The Backstage Beat.”  We requested an interview with Luke Perry and you said no. Is it still a “Hard No”?  He said “Yes, sorry.”  at this point I leaned over as Luke was extending his hand to me. He said,”I’m Luke” to which I replied “I’m Ange, nice to meet you”.   I then explained to Mr. Himber that we had just done a fantastic interview with Stan Lee and we we’re getting ready to leave the event, but were hoping to catch a minute with Mr. Perry.  Mr. Himber said he could not do that and then proceeded to rant and rave about how wrong it was for Stan Lee to give us an interview while signing autographs. Luke Perry got into the conversation and told Steve that Stan is the star here and can not give anyone a minute, so no worries as to an interview while signing. I agreed and said thank you.

I reached my hand out to Luke and said ” Nice to meet you. I wish you well.”  “Very nice meeting you as well” he replied. I looked at Steve Himber, said “Goodbye” and started to walk away. Luke said “Ange, Tell Stan Lee I said hello” I turned back around, smiled and said “Luke honey, I would love to but your manager won’t let me”.

So, I feel bad for Luke. I think he could have really promoted himself so well had he been given the chance to do interviews. I still don’t know what the show is called that he is starring in… I’m sure a lot of other people are in the same boat. :(

Other than that little moment, Dragon*Con was a blast for us.   We can not wait to cover Dragon*Con in force next year, so submit your resumes now. We are looking to be fully staffed and covering everything!

Thank you Dan Carroll and Pat Henry!  We told you we would represent Dragon*Con in a good light. It really is not Nerdfest or any of the other things I heard.  It is very cool.

See you next year Connies!

Ange Alex – Owner

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