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Dragon*Con 2011



With the beginning of summer here, we all know it won’t last. Before we know it we will be packing up our swimsuits and gearing up for fall.

With the end of summer comes one of the biggest events in Atlanta, Dragon*Con.

We had the privilege of being media guests at last years Dragon*Con.  We met some great people, interviewed some pretty amazing guests and caught on camera some of the wildest costumes you could ever imagine!

Dragon*Con takes place over Labor Day Weekend every year.  This year will be the 25th Dragon*Con! Taking place on September 2 – 5th.

Two people we met and have become quite smitten with are Dan and Robin Carroll.  Dan is the big man as far as media relations go and Robin, his lovely wife, volunteers for the event to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Dan and I talked last week about this years event and I must say, my suspicions were right. Dragon*Con does get bigger and better every year!

With over 40,000 in attendance last year, I wonder if our fair city of Atlanta can hold many more this Labor Day.

One of the big changes to this years event is the addition of the barcodes to speed up the registration process.  Some of you who attended last year were disappointed by the long lines to register. Well, this year they made the appropriate changes and will be trying to speed up that process.  Those of you who have or will purchase your memberships in advance will receive (or have received already) a postcard with a barcode on the mailing label. Simply bring that postcard (with the mailing label intact and legible) AND a valid government-issued photo ID with you to the registration area at the convention. That will greatly speed up your (and everyone else’s) registration experience at Dragon*Con 2011. Forgetting to bring the postcard or the valid government-issued ID will slow down your registration process.

Another thing that has grown with Dragon*Con and become quite the spectical event is the Dragon*Con Parade.  This is your chance to be in the parade! Costumed participation is open to any and all Dragon*Con members.

Saturday, September 3, 10:00 AM

Where: Downtown Atlanta GA.  Our route, about ½ mile long, goes north on Peachtree Street from Woodruff Park at Auburn Avenue to the Hyatt Regency at Baker Street.  It continues onto Baker and ends on Courtland Street at the Marriott Marquis’ back entrance.

This years line up is already looking good and they are adding new guests every day!

Kevin J. Anderson Terry Brooks A.C. Crispin
Bill Fawcett Laurell K. Hamilton Charlaine Harris
Tracy Hickman Sherrilyn Kenyon Jonathan Maberry
Anne McCaffrey Todd McCaffrey Rebecca Moesta
Jody Lynn Nye Mike Resnick John D. Ringo
Robert J. Sawyer Susan Sizemore Michael Stackpole
S.M. Stirling Janny Wurts Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Timothy Zahn


Film & Television:
David Anders Ralph Bakshi Adam Baldwin
Jim Beaver Julie Benz David Blue
Nicholas Brendon Beau Bridges Misha Collins
James Darren Felicia Day Nicole de Boer
Elvira Robert Englund Richard Epcar
Tom Felton Colin Ferguson Lou Ferrigno
Samantha Ferris Sean Patrick Flanery Joe Flanigan
Steve Gonsalves Joel Gretsch Dean Haglund
Richard Hatch Kyle Hebert Tricia Helfer
Lance Henriksen Howard Hesseman Virginia Hey
Christopher Heyerdahl Michael Hogan Sam Huntington
Clare Kramer Christopher Lloyd Gareth David Lloyd
Michael Madsen James Marsters Eddie McClintock
»Mary McDonnell Mike McFarland Mercedes McNab
Robert Duncan McNeill Julie McNiven Kate Mulgrew
Leonard Nimoy David Nykl Denis O’Hare
Amy Okuda Jim Parrack Tahmoh Penikett
Meaghan Rath Chandler Riggs Rebecca Riggs
Michael Rosenbaum William Shatner Mark A. Sheppard
»Brent Spiner Dave Tango Amanda Tapping
Lea Thompson Robin Thorsen Tony Todd
James Tolkan Lani John Tupu »James Urbaniak
Nana Visitor Garrett Wang »Wil Wheaton
Sam Witwer Steven Yeun John Zaffis


Comics, Art, & Illustration:
Glenn Barr Julie Bell Joe Benitez
J. Scott Campbell Amanda Conner Peter David
Karl Kesel Todd Lockwood Don Maitz
Mike McKone Jimmy Palmiotti George Perez
Don Rosa Jim Starlin Peter Steigerwald
Jim Steranko William Stout Boris Vallejo
Michael Whelan Bernie Wrightson »Derek Yaniger


Music, Theatrics, & Performance Art:
Abney Park Atlanta Radio Theatre Company Bella Morte
Chad Vader Jonathan Coulton Crossed Swords
Cruxshadows DJ Nemesis DJ Spider
DJ/VJ Anthony Emerald Rose Freezepop
Jefferson Starship » Lips Down on Dixie Pandora Celtica
The Last Dance Voltaire


Pricing for the Memberships to Dragon*Con 2011 is as follows:

  • $105 to 7/15/2011
  • $120 thereafter

Make sure you preregister now!  Find our more information, join the parade and register online at The Dragon*Con website HERE.

The Backstage Beat will be in full force to take pictures of you in your costumes, so be creative! We will also be bringing you behind the scenes footage and interviews, plus lots  more!

Have a great summer and we’ll see you at Dragon*Con


Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward



Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

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