No matter if you were a first timer or a seasoned veteran at Dragon*Con, the world’s largest fantasy/Sci-Fi convention, there were memories to be made this past Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. In its 26th year and boasting more than 52,000 attendees, Dragon*Con and its host hotels were ransacked by nerds, geeks, freaks, fanatics, costumers, and voyeurs this year. Quite possibly one of the most monumentus tasks a journalist has to face is writing about the Con and doing it justice. With so much to do and see, it is impossible to take it all in, but here’s my alphabet version of what went down over this long four day convention and celebration of all things nerdy.
The horror villian. The rocker. The actor. The old, treacherous, and loveable. All around bad ass. Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) was one of the featured panelists and Walk of Fame stars at Dragon*Con 2012. During the course of the weekend, Alice spoke on two panels, providing anecdotes and jokes from his time as a rock ‘n’ roller in charge of the “lunatic fringe” and his time as a movie star. In the first panel, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and his stage magician James Randi bantered on about the creation of Alice Cooper’s stage shows, the infamous guillotine, the snake, their biggest outdoor concert, and the even more infamous chicken incident. The second panel he was on was a little bit more relaxed as he fielded moderator questions and questions from the audience. No one in either panel pulled the Wayne and Garth “We’re not worthy!” bit on him (although, it does happen all the time). He kept the audience in stitches of laughter and exclaimed that Alice Cooper’s nightmare is disco.
BURLESQUE – Dragon*Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue
Girls, girls, boys, jiggles, giggles, and more girls! Postponed for an hour due to a previous panel that went into Dragon*Con overtime, the wait was long and the room filled up quickly (disappointing quite a number of people in the queue who had to be turned away due to ballroom occupancy limits) – so you know this had to be a show not to be missed! Whether you were there to see a sexy Storm Trooper striptease, Revenge of the Nerd swagger (complete with underoos!), The Little Mermaid’s Ursula singing and shimmying her way in front of all “those poor unfortunate souls,” an exotic out-of-this-world four sword-wielding belly dancer, Frankenstein’s monster on a torturous play date, Batgirl, Spiderwoman, Superman, sexy robots – Dalek, anyone? – there was sure to be some kind of geekgasm to be had as Talloolah Love and her crew worked (or rather werked!) the audience over.
Dragon*Con is the perfect time to let your inner seamstress, costumer, and character shine! One of the more interesting aspects of Dragon*Con is all the different costumes people wear. Some opt to invest a year or more of their time and money into creating the most authentic looking costume possible, while other people opt for the store bought variety for convenience or gag costumes for laughs. Countless people at the convention even bring more than one costume to wear – some even opting for a new costume every single day there. Then you have your fan groups – Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Disney characters, Game of Thrones, Mario Brothers, zombies, and others – that gather together to take pictures and walk in the Dragon*Con Parade on Saturday morning.
DICE, DICE, BABY!
What’s a little geekery without a little gaming? All throughout Dragon*Con in rooms and open spaces, board game lovers, D-6 rollers, RPG masters, LARP enthusiasts, and newbies got to play and compete in games with old and new friends. The general camaraderie of gamers transcended age, ethnicity, skill level, and longstanding sci-fi arguments (like Star Wars vs. Star Trek).
Dealer rooms were filled with merchants selling all sorts of goods from t-shirts (with sci-fi relevant content on them, such as “You don’t need to look at my chest. These aren’t the breasts you are looking for. Move along.”), games, dice, custom light sabers, movies, corsets, kilts, belly dancing clothing, comic books, figurines, and other collectables. Pretty much any type of unique or fun item could be purchased in the dealer rooms.
Dragon*Con weekend is the time and place to let your passion (bordering obsession) for all things geeky, nerdy, and interesting show. Whether your main focus was panels and guest speakers, genre specific interests, games, costumes, or partying – Dragon*Con had something for everyone to experience. It is almost a sensory overload reminiscent of Las Vegas, but without all the bright lights, gambling, and hookers. There were 50,000 people packed into and around the Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Sheraton, and Westin hotels all throughout Labor Day weekend and this included your favorite sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comic book stars. Fans got a chance to meet, greet, receive autographs, and get pics taken with their favorite TV and movie stars in the Hilton at the Walk of Fame. You want to meet famed Marvel Comics comic book god Stan Lee? Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and rock horror villain Alice Cooper? Sexy screen siren Rose McGowan? What about talking to geek girl goddess Felicia Day or Grant Imahara from MythBusters at the bar or in the elevator? Chances are good that you could pay for an autograph and/or photo or happen into them somewhere wandering around one of the host hotels. If you attended, you probably brushed elbows with a star without knowing it! (Make sure you keep one or two geeky friends with different interests around you at all times – they will point out those people and tell you why that person(s) is famous and then you are in the know too!)
GAME OF THRONES
One of the most popular costumes at Dragon*Con this year was Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo from the hit HBO tv show Game of Thrones. There was a big fan panel about the show too.
HORROR & DARK FANTASY TRACK (sponsored by Netherworld Haunted House)
With all the mainstream horror hit television shows, it was impossible not to include a large track of horror at Dragon*Con. Spooky tv favorites The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, True Blood and Vampire Diaries were all discussed. Horrorphiles delighted as H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Hammer Horror, and David Lynch were talked about in respect to films. Vampires, witches, zombies, cthulhu, and evil deadites got their nods. The state of goth and darkwave/industrial was debated along with being danced to. This was a horror fans gory precursor to October’s Halloween festivities!
INDEPENDENT FILM & FESTIVAL
Hiding out and watching movies was a great way to mellow out from all the crowd maneuvering at Dragon*Con.