Remember when only really goofy looking people attended these conventions? It was like the Island of Misfit Toys with 2 day old beard growth, Trek approved pocket-protectors, the personality of fungi and Kilimanjaro zits.
Well, kiddies….It ain’t that way no more!
Oh, sure…You can still find remnants of the Old Guard at these functions but anymore there’s actually really attractive people getting their freak on. Two things surprised me the most: Actual African-American Geeks and the amount of near total nudity by young women…Lots of it. Dragon*con is probably the only time that Atlanta willingly turns a Blind Southern Baptist Eye to the hordes of pierced, tattooed, stapled and duct-taped nipples with groans of “Oh, well..Live and let live, y’all”.
Friday night, back at the hotel, Leatherwing and SubRosa laughed at Valet Boy as he snatched his Dragon*con Program Pocket Guide and began ticking off all the events he wanted to tackle for Dragon*con Day 2. My Doubting Thomas had been exchanged for a Good Time Charlie and by gum nothing was going to stand in my way!
So, it’s Saturday morning. The steaming temps have abated and there’s a crispness to the air, a harbinger of blessed Fall that imparts renewed vigor and joie de vivre. After a good night’s sleep, we were all re-charged and ready to play.
We approached the center of town and remembered the Parade was in progress. Hundreds of costumed Cons & Conettes strutted their stuff to the delight of the noble Citizens of Atlanta who lined the parade route for the annual display of Zombie Haute Couture and Vampirella Pulchritude.
We parked and split up for our various desired destinations, vowing to meet later. Valet Boy headed for a Celebrity Panel consisting of celeb Voice Actors for some of VB’s favorite Toons: Spongebob Squarepants, Futurama, SquidBillies and others. It was a lot of fun as these top drawer VO Actors sparred and improv’d with each other to the delight of a packed house. The hour ended much too soon.
There were other things I wanted to hit next, but the really big deal for Saturday was the “Warehouse 13” and “Eureka” crossover celeb panel. I could not miss that…After all, VB carries a teen-sized crush for Eureka’s Deputy Jo – (see last weeks’ post Virgin at Dragon*con Part 2). But, VB knew this was going to be a popular event, so SubRosa and he scurried to get in line, texting Leatherwing as to their con-joined destination.
The line was indeed a long one already, with an hour plus to go until we could get into the ballroom. We found the end of the line on the street and enjoyed some camaraderie with a Steam Punker and his pals from Raleigh, NC.
SubRosa snapped pics of the more interestingly begarbed passersby and we made a few “comments” about the others. (WARNING: If you’re going to go to Dragon*con in costume, don’t go half-assed….everyone’s a critic. Even a dweeb like Valet Boy) Soon as Mr. Leatherwing joined us, our line picked up speed and charged forward.
I must say, I was delightfully amazed at the patience, kindness and goodnatured attitudes of the assembled conventioneers. Seeing this meant that VB was definitely going to have to realign his thinking when next he ran into a bald, pierced and tattooed girl on the street. Maybe in fact she’s not a mass murdering crack whore. Maybe she’s just like everybody else, only she expresses herself a bit differently.
Our line moved swiftly and it was mere moments until we were inside the giant ballroom. I was giddy as a schoolgirl and had my Handycam at the ready should Deputy Jo suddenly leap from the stage, fling herself into VB’s arms and forswear her undying love….Hey, it could happen… well, maybe not on this planet, but in some alternate parallel universe where Valet Boy is a wealthy Euro-Latin entrepreneur who looks great in a Speedo and has a yacht!!!
Crowd control was adeptly handled by the Dragoncon Crew and with very few exceptions were people pushy, irate or otherwise pissy.
The lights dimmed, the Emcee Person welcomed us and briefly let us know that we were here for the “Eureka” / “Warehouse 13” crossover panel…I’d say it was a safe bet that each of us inside the ballroom were well aware of that point.
The announcer called for Erica Cerra to come to the stage. Anticipatory applause…..No Erica…. Again the Emcee called her name…again nothing. Then from off stage right wearing a football jersey and carrying a satchel/pack, in strolls Eureka’s popular sheriff and all around nice guy Colin Ferguson. The crowd went ballistic with laughter and applause. Colin raised his arms in a Rocky-Style triumphant salute, greeted us and took his seat at the panel table.
Eventually Erica did make it to the stage along with Neil Grayston (Fargo on “Eureka”) and the “Warehouse 13” cast members: Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, Tia Carrera and Rene Auberjonois.
Colin apologized to us all, he was road-weary and experiencing some back pain – he let it slip that some of the stuff he has to do on the set really aggravates his physical condition – re: bad back. But, apart from that he and everyone else appeared in high spirits and kept us entertained for the entire hour. Eddie McClintock, who plays the joking FBI agent in Warehouse 13, was flirty with Erica… Beware, Eddie…. Tia Carrera was hinting to everyone that she was game if Erica wasn’t…. Saul Rubinek kept asking the crowd if they were stalking and spying on him – seriously, so many people knew the intimate details of Mr. Rubinek’s personal history that it bordered on the eerie side of TMI.
Valet Boy was really starting to enjoy and get the hang of this Geek Week Business and thoughts of next Labor Day’s Dragon*con were trickling through his spongey matter.
Next, Mr. Leatherwing had a steam punk program to attend so SubRosa and I decided to tour the Fantasy Art and Artists exhibit. Of course, I didn’t know who any of these people were (even though some of them are quite well known-if not famous) but I could certainly appreciate their abundant talents and skills and by and large they were very congenial and conversant folks.
The delicious infection of Dragon*con was spreading throughout Valet Boy’s physiognomy and tired as his feet were, he wanted to go all night. But, we decided to hit the Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Shorts and see what some of the genre producers/writer and directors were dishing out.
It was getting close to the dinner hour and the three of us were wearing down. The rest of the Dragon*con flock had not even gotten started. Saturday Night was going to be a big costumed dance party and it promised decadence, depravity, nudity and shots of molten liquers….Perhaps, 20 years ago I might have joined them all in their Bacchanalian Revelry….But, not tonight. Who really wants to see their grandpa shaking it up, letting it all hang-out and getting jiggy with it…? Answer: No One.
Sunday was our last day in the midst of this controlled chaos and it was easy to tell who had stayed up all night partying. Almost everyone but us! Feet were dragging, eyes were bloodshot – if they were opened at all – and there seemed to be a slight hangover hue over the entire morning…Again, for everyone but us.
We did more Celeb Panels, More Graphic Novel Art and Artists, More Movies and more talk about next year with hope twinkling in our eyes. We enjoyed the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company’s performance of an adapted H.P. Lovecraft story after which we decided to call it a night and the inevitable end to three considerably well-spent days.
There were many other highlights to these past 3 days: Being accosted by Marc Singer, sharing a smoke with a naked 19 yr old zombie girl, seeing some of the cast of “True Blood” and “V” and wondering how in the world is Larry Hagman still ambulatory. It seems, however, no matter how much we did, we missed so much more. It is just an impossibility to do it all.
Tired, but with our creative juices flowing, we hit the road back to North Carolina. I guess after all of this, I should rate the 3 days & nights at Dragon*con, eh? Well, I have to give it an 8+. But it would’ve been a 10 if I had known what I was doing…maybe even a 12!
Certainly monstrous Thank You’s go to John and Rhonda who’s kindness, generosity and stubborness permitted my being able to go in the first place. Thanks to Bruce Bethke for dinner at the Hard Rock. Thanks to the little Zombie Girl for opening my eyes….in more ways than one!
And to all the Folks at Dragon*con – You were truly an unexpected pleasure and delight!
Thanks for reading!