Another year, another Dragon Con gone. I never feel like I’ve done anything, but I always feel like I’m Danny Glover by the time it’s over (as in “getting too old for this shit” if that wasn’t clear). I assume this recap will happen in two posts, but it always gets away from me. I begin with the clear intention of not boring you to death. Then I’ll start writing, and things will just get longer. “Remember how that was fun?” or “I have a vague memory of that other thing being an awesome time!”, and it goes on and on from there. It’s like a big cable knit sweater that someone just keeps knitting, and knitting, and knitting…
It may seem like it’s a little late to be posting about Dragon Con, but Dave was reworking the site, and that gave me time to get over my con-crud and to take my time writing things up. This was the first time I was ever on any panels, and that was pretty cool. I didn’t get any interviews this year, but that really is okay. Dan Carroll, media relations director for Dragon Con, told me that the interviews were approved months out in advance and were only going to the larger outlets. We’re smaller, and so I totally get that. I wasn’t offended in any way. If anything, I’m more grateful for the years that I did get interviews, and that I keep getting press passes every year. This was my fifth Dragon Con as a reporter for Needless Things, and I’m just happy doing whatever it is I do to keep that going.
Dragon Con (or nerdy gras, dork-nik, etc.) is home. If you ever feel weird or alone in your love of something then Dragon Con is for you. Whatever you’re into there is someone else at the con who loves it to. It’s so big that there are huge Facebook groups for anything you can think of. If you can’t think of anything there’s probably a group for that too. The point is, Dragon Con is where everyone can be who they really are or who they really want to be. Or hell, just who they think it would be fun to be for a few hours or however long they can deal with the costume to crowd ratio. I’m going to fulfill my dream of doing an age and weight inappropriate Lara Croft costume one of these days, and this is the place that I can do that without being hassled. Dragon Con let’s you tell the muggles “I do what I want”, and they can deal with it or eff off.
So last year I had three press conferences, and one personal interview. That was amazing, and I felt very busy the whole weekend. No, my press pass isn’t a free ticket to run around and get as drunk as I want all weekend. Yes, I do like to join in the fun and have some drinks with lots of people after I’ve completed my official work (though I take it seriously enough that I try to always be on the clock even during the after-hours hours). Though being on a panel has the same time constraints as getting to an interview on time I didn’t feel rushed. Except for those three times over the weekend I was rushed due to awful public transportation (a lot more on that soon). I got to spend time with old friends, find that some of my newer friends were the coolest, and even spend a few hours in costume on Sunday. I also got to see more panels this year than I did in the last few years. I never felt frantic, if anything I ran out of stuff to do a few times because of spacial issues. If I have to be at the Westin for a panel at 8 I’m not going to go traipsing off to the Hilton for something when it’s 5, and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. And here’s one thing I think the app could really use: a sort by location function. If I’m in that position (which I found myself in several times over the weekend), and my friends are are in panels or are too far away what can I do where I am? I don’t know about everyone else, but I would have used the shit out of that. It also would have saved me walking around the various levels of the Hyatt trying to find something that would kill an hour until I had to be somewhere. But I’ll never complain about not having anything specific to do. Wandering around alone at Dragon Con isn’t like wandering around by yourself anywhere else. I made a ton of temporary friends, and saw some neat stuff too.
So we’ll begin with the new official start day of Thursday. I got down to the Doraville MARTA station around 1pm with the intention of getting my badge when the media relations room opened up at 2pm. It turns out that everyone else knew that Thursday is the new Friday too, and I had a tough time finding a parking space. As I was creeping around the parking lot a guy in a kilt with white contact lenses (who looked strangely familiar) gave me the international “don’t even try it” sign with his hand waving across his neck as I headed for the parking deck. He told me where the last empty parking space was, and saved me a pointless and annoying ride through a parking deck. Thanks buddy! Once finally parked and on the train all was going to plan, until the train broke down. The first train breakdown of the weekend, but not the last. After sitting on a stopped train (at least the AC was still working) for 20 minutes we were told to get off with no explanation. Booted into the heat we were left standing around for another 10 minutes while hoping a fresh train would be along to fetch us shortly. MARTA has great communication skills you guys. During this sweaty time I ran back into the familiar man who gave me the parking tip at the station. He said “yeah I’m wrestling tonight”, to which I responded with “oh, then I’m yelling at you tonight”. Turns out he wrestles in DCW, and of course, I hang out with the DCW Hooligans. But when you’re stranded on a train platform you make strange friends, and if a Hooligan and a wrestler can be friendly then surely everyone else can get along. Eventually, another train did come, but now I was running over half an hour late of my expected arrival time.
Last year Thursday was a ghost town compared to this year. I’m going to have to start coming down on Wednesday to get my “con legs”. I like a quiet day to relearn the habitrails, and other such business. That day is no longer Thursday. The lowest level of the Hyatt was packed with people going to give blood. Great job to those who donated, but it made getting to the media relations room a bit tougher than usual. Then it was on to the Marriott to meet up with Dave. We hung around in front of the American Sci-Fi Classic track room because we knew people would be around there at some point, but after half an hour no one with keys to the room had arrived, and I was getting hangry. The lovely and talented Oz did arrive though, and so we went off in search of food. I always like to eat in the Peachtree Center food court on Thursdays because it’s the only time during the weekend it isn’t a mess. I did finally discover the secret food court this year, but it was not very impressive. Don’t let the fancy new signs fool you, it has food in a court shaped area, but that doesn’t make it a food court.
Once that was all done we split up to prepare for our various activities for the evening. Dave and Oz had their own things to do, Noel had a wrestling cosplay photo shoot, and I wanted a beer so I could start getting ready for DCW. That’s still about the only reason to go down on Thursday evening. More programming is slowly but surely being added, but for me at least, it’s still just wrestling. And the unofficial parties, of course. More on those soon too. Because here I am at over 1200 words and haven’t even gotten to anything deeply exciting yet.
I have a ton of pictures, panels, and many other things to come over the next few weeks. I’ll be cramming it all in so that we can get to the 31 Days of Halloween. Plus, I have to turn in my coverage soon so that the Dragon Con media people keep liking me. I don’t care if I never get another interview. I’ve gotten to do some great stuff because of that badge so I need to act like I earned it. So tune back in soon for part two of what will now likely be a three part recap. Considering these posts cover 4 days and twice as many panels I think you’ll be pleased with the action coming up. Panels I was on include zombie movies, classic video games, The Big Lebowski, and more. And if you can’t wait a few days here’s a quick preview of how silly things are going to get…