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Dragon*Con 2009 Report


Dragon*Con

Hey there, AoD Fans!  Weirdonian here with my Dragon*Con 2009 report!  Where to begin?

Many of my friends and family were surprised that I was going on this trip, especially since I was traveling alone. I was a bit surprised myself by it as it was somewhat out of character, but then I’m feeling more myself now than I have in a very long time (that probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone, but it does to me). I went for a variety of reasons, chief among which was that I hadn’t experienced a convention like this before. Oh, I had gone to a few local ones back in middle and high school, but Dragon*Con is something different. I also wanted to have more experience in air travel and now feel rather confident in doing that. Not that I’ll be flying a whole lot, but perhaps more than I have in the past (Dragon*Con marks my third ever round-trip by air). Also, I really wanted to meet those internet friends who live in Ohio!  Adam couldn’t make it, as you all know, unfortunately, but I was able to meet Poe and Hillary of Errant Story fame, and a few others I’ve been in contact with over the years.

Crowds

But what is Dragon*Con, exactly? Well, it’s one of the largest science fiction & fantasy conventions in the United States with around 40,000 attendees (I think that number is right, if it isn’t, feel free to correct me) and about 500 official guests (actors, writers, artists, directors, etc).  The first thing about Dragon*Con is that it’s positively huge, stretching out across four hotels (The Sheriton, Marriot, Hilton and the Hyat where we stayed) and the Peachtree Center (Weather the folks at the Peachtree Center liked it or not). The second thing is that this is a grown-up convention for the most part. Few teenyboppers and kids attended, probably due to how expensive admissions are (my preregistered badge cost $90). And then there’s the countless costumes! There were so many and most of them were very well done, I can barely remember them and I’m certain I only saw a fraction of the ones that were there. I may dress up more next year; I only brought a lab coat and goggles this year, cause they’re easy to pack, plus I didn’t really have a lot of time to throw something elaborate together anyway. Dragon*Con was so huge that there were about 20 or so panels an hour, so it was impossible to see all the ones you wanted to. Thankfully, Dragon*Con TV helped with that; they would air panels live and rerun some of them later as well. DCTV also had funny bumpers and clips and fake commercials too.
MST3K Panel

As for the panels, I managed to attend two of Battlestar Galactica, two of MST3K/Cinematic Titanic/Rifftrax, two “Gonzo” events, as well as a short fantasy film festival. The Gonzo events were surprisingly amusing. The first featured many little funny clips and shows interrupted occasionally by the handing out of neat prizes; they would distribute these prizes by shooting nerf guns/darts into the crowd.  Poor Trace Beaulieu, his nerf machine gun kept malfunctioning, but he soldiered on like a trooper! Unfortunately, it lasted many long hours into the night/morning, so we couldn’t stay to see it all, but it was good. The other Gonzo event was a “quiz show” which was absolutely hillarious! There were two moderators and two teams; team A consisted of Bill Corbett (MST3K & Rifftrax), Trace Beaulieu (MST3K & Cinematic Titanic), Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies & Chowder) and Adam Savage (Mythbusters!)! Team B consisted of Neil Innes (Monty Python). Dino Stamatopoulos (Morel Orel) and Doc Hammer (The Venture Brothers)! It was amazing to see such talented people in the same room together bantering, arguing and cracking wise!
Eye of the Snyder

As for my friends’ booth promoting & selling Errant Story & Exploitation Now comics and related items, I helped out at their booth for about four hours on Friday and it was fun seeing the convention from that perspective. I wish I could have helped them more, but it sounds like they had plenty of help as it was. Besides, I was on vacation, after all. The Errant Story crew also were selling a small supply of Apple of Discord stuff and they did manage to sell some of it, so that was awesome! And I got a few AoD trinkets myself! A hearty thank you to those who came out to support AoD, even if you didn’t know what it was until then!  And a just as hearty welcome to any new readers who found AoD via the free cards we handed out!

I have a few regrets though. I missed Bill Corbett and Terry Gilliam’s panels and didn’t get their autographs. If the rest of the event wasn’t so awesome, I’d be more upset about that. Besides, there’s always next year, so here’s hoping both of them attend next year! Plus, much of my time was spent just getting from one place to another, partly due to me just not knowing where the hell I was going, so hopefully next year the rough map in my head won’t have faded too much. I also wish I had gotten to know Hillary and Poe a bit better, but we didn’t see much of each other mostly because they had their booth to run. I also wish I had gotten into the Mad Scientists Ball, but it was poorly planned and very hard to get into.
Dr. A

I also managed to stretch my money out rather well, even though I spent most of it. I got some comic books, some art books and a few collectibles, including the official, limited edition Dragon*Con toy produced by MINDstyle. Sure, it cost me 100 bucks, but it isn’t a small figure and I just barely got it signed by it’s creator minutes before he jolted back to jolly old England! I also got a calcite crystal ball which I’ll use in the reproduction of Saruman’s staff from Lord of the Rings that I’m working on. Even so, half of the stuff I got was free! There were tables of free books, CDs, you name it! They were even giving out books on street corners! It was amazing!

I also got a lot more work done on the preproduction of my own webcomic than I thought I would! And I met some fascinating people, too! One of my roomates is something of an industry insider, representing artists and whatnot, so it was neat to talk to him a bit (his tales of the shenanigans in the Green Room were a riot!). Another guy invented a neat card game called Mad Scientist University, and another guy works for the CDC. Attendees came from all over the USA and the world, it was a gathering of my fellow geeks the likes of which I’d never seen before.

So, yeah, it was an awesome experience and I’m planning on making this a yearly pilgrimage!
Dr. A

2 Comments

  • Lucky you — sounds like you had a fabulous time. I’d love to have been there and to have met Poe and Hilary after all these years, but our sons were home from college and that took priority — check the comment about the “grownup” nature of this con, grownups have things like kids in college! Congrats to Adam on the bambino…

  • There’s been talk in the past about doing a southwestern con, something in the Texas area… mayhaps it might be easier for you to make. Then again, Texas is an awfully big country, let alone state… who knows.

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