It’s finally written. ::Cue Relieved Frodo Meme::
Given the fact that it’s been almost two years since this Dragon*Con, my usual day-by-day blog about the experience is not going to work. Therefore, as I get prepped for this year’s Con, I’m going to take a slightly different approach, and simply list some of the things I took away from this Con, and enjoyed the most. We’ll be back to our regular format with the 2016 edition (unless I decide to do a podcast summarizing this year).
1) The Hilton Garden Inn by the Georgia Aquarium: Starting in 2014, this because mine and my mother’s home away from home for the weekend of Dragon*Con. We had a rough start with the valet parking, but it’s not far from the hub of the Con, and has great access to food (Johnny Rockets delivered FTW). We’re going to be on our third straight year staying there this coming Labor Day.
2) My new time off regiment. Taking off the Thursday before Con to stay down there after getting my badge was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in my years of going down there. No more working Thursday night before the weekend starts- I get an evening of R&R between work and Con to prepare for the nerdy goodness ahead.
3) The short films. As I have since 2011, I took in a couple of the short film festival blocks at Dragon*Con this year, one Friday morning with a series of puppetry shorts, and one Sunday night that celebrated geek culture. The highlights included the Friday entry, “Hitori,” which featured music written by my dear friend, Jeffrey Butzer, and the Sunday entry, “The Lord of Catan,” which starred Amy Acker (who was at the year’s Con, and made a phone appearance at the block) and Fran Kranz, her co-star from “Dollhouse” and “The Cabin in the Woods.”
4) James Gunn. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” director, along with his brother, came to the Con as his film was tearing up the box-office, and it was a great chance for the crowded Atrium Ballroom of fans to thank him for the wonderful movie he just gave, and to try and press him not just about that experience, but also what we might expect from the sequel.
5) Friday night. My friend Ron and I had met up earlier in the afternoon for some panels and dinner, but after our second Whedon Track panel (“From Sunnydale to LA”), we met up with some friends, and headed up to the bar on top of the Hilton, and were stones throws away from Billy Boyd (Pippen from “Lord of the Rings”) and Saul Rubinek (“True Romance”) just shooting the shit at a nearby table. That is the type of thing you get at Dragon*Con, and it’s glorious. And Ron and I did do Jay and Silent Bob a bit this year, but the Saturday we did it on was abbreviated for a lot of reasons, although it did result in probably our favorite personal pic we’ve done of ourselves in costume while we were getting ready.
6) The guests. I wish I had gotten to meet James Gunn, but the panel was more than enough for me. Getting to meet a couple of Whedon ladies in Emma Caulfield and Amy Acker was a highlight, along with Ralph Macchio and Martin Kove from “The Karate Kid,” Giancarlo Esposito (“Do the Right Thing,” “Community”), Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”), and Evanna Lynch from the “Harry Potter” franchise. I also took the chance to say hi to “MST3K” favorites Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu, whom I had met in years past, and had a great Sunday panel where they discussed terrible recent films and their love of bad movies.
7) People watching. There was some great cosplay going on that year, as I had great pics of Anna from “Frozen,” Toothless and Astrid from “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” a pink Bender, a Princess Buttercup from the line to meet Cary Elwes, and plenty of others. Always some great costumes at Dragon*Con. I also went to the “Last Party on Alderaan” on Saturday night, and actually ran into my friend Angelica there for a bit, which was a nice surprise.
My biggest disappointment, other than freaking out a bit Saturday night when I couldn’t get a hold of mom (due to increased cell usage down there, it turned out), was not having Meredith with me that weekend. I felt like I had been spoiled by having her to spend time with the previous year, and I missed her a lot that weekend. I did get to spend time with her the Tuesday after Con, though, which is nice, and I’ll be coming home to her this year (she’s basically going to be an every other year D*Con goer, I think), but it’s not the same.
2014 was a year where I learned an important lesson of Dragon*Con- don’t cram. Give yourself room to breathe. Do what is important for you. See the people you want to see. And just let it happen to you. That’s when you’ll be happiest at one of the biggest, and most lively, nerd events of the year. It made 2015 all the better when Mere returned with me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens this year.
Thanks for listening,