24 September 2011

A Saturday Selection from Dragon*Con 2011

I’m way past the point of calling my three-hour a night TV habit a guilty pleasure. Too much Highlander, Andromeda, Remington Steele and Antonio Banderas movies were directly responsible for With Nine You Get Vanyr—to say nothing of my involvement in fan culture.

Rather than go over the same ground as my talented colleagues, today I want to talk to you about what happens if you get too deep into fandom. Sooner or later you will find yourself at a media convention. And the biggest, baddest media con, run by fans for fans, is Atlanta’s Dragon*Con, held every year in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. If you are very lucky, you will graduate from wide-eyed attendee to participating guest. It’s a great gig. You get up-close-and-personal with the art and exhibits. Writers, artists and the occasional musician start to remember your name—and almost never run away when they hear it.

The only downside to this scenario is you start to use the con as a business tool. These days my schedule revolves around my panels and desired interviews instead of gorging myself on the fan panels I really want to see. But that doesn’t mean my inner fan girl is entirely dead.

I still get a kick about Atlanta’s slow, inexorable slide into accepting Dragon*Con as its very own “Nerdi Gras” (as one fan called it). Check out the banners that were already flying on Peachtree Street when I arrived in town August 31.

Or the world’s most perfect fantasy real estate sign.

Meanwhile, in the Hyatt Regency, one of the con’s five participating hotels, they were outfitting the Dragon*Con Armory with lots of sharp pointy objects and things that go boom. Pay no attention to that harmless looking woman with the camera. She’s not the one you want. She’s just here to, um, drool over those lethal blades.

The squee-worthy moments change. Instead of freaking over sitting the front row in your favorite star, you learn to cherish the chance encounters—sharing the elevator with the actor you grew up watching on TV or catching Rogue, the lead singer for the Cruxshadows (one of my all-time favorite bands) unloading the van late Thursday night.

But no matter what you’re doing at Dragon*Con, you’re never more than a few feet away from a great costume.

(Yes, those are liquor shots slung in those bandoleers. Something tells me these boys were very popular.)

Or a jaw-dropping parade float.

(I confess. I arrived too late to the parade to catch more than a few videos, which I haven’t posted yet. But what I saw was amazing. Even more amazing was the fact every slot in the parade was filled before they opened on-site registration.)

To say nothing of the dopplegangers.

(Is this or is this not the most amazing James Scott impersonator you’ve ever seen?)

And the music.

(This is from the Jefferson Starship’s late Sunday night show. Check out singer Cathy Richardson’s Star Trek uniform.)

Including some musical moments not on the program.

(This is my best shot of the con: The Cruxshadows’ JoHanna Moresco demonstrating violin technique to a young friend.)

Capped off by an intimate Monday afternoon show by one of my other favorite bands, Emerald Rose.

But fans will be fans.

I confess, Sunday night I snuck away to indulge a total fan girl moment in an off-site reading from The Greyfriar by none other than James Marsters (shown here flanked by The Greyfriar authors Clay and Susan Griffith).

Buffy’s Spike. Torchwood’s Captain Jack Hart. In the living flesh.
Did I mention I shot video? From the front row?
But that, my darlings, is another blog entirely…


If you’d like to see the rest of my Dragon*Con pictures (including some of your favorite authors) and more notes than I have space for here, check out my Flickr photo stream. No videos yet, but I’m working on it. I’m working on it!

Jean Marie

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