Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DragonCon 2011: Day 1 - Friday, September 2nd

I started my official Day 1 with a ride on the Holiday Inn shuttle. This was the free shuttle that the Holiday Inn Capitol Conference Center employed to take its guests to and from anywhere within a 3 mile radius during most normal hours. The shuttle was a great idea in theory, but was poorly executed for DragonCon. I don't think that they were aware of the sheer number of people that were going back and forth, nor did they coordinate with its guests on where to wait at the specific hotels. Therefore there was often a 30 minute wait only to have the shuttle pull up to the Marriott and have 30 people rushing at it from all directions and then, another 30 minute wait for the next shuttle. Again, great idea, but definitely an area to improve.

I dropped off the husband in the line to see William Shatner about an hour early and ran off to the Write a Story in an Hour. For a writer, this was one of the best ways to start off DragonCon. Not only did I get to meet other writers, but the suggestions thrown out by members of the audience as we attempted to create a story complete with hero, supporting character, villain, and basic plot was both educational and hilarious at the same time. Members kept wanting to find a way to add ninjas to a story that started with fog, a shipwreck, and a clock.

We chose to spend most of the time until the Sanctuary panel wandering around, people watching, shopping, and just having a great time. One of the highlights of our meandering was the Space track who set out telescopes to view the sun. My inner 8-year old astronaut was so geeked I could hardly contain myself. A huge thank you to those who ran the event for giving me the opportunity!

The Sanctuary panel was the huge draw for me that day. Amanda Tapping began by sticking her head out of a curtain and viewing the audience, most of whom didn't even see her. One of the things that I enjoy the most about Sanctuary and the cast is that they truly care what the fans have to say. Amanda wrote a multitude of notes to follow up on, one of which involved inviting the wrongly cancelled show Eureka star Colin Ferguson on to Sanctuary. The cast were both kind and funny. Instead of the panel being led by a moderator, the cast let the audience ask questions.

Friday night we ordered dinner from a Chinese Buddhist restaurant called The Green Sprout. They had quite a bit of trouble finding our hotel, however, once we did receive the food, it was absolutely delicious. It's not often that a vegetarian has so many choices, especially fake meat versions of the dishes that we used to eat before we turned vegetarian, like sweet and sour "chicken".

The night was supposed to cap off with the Masquerade Ball, an event that was supposed to celebrate DragonCon's 25th Anniversary. Unfortunately we were six people away from getting in when they locked the doors, with hundreds behind us. I cannot understand why the signature event would have been placed in a smaller room. Saddened, we stumbled upon a group of people dressed as Spiderman breakdancing. Paired with a beer or two, and this was a fun stint to watch.
More people watching followed, as well as a duck in to see The Last Dance playing who I enjoyed, though the speakers in the room made the music a little hard to enjoy without plugging my ears to drown out half of the volume. It was a great first day at DragonCon. Stay tuned for Day 2.

Friday, September 9, 2011

DragonCon 2011: Unofficial Day 1 - Thursday, September 1st

This past Labor Day I had my first DragonCon experience, four chaotically packed days where I was always wondering what would happen next. Dragon Con takes place every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA, where about 40,000 people converge upon the city, most in costume, to have what may be the largest geek family reunion in the world of family you didn't know you had.

The official start to DragonCon was Friday, but the parties truly kick off on Thursday, that is, after you stand in the epic line to get your badge. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get ours, but since we heard that the new computer system had gone down and last year it had been 4 hours we considered ourselves lucky. Once we were on the inside of the hotel someone would scream "Marco!" and about 200 people would scream "Polo!" back. The feeling of geek camaraderie was intense and I lapped it up!

Here's me gushing over my first DragonCon badge.

We went to dinner with the Brit Track to Haveli's and enjoyed a delicious Indian buffet as well as fantastic company. After that it was all about meeting people and enjoying the costumes that were starting to come out.

I knew my con experience truly started when someone screamed "Sexy Alien!" and a few people ran down one of the walkways that connect two of the hotels for a picture. These two jumped in a photo and the smiles on their faces make me laugh every time.

My next favorite was the Storm Trooper that had found himself in the middle of a John Travolta movie.

We also attended an Emerald Rose concert, a fantastic pagan/celtic band whose catchy pagan/celtic tunes get me moving every time.

Here's a couple more pictures of things we saw Thursday night.

More to come as the pictures are uploaded. I'll also post a couple of videos that I shot of the panels and the parade, so check back in a few days!