Friday, September 09, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 - Activities and Attractions

This year was the 25th anniversary of Dragon*Con, a multigenre, multimedia convention celebrating science-fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, and gaming. I attended the convention for the first time recently, and thought it'd be fun to share some of what I saw...


The amount of things to do at Dragon*Con is overwhelming. Costume contests, robotics workshops, parades, sewing circles, jam sessions...if your interests are broad, there's a good chance you won't be able to do a tenth of the things that appeal to you at the convention. Here's a rundown of what we did:

PANELS

The backbone of Dragon*Con is the discussion panel. While there are a range of panel topics (seminars on copyright law, space science, and steampunk literature), the most prevalent and popular panels are Q&A sessions with celebrities.


For major stars (your William Shatners and Carrie Fishers), the line to get into the panels can stretch multiple city blocks. Heck, we attended an "Icons of Horror" panel featuring Tony Todd, Robert Englund, and Lance Henriksen, and there wasn't an empty seat in the house.

WALK OF FAME

For those who prefer a more up-close-and-personal experience, D*C offers a "Walk of Fame" where celebs (mostly actors) congregate to sign autographs, pose for photos, and swap war stories. Basically all of the stars charge for autographs and pictures, as D*C doesn't pay them to attend discussion panels. This year's D*C had some interesting guests (the legendary Ernest Borgnine? Really?), but we only took the photos of two stars.


Here's Tessa (dressed as a Mord-Sith) with Colin Ferguson, star of "EUReKA". Colin's a really nice guy:


Me and Ziggyzeitgeist took this photo of Stephen Yeun, who plays Glenn on "The Walking Dead":


ARTISTS AND AUTHORS

D*C draws plenty of published sci-fi and fantasy authors, many of whom do readings and autograph sessions for fans. Here's me (dressed as Hogun the Grim) with the author of "Monster Hunter International," Larry Correia. That's right, this pic actually happened:


D*C has a pretty large contingent of artists. If you don't find something here that you wouldn't be proud to hang up on your wall, you're probably in the wrong place:


FILM FESTIVALS

There are tons of films screened at D*C every year. I attended the sci-fi comedy block and managed to catch a cute short film, "Blunderkind." It's about a boy genius who accidentally sends his best friend 20 years into the future, where the boy genius has turned into an alcoholic loser (due to the apparent failure of his time machine):

trailer for blunderkind from zak on Vimeo.


ODDS & ENDS

I gave blood at the 2011 Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive, and received tetanus and flu shots:


Everything's nerdy at D*C, even the vaccination posters:



DANCES AND PARTIES

Nighttime at D*C means partying, partying, and more partying. D*C has many official themed parties for con-goers, including "Last Night on Alderaan" ("Star Wars"), "The Grand Pirate and Time Travelers' Ball" (alternate history and pirates), and the "Zombie Prom":


DRAGON*CON AT THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM


We spent most of Saturday night at the Georgia Aquarium, which closed its doors to the general public and held a special event for Dragon*Con attendees. Even though attendance was limited, the inside of the Georgia Aquarium was pretty crowded.


Okay, so it doesn't really make sense for Michonne and Rick from "The Walking Dead" to be in the Georgia Aquarium...the picture's awesome anyway:


It's already a spectacular aquarium, one of the best in the South, but the nighttime D*C atmosphere makes for an unforgettable experience.




My friends Sophie and Ziggyzeitgeist particularly enjoyed the aquarium's famed undersea tunnel:



This is a prime spot for aquatic-themed cosplay. Mermaids? Check.


Little Sisters from BioShock? Check.


Faux Aquamen touching actual sting rays? Check.


That does it for now. Check out next post for costuming, Shangrila Towers style.

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