If you listen to the show regularly, you know that Kylan and I were down in Atlanta for Labor Day weekend to attend the mega pop culture geek nirvana known as Dragon Con (along with about 90,000 of our closest friends). This was our fourth time there and it has been a few years since we last attended. A lot was (thankfully) as we remembered it, but there were a few noticeable changes as well.
If you’re not fully versed in D*C, it’s a fan-run convention spread across five hotels in downtown Atlanta (with gaming and vendors a sixth location). One change for us this time was staying in a host hotel, which was convenient for getting to all locations, plus was great when panels or parties were in our hotel. But whether it’s panels, parades, costume contests, photo shoots, parties… there are things happening almost 24 hours a day from Thursday through Monday. It used to be a packed Friday to Monday schedule, but the con has expanded so much that things start on Thursday now and people begin arriving on Wednesday!
One thing that stayed the same was the vast array of panels to attend. There are more than 40 fan “tracks” covering everything from nostalgic sci-fi shows and movies to costuming to alternate history to anime to British programming to current hit tv shows, each one with a full schedule of panels. A track that I attended a few panels for this time around (which I hadn’t done before) was the Science Track. With panelists that included chemists, biologists, physicists, engineers and others, I found it incredibly interesting to get the inside scoop on how certain “sci-fi” creations could be made possible. One such panel was “The Science of Luke Cage” and another was “The Managing the Multiverse” – check my blog for the next couple weeks for recaps on those (because, like a complete nerd, I took notes!).
And because DC attendees are the open minded sort, there are panels and events later in the evenings that cover more mature topics. On the Brit Track, I attended the “Gay/Trans Issues in Doctor Who” panel, which not surprisingly focused a lot on the companion Bill, as well as the possibilities for the new female Doctor. And back on the Science Track I went to “The Polyamorists Next Door”, which presented findings from a 15-year study of poly families.
Of course, not all the late night activities were of a serious nature – if there’s one thing DC attendees love to do (besides get in costume), it’s party. Every night there were anywhere from two to five official parties going on – I say official because there were plenty of unofficial gatherings and room parties as well. Kylan and I went to the Mechanical Masquerade on Sunday night, which was arranged by the Alt History Track (basically the steampunks). But the one new thing we did was an unofficial gathering to celebrate the unofficially official drink of DC: Pie. Essentially, Pie is a mix of alcohol with spices and fruits to make it taste pie-like. The original and most popular is apple, but any fruit you can think of works. Over the course of the tasting (which was after a legit competition and judging), we tried apple, lemon, Key lime, blackberry and blueberry. And yes, some were very strong and it all flowed pretty freely. By the time I made it to the end of the line, I’d had around a dozen or so shots in the span of less than 15 minutes. It was a very good night!
The big reason that so many people love Dragon Con is the cosplay. Geeks who regularly attend other cons and have yet to get to DC always refer to it as the cosplay con… and with good reason. Probably 75% or more of attendees wear some form of costume at least one of the days and I would guess more than 50% wear a different costume every day of the convention. And yes, Kylan and I got involved too – I cross-played as Rick from Rick and Morty (there was an unofficial meetup on Saturday night) and Kylan finally gave in and cosplayed as Chef from South Park (complete with salty chocolate balls to giveaway). The first year we attended I took a couple hundred pics of the cosplay alone! And because DC covers all fandoms, the cosplay follows suit – you get characters from anime, video games, sci fi, cartoons, movies, comics… some people even cosplay musicians and wrestlers! It’s great to see the huge, intricate, amazing costumes, but for those of us who do “cosplay light”, it’s inspiring to see what those with perhaps less talent and time to dedicate to making costumes are still able to do to celebrate their fandom.
Anyway, there is a lot more I could say about Dragon Con and you still won’t really know what it’s like until you get yourself there. If you want to check out my pics, I have a couple of albums (Part 1 and Part 2) on Facebook. And remember, DC is in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend every year – and badges are already available for 2018!