Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dragon*Con 2013

It's been a while since we've been to Dragon*Con. (Eight years.)
Scroll all the way down if you just want to see pictures and video, I blather on for a while.

Dragon*Con is a convention about sci-fi, fantasy, comics, art, and general pop culture. There are workshops for writers, puppeteers, costumers, actors, illustrators, and discussion groups with scientists, paranormal enthusiasts, horror buffs, and a zillion other sub-sub-genres. There are Q&A panels with the cast of popular movies and TV shows (this year, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Fraggle Rock, Pinky and the Brain, Fringe, Supernatural, and a bunch of others). There are celebrity appearances (click here for the list) and live performances.

Last time we were there, it took over the Hilton, the Hyatt, and the Marriott.

Now it takes over the Hilton, the Hyatt, the Marriott, the Westin, and the Sheraton (with the dealers in a separate building altogether), and host hotel rooms are be sold out within minutes of becoming available. If you want to go, plan early!

The con happens between Thursday and Monday over Labor Day Weekend, with events all five days. We registered on Thursday. They've streamlined their process in the last few years (good thing, for 45,000 people), so even though the line outside stretched down the block and around the corner, it went surprisingly quickly. Much of the time, this quickly:

There are so many panels and workshops you can attend, it's difficult to prioritize. But you can only be in one place at a time, so we ended up skipping panels and workshops to eat, get in line for the next big event, or because we were turned away from what we were trying to get into.

The line to see one of the Game of Thrones panels went up the street, around the corner and halfway up the next block to the hotel drop-off area, through the drop-off area and up the stairs to the side of the building, down the short hallway to get IN the building, then partway along the lobby wall to get to the ballroom where the panel was to be held.

To Grandmother's house we go!

I wasn't turned away, but by the time I got a seat I was nowhere near the front of the room.

Then again, I wasn't really anywhere near the back of the room, either. I'm sure it filled up, but I didn't think to look around once it started.

I managed to see panels with cast members from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones, Fraggle Rock, Pinky and the Brain, and Venture Brothers; one of the costume contests (a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal won); a live podcast from author Scott Sigler; a live radio play; and a handful of fan-run panels about writing and puppetry. I wasn't able to get into Brian Brushwood's magic show, the geek burlesque show, or the Futurama voice actors panel. Next time!

All this is well and good, but what Dragon*Con is probably best known for is the costumes.

Husband went as Colonel Sanders. He does it frighteningly well and it's easy to pack for an international flight. He was also a rock star, even on the street outside of the con - I think part of the appeal is that he's instantly recognizable without needing to know about a particular TV show or video game.

I had two costumes, Girl Stinky from Sam and Max and a maneki neko (Asian luck cat). Girl Stinky looks like an easy, throw-it-together affair, but it was a ton of work and a huge learning experience for me. Unfortunately, by the end of the first day, I had a blister on one foot so big and deep it felt like I was walking on a balloon, so I switched to the other costume for the other days. Just as well, really, I was only recognized four or five times as Girl Stinky. The maneki neko was recognized a bit more, and the whole costume is much more comfortable.

Photo from Flexible Photography

But this is probably what you came to see: the photos we took. This isn't all of them, but these are either the most clever or the least blurry. I didn't even come close to catching all of the great costumes I saw, but I think I made a decent effort.

One of my favorites was the velociraptor from Jurassic Park. Even up close (like a few inches away), it looks amazing. The head in particular, it has a shaped tongue and roof of the mouth, the teeth are cast coyote teeth, and that eye looks like it could blink at any moment.

Overall, we drew some conclusions about costuming trends.

Most popular themes: Disney Princesses, Star Wars, and Steampunk

Too many: Daenerys from Game of Thrones and Jayne hats

A surprising number of: Beetlejuice, Goblin King from Labyrinth, and the Evil Queen and Maleficent as a pair

I didn't realize the two in the middle are men until I posted this.

Did not see this trend coming: Sharknado

Left from my camera, center from Umo Photography, right from CNet

Since we left, we've been brainstorming about costumes to make for the next time we go to Dragon*Con. Not next year, but maybe in another two or three.

Who knows? Maybe I'll make a luck dragon as a two-person costume.

1 comment:

  1. Hi to the husband from the other Colonel Sanders!