Rare 1980s Sci-Fi Con Documentary

Note: I never imagined I would be posting TWO “rare sci-fi convention” videos within weeks of each other, but here we are! So here’s the story…

In the fall of 2019 I mentioned to my friend Whit Norris that I was planning a side project to save some of my old home videos from VHS to digital format. Of special interest was the preservation of footage from of one of Atlanta’s two PBS affiliates, WGTV Channel 8, at the science fiction convention Dixie Trek back in the mid-1980s (here’s where I uploaded that other footage).

As Whit understood what I intended to do his eyes lit up and he said “I have a tape that you need to see. We shot video at some conventions back in the 80s.”

Keep reading to learn more about this star-studded vintage video…

Continue reading Rare 1980s Sci-Fi Con Documentary

Rare 1980s Sci-Fi Con Footage

Note: this resided in my VHS collection for 33 years before I finally transferred it into a digital format in December of 2019. I am tremendously happy to share it with the world today and am hoping that people will share the video to wax nostalgic about Atlanta’s con 1980s con scene.

As far as I can tell this is the only “full” version of GPTV’s DixieTrek footage on YouTube. Two other YouTubers have uploaded segments from this broadcast, with much better video and audio quality. Sadly, we did not have cable television so my footage was captured using an over-the-air antenna.

Continue reading Rare 1980s Sci-Fi Con Footage

Review of AnachroCon 2019

On Friday I drove over to the airport Hilton near Hartsfield-Jackson to purchase a weekend pass to AnachroCon (www.anachrocon.org), a small historical fiction convention held in the Atlanta metro area every year since 2009. 

An Outsider’s History of AnachroCon

AnachroCon was launched around the time that the Steampunk Movement hit (around 2009 to 2012), and like most cons it enjoyed its moment in the spotlight.

For more on trends in fandom read ‘20 Years of Cosplay Trends at Dragon Con’.

October 2017

From the outset, the convention’s stated focus was “steampunk, historical reenactment, time travel, and other related genres” – but still, it’s no secret there was always a very special love for Steampunk.

I’ve probably attended 4 or 5 AnachroCons – my bona fides in Steampunk were established back in 2007 when I assisted the infamous space pirate Captain Drew with the design, production, and promotion of Continue reading Review of AnachroCon 2019

The Atlanta Soccer Village

Atlanta Soccer Village Detail 004

Back in the 1990s I stayed employed by moving between Atlanta’s tiny movie industry and a small design practice headed by Laura Heery, daughter of famous Atlanta architect George Heery.  Laura has always been ardent about architecture and urban design, and she was always able to find some truly fun design projects around Atlanta.  I’m always glad that I had the experience to work with her on some of these imaginative projects, even if few of them made it past the concept design stages (that’s the world of architecture).

In then Atlanta had a soccer team called the Atlanta Silverbacks.  I have no idea if they were any good, because I never went to a game. All I know is that we were thrown into an effort to design a soccer stadium that might be part of a larger complex that included Continue reading The Atlanta Soccer Village

Saying Goodbye to The Bandit

My friend Katie Willard Troebs called me today and told me that Burt Reynolds was in heaven with JL, a legendary transportation captain we all knew and loved.  We lost JL nearly a year ago.  JL and his wife Cindy were longtime friends with Burt and have several hysterical tales of regular life incidents with him.  After Katie and I ended our call I began thinking back to the spring of 2010, when I was struck by a sudden, inexplicable nostalgia for the movie Smokey and the Bandit.

Sure, I enjoyed the movie when I was growing up, but I was more of a Star Wars kid which made it kind of odd that I suddenly felt compelled to track down a copy of the original soundtrack from the movie.  At that time I couldn’t find the album in an MP3 format, so I ordered an old CD from someone on eBay.  It was crazy, but the only deal I found was from some dude over in England.  That’s right, England.  When the package made it across the ocean I cut open the envelope only to discover that I had paid for Continue reading Saying Goodbye to The Bandit

Filk Banner Taken at Dragon Con

Update: the banner from the 2018 Dragon Con Filk track has been recovered.

This year the folks who run the Dragon Con Filk track suffered a most grievous loss. Some unknown person removed a handmade banner from their room.

Retiring Director Robby Hilliard’s wife Leigh provided me with the photo featured in this post.

As you can see it’s a one of a kind piece, made even more priceless by the fact that it was created by the late mother of one of the people who routinely volunteer for the Filk track. What a terrible feeling it must be to have her mother’s artwork Continue reading Filk Banner Taken at Dragon Con

Stone Mountain’s Secret Twin

I was driving home last week talking (hands free, mind you) to a friend over in Charleston who informed me that he was considering a getaway to Stone Mountain… in North Carolina. To a native Atlantan like me that last sentence didn’t make any sense because we all know that Stone Mountain is clearly Continue reading Stone Mountain’s Secret Twin

How I Stopped Freaking Out About the Atlanta Comic Con

This past Saturday I was lured downtown by my friend Shawn, who insisted that we needed to check out the new Atlanta Comic Con.  I first heard about the event on Facebook a week or so ahead of time, and naturally wondered if it was connected to the 48 year old media-rich convention held in San Diego every summer (it isn’t).

As you get older you tend to have more responsibilities, so carving out the time for an unknown event like this wasn’t on the top of either of our lists. We had decided to check in with each other that morning to decide if Continue reading How I Stopped Freaking Out About the Atlanta Comic Con

Lesson of Joe: Leaping Before You Look

Tonight I was reminded of a lesson my friend Joe Connolly taught me back when he was Propmaster of the long-forgotten Aaron Spelling series “Savannah”. That fabulous, opulent saga of murder and intrigue by the rich and powerful was actually being produced out of the drafty old storefront of a disused lumber yard more than half an hour north of Atlanta’s state capital . It was so far out of the way that I sometimes wondered if the owner (referred to by some as “Secret Squirrel”) was actually paying Aaron Spelling Continue reading Lesson of Joe: Leaping Before You Look

20 Years of Cosplay Trends at Dragon Con

A graph showing the popularity of costuming groups at Dragon Con from 1997 to 2017

While writing my post What Happened to Klingon Cosplay? I went off on a bit of a tangent on the rise and fall of various cosplay groups as seen at Dragon Con. I decided that this attempt at recording our collective nerd history was so interesting that it deserved its own post.

Star Trek peaked in the 80s and 90s and had entered into its decline by the early 2000s, with Star Wars easily shouldering past to take the lead by the time the new films began to hit. The Lord of the Rings trilogy gave quite a chase and was wildly (wildly) popular, but the much younger Harry Potter series blew past them both to Continue reading 20 Years of Cosplay Trends at Dragon Con