First off, I did NOT dress up. Ever.
Let’s just get that out of the way right now.
There was a city-sanctioned parade right down Peachtree Street on Saturday morning. The Parade Marshall was George Takei, who played Lt. Sulu on the original Star Trek series. Also appearing as guests were Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and popular wrestler from the 1980’s Rowdy Roddy Piper. There were superheroes, cartoon armies, actors from an Australian TV series called “The Tribe” and TONS of Star Wars characters. Interestingly, I think that Paramount should shoot a movie that shows how Klingons are actually descended from rednecks because the Klingon unit marching in this year’s parade were driving GMC Jimmies and riding Harleys…
Later that day I followed a friend through “Autograph Alley”, normally an area of DragonCon that I’ve steered clear of (especially since I work with actors for a living). This year there were a lot of people back in that corner, all of them taking baby steps around each other because it was so amazingly crowded. Now, how many people need Lou Ferrigno’s autograph so badly that they’re willing to wait 15 minutes to pay the man $20 to sign a piece of paper? Apparently a lot of them. But the biggest line by far was for a guy who is on the TV show “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. Right about the time we got in the deepest, slowest, most-crowded part of the autograph area I had what can only be described as a anxiety-attack. I had to get out of there and I had to get out ASAP. I now believe that my attack was triggered by the odor of somebody who’d filled their diapers but were too determined to get somebody’s autograph to seek the welcoming solace of a bathroom. Poopy pants seemed to flourish over in the Dealer’s Rooms all weekend which is really weird because this is the first year that I noticed it. In next year’s program there had better be some sort of illustrated guide to good hygiene….illustrate it comic book style if it helps get their attention.
Live Long and Don’t Poop In Your Pants. That should be their motto.
If you go to a convention, you’re going to pay convention prices when it’s time to eat. If you don’t want to leave the area you’ll find that the best prices are in the food courts in the Peachtree Center. Chick-Fil-A, KFC, Subway and a half-dozen other typical food court vendors are there, ready to sell you some greasy food. Now you CAN trade up to nicer places, but the nicer restaurants really aren’t THAT much nicer. I wasn’t impressed by Hsu’s Chinese, but some friends enjoyed their meal there. Going back to fried food, Trader Vic’s validates IF you dine with them, which is a great secret to saving $8 in parking fees. On Labor Day I found a Caribou Coffee, but it was closed for the holiday. I will remember its location for next year’s convention.
Elliott Boswell convinced me that the most reasonable place to eat (outside the food court) was the Hooter’s on Peachtree. I don’t normally go to Hooter’s, but since hotel beers were $6 for 12 ounces I recognized the savings we experienced with beers that were $6 per pint. I also recognized the danger to guys from Poland if Elliott is wearing big stuffed dragon-feet and drinking $6/pint beer. Every time Tomascz went to the bathroom Elliott stuffed more condiments into the guy’s backpack. By the time Tomascz gets back to Poland he’ll have enough supplies to start his own Hooter’s franchise.
Imagine a line of Imperial Stormtroopers, two-abreast and 25 deep. Imagine that line of Stormtroopers clomping through the lobby of a Hyatt Regency and out onto the street, closely followed by Speeder Bike Troopers, TIE Fighter Pilots, Death Star Troopers, Imperial Officers, two Darth Vaders, a cluster of Boba Fetts and Jango Fetts. Imagine that same scene with three guys drinking beer on a hotel balcony singing the Imperial March at the top of their lungs. Imagine that same scene as a clutch of Princess Leias and Queen Amidalas flutter out of the hotel, followed by X-Wing pilots and a long line of Jedi Knights….imagine the hysterical laughter that went up when somebody (probably one of the guys on the balcony) started screaming “Watch Out! It’s a trap!”.
One of those stormtroopers had her armor molded to accommodate her boobs, AND she had white high heeled shoes instead of regular boots……..I bet she gets ALL the dates in her squad!
One night I sat down at a table and started writing down some notes for something I’ve been working on for the last year. As I was hurriedly writing down those notes I slowly came to the awareness that I was surrounded by a bunch of guys whose wives/girlfriends were onstage at a costume contest in the ballroom next door. They were all being “purse holders” while their wives were onstage. For a split-second I felt like I was waiting with them for MY wife to finish strutting around the stage in her armor and lingerie and realized that I didn’t want anyone else but me to see her in that getup. Then I remembered that I’m not married or anything so I scooted off to grab a beer and laugh at myself.
Did you know that there’s a film festival at DragonCon? There is, and it’s pretty neat. You could enter it if your movie meets the requirements. Next year I’m going to go spend more quality time in the dark; the film festival was entirely worth it. They had entries from around the world.
For the past several years there’s been a Phish-like drum-circle near the swimming pool at the Hyatt. There’s nothing quite as wonky as seeing a patuli-scented Imperial Stormtrooper getting jiggy with the primal drumbeats, but I’ve always been amazed that the loud whumpitty-whump-whumps of the drums have been allowed to go on as late into the night as they did. Up until this year. I didn’t hear that drum-circle anywhere, ever, at all. I wonder if it just went away…
The Miss Klingon Beauty Pageant was much smaller this year, about six or seven contestants total. I think the Klingons are dying out. As much as I used to love the Klingons in the 1980’s, the jokes about blood wine and such are just plain tired.
A few years ago I became a big fan of the “Whose Line Is It” competition down in the Baker Room. They had some funny, funny players who were pretty good at improv and the host made the show even funnier. Every round built on the next one, so that if you started watching from the first round you’d know all the inside jokes by the time it got to the last round. This year the new contestants didn’t seem to know the rules of all the games, the sound system wasn’t working right, the host wasn’t quite as funny (sorry Jamie) and they started off with inside jokes leaving the audience way behind from the very beginning. I only made it to 2 rounds this year, one of them was awful, the second was much better. Maybe next year I’ll work up the nerve to enter…but it’s a hard, hard, silly, hard game. Plus it’s silly.
I really, really, really want to begin creating some items that I could put into next year’s art show. I don’t know what I’d paint though. I really enjoy doing figural sketches, but does the world need more bare-breasted women warrior drawings? I’m thinking the answer is “no” after seeing the vast tableau of naked women with bits of armor clinging to their bodies. There was one artist who had nothing but big-boobied warrior witches straining to keep their “girls” aloft. If I had to guess I’d say that this artist’s subjects had 48EEE’s and would have fought their biggest battles against chronic back fatigue in their constant effort to keep those things from catching wind like a sailing ship. One strong gust and they’d be out for the count. Anyway, I’d still like to do some paintings/illustrations to enter into the competition next year. We’ll see.
So…what did I leave out? The Lost Boys playing their songs? The especially naughty costumes? What about the general air of friendliness between perfect strangers? Sitting in a bar and feeling like it just might be the one straight out of Star Wars? There are a lot of things that I didn’t get to do or see this year, like the big costume contest that was held in the Civic Center. However, Elliott -did- attend the contest and he told a little story about one of the contestants:
The announcer began reading this guy’s intro “He comes from the dark, mysterious, blah, blah, blah….nobody knows who he is, nobody knows his name…..blah, blah, blah”. The guy is onstage in some kind of horrible, skeletal outfit, swirling and skittering around to show how horrible he really, truly must be for something without a name. Just about that time Elliott screamed into the vast auditorium “I LOVE YOU BOB!!!!!”. He said that the skeleton guy started lunging around, trying to see who’d stolen his thunder… Boy do I love seeing all the silliness of DragonCon.
Oh yeah, I totally forgot that Elliott was re-telling the story about Tomascz when he unexpectedly appeared right in front of us….having tracked us down. He was like….”YOU GUYS!!!”. I love international tom-foolery.
Anyway, I can’t wait for next year.
And NO, I will not dress up. Not until you do.
END CAPTAINS REPORT