Over the Labor Day weekend, Nancy and I and and more than 40,000 of our geekiest friends converged on downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con, a celebration of all things sci-fi, fantasy and general geekiness. Think ComicCon, just about a third of the size and not quite as many celebrities. Now, don't get me wrong, there are stars aplenty, along with panels, workshops, costumes both awesome and cringe-worthy, photo-taking opportunities, parties, concerts, and tons of other stuff to fill the four days to the brim. We thought we'd share some of our favorite highlights from this year's con.
Nancy: The costumes. They're always inspired and often amazing. The steampunk ones again seemed to be most elaborate and also the ones I'd least like to wear in Atlanta in late summer. I thought the various Lego people walking around were cute. As always, superheroes and stormtroopers wandered in great numbers. I didn't see as many Klingons or Rebel Alliance pilots this year as usual.
Trish: I think you could have a ton of fun at Dragon*Con just sitting in the lobby of one of the host hotels and watching all the costumes. Last year, I did a costume as Alice from Twilight, but it was basically real clothes so I didn't stand out much. This year, I had a costume made and went as Kahlen Amnell from Legend of the Seeker. That's me on the left sporting a long wig and without my glasses. Yes, I was the nearly blind Mother Confessor. :) A group of Legend of the Seeker fans got together on Friday night and did a group photo. Nancy mentioned how hot the steampunk costumes must be, but I've got to say the Mord Sith costumes (full-body leather) had to have been a million times worse. I only had on a leather bustier and I was sweating.
Nancy: The parade. It's such a gathering of enthusiastic people and so much fun. Every year, fantasy author and illustrator Janny Wurts leads off, marching down Peachtree Street and playing "Scotland the Brave" on her bagpipes. The boy was in the anime section but on the wrong side of the street, so I didn't get good photos of him. This year, a firetruck came down the street, slanted diagonally across the street but rolling forward (I have no idea how they do that) to clear it before the parade stepped off. Many cheers and loud applause greeted the fireman, who looked a bit bemused.
Kevin Sorbo rode in the parade. He comes to Dragon*Con almost every year, and I've never heard of his being less than gracious. A few years back, I looked ahead as I rode up the escalator and there, about ten feet in front of me, were Sorbo and Andromeda co-star Steve Bacic, just the two of them, no security, and nobody was bothering them.
Trish: I've yet to make it to the parade. I tend to always want to go to a panel or have my picture taken with someone more. This year at that time, I was having my photo taken with the lovely and very sweet Jewel Staite (Kaylee from Firefly/Serenity). I didn't do as many star photos this year, but I couldn't pass up ones with Jewel, Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly/Serenity and Anna on V), Sean Maher (Simon from Firefly/Serenity) -- yes, I'm a huge fan/Browncoat -- and Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1.
It is fun and surreal to pass by stars in the hallways, on the escalators, and in the elevators. My roomie for the weekend, fellow author Tanya Michaels, and I were headed up some narrow back stairs to another level of the Hilton one of the days and met Sendhil Ramamurthy and Adrian Pasdar from Heroes going the other way. When we got to the next floor, I looked at Tanya and said, "Well, that doesn't happen every day."
Nancy: The art show. I love the art show. I always see many beautiful things I covet, especially paintings, but I have no room for any more, a result of many years of seeing beautiful pictures we coveted in a variety of settings. Still, I go and look. The work is so creative, not just paintings and drawings but sculptures, jewelry, chain mail, all kinds of things. I considered buying a small print we could surely squeeze in somewhere but ultimately resisted. I did get a Christmas gift, though.
Trish: I didn't make it to the art show this year. I started to one afternoon, but by the time I'd gotten through one of the dealer rooms, I had a splitting headache and went to my room instead. I did, however, stroll through the Walk of Fame where the stars meet fans and sign autographs. Tanya and I met James and Oliver Phelps, the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter movies, who were very nice, and talked with Mark Sheppard, who plays Crowley on Supernatural, about his character and the upcoming season. He's been in so many of our favorite shows (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, etc.)
Nancy: The dealers' rooms. Talk about coveting--there are some beautiful things down there, weapons, costumes, jewelry, art work. I mostly resisted, though. I haven't worn the beautiful glass dragon necklace I got last year. I'd love to have a broadsword but not keep in the closet. There's that space thing again. It's narrow but long, takes up a lot of room on the wall. I did get an HMS Fearless, CL-56 shirt, commemorating the Royal Manticoran Navy light cruiser (Honor Harrington series, for those who care).
Trish: I told myself I was going to be good this year, and I suppose compared to last year I was. I added a couple of Firefly shirts to my collection, three Firefly-inspired necklaces, and one book Cold Magic by Kate Elliott).
Nancy: The programs. I went to one on "The Physics of Magic" that included Lair guest Laura Anne Gilman that had plenty of food for thought. I enjoyed "An Hour With Elizabeth Moon" on the Anne McCaffrey track. I love Moon's Vatta's War series--in which there will not be anything new for a while, alas--and enjoyed her Paksenarrion series, which she is now expanding.
I closed out my weekend at the "Shooting Science Fiction in Canada" panel with Alaina Huffman of Smallville (Black Canary) and Stargate Universe, Michael Shanks of Stargate SG-1 and Smallville (Hawkman), and Mark Sheppard of BSG, Supernatural (where he plays a "sexually ambivalent crossroads demon"), and lots of other sff series. They were laid back and funny. I'm always grateful to stars who stick around on Monday, when the thinning crowd means I can go to their panels without standing in a long line for 90 minutes.
Trish: There are so many great things to choose from. I've been to writer's track programs before, but this year I went to all TV-related things. The first panel Tanya and I went to was on V, and it ended up being the Morena Baccarin show since Laura Vandervoort and Joel Gretsch canceled their appearances, but she did a great job. We stood in line for more than 2 hours to get into the Firefly panel with Morena, Jewel, Sean and Summer Glau (River) on Saturday. The line literally wrapped around the entire block twice, so long that the Dragon*Con officials had to start counting back the line and when they got to the fire marshal limit for the ballroom, they had to tell everyone behind that they couldn't get in. Yes, this for a show that was canceled before it aired an entire season. Grrr, Fox! Sunday morning, we got great seats at the Warehouse 13 panel. I think it was less attended than the ones held on the previous days because everyone thought Eddie McClintock (Pete) was going to be gone already. Well, turns out he was having such a good time that he stuck around to do this panel with Saul Rubinek (Artie), Tia Carrere (Katie), and Mark Sheppard (Valda). It was a great panel! And I started following Eddie's hilarious tweets on Twitter.
Nancy: Pervading it all, of course, is the energy and enthusiasm of people who've come to celebrate things they love in the company of other people celebrating what THEY love. It was a great weekend.
Trish: Ditto what Nancy said. :)
Okay, now we're curious. If you were to go to Dragon*Con and dress up, who would you dress up as?