Dragon*Con 2012 – Day 1

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Over the Labor Day weekend, I returned to Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s annual convention for  popular culture, primarily from the sci-fi TV/Movies, but with many others:  Science, writing, costuming (of any type), gaming, skepticism, art, fantasy book series, writing, etc.

For the first time, I did not go a day early to collect my membership badge, a process which historically has taken 3 or more hours.  Last year they introduced a digital process, and it took 5 minutes, mostly winding through the serpentine queue line (necessary should technology fail). 

From there it was off to:

Paranormal 101: A panel hosted by hobbyist “ghost hunters” who investigated others’ complaints of odd bumps in the night, moving items, etc.  Panelists included investigators from Atlanta, Boston, and L.A.  This is not a panel I normally would have chosen, but my wife was interested, and there were no better panels during the time slot. 

The panel included the “basics” for investigations, including a video recorder (the fewer electronic filters, the better), an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), etc.  Also included was advice on getting to know your teammates, as some may not be quite all there or have other issues would could impact those you’re trying to help (i.e., criminal records).  Also discussed were the dangers of leaping to conclusions, with examples of cell phone signals giving false alarms to electronic meters and giving consideration to the medical aspects of those who live in an investigated site (someone who is failing to take prescribed medication, for example).


Also recounted were signs from a Norcross, GA parsonage, a Rhode Island lighthouse, and The Old South Pittsburgh Hospital.  After basically learning nothing new, there were two takeaway comments:

1) TV shows condense 4 days of activity to a 30 minute show.  New investigators tend to ask “Why isn’t anything happening?”  Answer:  “Welcome to ghost hunting.”

2) When voices are heard, the message is generally limited to age, gender, or a brief directing message (“go away,” “get off my bed”).  There’s never a “I was murdered by my uncle due to....” 

While waiting in line for the next panel, I took a few pictures.  You really should be camera ready at Dragon*Con, because you never know what might walk by next.


This T-Shirt cracked me up.


Luigi obviously aims higher than the Princess.



The dress on the right was beautifully made, down to the brooch.  Details below.


Lord of the Rings Celebrity Guests:  These included John Rhys-Davies (Gimli, the Dwarf), Billy Boyd (Pippin), and Craig Parker (Haldir the Elf).  There weren’t any gems in the Q&A, but all three engaged fully and humorously, and Parker surprisingly added a lot considering his character had very few scenes.  Boyd couldn’t help but be funny, and Rhys-Davies played the “elder actor” role, enjoyably giving advice to a very young fan who was nervous when asking a question and who Parker invited to join them on the stage.


And from there to the line for the largest panel I attended this trip.


Zombie feet get tired.


Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver, Stargate):  Anderson had a hard time staying on subject.  It seems he did not love any of his roles other than for Legend, but did like working TV series.  He hasn’t been as active due to raising his daughter, but he seeks to return to the screen soon.  Overall, he seemed a pleasant, down-to-Earth person, but one who speaks better from a script.


And on the way to the next line...




A Firefly costuming family for the upcoming Firefly panel:


Good planning ahead for passing the time:


Weird Al:



Firefly:  This series lasted only one season but built as much fan loyalty as any series possibly could.  Aside from the characters and the writing, the cast chemistry was tremendous and remains obvious in any panel of the actors.  This year marked the return of Adam Baldwin to the convention, as his work in “Chuck” precluded him in previous years.  This was a great panel, with a lot of joy evident amongst the panelists and good humor for all present... and those not present, including Nathan Fillion, who couldn’t help himself from calling on all three of the guests’ cell phones.

Baldwin’s key quote: “On Firefly, my man goal was not to get killed off.”


Complimentary champagne, even.  And then Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon from a fan.


The Walking Dead:  Filmed in Atlanta, we expected this session to be heavily attended... only not so much.  One of the leading actors was unable to attend. The two actors present have departed the show as zombies and had interesting comments about getting their roles and how they found out they would be killed off.  The teen actor, Madison Lintz, spoke well and has numerous roles in progress.  


Other shots to conclude the day.  That evening, a Zombie walk was planned for the Atlanta streets.  Here, two participants get ready with an assist from artists who do makeup professionally.



For each of the last several years, the Steampunk fans are always the best dressed.



And, finally, a chance encounter with a, eh, Voodoo Priestess, I’ll reckon.  My wife survived the potential head-shrinking, fortunately.


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