Saturday morning found me waking up at 6:00 am EST (3am according to the laptop set on “home” time) to start preparing for a day at Dragon*Con spent as the lovely Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. Complete with thigh holsters and an attitude of adventure, I left my hotel room ready to face the day’s activities head on.
Our group started the day standing on a raised concrete planter box, heads and shoulders above spectators crammed elbow-to-elbow and cheek-to-cheek on the sidewalk, to watch the world famous Dragon*Con Parade down Peachtree Street. From 10 to 11 am we watched with palatable delight as our favorite characters walked, rolled and drove down the street. Make no mistake, this is no Disney Parade packed with watered-down characters and heart-softening plot-lines… instead Dragon*Con hosts a parade of Aliens, Predators, Pirates, Ghost Busters, Comic-Book Heroes, Villains and much more.
Anyone in costume is allowed to enter the Dragon*Con parade, and the level of detail in the attire of those who entered was truly amazing. From Stormtroopers to Pirates, it would be easy for someone to believe that they had entered a time warp and come out in another dimension.
After the parade we headed into the Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott for a snack and then hoofed it over to the Westin a few blocks away for a panel called Steam Queens and Clockwork Hookers. Unfortunately, once we arrived, we discovered that the panel discussion was less about the awesomely seductive nature of the women in Steampunk, and more about the Women’s Rights Movement of the 19th century. Quickly and quietly, we ducked out the back of the room and went up a few floors to the Dragon*Con attempt at breaking the Guiness Book of World Records for highest number of Superheros and Supervillians in one place.
Perched atop the balcony over the ballroom where the record attempt was held, we got a chance to watch hundreds of our favorite characters gather and mingle, and then as a special treat enjoyed a talk given by Lou Ferrigno (most famous for playing the Incredible Hulk in 1978).
We quickly discovered that when waiting for your next scheduled event – or more likely you miss the start time by getting lost and wandering through the wrong hotel for 45 minutes looking for a room that doesn’t exist – people-watching is a great way to pass the time at Dragon*Con. There are literally thousands of incarnations of fictional characters from the far reaches of the fictional world to see, and all of the people who we talked to were happy to talk to us about the time and effort that they have invested in their costumes. We took lots of photos with our favorite characters and met lots of great people between events.
Late in the afternoon we attempted to get into “Science of the Verse” at the Hilton, but in time it became clear that we were too late and would not be joining the other hundreds of geeks who had been in line (out and around the building) for the presentation.
We made our way through several of the vendor areas where I picked up a Chad Vader t-shirt and a copy of Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath for the Xbox at home. The number of vendors, creative products and selection of goods is overwhelming, and I suggest that anyone shopping Dragon*Con plan carve out a few hours to fight the crowds and browse the merch. Con goers who tries to rush through the vendor booths will miss out on some really cool gear, games and apparel that can only be found at conventions like Dragon*Con.
We started to grow weary, but pushed on through the night. Lara Croft’s ensemble wasn’t uncomfortable, but after hours of hiking through hotel lobbies and bars in combat boots my feet needed a change. So after a quick change of wardrobe, we headed back to the Marriott for a midnight concert by I:Scintilla. The hard rock kick and female vocals got us re-energized, and before we knew it we were ready for more action!
The evening closed with a presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Lips Down on Dixie. I had never seen the RHPS live before and I’ve got to say that you cannot fully appreciate the awesomeness of the movie without actors acting along with the film. Lips Down on Dixie did a wonderful job making RHPS even more entertaining than it already is on its own, and if you find yourself in Atlanta I strongly suggest you check out their Friday night show.
We finally wandered back to our hotel rooms from Dragon*Con bleary eyed and bubbling over with excitement from the days events around 4:30 am. The day was, by anyone’s estimation, excruciatingly long. However, it was also filled with the things that our geeky dreams are made of and we can’t wait to do it all again once the sun rises and declares it officially is Sunday.
For more information on the people and events that I sampled today, check out the sites below:
Lou Ferrigno: http://www.louferrigno.com
Guinness Book of Wold Records: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/
Chad Vader: http://www.blamesociety.net/chadvader/index.php
Lips Down on Dixie: http://www.lipsdownondixie.org/
To read part 1, 3 and 4 of this series on Dragon*Con please click here!