So I’m sitting here two weeks after Dragon*Con started still writing my recap and you won’t even be reading it until two weeks after the last day. But I’ve had stuff going on. Lots of weird stuff at work, family time and the fact that I’m just now starting to feel normal after fighting off some kind of funk for three weeks.
I mentioned my two trips to the doctor previous to Dragon*Con and I’m sure you’re dying to hear some elaboration and follow-up, right?
Well I’ll be merciful and put it off until the end of this thing so you don’t feel obligated to read it. Just know that there’s an awkward, unexpected conversation involved that might make you laugh.
For now, let’s talk about Sunday at Dragon*Con.
There were a few panels I had to choose from on Sunday afternoon. Eureka and Sylvester McCoy were battling for the 11:30 time slot and Shatner and Supernatural were possibilities for 1:00 with a jam-packed Buffy panel winning out over the Venture Bros. at 4:00. That was a tough decision because the Venture panel is excellent every year, but that’s actually kind of what it had going against it. It’s there every year. And Jackson Publick didn’t make it to Dragon*Con this time around, while the Buffy panel featured Nicholas Brendan, James Marsters, Eliza Dushku, Mercedes McNab, Clare Kramer and Julie Benz. That kind of gathering of BTVS alum wasn’t likely to occur again anytime soon (which is extra bad given something stupid I did later in the day; but we’ll get to that). Hammer and Publick will – in all likelihood – be back for 2012.
When I got back to the room Sunday morning after my night of debauchery I set the alarm for 10:30. I planned on getting up and showering and going straight to either McCoy or Eureka (probably McCoy). I wasn’t going to put on a mask or anything. I needed a break – I was chafing from wearing them so much. There was this red line on top of my nose and an actual sore was forming right underneath (that only went away earlier this week). I’ve never worn the masks as much as I did that weekend, but I’ll probably do it again next year. This was the first time I haven’t thought, “I wish I’d been in costume more”. But anyway, not having to dress up meant a lot less prep time.
So the alarm went off at 10:30 and I woke up and realized I was technically still drunk and said, “Fuck that” and reset it for noon.
And the alarm went off at noon and no panel on earth seemed all that important and I said, “Fuck that” and went back to sleep.
I woke up around 2:00 or so and got a text from Monkey that said he and Lady Evil were going to the Buffy panel. I felt human enough to get moving at that point and knew I’d regret it if I missed that one so I got my sorry ass in gear, hit the shower and headed out. In a rare instance of foresight I checked the app to make sure the panel was in the Hyatt like I thought it was and found out that it was actually in the Westin – a hotel that had just been added for 2011. I checked the map in the app (is that a Dr. Seuss book?) and headed off in the general direction, thinking I could get specifics on the way. Monkey texted again saying that they were in some sort of holding chamber for the panel and they had a spot for me. I asked if they wanted any food. I knew this might be tricky because Monkey has this funny thing where he doesn’t eat meat (which is so hard for my brain to process that I still think he and his wife will eat, like, chicken and turkey and stuff); but I thought if they were holding a place it was the least I could do. But only Lady Evil needed grub and she must not have any dietary restrictions because Checkers was just fine.
I asked four different people where the Westin was while I was waiting for food and got four different locations. One was so incredibly bad that I feel sure the guy was intentionally sending me the wrong way. Luckily once I got my order I ran into a Peachtree Center staff member who knew what he was talking about and I reached my destination no problem.
I wish I had taken pictures of the Westin. I mean, I know it’s not going anywhere and I’ll be able to see it again next year, but it is a really cool looking hotel. The interior looks perfectly suited to be in a sci-fi movie – lots of open spaces and glass and railing. I dug it. All the elevators were lined up on either side of a long central hallway that bisected the building. It was kind of like a Star Destroyer or something.
Something that would have been annoying if it didn’t add so much to that sci-fi feel was the floor setup. Monkey had said they were on the tenth floor, but when I got on the elevator there was no tenth floor. As a matter of fact, there were a few floors missing. I figured at worst I could go to the ninth and climb some stairs, and it turned out that the elevators stopped at odd floors and then you took escalators to the next even floor. It was a bit odd, but like I said – it added to the feel of the place.
Also adding to the feel was how tight security was for this panel. I got to the door of the
cell block room that my party was in and the people at the door wouldn’t let me in. I told them I had people in there and they said I would have to leave a genetic sample with them if I wanted to visit. Ha! Just kidding. They asked me if I had a cell phone to call them and make sure I really had people there. It seemed silly, but at the same time at least they gave me that option rather than just turning me away. All in all the Dragon*Con staffers I experienced were much more reasonable this year.
As I was dialing I looked up and saw Monkey standing just inside the doorway. I pointed him out to the staffer and made my way in. I told Monkey he had come up to get me at just the right time and he said that he was actually waiting for clearance to use the restroom. Like I said – security was tight. They had actually had to move the end of the line into a conference room it had gotten so long. We weren’t even sure we would get in, but I had faith (no, not that Faith) that we would. Usually even the longest line only fills a room to about ¾ capacity. A single file line looks a lot more intimidating than people sitting in rows of chairs. Never be put off by a long line.
Once I got inside I went and sat with Lady Evil to eat while we waited for the line to start moving and acknowledged how pathetic I felt for being proud of myself that I was able to wake up in time to make a panel that started at 4 PM. She understood. So did Monkey when he got back. Nobody gets up early after Saturday night at Dragon*Con. Nobody I run with, anyway.
Eventually the staffers announced something from the front of the room. We had no idea what they had announced, but everybody started standing up so we did too. The line filed out of the room and down the escalator into a conference room and sure enough, there was plenty of room once we got in. I don’t know if everybody behind us made it in, but I was definitely thankful that my friends had gotten there before I did.
The panel was great. Marsters and Brendan were as witty as I had expected. Benz and Kramer had some good input and McNab was mostly quiet. The one that surprised me was Eliza Dushku. She was a surprise last-minute addition to Dragon*Con – the very last guest added as and as far as I know hasn’t been before. She was pretty great and while not necessarily a laugh-a-minute like the two guys did have a lot of interesting input. She also pushed her charity work which I have no problem with. If a celebrity-type person is going to use their fame to help people I think that’s pretty admirable. She had some kind of beads or something she was selling at her table to support it and I figured I’d stop by and make a donation later. Good for her.
There was kind of a big problem with the panel, though. You might notice in the above pictures that there are six people. What you might not have noticed is that there were only four mics. This led to all kinds of audibility problems. While Dushku never had any problem making herself heard, an awful lot of what Brendan and Benz said didn’t come across. You can’t expect six people to keep sliding mics around when they’re having normal, random conversation. I think this was a big failing on the part of Dragon*Con. I don’t know for sure, but I would assume this was one of the biggest panels of the weekend. I find it hard to believe they couldn’t have rounded up two more microphones. As it is we probably missed a good twenty percent or so of what was said.
Speaking of what was said; this one was pretty standard fare. Brendan and Marsters talked about casting, everybody had little stories about working on Angel and/or Buffy. It was good stuff. There were some awkward moments where some people didn’t have anything to say to a certain question (this was an audience Q&A panel) and Marsters would always jump in to make the save. I figured out that’s what makes him so good – he looks out for the other people on his panels. He always keeps things moving. It’s pretty amazing to see once you realize he’s doing it because his timing is impeccable. He waits long enough to be certain he’s needed without stepping on anybody’s’ toes.
After things wrapped up we made our way out of the Westin. I had to make a stop at the facilities and was a little shocked to find that the main restroom on the first floor consisted of two stalls and a wall-hanger. Not very futuristic. I didn’t need the three shells or anything, but a few more fixtures might have been nice. I wasn’t in a waiting-in-line kind of mood, if you catch my drift. Naturally, the handicap stall opened up first and I will not use the handicap stall if I can avoid it. So of course I just stand there and the guy behind me gives me this look and uses his perfectly functional two legs to walk in the vacant stall and close the door behind him. Jerk. That’s okay because he didn’t leave before I got into the one next to him and I can promise you his experience was not pleasant after that point.
Sorry. Probably too much information.
So we left the Westin and Lady Evil went to meet her fella and Monkey went to forage in the woods for food. I headed back to the room for some reason or another. Monkey and I agreed to meet in the Dealers’ Room after he downed enough milkweed pods or whatever.
I hadn’t spent much time at all in the various Dealer Rooms over the weekend. Aside from my lanyard and He-Ro
“I heard what you said about me and I don’t appreciate it. At all.”
I had barely spent any money and that’s not like me at all. Monkey was looking for Buffy figures and I decided I was, too. Might as well take advantage of the actors being there and get some more stuff signed. I won’t pay Marsters’ ridiculous fee to get a signature, but I figured Brendan and Benz wouldn’t be too bad and quite frankly I’d pay whatever Eliza Dushku was charging. Pretend I typed some kind of sexy cat noise here – I’m not sure how to spell such a thing.
There was a new dealer just one booth over from my pal with the He-Ro
hookup that had a shit-ton of Buffy toys for mostly reasonable prices. We compared figures and prices and whatnot and each ended up buying three. I don’t know if Monkey was buying for signatures or just to fill out his collection. I got Faith, a non-vamp Darla and Ice Cream Man Xander.
We hit a few more booths and I picked up the Evil Dead musical that I had been wanting and kept forgetting every year. By the time we finished up it was too late to make it to the Walk of Fame, but hitting it Monday should be no problem and it probably wouldn’t be as busy.
I ran into Beau and Sally on the way out of the Dealers’ Room and was happy to see them. We always plan to meet up at Dragon*Con and just never run into each other. I asked them if they were going to be out that night and they said they would. I told them I’d keep an eye out and maybe we’d finally meet up.
And then, on my way back to the room I saw the two best costumes I have ever seen at Dragon*Con. Well, maybe not the best, but certainly two of my favorite. Like, ever.
If you haven’t ever seen Baman Piderman you should go watch some now. If you don’t like it I can accept that, but it is my favorite thing that I’ve ever seen on the internet – no hyperbole. And those two guys stayed in character. It was awesome.
After experiencing that lucky bit of timing I went back to the room and ate something (I don’t remember what), called Mrs. Troublemaker and took another shower. I took a lot of showers that weekend – at least two a day. I think three on Saturday. I don’t want to be a big, stinky guy that nobody wants to be around. I watched a little bit of a Battlestar panel and did my best to get some downtime in. I know that sounds ridiculous after sleeping until 2:00, but Sunday night tends to be crazy-go-nuts. It’s the last night of partying and everybody knows it. There’s this gleeful desperation to everything; a need to get all your party out because you know you’re not going to be doing it quite the same way again until next year.
This explains some of the things I don’t remember doing Sunday night and a couple of the ones I do.
I try to gauge when to wear what all weekend at Dragon*Con. Throughout the rest of the year I give very little thought to what I’m wearing. But at Dragon*Con I am very fashion-conscious. Friday night needs to be comfortable – not only for DCW but because I don’t want to get sick of wearing something stuffy too soon. Saturday would typically be the fanciest night. I think of Saturday like nerd prom. And Sunday needs to be something memorable but not irreplaceable in case of disaster.
But this year I went with the comfortable jumpsuit on Saturday being that it’s more costume-y and saved my best for Sunday night. I had bought two new suits and two new masks for Dragon*Con earlier (and fatter, as it turns out) in the year. I wore the first mask – a silver and black metallic number – on Friday night:
And didn’t get around to wearing the black pinstripe suit. That’s okay because I had already worn it to the WWE Hall of Fame and the Memphis Heat premiere – I got my money’s worth.
The second suit and other mask were the ones at the top of the page.
The white suit was something I had in mind since last year’s Dragon*Con. I knew I needed something to compete with the leopard suit and I thought white would come close. As far as the mask, it was supposed to be a metallic purple. It turned out more of a pink, but in the end I’ve got to say it worked out. I think that whole ensemble looked great. I got a lot of compliments on it, so obviously other people agreed. I even got featured in a set of photos on another site (thanks to Lady Evil for that find). I'm third over from the tiny panties on page 5.
Thusly garbed, I made my way to Evil’s room to meet up with the crew.
When I got there, the place was packed. Evil, Lady Evil, Monkey, K&S (one half of which was in the best Leela [Futurama Leela not Doctor Who Leela] costume I saw all weekend and I don’t have one stinking picture of her), Gnoll, The Big Guy, Inara, Little Pond and Hoffman were all in there watching the kids costume contest on DC*TV. We hung out and watched for a while. Like, a long while. They were way into that contest. I don’t remember who won but I swear somebody in the room must’ve made some money from it.
Once we got going we headed to our normal Marriot spot. We are creatures of habit. We briefly entertained the idea of going straight to the Hilton karaoke but agreed it was just too early for that sort of thing. I knew I’d miss out again, but there was no way I’d be in a singing mood until later.
The very first noteworthy costumes we saw were pretty damn good ones. Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone were right there at our spot. Burgundy even had a legit glass of scotch in hand! T couldn’t ever get a hold of Ms. Corningstone, but I managed to get a picture with Burgundy:
Next up was a really nice guy I like to think of as Big Gay Kraven. He looked great and I told him as much and asked for a picture. He then wanted to get one with me which I thought was a little odd since he didn’t have a camera, but whatever. You probably know by now I might be a little bit of a ham.
And don’t worry, things get a lot gayer later on.
I saw these guys:
That Bumblebee had been around for a couple of years now. I’m a little tired of him, but I guess I understand if you put that much time and money into a costume you’re going to want to get some mileage out of it.
I wanted to get a picture with this guy dressed up as Brock Samson. He was pretty cool, but right as I went up to pose with him he pulled out this giant, clearly non-peace-bonded knife. I guess I was already pretty drunk because I had no problem letting him point it at my chest for the picture.
Do you think Delirium and Destiny were pissed when the others showed up? I didn’t even realize they were supposed to be in costumes until I looked at the pictures later. I wanted a picture of those two and was all like, “Why the fuck are these other people getting in my picture?” There is a marked difference in the amount of effort put into some of these costumes. That Delirium really is great.
I don’t know what this guy is, but I just realized he’s wearing pantyhose. Obviously Dragon*Con is the place to be if you want to wear a domino mask, a cloak, red vinyl shorts, pantyhose and crocodile skin Beatle boots; I just wish you had a name tag. For some reason he laughed at me as he walked off.
In a weekend full of high points, this is one of my favorites:
Just as we had decided to wander around to get a broader look at the goings-on, Hoffman texted Monkey to say that there were a bunch of people in Lucha masks back at our spot. He wasn’t kidding, was he? I ran up and gave a big, “HEY!” (this is what I do when I see another Lucha mask – no good reason) and we all immediately posed for pictures. It was magical. I handed out business cards and told everybody to check my Facebook page for the pictures. And then a robot dry-humped one of the Lucha girls:
Next up was Bob & Carl: The Sci-Fi Janitors Presenting the First (hopefully) Annual Late Night Puppet Slam. I’ll get to that tomorrow. Believe me, it deserves its own piece and I hope I do it justice.
On the way out of the Puppet Slam we passed this really long line of people. It was impressive. I asked them if they were waiting to get in. They said they were there for hentai. Yikes.
I will admit to a bit of hypocrisy though. Why does hentai creep me out and these guys don’t? Please note Gnoll in the background stealing the method I utilized last year for the Poison Ivy hiney shot. I bet no Jedi get all huffy with him, though.
Remember the sign guy from Saturday night? Well this guy is like that, but sweeter for some reason. He touched my heart. Not enough to help him or anything, but enough that I didn’t make fun of him.
This isn’t necessarily gay, but without the knowledge that he’s supposed to be post-Hulk-out Bruce Banner it looks like I just took a picture of some half-naked dude.
I debated on whether or not I was going to post this. It’s funny that I might be spanking that chick (who you might recognize from last year – I did), but it also kind of looks to me like I’m getting ready to fuck her; and that’s not okay. So just to be clear – this was supposed to be a humorous “Phantom Troublemaker spanks Nancy from Sin City” picture. Not a “Guy in shiny gimp mask air humps young lady” picture. Also, we’re getting into territory that I seriously do not recall. I remember speaking to Nancy here and telling her I used the picture from last year on my Twitter account. I do not remember the actual taking of this picture.
I also have no recollection of going to see a band play, but here is a band playing:
I also don’t remember these people or why the fuck I took a picture with them. I just know that if that dude weren’t there it would be even more inappropriate than the Nancy picture. Note that my coat is, however, still firmly buttoned.
She-Ra and Catra both looked pretty great, but I'm disappointed I missed them with their boots on. The bare feet kind of take the costumes down a notch. Maybe I’ll crop this picture.
I am not at liberty to reveal this man’s identity and I definitely have no idea whose foot that is or just what the heck is going on. I do not remember this at all. And I wish I did because it apparently led to this:
Oh dear Lord I just realized that must have been Hoffman’s foot because look at it in the picture it’s out of his shoe WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?!?
And here we are back at karaoke where my jacket has come unbuttoned and I appear to be assaulting that poor Mario with the power of rock n’ roll. What the fuck is going on? I don’t even like Mario that much.
And then I decided to dance with a man in sparkly underpants. I do not know if he was a gay man and I will make no such assumptions.
I wasn’t going to post this one because it basically looks like I am pointing a modestly-sized erection at that possibly-gay man’s posterior. I assure you that’s one of those weird pants things that happens. If it were an erection it would be much larger. Like, dude would have known it was there.
Beau (other Beau – the Puppet Beau) was hanging with us at this point and had brought along a friend of his. Cool guy, but I didn’t catch his name. He’s on the right. I’m guessing what happened here is Little Pond expressed some kind of interest in my mask and I was at the point where I had no problem taking it off for a minute for her to check out.
And here – this picture says a lot. I don’t know how I managed to get the mask back on – did somebody help? I dunno. But the jacket is unbuttoned and somehow or another the shirt is way open. Clearly, I am ready to party. With creepy spandex fetish people.
And just as the ladies finished up their inspiring interpretive dance to "Bolero of Fire" from Ocarina of Time, Hoffman had to ruin it by running up and humping the scenery.
I actually vaguely remember this, mainly because she tried to stick her tongue in my mouth last year. There’s a picture of it that I did not remember at all. Eventually I kind of remembered getting the picture and turning my head as I realized what was going on. Maybe someday I’ll have that kind of recall about this year.
I had some kind of compelling reason to get back to the room and go to bed at this point. I remember very clearly thinking, “I need to leave now.” I honestly don’t know where anybody else was by then, but I bid Little Pond a fond farewell and made my way back to the room. Somehow.
Apparently I also managed to pack a good bit of my stuff because most of it was done when I woke up on Monday. But that’ll keep for a bit. Come back tomorrow for my review of the Puppet Slam and then on Wednesday I’ll wrap everything up and I promise it’ll be that last Dragon*Con post until next July. Probably.
Until next time, stay creepy