Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dragon Con 2013: My Extremely Tentative Schedule

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!
Dragon*Con starts TONIGHT, motherscratchers!
That’s exactly how I began this post last year. The major difference is that I am not going to be staying down there this year. Staying on Thursday night threw off my whole weekend last year and I do not care to repeat that. I had an absolutely great time on Thursday night, and that was the whole problem.
            I need Friday during the day to visit the Dealer Room and the Walk of Fame. I need sober time to scope out the con and see what’s going on. To acclimatize myself with everything during daylight hours so I can maximize my efficiency for the rest of the weekend – all of which will be spent at some level of inebriation. I didn’t get that last year. I drank myself stupid on Thursday night and woke up late on Friday with something that I have very rarely experienced at Dragon Con – a hangover. And then had to go and speak on the very first Dragon Con panel I had ever been invited to speak on. Luckily for me I can’t help but be entertaining and engaging, so even feeling like complete shit-turds I had a great time and did well. This is why I am on more panels and RUNNING TWO PANELS this year. But I’ll get to that.
Now, I understand that I could simply exert a little self-control tonight and not have the same problem, but another factor in my decision is that I don’t want to spend another two hundred bucks on lodging. I get my own room – occasionally joined by Mrs. Troublemaker, who does not pitch in – and it costs a shit-ton. I just can’t do the roommate thing.
Having said all of that, I will be at Con today. I have to pick up my Media Badge and my regular badge. I have both because I had no idea that I’d be eligible for a Media Badge. I probably could have gotten one based on my own credentials, but I did put down the ESO Network as my organization. Just to be sure. I put exactly one interview request in and I hope I did not get it. Josh Gates is not doing interviews. This will not dissuade me from asking Josh Gates if he will do an interview. I will not interview him in the Walk of Fame, of course, because that is not allowed.
Before I get to the schedule, I’d like to point out some of the more interesting points from the opening pages of the Pocket Program.
First of all, the dealers and exhibitors have been moved to the America’s Mart, which is next to the Westin, making it closer to the central portion of Con than either the Westin or the Sheraton. Many people seem to think that this is a bad move. They think moving the dealers away from the Marriott – the central hotel of Dragon Con – will lose them money because people won’t want to walk all the way to a different building. I say this is silly poo-poo nonsense because if people are willing to walk to the Westin for a fan panel about the different hairstyles of the Whedonverse or to the Sheraton for a workshop on how to make Klingon undergarments, then they certainly aren’t going to have a problem walking across the street from the Hyatt to shop for their various nerdy needs.
I remember the last time the dealers were in the America’s Mart and I found it hugely preferable to the basement of the Marriott. Nothing against the basement of the Marriott, but that place was dark and stanky. I have always found it unpleasant and cramped and there was always this weird sense of rushed urgency that couldn’t have been healthy for sales. I never wanted to stop and look at anything because I felt like either the roof or the crowd was going to cave in on me.
America’s Mart, on the other hand, has plenty of space and – and I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough – WINDOWS.
WINDOWS
How can one feel a sense of doom with windows everywhere? I mean, unless there’s a Sharknado outside or something.
Anyway, I am all for this change.
Speaking of cramped, the Hilton Ballroom where they keep the celebrities has felt that way for a couple of years now. But fear not – in 2013 the Walk of Fame will be located in the beautiful Marriott Marquis Ballroom, which just happens to be adjacent to rooms M303-304, which is where many of the panels I will be running and participating in will be held! So on your way back from visiting Xena and the Doctors you can stop in and see me doing what I do best – providing the ol’ razzle dazzle!
Badge/hotel key checks are back and promise to be even more thorough this year. Good. I pay a lot of money to go to Dragon Con and I don’t think that just any ragamuffin off the street should be able to waltz in and enjoy the dorkery.
Download the app. It is invaluable and will save you the trouble of carrying around a 128 page booklet. The app is updated pretty much constantly all weekend, so the personalized event schedule you create (and can share with your friends) is pretty much always up to date. You can check all Dragon Con-related Twitter updates, as well. This was actually quite helpful last year, as Twitter often pointed out changes to events and programs before anything else could.

Blood Drive
The Blood Drive will be located at the Marriott
Marquis Marquis and the Sheraton Atlanta!
Marriott Marquis, A701-A702, operation hours:
Thursday: 11:00 am–8:00 pm
Friday–Sunday: 10:00 am–7:00 pm
Monday: 9:00 am–3:00 pm
Sheraton, Atlanta Ballroom, operation hours:
Thursday: 11:00 am–8:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am–7:00 pm

It’s ironic that the one time of year I might actually be in a loving and charitable enough mood to actually give blood is the one time of year that nobody in their right mind would want my blood.
Side Note: I posted this sentiment on Facebook shortly after I wrote it because I thought it was funny and several people took the time to point out ways that I could give blood before I started drinking. The above was just for humor’s sake. Nobody is sticking anything into my body at Dragon Con. Unless Alexandra Breckenridge shows up wearing a strap-on (kidding [maybe]).
And now it’s schedule time. This is a list of all of the panels and events I would like to attend (or am on, which will be noted in green). Chances are I’ll end up making about two of them. I’m not going to bother including panels that conflict with ones I am on, but I will note the ones directly before and after; despite the fact that I won’t be able to make those, either. And I will still list events that conflict with one another if I am not directly involved. I still haven’t made up my mind about those and probably won’t until it’s time to get in line.
First, I will be showing up at my ESO Network co-worker Michael A(is for Awesome) Gordon’s Tiki-tastic table from time to time to say hello and attempt to move some Needless Things merchandise. Please drop by and check out his awesome Tiki Zombie comics. I might just be there shoving t-shirts and stickers in your face.

Thursday
I may not have a room for Thursday night, but I do have a couple of parties to attend. The first is a private party with friends; the other is the American Sci-Fi Classics Track party. I’m excited to see all of these folks in person again and can’t wait to work with them. They are one of the best groups of people I’ve had the pleasure of talking with.
  • 8:30 PM – Sci-Fi Classic Track Party Fest-O-Rama – Marriott M303-304 – I will be here partying with the folks from the track brave enough to not only invite Phantom Troublemaker into their ranks, but to give me two hours worth of panel time to do what I do best.
Friday
  • 10:00 AM – Defiance – Peachtree Ballroom Westin – I love this show. I doubt very much I’ll be at Con early enough to see this panel, but I plan to catch one sometime during the weekend.
  • 11:30 AM – John Barrowman Live!!! – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – I can’t imagine that I need to explain why this is a must-see panel. I can’t think of another entertainer as jubilant and enthusiastic as Barrowman. I’m making this one my first definite panel so I will be sure to get down to Con on time Friday morning. Also, “Ballroom”. I’m just sayin’.
  • 11:30 AM – BSG: Is the War Over? – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom – FINALLY! I can go to a Battlestar Galactica panel! We finished watching the series last Sunday and managed to not have it spoiled, though I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. The narrative had pretty much laid it out before Season 4 even started. Anyway, I’m stoked that I can finally see a BSG panel. But it won’t be this one because of Barrowman.
  • 1:00 PM – Spotlight on Lucy Lawless – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – I’m not sure if Ms. Lawless has been to Con before, but if she has I think it was pre-Spartacus and BSG. Purely in a Xena capacity. I’d be very interested in seeing her talk about her career and how it has changed over the years.
  • 1:00 PM – Destination Truth – Hilton Grand Ballroom West – I love this show. Josh Gates is the only interview request I put in when I got my Media Badge.
  • 2:30 PM – Anatomy of A Psycho – Westin Atlanta Ballroom – Malcolm McDowall, Michael Rooker, Keegan Tracy, and Russell Cherrington (director of Nightbreed) discuss psychos in film.
  • 4:00 PM – Inside the Actor’s Gaffe: Sylvester McCoy – Sheraton Grand Ballroom – Anything with Sylvester McCoy will be fantastic. This should be similar to the panel I saw a couple of years ago where he discusses his life prior to Doctor Who. It was fascinating.
  • 5:30 PM – Game of Thrones: Welcome to the Wall – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – I plan on checking out at least one Game of Thrones panel, but this one is just a bit too close to DCW. I’ll be hovering around the Hyatt Centennial Ballroom by this time.
  • 7:00 PM – The Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison – Sheraton Grand Ballroom – Of course his first scheduled panel would conflict with DCW.
  • 7:00 PM – Ernie Hudson: Cleaning Up the Town – Hilton Grand Ballroom East – I love Ernie Hudson, man. From Ghostbusters to The Crow to OZ; he is far and away one of the most engaging and likeable actors of the past three decades. He’s one of those dudes that when you see him, you just have to stick around and watch. I really hope I can get to one of his panels. But it won’t be this one. DCW, man.
  • 7:00 PM – Dragon*Con Championship Wrestling – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom – The DCW Hooligans will be in full effect with all-new t-shirts for 2013.
  • 8:30 PM – Raising Hell: The Cinematic Clive Barker – Westin Atlanta Ballroom – A collection of folks involved with Barker’s movies discuss being in… uh… Clive Barker’s movies.
  • 9:00 PM – Sci-fi Drive-In Heckle Along: SuperShark – Hyatt Hanover Ballroom – You know what’s hot? Shark movies. You know what’s even hotter? Sitting in on some extremely funny and knowledgeable dudes mocking a shark movie.
  • 10:00 PM – Urban Fantasy on a Screen Near You – Westin International BC – This panel with the unwieldy title is a showing of a Dresden Files fan film and webseries. It says there will be creator Q&As but doesn’t list anybody, so I’m not sure who will be on hand. Since Jim Butcher is an official Guest, I doubt he will be, but I’d still be interested in seeing these.
  • 11:30 PM – Quickly Canceled Sci-Fi TV Theater – M303-304 – Joe Crowe will be hosting a smorgasbord of one-hit wonders from the realm of science fiction television. Or maybe not so much hits. DCW should be well over by this time, so hopefully I can (remember to) stop in.
Saturday
  • 1:30 AM – The Slants – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – I’m curious.
  • 3:00 AM – Dragon Dance w/ DJ Spider – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – Check out Spider’s set from last year right here so that you will understand why you have to show up for this. 3 AM is nothing at Dragon Con. You can sleep when Con is over.
  • 9:30 AM – 12th Annual Dragon Con Parade – I’m going to see if I can latch onto a group watching the parade this year. It’s been a couple of years since I watched and I should still have enough time before my panel to get my shit together.
  • 11:30 AM – William Shatner – Marriott Ballroom – Shatner always satisfies. I’d like to make this one, but I have my own business at 1 PM.
  • 1:00 PM – Kung-Fu Grip: Action Figures of the 70s – 90s and Beyond! - – This panel is mine! All mine! I will be hosting and running this show alongside Gary Mitchel and Joe Crowe. Not only is it the first Dragon Con panel that I have been responsible for, it is the first official toy panel at Dragon Con since one that I attended with Monkey and Evil that wasn’t so great. This one will be great. I have tons of surprises in store for whoever shows up. THERE WILL BE PRIZES!
  • 2:30 PM – Guests of the Whedonverse – Westin Peachtree Ballroom – These panels are always packed, so there’s not much chance I’ll be able to make it after I finish the toy panel. But I’d like to.
  • 3:15 PM – The Super Sheraton Sandwich Showdown – Just Outside the Sheraton Deli – The Sheraton Deli serves sandwiches that are totally awesome. I make a point of eating there at least once every year during Dragon Con. I don’t know why they’re so good. They’re just pre-made and wrapped in plastic wrap. They’re not even made right in front of you or anything. Part of the reason they seem so good is that by the time you actually get one you are so hungry that anything would seem great. You see, the service at the Sheraton Deli is possibly the slowest I have ever seen. That’s how this Showdown came about. I will be meeting DCW Hooligan Mike outside of the Sheraton Deli. At the appointed time, I will make my way to the sub shop across the street. Mike will step into the Deli. We will each order a sandwich and whoever gets back to the table first, ready to eat, wins.
  • 4:00 PM – BSG: Ragtag Fleet – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom – Since my toy panel got moved up to 1; I might be able to make this one. If I just keep running from the Sheraton.
  • 5:30 PM – The Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison – Sheraton Grand Ballroom – No reason I shouldn’t be able to catch this one. This is a priority.
  • 5:30 PM – Lost Girl – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom II – III – I really want to see a Lost Girl panel, but not at the expense of missing Peter Davison’s.
  • 8:30 PM – Gonzoroo II – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – I want to go and watch this variety show. But between the Annual Hooligans Dinner and the Earth Station Who panel at 10, I doubt I’ll get to. This year’s lineup features Ken Plume, Sylvester McCoy, Bill Corbett, Adam Savage, James Urbaniak, Paul and Storm, M. Lewis, J. Scrimshaw, A. Poole, and Mike Phirman.
  • 8:30 PM – Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut – Westin Atlanta Ballroom – This is a special cut of the excellent Clive Barker film, Nightbreed. I want to see it, but to devote four hours of Con time to such a thing seems unlikely. This is more something I would do as an event unto itself. Except, of course, that that happened and I totally forgot about it.
  • 8:30 PM – From the Page to the Stage: Comic Book Pageant – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom – I’ll be missing this one too, though it will be broadcast on Dragon Con TV. So I might be able to catch it later.
  • 8:30 PM – Manimal: 30th Anniversary Super-Spectacular! – Marriott M303-304 – First of all, spellcheck needs to get its shit together and recognize Manimal. Second, I would love to see this panel. I would also love it if they were just showing all eight episodes of Manimal, because I loved it when I was a kid and have no idea if it has held up or not (probably not).
  • 10:00 PM – Earth Station Who: Doctor Who – Past, Present, and Future – Sheraton Grand Ballroom – That’s right! We have our very own panel this year, hosted by the fine folks of the Brit Track! Join me, Director Faber, and Mike Gordon as we discuss Doctor Who and I do my best to not betray the fact that I am thoroughly shitfaced. Who schedules a panel at 10 PM?
  • 11:00 PM – LUST/Rica Shay/Le Sexoflex: The Happy Ending – The Drunken Unicorn – I am extremely sad to announce that this will be Le Sexoflex’s last time together. This is why I am actually leaving Dragon Con in order to see this show. As soon as the ESW Doctor Who panel concludes, I will be getting into a cab and traveling to the Drunken Unicorn. I don’t know how late this will go, but I love these guys and there’s no way I’m going to miss their farewell. I wish I could see LUST and Rica Shay too, but I can’t very well miss my own panel.
  • Midnight – Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Review – Hyatt Regency Ballroom VI-VII – Hot ladies in costume on stage, doing what hot ladies do. I think I can actually make this one this year.
  • Midnight – KISSNATION – Hyatt Centennial Ballroom – A KISS cover band. If I were there, I’d be there.
Sunday
  • 10:00 AM – Ernie Hudson: The Real Ghostbuster – Hilton Grand Ballroom West – I want to see Mr. Hudson, but 10 AM on Sunday is not going to be the time.
  • 11:30 AM – Lost Girl – Westin Peachtree Ballroom – Man, I really don’t want to be up in time to eat breakfast and walk to the Westin in time to get in line for this panel. And I’m sure I won’t. But I’d really like to see a Lost Girl panel. It’s such a great show.
  • 1:00 PM – Arrow: Bullseye! – Marriot Atrium Ballroom – Sold. This is one of my A-List panels for the weekend. I’ll do everything I can to be at this one.
  • 2:30 PM – Muppet Babies – Dunwoody Hyatt – This might seem like a weird panel for me to be enthusiastic about, but I loved this show back in the day. I think it would be fascinating to see one of the minds behind the creation of so much of what is now considered Muppet canon.
  • 4:00 PM – An Hour With Jim Butcher – Westin Peachtree Ballroom – I love Butcher’s work , but if I’m going to catch any panels at this time it’s going to be the Two Doctors panel.
  • 4:00 PM – Defiance – Westin Peachtree Ballroom – The Pocket Program says this one is in the Hyatt Centennial Ballroom, but everything else in the Apocalypse Rising Track is in the Westin. I think there might be an error. Anyway, I want to see a Defiance panel. I probably won’t. Because one of my panels is at 5:30 waaay back at the Marriott.
  • 4:00 PM – A Look at 50 Years of Doctor Who With Two Doctors – Marriott Atrium Ballroom – If the listed location is correct I might actually be able to see most of this panel before my Masters of the Universe panel starts. I really want to see this panel.
  • 5:30 PM – Masters of the Universe: 30 Years of the Power – M303-304 – This panel is MINE, ALL MINE! Except that my Needless Things Podcast co-host, Mr. Beau Brown, will likely be doing more talking than I will. Also, we will be joined by none other than the amazing William Stout! He was the production designer on the Masters movie, and if there’s anything that flick got right, that was it! Also, THERE WILL BE PRIZES!
  • 7:00 PM – GI Joe Anniversary: Celebrating is Half the Battle – M303-304 – I will be hanging out with Gary Mitchel and Gnoll, talking about A Real American Hero.
  • 10:00 PM – The Kings of Cosplay Comedy – Hilton Grand Ballroom West – This one is close to where I’m staying, so I might have a better chance of catching it.
  • 10:00 PM – Adult Themes in Sci-Fi – Marriott A601-602 – Dirty, filthy, porny smut talk. With science fiction. 8===D V
  • Midnight – The Sci-Fi Janitors Present: Late Night Puppet Slam – Hyatt Regency VI-VII – Aside from DCW this is THE big event of Con. The Puppet Slam is can’t miss entertainment that gives you a variety show of creativity. There will be filth, there will be heartfelt sentiment, and there will be a huge group of the most talented creators ever assembled giving everything they’ve got to put a smile on your face and feels in your soul. I recommend the show and I also recommend you get in line two hours beforehand. Yes, it’s that good.
Monday
  • 1:30 AM – Calabrese – Marriott Atrium Ballroom – You do not want to miss the Kings of Horror Rock! Calabrese put on one of the best live shows I have seen. Plus, I might be involved in the goings-on. You’ll just have to show up and see for yourself. Also, I am going to have to try really hard to not be too drunk.
  • 11:30 AM – Lost Girl – Westin Atlanta Ballroom – There’s virtually no chance that I will hit this one.
  • 1:00 PM– BSG: What Do You Hear? – Marriott Atrium Ballroom – I’m probably going to be gone by this time, but if I don’t manage to catch a BSG panel the rest of the weekend I might try to stick around.

That’s it Phantomaniacs. As I sit here writing this, I am so excited that I can barely focus on writing this, even though it is about Dragon Con. There is so much amazing stuff going on this weekend. It’s really ridiculous. If you want the full schedule, download the Official Dragon Con 2013 app or the schedule, which is available on the Dragon Con site.
Keep an eye out for me and please do say hello if you see me. If I’m not rushing off to a panel or a Needless Things photoshoot involving #nopants and #sideboob I’ll definitely hang. Probably over a beer. Or two.
I won’t be doing any Dragon Con coverage here until next Wednesday, but you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Phantom Troublemaker) for constant on-site updates. Evil will be filling in with the remaining two Star Wars Black figure reviews on Monday and Tuesday, so please check those out.
Also, if you’re here checking out Dragon Con stuff and haven’t visited Needless Things before thanks for coming by. Me and my writers post five times a week (mostly) and it’s all original content that you can’t get anywhere else. I do the Needless Things Podcast about once a month when there’s something special to talk about. And definitely come back in October for my 31 Days of Halloween! It lasts all month long and everything on the site is thoroughly Halloweeny! Each weekday post also includes a rundown of SyFy’s programming.
Oh, and in Toy News – I don’t think I like Stonedarr and Rokkon all that much. I don’t know. I might talk Mr. Beau Brown into reviewing them after he recovers from directing the Puppetry Track at Dragon Con. You know – around December.

-Phantom



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