Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Beth's Dragon Con Recap - Part One

It's the 30th year of Dragon Con, 25 years-ish since I first attended, and my third year as a reporter. You might be expecting big things from me this year. If you were you were expecting too much you may be disappointed. I didn't get approved for any interviews or chosen for any panels. But that's their loss because I still had an awesome time. I didn't get the "con crud" (Emergen-C works guys), and although I was tired I didn't want to die. Today I'll go over the first 2 days of the con, by which I mean Thursday and Friday since official stuff starts on Thursday now.

I don't know if you remember last year when I talked about Dragon Con eventually taking over the whole week, but we've gotten one step closer to that this year by having wrestling on Thursdays now. I like DCW, I'm down with the Hooligans, but Thursday night is also our con kick-off party at Trader Vic's. Combine the Tiki party with it also being the only night that Mr. Tibbs can go anywhere with me (he's just not into it enough to pay to follow me around all weekend. Weird, right?), and you get one conflicted nerdy lady. As the Hooligans are there all weekend, and several of my friends besides Mr. Tibbs only for Thursday night and Saturday morning I feel like I made the right choice by paying way too much for what amounted to snacks at Trader Vic's.
I'm only showing this (and captioning it) because I don't know if everyone knows what an empty elevator at Dragon Con looks like. Friday mornings rule!

I didn't used to take Thursday off for Dragon Con, but this year I took off Thursday through Monday. Mr. Tibbs had an afternoon baseball game to attend so I dropped him off at the train station early, and then went back home for a nap before heading out myself. Sadly for him, his game got out before I got back up so he beat me down there. Since the Hyatt is the closest hotel to Peachtree Center I stopped there first even though Mr. Tibbs was already hunting down the Thursday afternoon Hilton pool party. Media badges are picked up in the super-ultra-basement of the Hyatt, and since I was right there I decided to pick up mine up before venturing further. On my way into the Hyatt I met up with Popeye the Sailor Moon of The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show (anyone else feel like that's a mouthful?) although he was in his civilian clothing. He was carrying a whole lot of gear for the Saturday night show, but since he said he had help coming I didn't feel too obligated to stay and help carry crap. Being a girl helps out a lot sometimes. I can't carry as much as a man, and even if I could I don't want to. Suck it feminists. His stuff was particularly heavy, and I have shit for upper body strength. Anyway, I went down to the basement of the Alamo (otherwise known as the Dragon Con media relations room) to pick up my badge where I ran into a line for the first time ever. I think it was mostly because everyone with a last name starting with letters R-Z was there at the same time, and the guy at the front of the line was having an issue with his credentials. Another media guys jumped in to helped me out though, and had even heard of our site. It's like we're almost somebody! I suppose it didn't hurt that Needless Things contributor Jerry Chandler was also working in the media room. It was nice to finally meet him face to face. I get spoiled by having Dragon Con in my home city, and forget what it's like to have to travel for an event like this. Once the line was cleared up, and I had my badge Jerry was busy so I didn't get to stay and chat. Now it was time to work my way back upstairs to see where everyone else was. While I was waiting for Mr. Tibbs to reply to my text Phantom Troublemaker and The Rad Ranger responded by finding me first. Phantom was con ready, but Ranger was still in civilian gear. After chatting with them for a few minutes, and getting a beer it was finally time to find my husband. And find him I did out behind Trader Vic's. Shortly after that a few more friends showed up, and the rest of the crowd came straggling in soon after that. Once we finally sat down for dinner there were about 20 of us (because some people needed wrestling more than food), and I was at the Pokemon Go end of the table. Meaning the end of the table where people weren't giving a person shit for playing Pokemon Go. I caught my first Clefairy. I got some crap for a few DCW Hooligans for skipping wrestling, but the tiki party is tradition. Our organizer is talking about moving it to Wednesday next year so we can avoid all this decision making in the future.

 At some point during the tiki party I told our good friend Oz that I would curl his hair for his Tomund Giantsbane costume (which I have yet to see any pictures of Oz...) so I agreed to meet him Friday morning since I had planned on getting to the Friday morning Firefly panel anyway. I had also planned dropping off my overnight bag in Phantom's room Friday because trying to get a bag to his room on Saturday afternoon last year was awful so meeting Oz at the Hilton was on my way to the Sheraton for the panel. I normally don't get going that early, but Alan Tudyk hasn't been to Dragon Con for a long time. So I did my best to make Tormund hair, and then headed over to get in line for the panel. I was at the Sheraton by 10:30, but received a text from a friend that the line was closed. An hour before the damn panel started! Now, I've run in to long lines before (which usually turn me away), but I've never been to a panel where they shut the line down that far out. I wish I'd known that this was to be a preview of the rest of my weekend.

So after getting shut out of the Firefly panel we were faced with the quick choices of trying to make the Brian Henson panel or the iZombie panel. The Westin where the iZombie panel was happening seemed too far away to try and get to from the Sheraton in 30 minutes, and the Brian Henson panel seemed likely to be full. I may have just been projecting my own interest on to that though because one of our group got in on the front row. Another got in to the iZomibe panel easily. That's what I expect on a Friday morning; uncrowded panels. Sadly, everything I really wanted to see this weekend was popular with many many others, even the shit I didn't think would be popular. So me and a few guys decided to regroup at the Hyatt bar while we figured out what to do next. It was mimosa time after all. The problem was that the bar was so empty we got a booth, and it was so comfortable that I never wanted to leave it. We ended up staying long enough to have lunch there, and it was starting to crowd up by the time we were done. Still not as crowded as I was used to at 1pm on a Friday though.

By then we were ready to discuss the next panels we wanted to see. That's when we saw that Alan Tudyk had another panel at 4pm so we decided to check out the dealers' room while we waited. Mistake #1 of the weekend. The dealers' room didn't open until 1pm so we arrived when the line to get in was still 20 minutes long. This was once an exciting place to visit, but now that I can order any of this junk on Amazon or eBay it's not as vital. All I bought was a fan, and that was only because mine had been lost at Trader Vic's and the ones I ordered on Amazon from China hadn't arrived yet. People make fun of me for carrying one, but they all love the cool breeze it provides. Then my fear of crowds in close confines got to me, and I had to get out. I don't mind crowds or close confines on their own, but when you put the two together I tend to loose my shit. Not in an "I'm going to stab people kind of way" more in a "oh god I can't move" kind of way. The layout was eerily similar to the Walker Stalker Con set up, and that wasn't good then nor do I see a ton of improvement over last year's set up. I quickly escaped to the outdoors to listen the crowds get yelled at for not knowing where they were supposed to go in a clearly unsigned area, and the soothing sounds of that really bad street horn player who tries hard to play nerdy things for us, but fails just a little bit more every year.

We went to the suspiciously empty Alan Tudyk Con Man panel only to discover that it was empty because they were mostly plugging their mobile game. I've tried so hard to watch Con Man, but Vimeo just won't let me. Where's the "take my money slot"? It has Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and Felicia Day. That's all I could ever want in a show. So it's not really the panel's fault that I couldn't get in to it. It was my own fault for not trying harder. After that was all done we got more food on the Hilton patio before heading off to Phantom's first panel on the Horror Track. I'm sure he'll tell you all about it, and if he doesn't I'll talk about it later. I just don't want us to cover the same ground over and over again. And then I decided that it was probably time to call it a night. I stayed out too late and too long last year, and I was trying to make sure I had enough energy for Saturday and Sunday. Did I miss things I wanted to see? Sure, but I do every year. I just can't get down with the idea of spending 2 to 3 hours in line for a panel that's only an hour long. That's potentially 4 hours of my day gone. And for what? Something I could see on Dragon Con TV or read about elsewhere in far fewer hours. I go to Dragon Con for the smaller panels mostly (although no panel is a small panel when there are 77,000 people sharing the same space with you), to hang out with all the crazy people in a hugely nerdy space, and to try and bring those of you who can't attend (or chose to spend those 4 hours at a panel) a little closer to the action.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I bring you more Dragon Con 2016 craziness!


-Beth

Beth got her start writing for a site called Movie Criticism for the Retarded (which has been reborn as dorkdroppings.com. Check it out sometime), but was pulled out of an early retirement to write for Needless Things. When she isn't writing she plays video games and watches bad horror movies while eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. She may try to save her husband and/or their cats, but luckily hasn't had to make those tough decisions yet. Follow beth0rama on Instagram or on Twitter @NeedlessBeth where she doesn't post often enough to be annoying, but updates way more than Google+

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