Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Beth's Dragon Con Recap - Part Two

Oh Saturdays at Dragon Con. I both love and hate you. Love because it's when the best panels, costumes, and parties happen. Hate because it's when everyone in the entire world seems to show up and often slows things down to a crawl. I'm not complaining - I wouldn't give it up for anything. It's just a test of patience for those of us who get overwhelmed easily.
To see my recap of Thursday and Friday you can do that here. This will be about Saturday, and maybe Sunday if I can fit that all in one post. I'm not trying to build suspense, I just try not to make these things too terribly long. We've all got too much stuff to do to spend all day reading one article. So you can get back to watching cute animal videos on Facebook after this, and check back in next week for anything I don't get to today. As I've stated in coverage of years past I don't really do the parade anymore. I am neither a morning person nor a photojournalist so I leave that up the the pros. Plus, this year the parade was televised on the CW which meant I could watch from the crowd-free comfort of my own home. It wasn't what I was hoping to see from a televised parade (could have used more cameras in different locations, and maybe taken some time to edit it in to something really cool), but it's about damn time Dragon Con started getting more attention. This is a huge convention, and it brought 77,000 people to downtown Atlanta this year. It deserves more mainstream attention than it's been given up to now. 

Anyway with my first panel not starting until 3pm, and the expectation of staying up really late Saturday night I didn't reach the Hyatt until around 2pm. This should have been plenty of time for me to get in line for the Brandon Sanderson panel. But here's the thing about having 77,000 people in one area: there are quite literally 1,000 people who want to do the same thing you're doing. That's why a lot of the thoroughfares seemed less crowded than usual this year. Everyone was in enormous lines to get into things. I should have figured this out on Friday after not even making to the line for the Firefly panel, but I'm old and slow to learn. So not only was an hour not enough time to get in line, but sometime between me checking the app Friday night, and getting on the train Saturday the panel got pushed up to 2:30. Now I was late! So on my first day of coverage I said that I don't like spending hours in a line for a panel. I'm not being a hypocrite, this was the one and only non-negotiable panel I was going to see this weekend. I've seen Alan Tudyk and Summer Glau before. Fan panels are a mixed bag. I've never gotten to see a panel for an author I like as much as Brandon Sanderson before. If you don't know him and are even a casual fan of fantasy lit then you should check him out. He took over Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and has been doing some pretty epic world building of his own since then. A friend got me started on the first book in the Mistborn trilogy, and I've been hooked ever since. The Stormlight Archives are also great for those of you out there looking for a hefty series to get involved in. He's only two books in to what is supposed to be a ten book series, and the first two books are definitely longer than you would expect from a series with that kind of scope. Since I didn't get any interviews this year I ended up recording most of the panel because it was that good. And special thanks go to Sharron (and the people she made friends with in line) for holding me a seat in the second row because otherwise I wouldn't have been close enough to get any good audio. It was really the best panel I've seen since James and Sean Gunn were here two years ago. Maybe even better because I'm an even bigger fan. I'm going to have to do a separate post on it because otherwise it'll take over this whole thing. 

After that it was time to find some food, and hit "the spot". The Sheraton had food trucks this year instead of the awesome grilling they had going on last year, but since I didn't spend much time out that way this year I wasn't too bothered. The Hyatt had a grill, and I ate many burgers over the course of the weekend. It was way better than stale lukewarm pizza. So I grabbed a burger and a beer before hitting "the spot". I don't know if everyone calls it that or if it's just my friends, but "the spot" is in between the Pulse bar and the big ballrooms at the Marriott, and it's the best place for people watching that there is in the whole con. The area around the escalators at the Hyatt isn't bad, but the Marriott is where the best costumed come to be seen and photographed. Not in the obnoxious traffic-stopping way at some of the other hotels, but in a more subdued "I'm just gonna chill out here, and you take take a pic if you want sort of way". There were some pretty impressive things happening though, and this was my most picture-takingest point of the weekend. You don't see a guy with a full Ollivander's Wand Shop set up without at least getting a closer look. It may sound weird to an outsider, but taking pictures and people watching is way more fun than you might think. I'm sure you guys understand it though. As Dragon Con gets bigger so does the cosplay, and so does pretty much everything else. I had trouble sleeping all weekend simply due to my poor overloaded brain trying to process everything it had seen. I almost wish I were a photojournalist because I could entertain the shit out of myself (and possibly you as well) just taking pictures all weekend. I missed several good photo ops though since I'm just not wired that way. I continuously found myself turning around and looking for the thing I saw out of the corner of my eye that was probably amazing. Luckily for all of us there are plenty of great photographers out there, and they post like crazy. Join the Dragon Con Facebook group if you want to see the many hundreds of fantastic photos. 

Well I had originally intended this post to cover all of Saturday and Sunday, but I think that was a little too ambitious. I'm well over 1100 words now, and have barely gotten to 5pm Saturday afternoon. The spectacle and majesty of The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show deserves more than the tail end of a really long post. Don't worry my friends, I'll be back next week with the rest of my wrap up. Until then keep checking back for daily updates from the rest of the team. If we keep writing and reading about Dragon Con it'll make the time until next Labor Day weekend go by much faster.


-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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