Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Miss My Tribe



I sit here in the late afternoon, the Thursday after Dragon Con, organizing my various notes and thoughts about Dragon Con 2016. It can all be summed up in a simple line- It was a big show, and it was a lot of fun. Of course, I’m going to expand on that a bit more.

One thing that doesn’t need much expanding upon though is the headline. I miss my tribe. So many people I see at Dragon Con are family at this point, and still more become more and more like family each time we see each other. The first two weeks after con are the worst. It’s withdrawal that has no fix, no cure. Well, at least not until next Dragon Con.
 
There’s one thing I noticed this year- I’ve actually noticed it in prior years as well -that’s maybe more a me thing than a Dragon Con thing. Thing is, I’ve talked to other people at Dragon Con who have said this about their Dragon Con weekends as well. Dragon Con has an unusual effect on many people’s sense of the passage of time.

No, I’m not talking about the fact that four to six days in Atlanta with Dragon Con smack in the middle of them fly by like half a day anywhere else. That’s true, but time flying when you’re having fun is not a unique thing to the Dragon Con experience. No, I’m talking about the effect the Dragon Con weekend has on the memory of attendees with regards to the time in between Dragon Con weekends.

When you’re at Dragon Con, the brain’s sense of the passage of time since your last Dragon Con seems to warp and flux, compressing into nothing. Yeah, it may seem like forever in between each Dragon Con when you’re waiting until the next one, but that changes once you’re actually at Dragon Con.

I was standing there with my wife Saturday night looking at something I look at every year that I’m there. It struck me that while there my mind could remember moments from that location as a continuous stream. The sense of time was absent. It didn’t feel like memories of last year and the year before, but rather yesterday and the day before that. The was no year in between. It happens when talking to friends you only see at Dragon Con as well. Two people can be talking and reference a conversation or a specific topic from a conversation they had last Dragon Con and everyone who was involved with that conversation seem to remember it and go with it like it was something they had been discussing an hour ago. People see each other and pick up exactly where they left off a year earlier, but it’s as seamless a rejoining of conversations and comradery as it would be if it were two people getting back together after a few hours anywhere else.

It's an odd sensation. It’s not one I have anywhere else. Just Dragon Con.

My wife tends to refer to it along the same lines that she refers to Dragon Con itself. She calls it the Brigadoon Effect, and often calls Dragon Con itself Brigadoon for Geeks. She says Dragon Con is like the fictional Brigadoon in that it’s a town that appears once a year, exists for a few days, and then disappears as quickly as it appeared. For the people in the Brigadoon for Geeks, there’s no such thing as the passage of time in between appearance, disappearance, and reappearance year after year. For the people in the town, Monday one year ago was yesterday for that year’s Friday. It sounds a little odd, but there’s some truth to it.

Now, on to Dragon Con 2016 itself.

Wow…

There was so many great things at this year’s Dragon Con. Joe Crowe made the American Sci-Fi classics track a majorly fun nostalgia blast this year. I wish I could have made more panels than I did, but from what I saw and from what I was told about the other panels, it was a banner year on the track.

Derek Tatum put on a great Horror Track this year as well. He put together a great blend of nostalgia panels and panels looking at the more recent events in horror culture as well as balancing looks at film & television with looks at the more literary corners of the realms of horror.

Plus, I owe Derek two big thanks. First I have to thank him for having me on as a panelist to discuss one of my favorite horror creations (The Blind Dead) alongside a newer friend and all around great guy (Doc Rotten) and one of my best friends (Bill Mulligan) at my favorite convention of the year. Second I have to thank him for taking a chance on the Horror News Radio crew from Gruesome Magazine (which includes the above mentioned Doc Rotten and Bill Mulligan as well as Christopher G. Moore, The Black Saint, and Thomas Mariani) and allowing them to become a part of his immediate tribe on the track. Beyond giving us all some great panels, it was personally nice for me. It’s always great getting to see someone I consider a good and dear friend experience their first Dragon Con, but getting to see them do their first Dragon Con as an attending professional and get some recognition for their years of hard work is double great. Okay… Maybe nothing actually equals the enjoyment of seeing the dazed, overwhelmed, and culture shocked look on a newbie’s face by early Saturday night, but it was damned close to being double great.

Oh, and thanks go out to Bill Mulligan for buying me an awesome Mark Maddox art print based on the Hammer Films classic Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. It’s going to look great on my wall.

The Earth Station One crew had another Dragon Con where they knocked it out of the park on panels. They’ve already got their Doctor Who related Dragon Con panel up via their Earth Station Who podcast. Go check it out.

Big thanks go out to ESO Director Mike Faber for introducing me to the above mentioned Mark Maddox. A truly great guy, and a film buff after my own heart.

Huge shout out to the guys who marched in the parade as the characters from Dire Straits ‘Money for Nothing’ video. Whoever you are, those were two of the best cosplays I saw all weekend. I’d say best, but you got topped by a young lady who cosplayed The Brain that Wouldn’t Die. Sorry, I’m a horror geek first and foremost.

Bigger shout out to the chieftains of my tribe. Dan and Samm, you make it easy to be a volunteer because you run the department in a way that makes it fun to be there.

Biggest shout out of all to the people who run the convention. You create something amazing each and every year. You put on a show that gives us something to look forward to, work towards getting to, and wanting to be a part of. You put in place the foundation for what built my tribe, what created my extended family. For that I will always be grateful.

Jerry Chandler just got home from Dragon Con Thursday in the early AM. He’s going to crash like mad tonight at bedtime.

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