So next week I’ll be attending Dragon Con in Atlanta. I’ve been wanting to do this convention for a while, but haven’t had the chance until now, and I’m looking forward to it but I also know I’m going to be seriously overwhelmed.
Why do I say this? Because Dragon Con is billed as “the largest multi-media popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music and film in the universe.”
I’m not sure that’s true; after all, San Diego Comic-Con generally draws at least 150,000 people. Regardless, Dragon Con generally draws around 75,000 people. Maybe more, and it is known as one of the largest pop culture conventions in the world.
It’s always held Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, so you can start making plans now for next year. HA! I say that because most hotel rooms in the vicinity of the con were gone by June. I’m staying a few miles away, but whatever! I’ll make it work! Basically, the con takes up five big-ass host hotels in downtown Atlanta, so there will be lots of walking involved in Atlanta heat and humidity (woo.) and total over-stimulation of everybody’s senses.
Dragon Con started in 1987, as a radical concept back in the day — bringing together different fandoms for one big convention. Prior to that, most conventions were genre-specific. Conventions for gamers only, conventions for comics only…like that. Since then, and practically every year since, the convention attendance size has increased until it’s become this behemoth of fan cray.
There’s also a parade, friends. On the circuit, Dragon Con is known as “Nerdi Gras” because it pretty much is a giant Mardi Gras for geekdom. And y’all, I’ve done Mardi Gras, so I know what that looks like. And I’ll say right now that Southerners know how to throw a damn party. I’m expecting Dragon Con to be a hell of a throw down.
Dragon Con is also known for its cosplay, with cosplayers often bringing bunches of different costumes for day- and night-wear. Rumor is that the best costumes come out at night, and cosplayers will parade through hotel lobbies. Dragon Con totally encourages this, so there are numerous cosplay contests, for individuals and groups — Masquerade is a group contest, and remains one of the longest-standing cosplay contests in fandom. There are also cosplay contests that are “track-specific.”
Y’all, there are some SERIOUS cosplayers at Dragon Con. This is from last year’s con.
Now about those “tracks.” Dragon Con has different “tracks” — that is, a line of programming that is interest-specific. Each of these also has its own webpage/schedule. For example, how about American Sci-Fi Classics? That page gives you information about the programming schedule on this track, guests, and even offers podcasts. Or perhaps you’d like to do the Writers’ Track, which offers programming specific to various types of writing — novels, screenplays, comics — any genre. Or (and I’ll probably do this one) perhaps the Apocalypse Rising track? Which features programming that deals with all things apocalypse (clearly).
There are tracks for practically any interest, including such awesome-ness as gaming, urban fantasy, high fantasy, animation, costuming, horror, Star Wars, robotics, film, armory, military sci fi media (srsly…that one looks good, too), and podcasting and media. I counted 36 different tracks, friends.
The guests…holy crap, there are dozens and dozens of them. Filmmakers, game designers, screenwriters, novelists, actors, showrunners, comics artists…people from every aspect of media you can think of. This year I’m particular stoked because the Wynonna Earp cast will be there, including showrunner Emily Andras. Other actors are, like, blasts from my past. Gil Gerard and Erin Gray of the 1980s Buck Rogers TV show will be there, for example. Two of my fave comics writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone, are also scheduled, as is Lora Innes, the artist on IDW’s comic book adaptation of the Wyonnna Earp TV show. OMG I just saw that Christopher Larkin and Zach McGowan of The 100 are also on the guest list, as is Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca in the original Star Wars. OMG! And authors Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Faith Hunter are all on the list. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
I mean, seriously. Why the hell WOULDN’T you want to buy something from Pirate Fashions?
Or go to the Norse Foundry and get yourself some cool-ass gaming dice. And for real. Who DOESN’T need chainmail? World in Chains can hook you up with some of that. I’ve currently got my eye on an X-Files tie at Snappy Ties. If I get it, I’ll take a pic and post it. 😀
Oh, and shit, you guys. There are also performers. As in music. All kinds. And there are workshops and panels and photo op sessions and autograph sessions with yer faves. I’m signed up for a writing workshop with Emily Andras — I took one with her at ClexaCon earlier this year, and friends, she’s so good. SO good. Even though we only had, like, 90 minutes with her, I got some great tips about TV writing.
Because this is so freaking massive, there’s an app to download that includes programs, updates, ways to connect with other con-goers, and other handy social media stuff. And there’s Dragon Con TV available on YouTube which offers fun stuff and presumably updates and things of interest to con-goers.
And this doesn’t even cover the fandom gatherings and the parade — did I mention parade? Dragon Con does a PARADE. It’s Saturday the 2nd. This parade, I’ve heard, is the most popular parade in Atlanta and it will be broadcast LIVE on the CW. Parade starts at 10 AM EST, if you want to tune in to the CW or Dragon Con TV to watch. There will be cosplay galore, I’m sure.
If you decide to do this convention in the future and you’ve never been, I highly recommend podcaster and all-around great guy Kevin Bachelder’s Dragon Con for newbies site. He does the Wynonna Earp Tales from the Black Badge podcast with Bonnie Ferrar, and he also is extremely generous with his time and helps newbies at the con.
Also, Kevin said that Dragon Con is run practically ENTIRELY BY VOLUNTEERS, friends. How cool is that? That’s how much fans love their geekdoms. They volunteer to do a giant-ass event like this for the LOOOOOVE. AND they do lots of community outreach. This year they’ve got a few things scheduled, including a park clean-up and they’ll be doing stuff with Special Olympics.
So that’s what I’ll be doing next weekend. I may not be able to post a Fangirl Friday blog, but maybe I’ll post a bunch of photos. We shall see.
And if you’re going to be at Dragon Con, snag the app and look me up: Andi Marquette. <–cryptic, no?
Let us fan together! WOOOOO!
Happy Friday, all, and may The Force be with you.