Dragon Con (D*C) was as huge as ever with costumes ranging from the obscure (Mayor McCheese) to the awesome (Durge from "Clone Wars"). "Star Wars" costumes made up the largest group, as noted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I arrived Thursday, after my flight was almost cancelled due to Tropical Storm/Hurrricane Errnesto, which closed down the Atlanta airport for short periods of time and delayed my flight for over two hours. Once we finally got off the ground, the flight was uneventful.
I am glad though that I did arrive a day early. The line for badges was manageable, unlike that of Saturday which spilled onto the streets and around the block. Within ten minutes I had my badge and was out scoping out rooms for the various panels I wanted to attend and meeting up with people I knew from other boards or had net at Celebration 3.
Friday I was over at the dealer rooms by 10:00, but was told nothing would open until after 1:00. Bummed, I hung out and waited for the luncheon with my Jedi group. After hat I had "Jedi Business" to attend to and finally made it over to a couple of the dealer rooms early that evening.
I was disappointed to note the lack of "Star Wars" items available. There was nothing "new" on the pegs -- and of course no D*C exclusives. Few booths displayed any "Star Wars" items at all and most were overpriced. although quite a few dealers would let you barter. Always looking for additions to my costume, I picked up a resin lightsaber prop I could finish and paint for $20. I was also looking for the Obi-Wan Force FX lightsaber, but of the two dealers I found who carried the Force FX, neither had the Obi-Wan in stock. I did not find the Artoo-Potato I was looking for, nor any Bust Ups. There were a few Gentle Giant 12" Anakins and a few other GG items, but overall there was not a lot of Star Wars stuff to be found.
I wandered over to the "Walk of Fame" to see if any cool celebs were signing. I saw David Prowse and Peter Mayhew and Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti) as well as Rena Owen (Taun We). Unfortunately, being on a very tight budget, I could not afford any of their signatures. Anthony Daniels also had a huge booth, but in my thee trips to the hall, I never saw him in his booth. The big draws seemed to be from "Serenity" and "Firefly" personalities.
I was on a quest, though. for my son. I had to get the autographs of the three "Mythbusters" who were at the con. On Friday, only one had made it, due to weather and, I later learned, the tail of another plane which alleged caught on fire. Finally Sunday morning, shortly before I was due to leave, I did get the other two Mythbusters signatures.
Friday night I was planning on seeing Mystery Science Theatre 3000 take on Episode 3, but got shut out of the room due to fire code. This is something that happened to me several times throughout the weekend. The costume contest also shut out spectators. I hope next year the D*C organizers hold the Star Wars forums in larger rooms.
Since I missed MST3K, I wandered around the Hyatt admiring costumes. A lot of work was put into a lot of the costumes and others had barely any work -- or any costume -- at all. I didn't see a lot of the "no costume but body paint" crowd that I had been warned about, but there were a few. I suspect there were many more at the masquerade Saturday night.
The most intricate costume I saw had to be the White Witch from Narnia. She had the face to match the movie and her costume was absolutely incredible. Also the Ark of the Covenant from "Raiders" was cool to see, along with Indy and Sallah, but the thing that brought the biggest smile to my face was seeing Ecto One from "Ghostbusters" before the parade Saturday.
Saturday's parade was quite fun. My Jedi group met beforehand for a photo shoot and then marched to the staging area. During another photo op, my group was attacked by 501st who sneaked through the bushes to ambush us from behind. Little did they realize that we had survived Order 66, so they were no match for us. I really enjoyed walking the route and seeing all the people who turned out to watch. The Klingon biker gang was a neat idea and really worked with the Klingon persona. The funniest thing I saw that day were the three guys dressed up in cardboard box Stormtrooper outfits. That is going to be my next costuming adventure!
Ray Park did a great presentation on Saturday. It was even better since I knew one of the people he was dueling with onstage. Ray is very personable and open to the fans. He was also on the Walk of Fame but I never got the chance to meet him.
Saturday night was the big party night. Security was extra tight and I did not see any huge problems. Overall everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives and mostly were polite. I was caught off-guard though when I walked out of my room to find three guys dressed as ZZ Top, except only in their underwear, coming around the corner. I don't think I laughed that hard for years!
Unfortunately I had to leave Sunday morning so I didn't get to experience a lot of panels, but the ones I did get to were fun and interesting. Watching Dragon*Con TV on the big screen between shows was also hilarious and a great way to fill the time between speakers. You should check out some of the skits later at www.dragoncontv.com when they get them posted later this month. "Tribbles on a Ship", a fun poke at "Snakes on a Plane", was funny, as was all of the other shorts and bumpers.
Overall D*C was something I am glad I finally got to experience. A lot of the horror stories I had heard about did not seem to be real. The crowds, however, were real. You could not walk through a hotel lobby in the evening and at times security had to shut down stairs and escalators until more people left a certain floor. It was much like watching a traffic accident -- you know you shouldn't stare, but you can't look away either.
-Carol Gilbert AKA Jedi Mom