Dragon Con 2009
© Buzzy Multimedia
As always Dragon Con delivers. This year I went with Buzzy Multimedia to document their adventures at the con and give a “behind the table” perspective. I will try to do justice to their journey, but there are so many little things that happened along the way that there will be a few things left out. Although no one incident will give you a sense of things, collectively, they are necessary to piece together the entirety that is “the con.” (Pictured here is the actual assembled and fully stocked Buzzy booth. “Helper” Ted – a quick witted, boundless supply of energy that was no end of help to us behind the table.)
Day negative 9
I begin to prepare to leave for Dragon. It will be a weeklong endeavor. I clean the house, grocery shop and do laundry so that my husband will have that much less to worry about while I am gone. I call and ask Joy and June at Buzzy what time I need to be at their place to leave for Dragon Con at the end of the week. They tell me 11 am and cut the call short as they need to immediately set out to complete a thousand little tasks themselves.
Day negative 1
I get up at Impossible o’clock in the morning and drive over to Buzzy’s place with my sock monkey, Salty riding shotgun. My little knapsack packed with a week’s worth of clothes, cell phone and camera are fully charged. The company vehicles are loaded up and pointing south by the time I arrive. The GPS’ are plugged in, charged up and ready to go. We head out into the light pre-lunch rush hour traffic. There are no photos of our brave departure because it is so early in the morning that cameras have not yet been invented.
I took this picture off my Blackberry as we drive down I-85 S heading toward Spartanburg, SC, so if it’s a little blurry, please forgive. If I learned nothing else at Dragon Con 2009 it was this: the definition of the word “overkill.”
We are in Atlanta, GA. No matter how early you show up at the docking bay of the Marriot to unload your wares, you will never be the first person in line to unpack. It’s true, the list starts at number 15 and there is at least a half hour wait. I know thirty minutes does not sound like a long time to have to wait for anything except that even at this hour Atlanta is already, what we call here in the south, sultry. As soon as the sun rises the temperature will rise as well and another gentle southern phrase will apply: “hot as hell.” Fortunately Buzzy, in its infinite wisdom, has hired not one but two very capable manly men to do all the unpacking for us. All I had to do at this point was stand around and drink Gatorade as I watched them sweat. I do take the time to point out that if we had left last week like I wanted to, we could have been upwards to number four on the list.
“Helper 1,” also known as Garret. He is the one on the very sweet 556 mile ride lovingly referred to as Betsy.
Day 1 FRIDAY: Because it is possible that people with weak hearts or other such delicate medical conditions may be reading this blog I will not mention the utterly obscene hour of the morning that I had to get up at to attend the con as a dealer. Nevertheless, I had committed myself to this journalistic task and was determined to see the project through. Donning my shirt of the day, a black tee with the words “I Spill Things” emblazoned across my chest, I and crew Buzzy arrived at the dealers’ room.
The Marriott, because it does not make enough money Dragon Con weekend, set up a grill and ice-cream stand just outside the door that lead into the hotel. I was so excited to be at the con that when I saw this guy I acted on it and yelled out “Look! It’s Chef Ramsey!” Many of the folks who heard what I said turned to see who I was pointing at. No one was more surprised than the chef himself. I snapped a picture of him off my Blackberry and asked him to say something mean. “Have a good convention.” He said as he waved. I don’t think the REAL Chef Ramsey would have said that. I like this guy much better.
Heading towards Chessex, Salty and I ran into Sean Patrick Fannon and his lovely fiancée, Carinn.
The Watchmen was no doubt a hit movie, and all throughout the con attendees were dressed up like characters from the movie (“Yes”, even Jon; and “no” they wore Speedos). Here is a duo I encountered, The Comedian and Rorschach. Fortunately for me I had the foresight to take Salty with me on my shopping adventure. Sadly for Salty, the Comedian remembered to strap heals that morning and held him at gun point.
For at least the last seven years there has be a woman who dresses up as the Baroness from GI Joe, strikes a pose in the main hallway in the Marriot hotel and congests traffic for an hour while we all take a pictures. No one ever minds, she is every bit as hot and lovely now as she ever was. Even the lukewarm GI Joe movie did nothing to lessen her personal fan following.
Standing off to the side was Cobra Commander. He was eager to strike a pose and wave his fist threateningly for me.
Super-teen extraordinaire, it’s FREAKAZOID!!
Its Buzzy pal author Keith R.A. DeCandido and Salty!
Kal-El, so nicknamed because he typically dresses up as Superman, is a longtime Buzzy friend. This year at Dragon he went for a different look and tried out Logan from the movie X-Men: Origins. I’d say he did a bang up job!
As we left the con for the day, there was one last photo I had to get. A truly amazing Ursula of Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I know its old news by now that Disney has purchased Marvel Comics for 4 billion dollars. This costume makes me wonder if Spiderman will ever have to face a Doc Oc – Ursula team up.
If you don’t know what’s it’s like to be a vendor at a con let me assure you that fun aside, it is a lot of hard work. When we get back to the hotel I take a shower and fall asleep almost immediately. The crack of doom comes early in the morning and I want to get in as much sleep as possible.
Day 2 SATURDAY
Getting up early is not my thing, but I do it because I promised I would. I don the shirt d’jour “The League of Pushy Women, Self Appointed Chapter Head.” We have to eat a fast breakfast and head over to the dealer’s room right away. We are let in one hour before the room re-opens to the public. In that time, coffee must be purchased from Starbucks (which, truth be told I do not like because even freshly made it tastes like its three days old) and the tables must be restocked and straightened out so that it looks as good as it did on the morning of the first day. Bottom line it for you, here is the lesson: the dealers who work cons do a lot of things in the wee small hours of the morning.
One of the many room monitors, Chuck, walks about greeting everyone with a pleasant “good morning” while also warning that the doors are about to open. As soon as they do, the rooms fill up again and the air conditioning that was not all that cooling to begin with is now rendered completely insufficient.
First photo of the day, Colossus of the X-Men. I’ve always said that when deciding to do the costume thing at a con one should play to their strengths. I think this guy is a marvy job.
On the left is Chuck, one of the con’s Dealer Room guys. Pictured next to him is his long lost brother, separated at birth and reunited at Dragon 2009. Anything can happen at a con, and it usually does. Anyone can do sensational journalism if they apply themselves. Take that Maury Povich!
Earlier in the day we had the more modern incarnation of Colossus, but Buzzy pal, Kal-El stopped by the booth as old school Colossus.
Saturday morning is the day that traffic is stopped in downtown Atlanta for the Dragon Con Parade. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the event hotels it’s usually on their closed circuit TV. If you are me, you are working a booth in the dealer’s room and seeing a parade that lasts 4 days long. This year however of particular note, among the Stormtroopers, Browncoats, Pirates, Ninjas, Steam Punks and assorted fandoms was the periodic table of the elements. Each of the elements was represented by a costumed individual trying their costuming best to represent their element. Some did a better job than others but no one was more of a hoot than Pa. As each of the elements walked by Buzzy (as it seems like the unofficial end of the parade is the dealer’s room) we all tried to guess the name of his element. I can assure you it is not Pennsylvania despite the fact with the proper postage this hunky science teacher would wind up in the dead letter office of the post master general there. Without Googling the name, I can tell you that it ends with an “-ium” and has a bit that sounds like “tattoo” in the middle. With the use of Google, I can tell you that he was the element Protactinium. All of science should be this hot and fun.
As if this needs a description. “Weapons of Mass Seduction” says it all I think. You go girl!
If anyone ever asks you the question “can you learn a life lesson at Dragon Con?” I think you can now answer that question with a definitive “Yes. Yes, you can.” Apparently this is what could happen to you if you have mean friends who set you up for a sucker bet. Sky Masterson of Dolls and Guys would have taken one look at this yokel and shaking his head woudda said to himself “Daddy, I got cider in my ear.”
A Buzzy Dragon Con tradition is to gather together with their 50 closest friends at a restaurant Saturday night and catch up on everything that has happened over the past year. This year was no exception. A good time was had by all even though after three hours most of us never got our food. In fact, many of us were only served the water that is typically placed at the table when you sit down. On the up side, without all that food and eating getting in the way we were able to talk a lot.
I return to the room that evening ragged and worn. I am losing my voice; it’s taken on a kinda hot whisky scratch to it. The city heat is blistering and the air conditioner in the hotel room does not have a sub arctic setting. Nevertheless, I am having a fantastic time.
Day 3 SUNDAY
This was perhaps the busiest day of the con. It was so busy that I took very few pictures this day.
This is maybe one of the best Harry Dresden costumes that has ever been at the con. And this guy is a big, big BIG Dresden fan. Why is he wearing a black Coca-Cola ball cap and not Harry’s usual detective fedora you may ask? Because if you were as big a Dresden fan as he is you would know that in book 4 of the Dresden Files, Summer Knight Harry dons a black Coca-Cola ball cap. Why? Read the books, I’ll not give it away. Better plan: buy the books on audio and listen to James Marsters read them to you through this link right here!
I am not ashamed to admit that the very first science fiction I ever read was “The Hitcher’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I watched it on PBS when I was kid too. As soon as saw this guy, I pointed at him and yelled “Arthur Dent!” He blushed a little at being so instantly, and loudly, recognized.
I am not what one would call a Trekkie, or Trekker or whatever it is that Star Trek fans are calling themselves these days so I missed the big news story that the actor who played Scotty, James Doohan, died last year. If the name on his badge can be believed this is Larry Robertson from Alabama. He refused to pose for a picture with Salty, claiming it was too demeaning.
What do you get when you walk up to a dealer’s booth at the con and ask for a discount because its you’re birthday? I suppose it varies from booth to booth, but I can tell you what happened to this young lady. I was so tired and running on pure adrenalin at this point of the day I stood up on my chair and hollered out as loud as I could that it was “this girls” birthday and we should all sing to her. Then, just like in the movies, the crowd stopped for a moment, all eyes upon her and in unison broke out into song. We were off key and all singing at different speeds, very unlike the movies, and we had no idea what her name was so we all said something different at that part, but the collective sentiment was genuine and sincere. As soon as the song was over, the last voice having died away the crowd returned to its collective hive mind and went about with its shopping agenda. I will not tell you if she got the discount or not.
Day 4 MONDAY
After spending the previous day standing on my feet hawking shirts and audio books, I wake yet again at impossible o’clock begging for something to put me out of my misery while I am dressing and getting ready to go. Today’s shirt: The Periodic Table of Gamers. I think of Pa and wonder briefly if he would approve. Not surprisingly this shirt sold out fast. We were taking orders for it at the table since about mid afternoon Saturday.
Very likely our last customers of the con were this husband and wife duo. Each came dressed up. He as a very good Burt Gummer of Tremors fame, and she as Miss Reba Macintyre. Eventually 5 p.m. came round and the dealers room closed. I wish I had a picture of how the booth looked on the last day, but sadly I was sent off to get the Buzzymobile so that Helper 1 and Helper 2 (Garret and Ted, respectively) could pack up what shirts that remained and tote them. Again there was about a half hour wait to pack the ride, as we were like 10th on the list to pull into the loading area. But load-up we did and hit the road and mosey onward. Atlanta was in the rear-view mirror but we were already talking about next year’s con. It was quite an experience, uber memorable, and I never even attended one of its thousand panels, or hundreds of workshops, or score of free concerts. Still, I was anxious to get back to my little dogs and husband. There’s nothing like Dragon Con, but there’s no place like home. (awwww….)
QtR – Theresa Bane, Vampirologist and Survivor of Dragon Con 2009
Vendi, Veni, Blogg ( I cam I saw, I Blogged)
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