Some people spend their Labor Day weekends watching football and having cookouts. Aaron and I spent our weekend in Atlanta at DragonCon, surrounded by sci-fi and fantasy geeks, many in costume.
This was our first visit to DragonCon, so we had no idea what to expect. Aaron has wanted to go to this convention for years, and gave up his plans of going to San Diego Comic Con this year to attend this one. His hobby is dressing up like a superhero, most often as a part of a charity group that does appearances at non-profit events for groups like Make-a-Wish and Children’s Hospital. He was excited to finally meet some of people he’s been talking with on costuming forums for the last two years. (Hmmm…meeting people you usually only talk to on the internet – sounds similar to a blog conference!)
DragonCon is a huge event. As in, 60,000 attendees. Really, it’s WAY too big for the spaces they jam it into, which led to massive crowd flow problems.
The big draw of the con are the sessions and panels that many attend. There are panels on every possible topic in the genre, from the Science of Star Trek to Gandolf vs. Dumbledore to The Whedonverse for Beginners. Sadly, we didn’t attend any of these panels, mostly because I didn’t feel like waiting in a line for over an hour for a chance to get in to hear the panel. Again, the size of the event is a major problem.
There were a lot of celebrities at the event. I got to meet Peter Davidson, aka the Fifth Doctor. I also met John de Lancie, the actor who played Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more recently was the voice of Discord on the new My Little Pony animated series. My kids loved Discord, and I grew up watching Q on Star Trek, so going to meet him was an obvious choice.
Fun story: when I told him I’d like an autograph (these things cost money at events like this), he asked which photo on the table I’d like him to sign. I told him that my first choice would be Q, but we were getting his autograph as a gift for our daughters, so I asked if he could sign the drawing of Discord. He paused, smiled and then said, “How about this: you buy the photo of Q, and I’ll also give you the Discord print as a gift for your girls.” He signed both, addressing the Discord print to the girls with the message of “Read!” Super, super nice guy.
Aaron also met one of his favorite authors, Jim Butcher. And I also had the chance to talk with Peter S. Beagle, the author behind one of my favorite childhood movies, The Last Unicorn. I bought a graphic novel of the story and had him sign it for our girls.
He appreciated our daughters’ names, immediately knowing they were from Shakespeare, and then told us stories about growing up in New York and going to the theater with his aunt. If there hadn’t been a line of people waiting to meet him, I think he would have shared stories with us for hours. (He told us to come back and talk more later, but he nearly always had a line of people waiting to meet him, so I didn’t get the chance.)
There was also a vendor area at DragonCon, and it was fun to walk through. Most of the items were too pricey for me, or were simply things I wouldn’t spend the money on. I did appreciate seeing a Fourth Doctor bathrobe, though.
But the real story of DragonCon are the costumes. This event is known for the high percentage of attendees who dress up as their favorite characters. There were costumes at all skill levels, from store bought to advanced costumer. Here are a few I took photos of:
Of course, Aaron was in costume much of the time, too. Strangely I didn’t take any pictures of him in costume, but I’m sure they’ll be out there soon. His (not-so-) secret goal for this con was to get me to dress up in costume with him. It’s not that I’m adverse to the idea – we met while both working at a renaissance festival, after all – but I don’t have time anymore to make costumes, and generally don’t like many of the costume ideas out there.
Most female superheroes are in spandex bodysuits or show way too much skin. (Or both.) And they have amazingly perfect bodies to go with those outfits. I am not drawn that way. So finding something that I could be comfortable with is a lot harder than it might seem.
And yet, in the vendor area, Aaron found something that fit my requirements and insisted I try it on. Once I tried it on, he was ready to hand over the credit card immediately. I think he liked it.
So this is the costume I wore this weekend – a steampunk version of American Dream (or female Captain America, if you prefer):
It was fun to dress up, even if it has been a LONG time since I’ve worn a corset and had to convince my ribs to embrace the steel cage around them. In a sea of amazing costumes, I didn’t get a lot of notice at DragonCon in this outfit, but I know it made Aaron happy to join him with a hobby he likes so much. And hey, I guess I’m all set for Halloween this year, right?
I’m not saying this is going to be my new hobby, though, cause I’m already long on hobbies and short on time. Not unless someone can invent time travel.