Pop Culture

DragonCon Review

DragonCon Review

DragonCon invaded Atlanta from August 29 to September 1st, 2003. It is the largest annual science fiction, gaming, art, fantasy, and cult media convention in the world. I love sci-fi, comics, and the gothic genre, and dabble in gaming, which made this convention very exciting!

I attended the convention with Kathy who (sadly) hasn’t even seen Star Wars but recognized that the people-watching opportunities were very enticing. There is just so much to see and do at this festival of sorts, and this review will enlighten you to the 2003 convention.

How It Works

Iyari Limon kennedy

Iyari Limon who played Kennedy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer kindly stood up for a picture at the end of a long day of meeting fans and signing autographs.

DragonCon is a huge gathering and covers a vast array of unique interests from Sci-Fi TV and movies to customizable card game tournaments to Doctor Who panel discussions to art exhibits to Playboy bunnies. To make it easier for the fans to get around, the convention is divided in ‘traks’ based on specific interests. For example, the Star Trek Trak involves an hourly schedule of events just for Star Trek fans that runs over the entire course of the show. This year it ended with sexy Chase Masterson of Deep Space 9 fame (the last Star Trek Trak event which I was unfortunately unable to attend… DOH!).

The Guests

There are hundreds of celebrities that appear at this convention. With 20,000 fans in attendance, there is someone for everyone! For Star Trek fans, George Takei (Sulu from the original series) was the guest of honor this year.

Overall, there were just too many celebrities to mention in detail (see list below) but if you are a sci-fi fan and wanted to chat with your favorite stars, they were there! Among the numerous guests, Buffy characters Spike (James Marsters) and Kennedy (Iyari Limon) were particularly popular, as were Ray Park and Peter Mayhew (Chebacca!) from Star Wars fame. I was elated to see that numerous actors from Babylon 5 arrived at the show in this century! Babylon Fivers included Ivanova (Claudia Christian – who left early due to illness), Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan), Centauri Vir Cotto (Stephen Furst), renegade telepath Byron (Robin Atkin Downes), and a bunch of others. Actually, almost the entire B5 cast was there! Awesome! One of my favorite comic book writers, Peter David, was greeting fans, as were other comic book artists and writers.

The celebrities typically sold 8×10 pictures of themselves for about $10 and would gladly autograph them. They would also pose for pctures with you. Other stars such as comic book artists brought their original works and were offering those for sale, many of which were about $75-100.

I chatted with Robin Atkin Downes for a while and he was loving the convention. Aside from making some extra cash, a lot of these actors become more popular as more fans get to see who they are and learn more about the roles they played on various shows and in the movies.

A Dragon*Con Trek Trak panel discussing the first two seasons of the show 'Enterprise.' It featured J. G. Herztler, Chris Jones, Arne Starr, Brian Sussman, and Vaughn Armstrong.

A Dragon*Con Trek Trak panel discussing the first two seasons of the show ‘Enterprise.’ It featured J. G. Herztler, Chris Jones, Arne Starr, Brian Sussman, and Vaughn Armstrong.

You could meet some of the guests by waiting in line to get their autograph and then having a brief exchange with them. With so many fans, the stars couldn’t devote too much time to any one visitor, which is understandable.

There were also some ‘famous’ people who came as exhibitors (meaning they paid to be there as opposed to being invited) and signed autographs for fans.

Panel Discussions

One panel discussion that I attended was the Trek Trak meeting about the first two seasons of ‘Enterprise’ (see picture below). Now, I must admit that when one of the panel members exclaimed ‘kaplah!’ (A Klingon term meaning success) and everyone cracked up. Ok, so that was the single most episode of geekdom that I have ever engaged in, but it was fun!!

The five members of the panel each gave their own 2 cents about the show and then fans asked questions. At the end of that particular panel, someone stood up and accused the panel members of providing generic information that would not damage their relationship to the show and keep them employed. I loved the small-time anarchy that followed! The truth is, as interesting as the discussion was, this fan was right on in that they didn’t fairly address the negative aspects of the show but repeatedly asked everyone to wait for the next season to watch for major changes.

A Dragon*Con Trek Trak panel discussing the first two seasons of the show ‘Enterprise.’ It featured J. G. Herztler, Chris Jones, Arne Starr, Brian Sussman, and Vaughn Armstrong.

Halloween Arrives Early!

A large number of fans who attended the show came dressed up. This was one of the best parts of the convention! Check out the pictures on this page just to get a small sample of the amazing costumes that people were wearing.

Strangely enough, Kathy noted that that there were a lot of people dressed as peasants. Yes, peasants! They looked like they came out of an episode of Xena or Hercules or from the Lord of the Rings movies! In any case, there were plenty of Lara Croft and Matrix look-alikes, Star Wars Storm Troopers, and Marvel and DC super heroes (Spider-man, Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Poison Ivy, Green Lantern, Robin and the list goes on!) to keep everyone interested in their fellow fans!

A Typical Day

There is a lot to do at a giant convention like this. It can be simultaneoulsy exciting and overwhelming. A day at the show can consist of walking around, meeting people (fans, celebrities, artists), attending panel discussions, and checking out and buying tons of paraphernalia ( comic books, video games, ‘working’ lightsabres, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s weapon of choice: the wood slaying stake, S and M domination gear, posters, clothes, costumes, and so on).

On the other hand, if the large masses of people becomes too overwhelming, you can escape to the all-day movie marathons, watch costume competitions, or escape to your hotel room for a brief break since thousands of guests checked into the hotels in which the convention took place.

After Dark Entertainment

This convention attracted a lot of people in the goth crowd. Kathy dubbed it ‘Goth fest!’ Popular gothic band the CruxShadows played a show on Saturday night and the band had set up a booth for fans to meet them. There was also a showing of the classic movie the Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with actors performing in the room as you watched the movie.

Goodwill

DragonCon raises funds and awareness for the Georgia chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America and sponsors the Robet A. Heinlein 2003 Blood Drive. A DragonCon charity auction is held each year to support these causes.

Cons to the Con

If you didn’t buy your ticket online, you easily waited in line for 30-60 minutes to get your ticket and name tag. The organizers could have made this go faster by having more ticketmaster and registration booths. In contrast to the convention program which was decently organized, a lot of the areas at the show were very poorly marked. There needs to be larger and more local and centralized signs to help people get around. I would have also liked to see people in ‘staff’ shirts who could easily help you when you were lost. In any case, once you figured out where things were, you pretty much got around with relative ease.

One final point about the guests in attendance. While there were tons of them, many were second rate. There were a number of guests who would explain who they were as “I was the guy who had that one in line in that movie like 25 years ago…” We need more big name stars!! Although to be fair, there were a lot of awesome guests!

Was it worth it?

People want to know if a gathering of this kind is worth the price. I must say that it is very worth it. Prices ranged from $30/day to $75/multi-day pass. It should be noted that you can walk around and see a lot without even paying simply because many of the exhibits and booths are in free areas. Also, people are everywhere and constantly walking around so you get a general feel for the show. However, if you want to really get in on the action, just pay the fair price and check it out!

There are other annual conventions for the different areas of this one. For example, Star Trek has its own conventions and the gaming people run their own major tournaments and so on. The difference is that at DragonCon, all of these are brought together which makes for a great experience.

Expanded DragonCon Pictures Section!

laracroftfansm

Check out the DragonCon pictures of Lara Croft, Goth Model Diana Knight, Spiderman, Supergirl, and more! This is an expanded pics section. Enjoy!

The Future!

The next DragonCon is scheduled for Atlanta, Georgia, Friday September 3rd to Monday September 6th, 2004. I strongly recommend a visit if you’re a fan of sci-fi, comics, art, customizable card games, fantasy and horror, computer gaming, animation, science, music, science fiction tv and movies. Book now… you won’t regret it! For more of Dragon*Con, visit the website.

Attention Star Wars Fans!

Check out this Citynet Magazine Exclusive Interview!
Miss May 2004 is Orli Shoshan… Jedi Master Shaak Ti from Star Wars Episode 2 & 3

DragonCon 2003 Celebrities

 Deborah AbbottPeter Abrahamson

Aaron A. Acevedo

Forry Ackerman

Chris Adams

Steven R. Addlesee

Beth Allen – The Tribe actress

Tony Amendola

Douglas Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson

Steve Antczak

Ben Armstrong

Atlanta Radio Theatre Company

Robert Asprin

Jeff Austin

Stephen Austin – Pak Ma Ra Babylon 5

Rob Balder

Betty Ballantine

Bardiva

Lawrence Barker

Jim Bassett

Frederick Beaudoin

Steve Berman

Cliff Biggers

Darlene Bolesny

Larry Bond

Kammy Bonias

Rick Bonilla

Tye Bourdony

Berl Boykin

Ray Bradbury – The Legend himself!

Michael Brady

Dan Brereton

Bill Bridges

John Bridges

The Brobdingnagian Bards

Brom

Julie Caitlin Brown – Natoth on Bab 5  + ST: TNG

Steven Brown

Phil Brucato

Frank Brunner

M.M. Buckner

Bob Burden

Patrick Burns

Jim Butcher

Jim Butler

Michael Capps

David Carradine

Melissa Carter

Angela Cartwright

Jackie Cassada

Meryl Cassie

Corey Castellano

Cats From Saturn

R.J. Christensen

Jeff Cioletti

Stephen Euin Cobb

Ivan Cohen

Stephen B. Combs

Bob Coughlin

Hunter Cressall

Ann C. Crispin

Marie Croall

The Crossed Swords

The Cruxshadows – Goth Band

Leslie Culton

Jeff Darlington

Kathleen O’Shea David

Peter David

Sohma G. Dawling

Chris Demetral

John A. De Vito

Brad Dourif

Robin Atkin Downes – Babylon 5 – Byron

Brian Downey

Ellen Dubin

Andy Duncan

Elonka Dunin

Talon Dunning

Dani Eder

Darryl Elliott

Emerald Rose

Jason Engle

Doc Ezra

Lou Ferrigno – Incredible Hulk TV Show

Glenda Finkelstein

G. W. Fisher

Rob Fitz

Tom Fleming

Bill Fogarty

Dave Fooden

Rick Forrester

David Franklin

Peter H. Friedman

Mira Furlan – Babylon 5 – Ambassador Delenn

Stephen Furst – Babylon 5 – Vir

Bruce Gehweiler

Gil Gerard

Ghost of the Robot

Bob Giadrosich

Godhead

Frank Gordon

Mitchell Graham

Andrew Greenberg

The Green Goblyn Project

Eric Griffin

Andy Hallett

Garner Halloran

 Bill HolbrookDr. Stephen D. Howe

Geoff Johns

Herb Jefferson, Jr.

Georges Jeanty

Marten Jallad

Matt Hughes

Adam Hughes

John Hudgens

Sarah A. Hoyt

Greg Horn

Eva Hopkins

Christopher Holland

Bob Hobbs

Jeffrey Hirschfield

Tom Hern

Tracy Hickman

C.J. Henderson

J.G. Hertzler

Clay Henss

Craig Hamilton

David Hedison

Hazmat

Scott Hamilton

Hattie Hayridge

Gary Kim Hayes

Cully Hamner

Bo Hampton

Nathan Hanish

Noah Hathaway

Anne Hardin

Richard Hatch – Battlestar Galactica

David Harmer

Jonathan Hardy

Drew Johnson

Les Johnson

Dan Jolley

Dara Joy

Christopher Judge

Lloyd Kaufman

Gregg Keefer

Charles Keegan

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Richard Kiel

Caitlin R. Kiernan

Patrick Kilpatrick

Michael John Kimball

Kimiko

Nancy Knight

Walter
Koenig – Star Trek – Chekov

Josh Krach

Mur Lafferty

Cheralyn Lambeth

Michael
N. Langford

Rich Larson

George Lazenby

James Leary

Andy Lee

Jeremy Lee

Scott “Raven” Levy

Ken Lightner

Iyari Limon – Buffy – Kennedy

Brad Linaweaver

Joseph Michael Linsner – Artist of Dawn

Lips Down on Dixie

Kelly Lockhart

The Lost Boys

Norman Lovett

David Mack

Don Maitz

Steven Marsh

James Marsters – Buffy – Spike

Anya Martin

Michael Martinez

Chase Masterson – ST: DS9 – Dabo girl

James Maxey

Peter Mayhew – Star Wars – Chewbacca

Anne McCaffrey

Todd McCaffrey

Karen McCullough

David G. McDaniel

Rebecca McDannold

Garry W. McKee II

David McOwen

Paul Mercer

Billy Messina

T.W. Miller

David Millians

Juliet Mills

Rebecca Moesta

James Moffet III

Michael Monahan

James A. Moore

Monte Michael Moore

Dean Motter

Bill Mumy – Babylon 5 – Minbari Lenier

Doug Murray

Pam Murray

Mystrys

David Napolielo

Nataya

Ingrid Neilson

Chris Nuccio

 Philip NutmanJody Lynn Nye

James O’Barr

Keith Olexa

Jana Oliver

Opland-Freeman

Joshua Ortega

Leni Parker

Rembert Parker

Ray Park – Star Wars – Darth Maul

Garrett Peck

Bob Pendarvis

Terri Perkins

Luke Perry – ‘90210’ and sci-fi flicks

Stefan Petrucha

Rowdy Roddy Piper – Wrestler

Ken Plume

Chris Port

Cherie Priest

Mark Racop

Kariann and Gary Raisor

Blanche Ravalec

Fred Olen Ray

Nicky Rea

John Rhys-Davies

Dave Rickey

John Ringo

William Alan Ritch

Tanya Roberts

Jayne Rogers

Leah Rosenthal

Caleb Ross

Cynthia Rothrock

Rowena

Jaye Roycraft

Greg Rucka

Philip Paul Sacco

Susan Sackett

Alex Saviuk

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Vivian Schilling

Donald R. Schmitt

Julius Schwartz

Randal L. Schwartz

Lisa Marie Scott

Mike Shoemaker

Bill Sienkiewicz

Anthony Simcoe

Marc Singer

Marq Singer

Sins of Lust

Michael Wesley Smith

Ray Snyder,

Rob Sommers

Soul Dogs

Space Coyote

Dr. Kris Sperry

J. David Spurlock

Lilith Stabs

Steve Stanley

Chris Staros

Arne Starr

Brian Stelfreeze

Jim Steranko

Karl Story

William Stout

Brad Strickland

Danny Strong

George Takei

Tatsumi

Anthony Taylor

Sean Taylor

The Last Dance

Three-Quarter Ale

Jim Torres

Michael Tresca,

Trinity

Kevin Tucker

Lani John Tupu

Carla Ulbrich

Ethan Van Sciver

Andy Vetromile

Tim Vigil

Dexter Vines

Voltaire

Lamar Waldron

Jenny Wallace

Jon Waterhouse

Graham Watkins

J. Shanon Weaver

Mike Weaver

Wendy Webb

Margaret Weis

Pete Wellborn

Michael Jai White

Widgett

Chris Wiese

Blake Wilkie

Doug Williams

Tom Wilson

Judd Winick

Louise Wischermann

Loren Wiseman

Melissa Wolf

Lindsay Woodcock

Peter Woodward

Susan Wright

Janny Wurts

Patricia Zentilli

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