My Amusing How-I-Spent-My-DragonCon 2008 Report
Posted on September 11, 2008
Sit back, relax and dig in as I attempt to amuse you with my slightly overdue DragonCon report. Yes, slightly overdue. Dodging the Hong Kong Grandmother’s hit squads is bad enough, but to avoid Julie Caitlin Brown’s, too? Ugh. Let’s start at the beginning. I flew into Atlanta Thursday afternoon (no delayed flights…uncanny and almost unbelievable) and arrived just in time to shove my bags in the room before heading down to join “the line”.
Now, “the line” is that thing we DragonConners must stand in to pick up our badges that allow us access to all the juicy events during the weekend. It was also wrapped around 3 sides of the hotel and amounted to about a 2-3 hour wait. Ralph bought me an Eternal Membership last year for Christmas, which comes with certain benefits, and it didn’t occur to me until someone in front of me in “the line” mentioned how much easier Eternal Members must have it.
“Please explain.” I nudged him.
“Those (expletives!) have their own shorter line and I hear they get better free crap.” He was bitter.
“And where is this line?” I was not.
“The location is listed on the back of their blue card. Like it’s some huge secret because they’re better than we are.” He watched me for a moment. “What are you doing?”
“Looking at the back of my card. Oh, you’re right!” I found that he was correct. The location was in a special, secret place…so I said goodbye to the little people and there I went. And, as an aside, there was some decent free crap…er…stuff!
Everything was a solid good omen until I joined “the shorter line”. The first person I recognized was the witch Julie Caitlin Brown. Now, this ambassador of ill-will is fairly reviled not only by fans who are forced to endure her tirades and lust for money by pushing people through each line of every person she’s representing, but also the staff of volunteers at DragonCon. The reason you’ll never find anybody calling her on her discourtesy is because she represents the actors of Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, Kevin Sorbo and several other big names. It’s politics. If DragonCon wants the big names, then they are forced to tolerate the legend-in-her-own-mind. I know. I have inside information.
So, I meet up with Linda and Carol a bit later, missed (by 5 minutes) turning down “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” alum Jake Lloyd for a quickie (at 19 years of age, it’s alllllll quick) and finally meet up with Miss Jenn-Jenn. We call it an early night and start off with an early morning. Breakfast at the Hilton. Our group of Linda, Carol, Jenn-Jenn and I had to turn George Takei and his posse away since we took the last table. You can’t believe what a fuss he made. It finally took me telling him “Look, Mary, I’ve been supporting you for 3 decades now. When you start buying my books and showing a little love and support my way, I’ll give up my table.” What a whiner.
A couple of hours later, it’s finally time to attend the first event of the day; Lance Henrickson! He’s half an hour late, but more than makes up for it, especially with news that a “Millennium” movie is in the works. Unfortunately, because the last “X-Files” film tanked quite badly, the new project’s future is slightly in jeopardy. Lance was incredible and I look forward to seeing him at future conventions.
Forty-five minutes standing in line later and it’s time for a panel with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk of Firefly and Serenity fame. Any of the cast members from the show and film remain a HUGE draw and they had to move the panel location twice before settling on the largest of the rooms. I haven’t laughed that hard watching two people banter back and forth with an audience in a long time. Even though Nathan seems uncomfortable being seen as larger than life (he’s just a guy like everybody else), the guy has charisma and knows how to use it. I can relate…in my mind!
Another included an hour with Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself) and man does that guy love to chat! I’d brought him an import DVD cover of Galaxy of Terror and he related all sorts of anecdotes about the film’s production and cast, which were priceless. James Hong entertained everybody discussing the 500+ movies he’s made (including Big Trouble In Little China, which most seemed to know him from) and even suggested that somebody in the audience might write the sequel to Big Trouble…. I’m seriously giving it some thought. Even just to say that I gave it a shot would be worth it. Still mulling it over.
Edward James Olmos offered some interesting insight into his distinguished career as an actor and director. Honestly, I never knew that the line “So say we all” from Galactica was an ad lib on his part. I suspect that based on his time at DragonCon that we’ll be seeing him again at future conventions. I didn’t end up convinced to pay $60 for his signature, though.
And despite being turned off by the Writer’s Track a few years back (a story in itself), I did attend a couple of their panels this time around. The first was “Writing For Small Presses” and some decent information was shared. It made me realize that because I’m essentially writing gay fiction that I’m more screwed than I’m first thought. The second panel was titled “Now That’s Funny” and it was lead by authors who, except for one, had no real experience or writing experience with comedy. They were…fumbling with the subject and that bothered me enough to contact the Director of the Writer’s Track and ask if I might be included in a similar panel next year. I figure that it never hurts to volunteer. No response as of yet.
As for expenditures, allow me to say that it was extremely disappointing to see that talent’s management (NOT DragonCon) had chosen to raise autograph prices by 50% this year. The economy is still in the toilet, gas remains high, unemployment is through the roof, so why not raise prices? VERY disappointing. For instance, the very awesome picture I had taken with Nathan & Alan (mostly because 90% of the actors this year weren’t allowing photographs at their tables as they have in the past) was $50, then an additional $10 for a digital copy, then $25 for a signature from Nathan and $25 for one from Alan. Final price = $110. Then there’s Linda Blair, who was allowing photos at her table. Final price = $10, all of which went to charity. Now there’s something I feel good about supporting.
So there you have it; hollers, dollars and low-ballers. And I’m looking forward to whatever adventures lie ahead next year. After all, there’s 357 days left until DragonCon!
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
2 Responses to “My Amusing How-I-Spent-My-DragonCon 2008 Report”
Dorien Grey says:
March 31, 2012 at 10:18 am
Ah, yet another adventure off hob-nobbing with your fellow wizards! I do have to admit that I was shocked to think celebrities would charge to have their photos taken with people. I wonder how much Nathan Fillion would charge for a nude shot? (Hey, it was a fantasy convention, right?)
The world is filled with shattered illusions.
March 31, 2012 at 10:43 am
If it’s a smaller convention, some of the folks will let you slip a picture in on the sly. With the larger ones, though, and with high demand, they’d be standing around all day and not be able to sign. I can see why they charge. They don’t dictate the prices if it’s a professional photo. For what Linda Blair did by donating the money to charity, I’ll support that every time!