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I went to my first STARTREK convention in 1982(?) at the Penta Hotel in New York City. It was disappointing because the actors didn't really understand why they were there, only a few dealers had anything to sell, and the trip to NYC just wasn't fun. Oh how times have changed. DragonCon 98 was the exact opposite. DragonCon 98 was Awesome! Of course it was unorganized, expensive, and sometimes frustrating, but I had a great time. Let me tell you all about it. (scroll down to skip to the pictures)
My initial interest was to see Jody Lynn Nye. She co-authored several books with my favorite author, Anne McCaffrey, and I really wanted to meet her and get an autograph. So after work I raced down I-75 to get there in time for her signing. Traffic was against me, ticketing was a pain, and the convention schedule - well it was awful. It took me forever to find the "Autograph Area." BUT when I did, I discovered her sitting all alone. What a joy it was to speak with her. She's a very lovely person and also very personable.
As we were talking "some guy" came bouncing through the curtain behind her, obviously lost, and bumps into her chair.
"What's going on here?" he asked.
"An autograph signing," she replied.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Jody Nye."
"Oh" And walks off.
I couldn't believe how rude he was. But Jody just smiled and continued our talk. In my opinion, that's class.
I looked around and wound up at the "Pern Family Feud Game." Jody Lynn Nye and her husband Bill Fawcett moderated a trivia type game about Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. It was a lot of fun. I learned what Ms. McCaffrey's three favorite gifts from the USA are. Can you name them? Hint: A food and two candies.
Above are two pictures of Deborah Abbot. In the first she is XENA, and in the second she is plugging her "Code: Tango" comic. I know she was suppose to be friendly to everyone, but she was so delighful - - She made me feel special while posing for a picture. That was really nice.
After dinner, I took the MARTA down to the convention to see Anthony Daniels, of Star Wars/C-3PO fame, moderate an awesome DAWN look-a-like contest. You know, the comic book heroine from Sirius. His impromptu humor was amazing. Since he's British, his use of Lewinsky jokes and Clinton innuendo was especially funny. I was my usual loud and obnoxious self, but someone else in the audience named Kevin was even louder and became the butt of most of his jokes. But it was actually another lucky audience member who was invited on to the stage and spanked with a riding crop - English style.
Finally, about an hour later, they finished all the pre-show preparation. I guess they didn't expect the contestants to bring props, music, and prepared sketches. Let me say that I think the contestants were ALL incredible. I really admired the bravery of some of the women. It took a lot of courage to get up, in front of that wild audience, semi-nude. It couldn't have been much fun standing in high heels or a tight costume for hours either. It took real courage - or maybe they were just exhibitionists *wink*
The contest ran extremely long. I made it through the award ceremony, but unfortunately I couldn’t stick around. I had to catch the last (1am) train. I had really wanted to see the Changelings. I was told later that they didn't go on until 4 am. I'm sure only the die-hard Goth fans could hold out that late. Luckily their CDs were available later.
Got some cool autographs, some free stuff, and spent way too much money.
I started off the day with a quick stop in the PERN room for a discussion about Dragon/Rider mating matters. They really worked themselves into a frenzy. Although I've read all the books, that part of it never really captured my interest.
The PERN director, Anna Smith tried really hard to come up with interesting activities. But it seemed like, throughout the convention, a small group of friends was doing it all and us "Regular" fans didn't feel like we were welcomed in. I don't know what an On-Line Weyr is and I'm not sure I should have to, to attend a discussion group on Anne McCaffrey books. They really made me feel like an "Outsider." Just my opinion.
Then off to the American Red Cross blood drive. Got my second free T-shirt this year. Not too bad an experience. Although James, who took my blood, was either overworked, tired, or just plain unfriendly.
Then I wandered around the dealer room, where I spent ALL my money and picked up too much stuff.
Got a free book from Del Ray Books called "World War: In the Balance" by Harry Turtledove. An alternate WWII timeline story.
I stopped at the Highlander trivia contest, only to discover it had been pre-empted by home-made "slash" music videos. I was a little out-of-place since I was the only male in the room and didn't know what slash was. They were gracious enough to explain it to me. I left after two videos. I wasn't really offended - just bored. I do have a question though, Why?
Next came the Atlanta Radio Theater Presents Robert Heinlein's "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants", which was very well done. The voicework was a pleasure. Of course my favorite was the dog,
Then Rory Rammer:Space Marshal. Jonathon Harris (Lost In Space's Mr. Smith) was hilarious. I got his autograph later.
Masquerade Costume Contest - The dozen or so Star Wars actors escorting Anthony Daniels in was really cool. The judges, including Robin Curtis, Peter Jurasik, and Jonathon Harris had a really difficult job. Several people had spent a serious amount of time on their costumes. Their skits were pretty incredible too.
While the judges were out making their decision and writing up the awards, Anthony Daniels left the stage to "work the room" and see other costumes. As he walked around, he continually made jokes about how scary it was to be so far from the stage and amongst such a wild crowd. The lighting got darker the further into the room he got too. Toward the back of the room only his gold jacket glowing in the spotlight could be seen. He was astonished by the variety of costumes in the audience and asked several people to stand on their chairs so everyone could see them and be recorded on the videotape. There were two really hilarious moments.
The first was when he made a leopard girl stand up. She was wearing a beautiful leopard suit, terrific facial make-up, a collar, and a leash. As she was standing on the chair, another woman, in a black leather corset, screamed "Oh! You Found My Kitty!" - ran up, grabbed the leash, and dragged her off into the darkness. Anthony Daniels was speechless. After a few moments he regained his composure and remarked, "I'm glad she said 'kitty', and not......." The crowd went wild. [Special thanks to Linda freeman for the picture] also [the woman was Cindee who was, the night before in the Dawn contest and destined to win the Dawn contest one year later!]
Later he returned to the stage and retrieved a beer he had left on the lectern. He made some remark about how he was surprised no one in the room had thought to steal his drink. Sure enough, a few moments later it disappeared. As he looked around in amazement, the 4 year old girl costume winner returned it to him. He was completely flabbergasted and could only look around silently with his mouth wide open. It was awesome.
Shopping and picture taking was the order of the day.
Got Joseph Michael Linsner's autograph on my Dawn stuff.
He's a pretty good chap.
Hey Joe! Thanks for creating Dawn
Got a free deck of Babylon 5 playing cards from Precedence. Since I don't play I'll pass them on to a friend.
Went to the Dark Side of the Net panel discussion. I'm not sure they knew what they wanted to discuss since the two main speakers couldn't show. Three other people sort of talked about living/working a Gothic lifestyle, the difficulties of maintaining their web site, that Phoenix and New Orleans aren't really very "Goth Friendly" cities since people tend to stare and seat Goths in the back of the restaurant, and mostly just plugged their web site - www.Gothic.Net There were only two other Goths in the audience for them to reflect with so it wasn't really interesting or informative. Too bad, it had potential.
The Contacts page is up! It lists names and and other inforamtion about the people in the pictures and how to contact them.
DragonCon 99 will be held July 1-4, 1999. I already have my reservations, I'll see you there!
If you're in a picture, please click here!
© 4 July 1999