Dragon Con 2019 - Sunday, September 1
Five days in a kilt
Sunday, September 1
**Reminder: These posts are composed late at night after a long day of panels and sessions. They may not as cohesive and finely edited as normal posts. **
The blog series is titled “5 Days in a Kilt” and yesterday’s post was reported as Day 2. It was actually day 3.
Thursday, registration day, was day 1 in my kilt. Friday was day 2 and Saturday was day 3. Making Sunday day 4.
Ok, on to Tim’s thoughts from the day.
Yesterday, I was having a hard time finding sessions that inspired or were of interest to me. Backing up a bit. Starting Thursday night, there are sessions going on pretty much from 10 AM until midnight (in some tracks.) The sessions last an hour, there’s a half hour break to allow you to move to your next session, etc.The sessions are held in 5 hotels in the downtown Atlanta area that act as the con host hotels: Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott Marquis, Hyatt, and Westin.
There are over 40 tracks (areas of interest.) The sessions for each track tend to be in the same room. For instance, if you are interested in the Puppetry track, their sessions are all held in the same room all weekend, unless it’s a session that they expect will have higher than capacity (like Brian Henson talking about the new Dark Crystal series on Netflix), those are held in one of the larger ballrooms.
I started my day with a fresh mindset and a new perspective on finding sessions.
Sometimes you just have to go to a ‘celebrity’ session for some laughs and mental bubblegum. However, seeing the major celebrities requires getting in line hours before the session starts (even though the official DragonCon policy is no line forming until an hour before the session starts, popular ones generally become self-policing ‘gatherings of people that aren’t lines’.)
I opted for celebrities in smaller genres and ended up going to a session with Barnaby Dixon titled “From Stop Motion to Puppetry: The Evolution of Barnaby Dixon”. There have been several sessions with Dixon on the panel but I’ve never heard of him or seen any of his work. The session was all just him on the stage talking about his influences, how he started with stop motion animation and how he’s now incorporating puppetry into his movies. Take a moment and check out some of his videos on YouTube. I’ll wait.
He brought along the current version of Dabchick and explained how the character design has evolved. He brought along the armadillo and walked around in the dark with the glow-in-dark armadillo doing dances. He brought along Glowing Bug who danced on the front table. He answered questions from the audience and was candid and honest about his growth and education as an artist and puppeteer. The day was off to a good start!
Years and years and years ago when I was in college, I attended a convention and enjoyed the video rooms (rooms where they show movies 24 hours a day.) And that experience had a big impact on my movie watching development. Dragoncon has video rooms. After all these years I’ve never visited them. Given our mission statement, I felt I needed to experience the video rooms at Dragoncon. I opted for the screening of “Kubo and The Two Strings” (an excellent movie if you haven’t seen it.) I arrived at the video room about 15 minutes before the movie was to start. It was in the anime / animation room and they were showing Japanese commercials during the break. They were great!
The movie started and I was pulled into the story, the animation, etc. Just like watching a movie on a big screen in a room with other fans should be.
Sadly, I didn’t have time in my schedule to be able to watch the entire movie.
My next session was my ‘random’ choice for the day - “Resisting Demands to Search Your Phone While Traveling” in the Electric Frontiers Forum ( https://www.eff.org/ ). The session was all about what to do when the border patrol wants to examine your phone when you cross into the US. If you want to become a little bit alarmed about society and freedoms and such, hang out in the Electric Frontiers Forum sessions. Wow.
My final ‘educational’ session for the day was “70s Cult Cinema” in the Film Festival and Film Track. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this session. The panel was full of people from TCM, including people who program TCM Underground. The discussion quickly went off from the 70s centric topic as the discussion became what is ‘cult’, can movies move from ‘cult’ to mainstream, etc. I expanded my list of cult movies to watch from the discussions. And I hope to bring some of them to PFS experiences near you soon.
Back at the hotel, riding the elevators at the con is always an exciting adventure. Sometimes you have to go down to go up. The elevators fill up fast. If you want to go up and the elevator stops is going down, but has spots, you jump on. Sometimes you’re on elevators with some celebrities (my ride with George Takei a few years ago will amuse me for the rest of my life) and sometimes you ride with people in amazing costumes. Tonight, the elevator opened and inside was a character from World of Warcraft (I think.) The character ducked out and left the elevator only to reveal another large character behind them - a giant purple creature I didn’t recognize but guessing it was from WoW as well..
As I’m writing the first draft of this post, I’m in the hotel room watching the Masquerade (the Masquerade is the big costume contest of the con) going on in the ballroom in the Hyatt. The host hotels broadcast channels dedicated to Dragoncon sessions, bumpers, past classics, etc. For many of the very popular sessions and events (like the parade which is the largest parade in Atlanta and is broadcast on a local TV channel, very popular celebrity sessions, and the Masquerade), they are broadcast live on Dragoncon TV. Watching them on Dragoncon TV, we get a better view of the costumes and I can enjoy an adult beverage or two. Some of Dragoncon TV's classics can be watched on their YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/user/DragonConTV )
While catching up on technology during the Masquerade, I checked my emails and had an email from Delta reminding it’s time to check in for my flight tomorrow. I had a mental temper tantrum. It took me awhile to get into the mindset for the con this year and now that I’m locked in, it’s nearly over. I’m not ready for it to be done.
Every year as re-entry into the real world nears, I take some time to ponder and process. I look at tomorrow’s schedule and debate if I attend sessions and multitask packing and heading to the airport or do I take some time away from sessions and ponder deeper what I learned this year.
To be determined.