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Dragoncon 2019 - Day 2 in a kilt.

Five days in a kilt - day 2

**Reminder: These posts are composed at the end of very long and tiring days. They may not be as refined and edited as normal posts. **

In the Day 1 post, I discussed the variety of subcultures and costumes represented at Dragoncon.

For many of the years coming to the con, I dressed as a “middle aged white guy at a con” to the best of my ability. A few years ago, I jumped in and joined a subculture - the kilt wearers. For the last few cons, I have worn my kilt every day of the con.

I didn't study kilt-culture or attend kilt wearing sessions to understand what it took or meant to don a kilt. I simply thought, 'that seems like a fine thing.' So I went to the Utilikilt booth in the vendor hall and was fitted for my first kilt. To this day, I am uncertain if I'm guilty of being an outsider in an established community.

Do non-nerds coming to the con have this same sense of possibly not belonging as they walk around and stand in lines wearing what they consider appropriate fandome as I do wearing a kilt and not sure if I have completely embraced the culture?

Today’s activities.

I attended the “Lighting & Camera: Shooting Like A Pro” through the Film Festival and Film Track. Even though I have a lot of experience with studio lighting for photography, I didn’t know how well that translates to moving pictures. It turns out the two are very similar. However, you can always learn new tricks or tips. The session was an hour long and the presenter ran through a semester’s worth of information in that time.

One of the many attractions at Dragoncon is the Art Show. I always enjoy walking through the Art Show exhibits of fan and genre art across many mediums. I also enjoy looking at the booths of the professional artists. Walking the aisles always gives me inspiration for new projects and ideas - not stealing their ideas, but looking at others’ works kickstarts my brain.

The rest of the day’s sessions didn’t really spark my interest. The afternoon was spent processing and pondering things new and old.

The evening’s highlight was the Georgia Philharmonic’s performance. They perform music from genre movies and TV shows. We weren’t able to get a seat in the room until after they’d already been playing about an hour, but we still got to hear music from Harry Potter, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings movies, and Star Wars. Hearing the opening fanfare from Star Wars played by an 80+ piece orchestra surely gives everyone goosebumps.

Listening to the performance and contemplating the lighting session from the morning reminded me just how many pieces must come together to make the movie watching experience successful.

From the lighting class, how simply moving one light a little bit can change the reading of the scene from suspense to horror to ‘talk show’ to drama. From the familiar score of movies bringing to mind the scenes from the movies, how important music is to the movie experience. When the components are strong parts of movie, like iconic music, they can take you back into the moment of sitting in the theater. Your mind replays the scenes that go along with the music. Sometimes it takes gentle reminders of how our lives are transformed by movies. From the art show, how movies, books, etc influence fans to create work based on their favorite things. Or how movies, books, etc open the doors and create fans for artists to create new work and able to find an audience for their work. As I discussed in the previous post, the worlds and works of the scifi / fantasy genres are becoming more widely recognized and appreciated. Yes, it makes things more mainstream and therefore more accepted, but also it means the subcultures no longer feel like they are on to something special.

The same thing can be said for the music industry. Fans of small local bands have to learn to share their bands as the band's become more widely known. I've been listening to the Dave Matthews channel on SiriusXM this summer. Sometimes between songs they interview fans and the band members. One fan remembers seeing Dave Matthews Band playing in a small college-town bar with 20 other people in 1996. By 2003, he was playing in front of 150,000 fans in Central Park.

What are some iconic moments, elements, scenes, songs, etc from movies that move you? That immediately transport you back sitting in the theater and being thrilled, amused, scared, or moved?

What have been your experiences with feeling a part of a subculture and watching the fanbase grow and transform? Are there some subcultures that will remain subcultures and happily so?

Kilted, Tim

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