Trish’s & Nancy’s Dragon Con Adventures ~ 2015 Edition

As our regular visitors know, Trish and I head to Atlanta every Labor Day weekend to fly our geek flags and wallow in fannish energy.  And every year, we blog about it.

We often run into each other, but this year, we met only once, in passing.  She was on her way to a photo op, and I was trying to get access to a panel I was supposed to cover for the Daily Dragon.  So we’ll learn about each other’s DC weekends while y’all do!

BatgirlShirt_DC2015I started off the holiday on Thursday morning by having breakfast with some friends I met in the late A.C. Crispin’s writing classes.  As y’all know, I’m not a morning person, so I didn’t think to ask the waiter to take a group photo.  But I was alert enough to wear my Batgirl t-shirt (acquired at DC last year) and try to take a selfie in the Hyatt lobby while you could still see the floor.  A nice guy came along and offered to take the photo for me, which I appreciated since I always look like an idiot in selfies, and this is the result.

While he was taking the photo, a woman walked by and complimented the shirt.  Fandom has its share of jerks, but it also includes a lot of really nice people.

If you think Labor Day weekend starts Friday, not Thursday, you wouldn’t be wrong. At least from a regular person’s viewpoint.  At DC, however, Thursday is rapidly becoming the new Friday, as in the day when the crowds start to swam.

R2D2_DC2015By Thursday evening, the hotels were very busy.  The Hyatt lobby is a sort of gathering place, and one of the people who gathered had R2D2 with him.  A working model.  Rolling around and beeping, and everything.  Very cool!  I don’t know about y’all, but nowhere else in my life am I likely to see that!

I had dinner with some of the same friends, several of whom also work for the Daily Dragon.  Being at the DD was a little strange without Eugie Foster, who died last September.  The new editorial team did a great job, but we all had the awareness that this year was different.  On Sunday, Eugie’s husband hosted a gathering in her memory that was very moving.

Friday morning, things kicked off in earnest.  I covered a presentation in the Armory Track called “What is Historic Steel Combat?” The panelists, including (Hey, Joanie! Psst!) a Roman re-enactor, discussed the different ways people engage in historical combat methods for fun and mayhem. You can read my article about it (including a photo of the Roman guy) here.

That afternoon, after Trish and I passed much like ships in the night–except we actually said hey and hugged in lieu of just blasting foghorns at each other–I covered a Battlestar Galactica (BSG) panel.  I love seeing those.  The cast are so comfortable with each other and so at ease with the fans that going is just a lot of fun.

By Saturday morning, people were getting punch drunk.  There’s so much to do, who wants to take time for sleep?  I had to roll out to cover the parade for the DD.  As I walked down Peachtree St. at 8:34 AM to catch the shuttle to the assembly point and interview participants, the curb was already lined with people staking out their spots for the 10 o’clock event.

Anyone who needed caffeine had lots of options.  Caribou Coffee  in the food court at Peachtree Center had lots of enticements, as seen here:



If you can’t read that, it says “Han-Shot-First-Chai,” referring to the classic bar scene in original Star Wars, aka A New Hope, and the ongoing controversy in fandom because Lucas changed it in the reissues.  Also on offer were Hagrid’s High Rise, Con Man Cooler, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mocha Cooler, Mad Max Mocha Cooler, Kaylee’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie, and Black Widow Smoothie.

Not content with those, however, the enterprising staff also had these signs up:











Y’all may have guessed that The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have two of the more active fandoms (among the many very active groups) at the con.  Some of the actors who played the dwarves in the Hobbit movies were guests this year, and featured guests from particular books, TV shows, or movies always bring out costumed fans.

Not to be outdone, the Starbucks on Peachtree Street displayed this special invitation (Click on the photo to enlarge and read):



I had my jolt of caffeine, accompanied by that very healthy breakfast, a glazed doughnut, before heading to the parade assembly point. After talking to some participants and getting some quotes, I took the shuttle (courtesy of the parade director) back up the area of the host hotels to talk to some spectators and find a spot for watching.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:


The Box Heroes are always popular.  This year, they were featured on the street signs welcoming Dragon Con.





The Historic Steel Combat Team marched the route in armor and did some sparring along the way.  All the costumes people were wearing (except the skimpy ones) had to be hot, but I’m thinking metal is likely the worst.



Then there was Hawkgirl, whose costume was just awesome, marching in the Nerds with Wings contingent. I wish a had a photo of those wings extended.



And of course the Dragon Con parade wouldn’t be complete without units from the Rebel Alliance and the 501st Stormtrooper Legion.










On Saturday and Sunday, I covered various panels, including one on how to get away with murder and one on the role of science in military science fiction, both in the Science track.  The con always offers panels that are interesting and educational as well as fun. Not that I plan to need to get away with murder.

I’ve gotten in the habit of finishing my con panel schedule with the BSG panel on Monday morning (the last of three such panels during the weekend).  My roommate and I were sitting in the restaurant after breakfast when I realized the panel was about to start. Luckily, we’d paid.  We bolted out of the restaurant.  As we hurried to the escalator, I saw Aaron Douglas, who played Chief Tyrrell, start down the stairs with his escort.  They weren’t going to start without him, so I figured I had a few minutes.  I rushed into the ballroom just as Security was closing the doors.

The room was about 3/4 full at the start (and filled up completely by the end), but I got a seat about 1/4 of the way back on the side.  I won’t share my photo because it’s blurry.  Phones don’t zoom well, but I know who’s who. The panel consisted of Douglas, James Callis, Grace Park, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, and Richard Hatch.  I wasn’t covering it, so I got to just kick back and listen.  It was relaxed and fun, a great last event to cap my weekend.  I don’t know what brings those people back to Atlanta over the holiday weekend every year, but I’m really glad they come.

The panel ended with Jamie Bamber thanking the fans and Edward James Olmos leading the room in a rousing three-peat of “So say we all!”  If you’re a BSG fan, you get that.  If you’re not, just know it’s a thing from the show that the fans love.

I needed two days to catch up on my sleep, but it was so worth it!  I came home buzzing with enthusiasm for all things fannish, including paranormal romance and historical fantasy.

Trish, how was your weekend?

Sounds like you had a great, if busy, time, Nancy. Same here. I always head to Atlanta on Wednesday to spend the night with my friend and fellow author Tanya Michaels, who sadly wasn’t able to attend DC this year. So we hung out and watched the final few episodes of Season 1 of Outlander, which I hadn’t seen. Then the next morning it was off to downtown Atlanta to check into my hotel. There were seven of us gals staying in the same hotel who like to hang out together, and four of us had an adjoining room. It was great fun.

At every other conference I attend, I’m Writer Trish and have to be “on” and go to all kinds of writerly panels. But DC is different for me. While I have gone to and taken part in writer track panels in the past, largely this is just a fangirl event for me. So I go to lots of panels in the main track with the bigger stars and get celebrity photos taken and chat with them in the Walk of Fame.

P1090077The first panel I went to on Friday was for Game of Thrones with actors Finn Jones (Loris Tyrell), Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycell) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor). Glover was really funny, and he has extra geek cred by playing General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back. Afterward I met Finn in the Walk of Fame, and he was really nice. We snapped a quick photo.

Other people I met in the Walk of Fame over the weekend included Graham Greene, whose work I’ve enjoyed since Dances with Wolves and who was most recently on Defiance and Longmire; Victor Webster from Continuum; Tricia Helfer from BSG, with whom I chatted about how we both thought her show Killer Women, about a female Texas Ranger, was cancelled too soon; and Richard Harmon and Ricky Whittle from The 100, one of my favorite shows.

Other panels I attended were with the cast of The Flash, Arrow, The 100, Sleepy Hollow, The Hobbit and Warehouse 13. For the first time, there was even a panel on Monday afternoon that I wanted to see, a great one with the cast of Defiance. They are always funny. They encouraged us to tweet #RenewDefiance so we can get another season.

img357I didn’t do as many professional celebrity photos this year, but I did do four (Sleepy Hollow, The 100, Dean O’Gorman who was Fili in The Hobbit films, and the Amell cousins – Robbie, who plays Firestorm in The Flash, and Stephen, who plays the title role in Arrow).

P1090147One of the most fun things to do at DC is to walk around admiring the awesome cosplay costumes. One of my favorites this year was this iconic dress from My Fair Lady. The lady pictured made it herself. I’m in awe of that kind of talent.

P1090196 P1090197 P1090201A few of the others I really thought were done well were Vision from The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Margeary and Loris Tyrell from Game of Thrones and Ruby and Hook from Once Upon a Time.

P1090099And there was one guy who had the advantage of having a physical similarity to the character of Littlefinger on Game of Thrones. He was awesome.

P1090220Nancy, I don’t think this is the Hawkgirl you have above, but she has her wings extended. Or is this a different character?

You’re right–not the same, but those are fabulous wings. (I am so envious that you met Victor Webster. I love his character on Continuum! What a fun weekend you had)

But perhaps the cutest costume at the con was this adorable little one dressed as an Ewok. Adorbs!P1090166


To read Nancy’s articles for the Daily Dragon, click here.

What did you do over the holiday weekend?  If you were to order one of those drinks from Caribou, which would it be?  Would you march in the parade or cheer from the sidelines?






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  • flchen1 says:

    How fun, Nancy and Trish! I love seeing your photos! Glad you had an incredible weekend–so much to see, so many people to meet! How fun that your caffeine options were amazing too 😉 Thanks for giving us a peek, too!

    • Thanks, Fedora! It’s a fun weekend, and either of us could write an epic about it. I look forward to it every year.

      Looks like you snagged the rooster, so congrats on that.

    • Thanks, Fedora. I keep thinking that one of these years I’ll keep a more detailed journal of my DC weekend, but it never happens. Too much to do and see to stop long enough to do more than eat or sleep.

      • Trish, I used to keep fairly detailed daily journals on big trips. Lately, though, I’ve found myself too tired to deal with that at the end of the day. I don’t know that I’d be any better at DC.

        You’re better at dealing with the Walk of Fame than I am, and I bet a record of all these great interactions you’ve had would be terrific.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    I always look forward to hearing about your DragonCon weekend, Trish and Nancy. Thanks for sharing!

  • catslady says:

    Sounded like a lot of fun and enjoyed the pics. We helped my daughter move so skipped having a cook out!

  • Looks like you guys had a great time! One of these years, I’d like to go to DragonCon. I would definitely be standing on the sidelines of the parade having no costume and no talent to create one :).

    I spent Labor Day weekend in Roanoke VA in honor of the opener of OSU football versus Virginia Tech. The weekend was full of OSU alumni gatherings and parties culiminating in the game on Monday night. So I guess I was partying in a different sort of costume 🙂

  • Huzzah! This is still one of my very favorite Bandita posts every year. I have never been to the Con, but I always look forward to attending vicariously with two of my favorite fellow geeks! Mortally jealous you got to meet some of the guys from The Hobbit! And OMG, Richard Hatch! I had SUCH a huge crush on him!

    I spent Labor Day weekend laboring over my novella for Christmas Revels II and it is FINISHED! I think we will be going live with the anthology some time toward the end of October. Now I am working furiously on the full length novel that comes between A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas and the novella I just finished – A Perfectly Unregimented Christmas, which features a one-eyed cat named Attila and a bonnet wearing seeing eye goat named Mrs. Nelson.

    • Thanks, Louisa! Putting this post together is always fun. I had a big crush on Richard Hatch, too, and I have to say the years have treated him well.

      Congrats on finishing your novella! There seems to be a Christmas theme here, and I love Christmas stories. I have a collection of the old Signet Regency Christmas anthologies, as well as yours and others on my iPad.

  • Jane says:

    Didn’t do much over the weekend. I would love to attend the SDCC someday and watch all the panels and check out the amazing merchandise.

  • helensibbritt says:

    Hi Ladies

    WOW what a weekend so many great costumes would have been very tiring but lots of fun and for me I would have been watching the parade not in it LOL

    Have Fun