Dragon*Con 2011 – Saturday

Ah, Saturday. Or, as I like to call it…THE DAY OF AWESOMENESS!

Our day started pretty early – 7am rise and shine to get showered and start preparing for the parade. There had been a big delay in getting the parade ribbons. They hadn’t been delivered when they were supposed to be, and we ended up getting them at the last minute. In fact, I can’t actually remember whether we got them late the night before, or early the day of the parade. I’m sure Maggie remembers. We grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks in the bottom of our hotel (we were staying in the Westin!) and then started the trek to Woodruff Park, where the staging area for the parade would take place. And where I learned there was a serious dearth of public restrooms. And few businesses open on a Saturday morning.

Pre-parade lesson learned: Potty before you go, or plan to get a citation somewhere along the way for public urination. No, I did not receive a citation.

We had a pretty good place to watch all the craziness. We were, unfortunately, not situated near the troop of Spartans from 300. I think the parade planners might have been on to me. While we stood around, waiting for things to begin, we managed to score some Red Bulls. Quite honestly, it’s not something I’ve ever had before. I got the sugar-free kind. It sorta tastes like Pez.

Maggie and I, dressed in the fashion of Bob and Carl: Sci-Fi Janitors, were going to be amongst the last folks to walk in the parade. Heather would be joining us, dressed as a dragon convict. Get it? Dragon Con? Mwahahaha. At one point during our wait, some weird mad scientist guy came to interview us for his show. He asked me what my favorite kind of trash was to clean up. I said “political.”

Over the course of the next hour, we were joined by two pairs of Bob and Carl. One group had “dress” suits like us, the others had actual biohazard cleanup suits. Just so you know…that fabric doesn’t breathe. That’s kind of the point. Both pairs were wearing real gas masks. I don’t know how they made it through the entire parade route with them on. It was entirely too hot. Even with my cardboard mask, I was dying.

We all cleaned the entire time. And interacted with folks along the route. Occasionally we’d clean each other. I realize how wrong that sounds. Get your mind out of the gutter. We learned later that we – the Sci-Fi Janitors group – were featured on CNN’s website! Huzzah!

There was a group of protesters following behind us for a little while, but they must have lost their interest when we didn’t get our hackles up. i thought it was interesting that they were protesting our parade, calling us out for sci-fi and fantasy fandom, when we had a pretty nice group marching in the Dragon*Con parade under the flag “Fans for Christ.”

The end of the parade was a little bit of a cluster****. People kept walking right in front of us, despite the best efforts of the parade volunteers to keep everyone back. There’s supposed to be free water for parade participants at the end, and there wasn’t. All the folks who were sitting by the outside of the Marriot and the Hilton were getting up and going into the hotel whil those of us who were in the parade were still trying to file into the loading dock.

The three of us ended up heading over to the Hilton, to try to find the Bob and Carl panel. By the time we found the room, there was a sign on the poster that said it was full. We stood outside the room for about 10 minutes, trying to decide what to see next. We’d just figured on getting lunch when I turned to Maggie and said “I kinda just want to pop my head in there and must look at the crowd.”

So I did.

There was about a two second pause between the time I opened the door (and people turned to see who was trying to squeeze into the room) and when the room erupted in cheers. Matt and Beau – the creators of Bob & Carl – were standing on a small stage, speaking to the audience. They saw us and started waving us to the front of the room, saying “Come up here! Come up here!” I started to shake Beau’s hand, but he said, “No, we’ve got to hug.” So we got hugs from Matt and Beau! Matt, at one point, said “I’m trying so hard not to cry.”

We weren’t originally intending to stay in the room – when I say it was packed, I mean it was PACKED! – but Matt and Beau made room for us on the edge of the stage and told us they were going to work us into the live show. That’s right, folks…Maggie and I got to make an appearance in a Bob & Carl sketch. After they posed for some pictures with us and the puppets, all together.

We went down to their booth later, to ask them to autograph our brooms. We got free buttons! We grabbed some lunch from the Marriott convenience store (best salads EVER!) and headed over to a quiet corner to sit down. While there, Maggie and I made the mistake of pulling off our galoshes. Ewwww….calf-high rubber boots in the middle of sweltering Atlanta do not make for a good time. Instead, they make for soggy socks.

By that point, we were a bit warm and ready for a costume change. The previous night, Maggie had received an invitation to a “Meet the winners of the Costume Contest” panel, so we headed back to the Westin so she could grab her stuff. Since we were planning a quick meetup with other Labyrinth-costumed people later that night, I went ahead and grabbed my WiseMan costume bits. It’s a bit of a hike from the Westin, especially while carrying a whole bunch of Goblin Knight and Wise Man bits, so we barely arrived in time for the end of the panel. Maggie talked about her stuff briefly and, as the panel audience broke up, the two puppetry-related judges invited her to come along to a puppetry panel the next morning.

Maggie and I posed for photos on several floors of the Marriott for about two hours before Maggie had finally had enough of being in the Goblin Knight costume. She headed back to the hotel to change into her Silent Hill nurse costume once more. I hung around in the bottom of the Marriott, enjoying a brief respite from carrying around my giant (fake) head.

Usually, I don’t tend to get asked to stop and pose for many pictures. That changed a bit this time around. When Heather and Maggie showed back up (Heather in her Worm costume), we parked ourselves in a corner and waited for people to come to us. And come to us, they did. Much of my night was filled with variations on the following conversations:

Con-goer: Oh my god! Labyrinth! I love that movie! Can I get a picture with you?

Me: Sure. [poses for picture] Are you in a costume?

Con-goer: Uh. Yeah.

Me: You have to tell me what it is.

Con-goer: You can’t tell?

Me: I can’t see. Hold on a moment [lift up head and gasp for air, admiring their now visible costume] Ah. Cool.

Con-goer: Wait a minute…You can’t see out of that thing?! It must be really hot in there!

In all honesty, Icansee out of my Wise Man head. Just not very well. And only in a very small area in the front, right where the bottom of the stabilizers rest against my chest. Unfortunately, that means I can see things only if they’re about three feet tall and standing DIRECTLY in front of me, and most people I come across at Dragon*Con just don’t fall into those parameters. So there’s a lot of either standing around, talking to people without looking at them, or standing around, holding a giant costume head above my own head. Thankfully, I was able to rest part of the Wise Man head on my own in such a way from time to time that I could talk with folks face-to-face, without all the blood and feeling draining from my arms.

Now, I’m going to say, right off the bat, that I don’t get hit on a whole lot at conventions. That I know of. I mean, I’m kind of oblivious, quite honestly, so I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. Maggie’s usually the one with people following her around. That being said…I did actually get hit on while wearing this costume. I don’t know what was up with people that night, but it certainly made for an interesting evening.

I also had a LOT of fascinating conversations with people. Most folks would ask the usual questions: How long did it take to make the Wise Man? What was it made out of? Is it really heavy? Is it hot? Does the bird talk? Is it stimulating being your own hat? (extra points to you if you get that last reference) Since I love costumes, I am only too happy to talk to people about their construction. Everyone was surprised with how light the head actually is. By this point in time, I know…make your head light, so you don’t get light-headed.

The head wasn’t actually all that uncomfortable that evening. When Maggie went back to the hotel to change, she unclipped the portable fan from the inside of her Goblin knight helmet and brought it along for me. So I effectively had air conditioning in my costume. If I’d had a little water bottle, of the type you use for gerbils and the like, and a ledge for a book, I’d have been perfectly entertained inside that head.

Every time I came across someone who was a big fan of the Wise Man, I’d take off the head, reach my arm inside, and operate the bird puppet while doing the voice. There’s even video somewhere of me doing that. I’m sure it’s on youtube somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.

Random conversation that evening:

Heather: [looking at large canister of Ghostbusters ooze] I wonder what it’s made of.

Maggie: Strawberry pasties

Me: No, I don’t think that’s what it’s made of.

Apparently, while cutting through the elevator corridors at the Marriott, Maggie says I happened past Temuera Morrison. I didn’t see him – didn’t even know he was at the convention – and couldn’t hear her when she tried to get my attention, which is unfortunate, as she says he was intrigued by my giant costume head.

We ran in to Jenn (Sweet Bee from the previous year) during our evening. Since she’s a follower of the blog, she knew I’d used coffee to distress the Wise Man robe. Instead of a typical greeting, she wandered up, leaned over to put her nose against my costume and took a good long whiff, declaring that I didn’t smell too strongly of coffee. I was relieved.

Eventually, we found ourselves in the bottom of the Marriott again. I’d confiscated a chair and was quite comfortable. While relaxing (with my head off) I spotted a dead-on Wilfred cosplayer. He even had the stuffed dog. He came over for a picture, as did some folks dressed as the Snowths from the infamous “Mahna Mahna” sketch from The Muppet Show, and a couple who were dressed as contestants fromLegends of the Hidden Temple. AH! Childhood flashbacks!

At this point, Heather had gone outside to smoke and we were just about ready to pack it up. Originally, we were going to leave out the back of the Marriott and trek all the way back uphill to the Westin, but then I suggested we take the shortcut through the Peachtree Center mall, so there was less hill for me to wander up while carrying a giant head, with my robe trailing behind me. While we waited for Heather to come back in, I went ahead and put my head back on. Folks were still wandering past, taking pictures, and I didn’t need to see Maggie to talk to her. While I sat there, on the edge of napping (yes, sometimes I nap inside my face-shielding costumes) I heard Maggie say “I think she’d appreciate it if you took a picture with her.” Knowing she wasn’t speaking to me, I lifted my head to see who she was talking to…

and saw Steve Gonsalves from Ghost Hunters.

He had been trying to get a picture of me on his iPhone. Maggie went ahead and took a picture for him with his camera, and one for me with mine (a big “Thank You” to Robert, by the way, who made it possible for us to take pictures of the con this year without dragging around tons of heavy camera equipment!). He wandered off, and Heather returned a few moments later, very upset to learn that she’d just missed him.

NGB Costume Awards (Saturday)

Most Original: Nintendo Cowboy

Most Creative Use of Material: rake wings

Best Random Find: Wilfred (he was also Maggie’s pick for “Most Disturbing) and Death from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Best Harry Potter: Luna Lovegood with Lion Head

Best Group (tie): Three Amigos (they even sang the song!) and the Male Princesses

Funniest: Keyboard Cat

Best Childhood Moment: Inspector Gadget

Best Stormtrooper: Bunny

Best Superhero: The Tick

Creepiest: 3-headed Clown (this was a Maggie and Heather pick. I never saw him)

Best Board Game: Candy Land

Best Star Wars: Jawa

Doctor Who: Cat Nurse

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2 thoughts on “Dragon*Con 2011 – Saturday

  1. BTW, the 3 amigo guys get major bonus points…they hand painted all those lines on their suits using still images from the movie. Talk about dedication! And they swear they did it, not their wives/girlfriends!

  2. Really? That’s amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to chat with these guys about their costumes. Partly because I was in such a state of childhood glee. Especially when they did the salute. Truly fantastic.

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