Culture on My Mind – They’re Baaaack!

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
They’re Baaaack!
October 15, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track is back! After the shenanigans of a live-action Dragon Con and a little time off to recover – the analgesic creams seem to have done the trick – Joe and Gary have brought the atomic batteries to power and the YouTube turbines back up to speed.

On October 7th, they were joined by Kevin Cafferty, the Cadavers (namely, Nicole and Ryan), Beth van Dusen, and Michael Bailey to talk about horror sequels. To celebrate the spookiest time of the year, these brave explorers plumbed the depths of the Horror Hall of Fame to honor all the horror properties that came back for a second, a third, or even a 13th life. Only sequels needed apply, for reboots and re-imaginings were not welcome in this livestream.

 


Going forward, these Classic Track Quarantine Panels will be held once per fortnight. (That’s once every two weeks, he said with a wink). If you want to play along at home, pick up your internet-capable device and dial up the YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Join these fine folks on October 21st as they have more fun with Halloween, and keep every other Thursday open as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Debrief: Dragon Con 2021

Debrief: Dragon Con 2021
Atlanta, GA – September 2 through September 6, 2021

Just like that, Dragon Con 2021 is in the books! And, wow, it was a weird year.

Attendance was reported at 42,000 and you could definitely feel it. Thanks to the pandemic precautions – proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test along with a 100 percent masking requirement – and attendance caps (including limits on daily sales), the crowds were significantly thinner. Let me tell you, though, I could get used to an attendance cap at Dragon Con. Maybe 65,000 to 70,000 in normal times?

Despite the smaller crowds, we did a lot of good work this year for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, raising $120,000 for that charity. That’s $10,000 more than we pulled together in 2019 with just over double the weekend crowd.

It was also a getaway that I really needed. With everything that’s been going on recently, I needed to see the geek family and get my mind orbiting around a lot of fun and creative things. I mean, let’s face it, I’ve missed these people.

It’s important to note that the Marriott and Hyatt were flooded with partiers at night who weren’t wearing face masks. It seemed that, once the sun went down, enforcement went out the window. Since I’m seeing several reports of attendees popping positive for COVID-19, panelists who refused to wear masks on panels, and vendors who went unmasked at their booths, I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone get tested for COVID-19 (both rapid and PCR if you can) and limit the spread as much as possible in the meantime.

There were a lot of naked respiratory orifices at Dragon Con 2021. Far. Too. Many.

Read More »

Culture on My Mind – Dragon Con Shenanigans 2021

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Dragon Con Shenanigans 2021
September 2, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track recently spent some time telling the good tales about Dragon Con and teasing a bit of what’s to come this year.

I joined Sue Kisenwether, ToniAnn Marini, Denise Lhamon, Jeff Burns, Sherman Burris, Darin Bush, Chris Cummins, Kevin Eldridge, and John Hudgens to… well… geek out. 

 


If you want to keep up with the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track in the off-season, the best ways to do that are on the YouTube channel and the Facebook group. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. (Be sure to authorize StreamYard to work with Facebook if you play that way.)

If you want to join us for real life panels, we’ll be at Dragon Con 2021 over Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Dragon Con 2021

Dragon Con 2021
Atlanta, GA – September 2 through September 6, 2021

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Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me. It’s also a family reunion of sorts as I catch up with dear friends from around the world. This year will be my twelfth time attending (counting last year’s virtual events) and my sixth year as an attending professional.

If you plan to be there, you can find me at various over Labor Day weekend according to the schedule below. This year is a bit lighter than normal due to the continued pandemic – the COVID-19 coronavirus is neither joke nor hoax, and I fully support masking and vaccination until it is eliminated – but I’ll still be around having fun. I won’t be attending any parties or large gatherings, and I will be adhering to Dragon Con policies to combat the pandemic.

The convention app is available now – look for Dragon Con by Core-apps in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store – and will have the schedule of events soon. The list of confirmed guests, performers, artists, and attending professionals is available on the official Dragon Con site.

Dragon Con itself takes place in downtown Atlanta spanning five hotels (Sheraton Atlanta, Hilton Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and Westin Peachtree Plaza) and the AmericasMart Atlanta exhibition center. The convention draws approximately 70,000 to 80,000 attendees annually and showcases one of the city’s most popular parades on Saturday morning at 10am. This year, the attendance numbers will be lower due to COVID-19 and the parade is supposed to be closed to the public. It’s gonna be an interesting con in that regard.

Dragon Con prides itself on contributions to charity and the community. You can find more information about those efforts on their webpage. Each year, the convention partners with a local charity organization and this year’s partner is the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.

If you’re new to the convention, consider stopping by the Dragon Con Newbies group on Facebook. It is run by Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony, and me, and is an in-depth community resource for information about this massive (and sometimes overwhelming) event. Memberships (tickets) for this year’s convention are available, however, due to the pandemic, memberships are limited.

Along with the attendance caps, all attendees are required to wear masks that adhere to CDC guidelines. The other preventative measures taken by the con this year can be found on their website.

If you want a printable copy of my schedule, I have a convenient PDF.

Note: All Dragon Con schedules are tentative until the convention ends on Monday. Even then, things are a bit suspect. As things change before the convention, I’ll update this post.

Revision History:

    • Rev 0 – 20 Aug 2021: Initial post.

The Schedule

I will be around starting Thursday to check in to the hotel, pick up my badge and Hard Rock Dragon Con gear, and get the ball rolling.

12:00p-4:00p: Dragon Con Newbies Walking and Rolling Tours (4 hours)
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
Want to get a ‘lay of the land’ and find your way around the hotels? Did you know there’s a food court? Meet others new to Dragon Con and get a tour with some veteran con-goers. Last tours will leave approximately 3:30pm.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

5:30p-6:30p: Dragon Con Newbies Q&A (1 hour)
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share tips and tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

10:00a: Dragon Con Newbies 101 (1 hour)
Main Programming
Hyatt, Regency V
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share their tip and tricks for making your experience an awesome one.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

1:00p: Getting Started with Digital Media: The Ups & Downs (1 hour)
Digital Media
Hilton, Galleria 7
Have you always wanted to podcast? A group of experienced podcasters will help with ideas on how to get started & making it past the dreaded pod-burnout. Topics include picking a subject for your show, equipment to record with, how to get an audience, & more. For beginners & vets alike.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, Tyra A. Burton, Matthew Charles Malis

2:30p: Disney Afternoon: Rescue Rangers & More Goofiness! (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
A tribute to chipmunks dressed like Magnum PI & Indiana Jones, & other Disney excellence.
Panelists include: Sue Kisenwether, Bethany Kesler 

4:00p: Disney Afternoon: All-Duck Edition (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
We celebrate the afternoon cartoons that solved mysteries & rewrote history.
Panelists include: Sue Kisenwether, Bethany Kesler

10:00p: Classic Sci-Fi Charity Lock-In: Howard the Duck (2.5 hours)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
We lock you in with a crowd of semi-willing participants to celebrate Marvel’s infamous – and very first – theatrical movie. The only way to escape: donate to the Dragon Con charity!
Panelists include: No one else? Don’t make me do this alone!

[It’s worth noting here that there won’t be a parade flood this year. Saturday one-day passes are not being sold and the parade is for badged attendees only.]

11:30a: ESW Presents Doctor Who: The Movie 25th Anniversary!
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 5
In 1996, Doctor Who returned to our televisions in the classic TV Movie. The Earth Station Who team will delve deep into this unique production & the uphill battle bringing it to life.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, Michael Gordon, Sue Kisenwether

1:00p: Classic Series Doctor Who (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 5
With the release of the entire classic series on Britbox, there has never been better access to the bulk of Doctor Who history. We will discuss this, the release of The Faceless Ones animation, & the expanding worlds of Classic Who on audio.
Panelists include: Davey Beauchamp, Dr. Scott Viguié, R Alan Siler

5:30p: …And You Will Obey Me: Doctor Who‘s the Master at 50 (Pre-Recorded Virtual Panel)
BritTrack
BritTrack YouTube Channel
Yes, the Doctor’s best enemy, the Master, is turning 50 this year, & we have some big discussions ahead of us. Except, of course, until the Master uses his Tissue Compression Eliminator on them. Say something nice!
Panelists include: Sue Kisenwether, Dr. Scott Viguié, Rob Levy

7:00p: Classic Sci-Fi Charity Lockdown: Mac & Me and More (2.5 hours)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
Will we watch Mac & Me, the movie that plunged off the cliff & into our hearts forever? The only way to escape is by donating to the Dragon Con charity.
Panelists include: JC De La Torre, Rita De La Torre

1:00p: Rising from the Shark: Re-invent the Team! (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301
It happens for any number of reasons, ratings, licensing, actors, but teams change up. We’ve seen it in on the big screen & small with Arrow, Legends, Flash, The Boys, & many others. We’ll look back at when it works or doesn’t. The lost & found members that we miss, or are thrilled to see.
Panelists include: M. Haynes

2:30p: Collectors Panel: Toys & Merchandising in MSFM (1 hour)
Military Sci-Fi Media
Chastain DE – Westin
MSFM is more than just the moving pictures on your screen. From action figures & collectibles to board games to comics to apparel, come discuss & take a look at all the ways you can bring your fandom directly into your home!
Panelists include: Van Allen Plexico, John Hudgens

4:00p: Black Widow: Shadow of the Red Room (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M302-M303
Long overdue from COVID & gender politics, Nat Romanoff finally gets to share her story. A spy thriller with considerations of family & identity. There are new heroes & villains, & all the usual MCU Easter eggs. Aren’t pockets great?
Panelists include: None specified at this time

8:30p: When Was Star Trek Ever Subtle? (1 hour)
Trek Track
Hilton Galleria 2-3
Star Trek has always been ripe with political & social commentary, but was it really more subtle during the TOS era? This panel will take a look back at several examples throughout the franchise and then ask: What’s changed, Star Trek or what we expect of it?
Panelists include: Sue Kisenwether

Nothing scheduled at this time.

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Culture on My Mind – The Secret of the Ooze and Alan Rickman

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
The Secret of the Ooze and Alan Rickman
August 13, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track recently talked about some heroes on the half shell and a legendary actor.

On August 5th, I grabbed a slice of pizza with Madison “Metricula” Roberts, Darin Bush, and Keith R. A. DeCandido to remember that time in 1991 when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles learned the secret of their origin and faced off against the Foot, mutants, and Vanilla Ice! 

On August 12th, it was time to honor a true legend. In his first film role, Alan Rickman stole the show as Hans Gruber. From there, he continued to be a standout performer as a sheriff, a potions master, an Australian rancher, and by Grabthar’s Hammer, a very put upon classically trained actor. Join Lacee Aderhold, Deanna Toxopeus, and Sarah Daisy Splitt as they talk about this master taken well before his time.


Once again, we’re all caught up. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

The month of August will hold a couple of panels before the series takes a hiatus for real life panels at Dragon Con 2021. Join us on the journey and, if you’re so inclined, come see all of us in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Legally Mars, Syndicated Toons, and a Fresh Prince

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Legally Mars, Syndicated Toons, and a Fresh Prince
July 30, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track recently talked about aliens, blonde lawyers, syndicated cartoons, and the Willennium.

On July 8th, Chad Shonk, Lola Lariscy, Jonathan Williams, and Nathan Laws took up arms against alien invaders as they chatted about Independence Day and Mars Attacks!

On July 15th, it was time to attend the twentieth anniversary reunion of one of the best Harvard graduating classes ever. After all, once you’ve judged a tighty-whitey contest for Lambda Kappa Pi, you can handle anything. I joined Sue Kisenwether and ToniAnn Marini to talk all about Legally Blonde and it’s impact on pop culture since 2001.

On July 22nd, the stream was a full house as latchkey kids united over a love of syndicated cartoons. GI Joe! He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! Transformers! Star Blazers! Tranzor Z! Voltron! Disney afternoons! Special guest stars included Chris Cummins, Kevin Cafferty, Jeff Burns, Denise Lhamon, and Nathan Laws.

On July 29th, the month came to a close with a story all about how pop culture got flipped, turned upside down by a West Philadelphia (born and raised) rapper and actor who came to dominate the charts as well as the box office: The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith! Those who got jiggy wit it were Sherman Burris and Jonathan Williams.


We’re all caught up for now. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

The month of August will hold a couple of panels before the series takes a hiatus for real life panels at Dragon Con 2021. Join us on the journey and, if you’re so inclined, come see all of us in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Dads and Princes

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Dads and Princes
July 9, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track recently talked about daddies and Robin Hood.

On June 24th, Kevin Eldridge, Leigh Tyberg, Tom Morris, and Elizabeth Jones celebrated Father’s Day by considering quality jokes, sage advice, and removing limbs while talking about the best dads in science fiction.

On July 1st, it was time to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of yet another retelling of the Robin Hood mythos. That’s right! Three decades ago, we got a film with action, drama, a spectacular sheriff, and a very questionable accent. Join Darin Bush, Nathan Laws, Jeff Burns, and Deanna Toxopeus as they talk about kitchen utensils, relative pain, and the second-highest grossing film of 1991.

 


We’re all caught up for now. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Down the road a ways, the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track has more of these panels in store, including alien attacks, lawyers, cartoons, and reptile martial artists. Join us on the journey.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Classic Traumas, Robot Mockery, and a Birthday Potluck

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Classic Traumas, Robot Mockery, and a Birthday Potluck
June 25, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track confronts its traumas, celebrates the Satellite of Love, and brings the best dishes to dish on Joe.

On June 3rd, Denise Lhamon, Tom Morris, Bobby Nash, Bethany Kesler, and Stormy O’Dell came together to remember when someone once said, “Let’s take the kids to a movie!” How they saw a fox abandoned in the woods. How they watched a giant owl about to eat the mouse lady. How they sat helplessly as a horse struggled in a swamp. The list goes on and on…

On June 10th, the track circulated the panelists as they gathered up their robot buddies and headed into Deep 13. Way back in the not to distant future (next Sunday, AD), a stand-up comedian and inventor came up with the brilliant idea. While there had been movie hosts who mocked their (usually bad) movies, he thought it might be funnier to do it during the movie. Deanna Toxopeus, Jason De La Torre, Nathan Laws, Kevin Cafferty, and Tom Morris took stock of the Mads, the SoL, the riffs, and Nummymuffincoocoolbutter.

On June 17th, it was time for another birthday celebration. Once again, Joe Crowe (somewhat) safely made another sojourn around the sun, and the panel of Lola Lariscy, Kevin Eldridge, and Kevin Cafferty celebrated by bringing random geek topics upon which Joe had no choice but to pontificate about for five minutes. The result might just rival Manimal for the most awesome thing of all time.

 


We’re all caught up for now. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

What lies ahead may be the best dads of science fiction or the question “Why a spoon?”, but to find out, you must come on the journey into American science fiction classics.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Good Puppers and Dreams Given Form

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Good Puppers and Dreams Given Form
June 4, 2021

The Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track keep on rolling out genre goodies. This time around, it’s time to look at the bestest bois and Babylon 5.

On May 20th, a group of dog lovers joined forces to analyze the best canines in science fiction. Guests this go-round included Linda M. Young from Lassie Web, Kristen Kerouac and Kevin Eldridge from The Flopcast, and Lola Lariscy. These fine folks also brought their favorite rescue and pet adoption centers to the game:

On May 27th, the American Sci-Fi Classics Track joined with the fine folks of Military Sci-Fi Media Track to form a League of Non-Aligned Tracks and discuss that shining beacon in space, all alone in the night: Babylon 5. This panel included Karen Henson, Sherman Burris, John Hudgens, and Nathan Laws and discussed the show’s history, its impact, and if it still holds up nearly 30 years later.

 


We’re all caught up for now. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Rumor says that future discussions may include a little MST3K, some thoughts on the best dads of science fiction, and more classic movie musings.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Spooky Golden Radical Marvels

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Spooky Golden Radical Marvels
May 21, 2021

Over the last three weeks, the fine folks at the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track have been playing with the late ’80s and early ’90s.

On April 29th, the track celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Addams Family. Stormy O’Dell, Toni-Ann Marini, Keith DeCandido, and Shaun Rosado stopped by to talk about this 1991 adaptation of the classic 1964 television series. Created in 1938 by cartoonist Charles Addams, the property acts as a satirical interpretation of the stereotypical 20th-century nuclear family. To that end, it’s pretty much an evergreen story.

On May 6th, Stormy O’Dell and I joined the track to discuss the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. I talked about some of my history with this medieval and mythologically-inspired adventure series a couple of weeks ago, and we barely scratched the surface of this cornerstone Nintendo series. 

Finally, Michael Bailey and Keith DeCandido sat down with Gary and Joe to answer a question: What if the Marvel Cinematic Universe happened starting in 1988 instead of in 2008?

Radical.

 


We’re all caught up for now. Fun times lay ahead, and if you want to play along at home, get thee hence to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp – A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

cc-break

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.