Debrief: Dragon Con 2018

Debrief: Dragon Con 2018
Atlanta, GA – August 30 through September 3, 2018

 

 

Dragon Con 2018 is in the books and, as always, it was a fantastic show. Crowds were a little lower this year, coming in at an estimated 80,000 against the anticipated 85,000. The vibe seemed a little off this year, but it still provided a chance to catch up with some friends and family.Read More »

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Dragon Con 2018

 

Dragon Con 2018
Atlanta, GA – August 30 through September 3, 2018

 

Logo_no_background

 

Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me, and this year will be my tenth time attending. (Tenth year? Where did the time go?) This will also be my third year as an attending professional. If you plan to be there, these are the places where you will be able to find me over Labor Day weekend.

Fourteen program events in five days? Come find me and say hi!

 

The convention app is available now – look for Dragon Con by Core-apps in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store – and contains the current schedule of events. 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.

Dragon Con prides itself on contributions to charity and the community. You can find more information about those efforts on their webpage.

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 also still available.

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.

    • 10 August 2018: Updated panelists for ESW Presents: 12th Doctor Retrospective.
    • 21 August 2018: Updated schedule based on official release.
    • 28 August 2018: Removed Saturday Roll-a-Panel due to other commitments. Added link to printable schedule.

 

Based on some personal scheduling changes, I wont be downtown until Thursday morning. I’ll probably snag the Hard Rock Dragon Con gear then.

I will be around starting Wednesday, pretty much wandering the hotels, picking up my Hard Rock Dragon Con gear, and catching up with some friends.

 

2:30p-5:00p: Dragon Con Newbies Walking and Rolling Tours (2.5 hours)
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
Want to learn your way around the hotels? Did you know there’s a food court? Come on a tour & meet other newbies. Tours leave every 30 minutes.
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 & tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

 

10:00a: Dragon Con Newbies Q&A (1 hour)
Main Programming
Regency V – Hyatt
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share tips & tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 30 Years of Speech Impediments and Burning Biscuits (1 hour)
Rescheduled to Saturday at 11:30a

Social Media and the Impact on MSF Media (1 hour)
Removed due to scheduling conflict

2:30p: Classic Sci-Fi Remakes: Westworld, Lost in Space, Planet of Apes (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Remakes of classic sci-fi can be incredible, terrible, or terribly incredible — discuss which is which when we look at recent remakes such as Westworld, Lost in Space, and more!
Panelists include: Bethany Kesler, Mark H Wandrey, Andrew E.C. Gaska, Shaun Rosado

4:00p: Admiral Holdo – A Fan Discussion (1 hour)
Star Wars
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A706
Has there ever been such a polarizing character in the Saga? From her background story in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, to her battle prowess in The Last Jedi, we discuss the character and her decisions and how they may have forever altered the galaxy.
Panelists include: Sue Kisenwether, Bethany Blanton, Thomas Harper, Sarah Dempster

8:30p: The Greatest Michaels and Michelles in Classic Sci-Fi (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
A panel consisting exclusively of people named Michael presents a tribute to Michaels and Michelles real and unreal from classic sci-fi TV and movies. All Michaels and Michelles welcome!
Panelists include:  Mike Faber, Michael R Bailey, Michael Gordon, Michael D. French, any other American Science Fiction Classics Track Irregular named Michael

 

11:30a: Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 30 Years of Speech Impediments and Burning Biscuits (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
Guys. In this movie, Daffy Duck and Donald Duck had a piano battle. Other stuff happened too, but come on.
Panelists include: John Hudgens, Jonathan Williams

2:30p: Lost in Space: Welcome Aboard the Jupiter 2.0 (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
Netflix brought us a big budget upgrade to a beloved classic, with some new twists and some gender bending, and a touch of stunt casting. It set us up for a new series that will continue to be Lost on Netflix for some years to come.
Panelists include: Clay and Susan Griffith, David Boop, Will Nix, Lindy Keelan

4:00p: Classic Sci-Fi Roll-a-Panel: 1978 and 1998 (1 hour)
Removed due to scheduling conflict.

5:30p: Fandom Toxicity: What Can We Do? (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media/Star Wars
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602

How dare they have a female Starbuck or a black stormtrooper! Are we too entitled or too possessive? We’ll discuss the bad aspects of these behaviors that are alienating people, and what we can do to encourage more positive interactions. How can you express your dismay without “nerd rage”™?
Panelists include: Brian Larsen, Britnay Ferguson, Shaun Rosado, Swara SalihSue Kisenwether

7:00p: Jurassic Park: Hanging On To Your Butts for 25 Years (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Inflatable T-Rexes and shirt-open Ian Malcolm cosplayers welcome!
Panelists include: Alex White, Sue Kisenwether, John Hudgens

8:30p: Classic Sci-Fi Remakes: Westworld, Lost in Space, Planet of Apes (1 hour)
Rescheduled to Friday at 2:30p

 

Classic Sci-Fi Court: Defending Star Wars Holiday Special, Mac & Me, LXG (1 hour)
Removed due to scheduling conflict. Panel has been rescheduled to Monday at 11:30a.

2:30p: ESW Presents: 12th Doctor Retrospective (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 5
The Earth Station Who podcast crew host a retrospective of the Twelfth Doctor from the introduction of the Angry Eyebrows to his struggle to be a Good Man to ending where he began. Sonic sunglasses optional.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, Michael Gordon, Sue Kisenwether, Mary Ogle, Robert Bowen

 

11:30a: Luke Skywalker, Hero? (1 hour)
Star Wars
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A706
In the Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker worked his way through The Hero’s Journey. But we see a very different Luke in The Last Jedi. Did he make it back to being a hero? Did he ever stop?
Panelists include: Bryan Young, Nanci Schwartz, Thomas Harper, Bruce Gibson, Riley Blanton

1:00p: Lois & Clark: Super-Romantic 25th Anniversary (1 hour)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
This panel will last an hour, the same time it took us to download Teri Hatcher photos when the show was on.
Panelists include: Michael R BaileyMichael D. French, James Palmer, Michael George Williams

 

Star Wars Experiences: #SWSExperience

Star Wars Experiences

 

 

On the January 31, 2018 edition of The Star Wars Show, hosts Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni asked for fans to submit their favorite Star Wars experiences (#SWSExperience):

 

I took the opportunity to chime in with mine via Twitter.

 

It’s Not About…

It’s Not About…

 

 

It’s not about me.

Somewhere in the vicinity of twenty years ago, I watched the Star Wars prequels as they were released. To a fan who came up in the pan-and-scan VHS era of the original trilogy and experienced those films in theaters for the first time in 1997, the prequels were a big deal.

They were new official tales in the Star Wars mythos.

What started my journey of understanding my place in fandom was the backlash. Writers and filmmakers and storytellers and fans hated the prequels, and I didn’t understand why. At first, I stood sword and shield in hand, defending the franchise that I loved against the storm. After all, how dare anyone attack the best stories ever put on screen?

That defense was disingenuous. No work of art, regardless of value or price, is perfect, and to disregard the flaws because of love is intellectually dishonest. Even The Empire Strikes Back has flaws, and not recognizing that screams of blind faith.

Countless lives have been lost throughout history because of blind faith.

Later I reflected inward, inadvertently reaching toward the polar opposite. If these artists and fans whose opinions I valued so deeply could find so much fault in this franchise, why couldn’t I? How was it that I could enjoy these films when people I respected so obviously did not?

All I found down that path was self-doubt. I convinced myself that if I could not understand successful and intelligent artists and writers whom I respected and idolized, there was no way that I could ever be as good as them. My art and my writing had to be worthless.

To be completely honest, parts of that mindset still plague me to this day.

The greater lesson was that art is subjective. Even the greatest works of art are not universally loved because everyone sees them differently. That led to the more personal lesson: It’s not about me.

I can review a work and form an opinion (educated or otherwise) about it, but that doesn’t make my word the absolute truth. The same holds for you. Art alone cannot harm a person or infringe on rights: It requires a human hand to push into that territory – ask any mob who has burned books and censored artists to save their children from “the devil’s influence” – but regarding the art alone… all viewpoints are valid.

But I draw the line at attacking people for their opinions on art.

In order to form an opinion on the book, I read Twilight. I did not like it, but I’m glad that people who enjoy the work do so. Doctor Who fans call The Caves of Androzani the best serial in the entire history of the show, but I was unimpressed.

I didn’t have the best time at Batman v Superman, but the two young women sitting next to me were moved to tears by the end. They were invested. They are fans.

Even Manos: The Hands of Fate, a film that is more often than not called one of the worst in history, has a clear minority of up-votes on IMDb.

Being part of the majority who hate a film doesn’t make you right.

It’s clear that we have reached yet another inflection point in a major fandom.

I know Bond fans who despise everything after Connery’s time. You know what? That’s okay in my book as long as you also respect that some consider Brosnan as their gold standard. They’re Bond fans too.

I know Trek fans people who never got into The Next Generation because Kirk was the only captain for them. That’s okay, but the women who work in STEM fields now because Janeway provided them a beacon of hope as Trek fans too.

The Matrix has two live-action sequels. The Doctor has regenerated fourteen times. The Indiana Jones trilogy has a fourth film. Star Trek has seven series and thirteen films.

Star Wars is headed toward its tenth official live-action chapter. And it’s okay… You don’t have to like the films after 1983, but don’t let your dislike become a malignant tumor of hatred toward the people who find value in the art.

Sometimes the story moves to a place where you cannot follow. Sometimes the art evolves beyond your taste. It’s okay for people to enjoy things that you do not. It’s okay to let go.

Your heroes can die. Their legends remain.

It’s not about you.

Dragon Con 2017

 

Dragon Con 2017
Atlanta, GA – September 1-4, 2017

 

Logo_no_background

 

Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me, and this year will be my ninth time attending. This will also be my second year as an attending professional. If you plan to be there, these are the places where you will be able to find me over Labor Day weekend.

The convention app is now available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. It’s also available online.

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.

 

Wednesday (it’s the new Thursday)

I will be around starting Wednesday, pretty much wandering the hotels, picking up my Hard Rock Dragon Con gear, and catching up with some friends.

 

Thursday (it’s the new Friday)

2:30p-6:30p: Dragon Con Newbies Walking and Rolling Tours/Q&A
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
Want to know the best way to get from one con hotel to another? Need to learn where the food court is? If so, come on one of our walking tours and find out. Small group tours will be going out every 10-15 minutes.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

 

Friday

10:00a: Dragon Con Newbies Q&A
Main Programming
Location TBD
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share tips & tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

1:00p: Marvel Cinematic Universe
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
We’ve seen some new heroes brought forward with Dr. Strange, and Spiderman coming back into the fold. Trailers for Black Panther and Thor have teased us with more. How do you think the MCU is holding up almost 10 years?
Panelists include: Page Branson, Kitty Chandler

2:30p: Wolverine on Film
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M302-M303
From second-choice casting to a role that has created an indelible mark on movie heroes. Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine has been an amazing run. We’ll look back at the whole run of 8 movies & cameos.
Panelists include: Will Nix, Jeff Burns, Bill McIntire

5:30p: Earth Station Who Presents 50 Years of the Cybermen!
BritTrack
Hilton Atlanta, Galleria 5
Our friends at Earth Station Who are back to discuss the return of the Cybermen, and half a century of their menacing adventures!
Panelists include: Michael Gordon, Mike Faber, Sue Kisenwether, Robert Lloyd

7:00p: The Good Place: The Current Hereafter
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301
The afterlife never looked like this before! Comedies are tough and comedies about life after death are even tougher! This one pulled some surprises with some excellent writing and performances.
Panelists include:  Ryan Guthrie, Gary Mitchel, Henry Hanks

(Note: I am listed in the app for “Classic Sci-Fi Legends: West, Landau, Paxton & More” at this same time. I’m in the market for a clone.)

11:30p: Star Wars Holiday Special: May the 4 Wookiees Be With You
American Science Fiction Classics/Star Wars
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
We could not let the 40th anniversary of Star Wars pass & let our pals at Star Wars Track have all the fun. Check out the glorious madness of Chewie’s Wookiee family, Bea Arthur & Princess Leia singing, & Boba Fett’s debut!
(I’ll be in the audience for this one.)

 

Saturday

8:30a: Classic Sci-Fi Court: Defending Batman & Robin, Superman IV & More
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Bring your grievances before the Classic Sci-Fi Court, & we will defend movies or TV that unsavory elements have brought criticism upon. Batman & Robin…Superman 4…Highlander 2, perhaps?
Panelists include: Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Debbie Viguié, Geena Phillips
(I’m not on the panel for this one.)

10:00a: Roll-a-Panel: 1982 and 1992
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Dragon Con does not last a full year (yet), so Classic Track does not have time to tribute all the movies from the best year of movies ever. Roll-a-Panel is an audience-participation revolution in convention panel technology–20 panels in one hour!
Panelists include: Pretty much all of the American Science Fiction Classics Track regulars

4:00p: Remembering Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker
Star Wars Track
Hyatt, Centennial Ballroom I

Our world is dimmer now, but our icons left such a legacy for us. Join other fans as we remember our Princess & our favorite Droid and the impact they had on Star Wars & the world.
Panelists include: Bryan Young, Sarah Dempster, Sue Kisenwether, Christy Morris

8:30p: The Flash: Flashpoint and Godhood Conundrums
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
As Flash brings in one of the classic storylines from the comics, we see how the show handled it & how one more speedster reaches for godhood at the expense of Team Flash.
Panelists include: Jim Griffin, Beth Verant, Cammien Ray, Yvonne McDowell

11:59p: The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show
Main Programming
Hyatt Regency, International South
Miss Lady Flex, Phantom Troublemaker, Rad Ranger, and Popeye the Sailor Moon return to Dragon Con! Come and bear wetness to the love child of Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Jeopardy, Pictionary, Match Game, Twenty Dollar Potato Spin, Anata No Zubon O Shutoku, and any and every game show you’ve ever heard of, but DIRTY. YOU are the contestants in the wildest, sexiest, nastiest game show around! Laugh, cry, be slightly uncomfortable in the presence of hundreds of strangers! Big prizes! Big fun! There’s nothing else like The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show!
18+ only – IDs will be checked at the door
Limited capacity, line forms one hour prior to showtime

Following DDCCGGSS: Saturday Night Classic Track Irregulars Party!
American Science Fiction Classics

 

Sunday

7:00p: DC Universe
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
Has the DC Cinematic Universe finally broken its curse? Many question the trend from Superman and BvS, but then we get Wonder Woman, and yet gloomy talk about Justice League. More hints are teased out and Joss Whedon gets his shot at this hero team.
Panelists include: Jeff Burns, Wayland Smith

11:30p: Spaceballs – Thirty Years of Combing the Desert
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
Revel in the glorious silliness of 1987’s ludicrous-speed Sci-Fi sendup. We are not just doing this panel for the money.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, John Hudgens, Chace Ambrose, Elizabeth Jones, Tegan Hendrickson
(I’ll be in the audience for this one.)

 

Monday

10:00a: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 20 Years of Saving the World (A Lot)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
From Welcome to the Hellmouth to Chosen, from Beer Bad to The Body, celebrate the classic show about the heroes that monsters have nightmares about.
Panelists include: Melinda Mock, Michael Williams, Sue Kisenwether, KC Ryan-Pierce, Wayne Hutchinson

11:30a: Wonder Woman: Life beyond Themiscyra
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
A look back at the film: what they took from the comic history & where they could go from here. A moment of silence might be offered for Steve Trevor’s sacrifice.
Panelists include: Will Nix, Yvonne McDowell, Beth Verant

(Note: I am listed in the app for “Classic Sci-Fi Roll-a-Panel: 1977 & 1997” at this same time. I’m still in the market for a clone.)