DragonCon After Dark

I can’t wrap up my DragonCon coverage without acknowledging this: As crazy as the convention was during the day, it became downright insane at night.  I’m sure the booze had something to do with it.  I, myself, may have partaken in a few drinks — I’ve been calling them Buckets O’ Rum, though their proper names were Zombie Buckets.

Maybe it’s because the few kids that were there during the day were noticably absent after dinner.  Maybe people just drop their inhibitions at night.  Lord knows that if it’s possible, people actually got nakeder… or more naked… or as we in the South like to say nekkid.
It was definitely after midnight when I met the guys whose costumes consisted solely of plastic fans.  There weren’t many celebrities mingling with the masses, but the few I saw were only out at night. Namely, Tom Felton from Harry Potter and Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: TNG… Let me tell you, I have never seen anyone get so excited about seeing Inspector Gadget.I took personal enjoyment in all the leather and metal-clad dudes… not that they weren’t around during the daytime… I think I just inserted myself in their path more at night.  I guess that says more about me than them.
It was something that any sci-fi or fantasy fan should experience at least once.  The crush of the crowd, the skimpy costumes, and flashes of flesh (not to mention the free-flowing liquor) reminded me a lot of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. But instead of shit-faced frat boys and boob-baring co-eds , the revelers were Battlestar Galactica fans and boob-baring zombies.  And at least at Dragon Con, there were clean bathrooms.Party-on my geeky friends… I may be getting too old for this.

DragonCon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Without a doubt, I would consider the DragonCon experience to be a positive one.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely something everyone should experience at least once.

Photo Courtesy: insouciant-tumblr

The Good:

Obviously, Joe Manganiello rocked my world, but he wasn’t the only uber-hot celebrity on the premises.   I also got a chance to see Misha Collins in the autograph signing area.  Sadly, cameras were not allowed in there and I didn’t get a picture.  But let me assure you that the man is even better looking in person.  My one regret is not ponying up the cash for a photo session with him.  I missed the Supernatural panel Saturday due to a conflict.  I do, however, have the memory of his gorgeous face burned into my retinas.
My other big celebrity squee came from the panel with the Buffy cast. I attended their Sunday panel and it featured James Marsters (Spike), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Eliza Dushku (Faith), Claire Kramer (Glory), Julie Benz (Darla), and Mercedes McNab (Harmony).  Our seats weren’t very good. Even though we arrived more than an hour before it started, the line already took up three floors of the Westin hotel.  So yes, my pictures suck.  It was all audience Q & A.  The cast joked about how David Boreanaz was always flashing people and farting on set.  They talked about how scary it was to prepare for “Once More With Feeling” and then how gratifying it was when it paid off.  James talked about how hard it was to film the scene in the bathroom when Spike tried to rape Buffy and how it put him in therapy.  But I’ve got to tell you, Nick stole the show on the panel. He was self-deferential and funny as hell.  A great hour!
The parade was also fantastic.  The crowd was enormous and the participants were all letting their freak flags fly.  I think my favorite group consisted of the Mortal Kombat characters, but there were representatives of just about every sci-fi or fantasy genre you can imagine.  Plus, I had some great geeky-chicks behind me narrating every group that walked by. “Oh look, there are the Browncoats.”  — “Oh look, there is the giant spaghetti-monster.”  Without them, I would have been lost.
The Bad:
I don’t have too many complaints.  The lines sucked. Food and drinks were overpriced. The hotel staff and volunteers were on a slight power trip.  Oh –and the seats were too close together at the panels.  There are some pretty big people in this world and I happened to sit next to one such lady at a True Blood panel. She was seated before I was and literally took up half of my seat.  I had to watch the whole thing perched on the edge of my chair.  I know the organizers want to fit in as many people as possible, but that was not cool.
The Ugly (You Know):
This one is really too easy.  I saw more tits & ass at this convention than possibly an entire lifetime of Mardi Gras parades growing up in New Orleans.  And very few of the folks had the bods to support being nearly-naked.  –This is not a value statement on anyone’s size. I assure you, I do not have the figure to pull off a mesh body suit.  But then again, I was kind enough to wear jeans and a cotton shirt while I walked around the hotel.  If only I had thought to bring eye-bleach when I packed my clothes.  And if only I’d had the foresight to take pictures of all the male superhero characters who didn’t think to wear a cup.  Then you could be scarred for life too!

DragonCon: The Authors

I have to tell you, I was just as excited to see some of the authors at DragonCon as I was to see most of the tv and film celebrities.  I got to sit in sessions with Jeanne C Stein, Laurell K Hamilton, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, JF Lewis, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Mayberry, Larry Correia, Faith Hunter and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  I wasn’t familiar with everyone.  In fact, the only authors I had read were Hamilton, Hunter, Harris and Keyon.  But each panel was wonderfully entertaining.
The first session was called “Vampires are the New Vampires” and it focused on the history of vampires in literature and how it has evolved.  LKH was the most vocal in this group. (OK, she was the most vocal in every group.)  She drew a lot of parallels between vampires and sexuality and how it can be seen as a metaphor for rape.  The authors talked about the allure of vampires and the taboos.  They also chatted about their typical writing schedule, about how social media is a time sucker, and how Charlaine enjoys watching people in Romania trying to buy homes on HGTV.  Themes for each author were also addressed. Harris said that hers was tolerance. Hamilton said hers was to let people know that no matter what others think, you are ok.
Saturday’s first panel was “Hunting Vampires for Fun and Profit” and, theoretically, all of the authors had characters who hunted and killed vamps.  But the moderator tried too hard to come up with questions that were all encompassing for the panel.  The characters were simply too diverse for this approach to work.  Kenyon often had to pass on the questions because there are simply too many characters in her many works to even identify a “main protagonist.”  But one of the most interesting tidbits that came out of this panel was Hamilton acknowledging that even more unlikely than the supernatural elements of her books is the fact than one woman could pull off relationships with 15 different men. (Duh!)  She also talked about how Anita has never regretted anyone she has ever killed (though I would have thought she felt some remorse about Haven.)  And she discussed whether she was accruing bad karma for all of the deaths in her book.

I got a chance to visit some of the booths on Saturday, and they were so awesome. I got to meet Faith Hunter and see the cover for the new Jane Yellowrock book.  I also visited Kenyon and Hamilton’s booths (and I met her sister who was very nice.)
Later Saturday, Kenyon did a great Q&A session, where I got to vent my displeasure about the whole Darling mess.  She promised me that I will be ok with it once I read it.

She also talked about her movie and tv show deal.  She doesn’t know what channel the show will play on but she retains some power in how it all will play out –and she swears the woman behind the project is a huge fan of the series herself.  She never came out and said it wouldn’t be changed (a la True Blood) but it was implied.  And she says she would like to write a book about Otto, one of the Squires.

The last big panel was Sunday where “Best Selling Authors Tell All” and it was really more about the writing process and what life is really like for a best selling author.  The bottom line is that they work all the time. Their lives are decidedly unglamorous and they are very committed to their craft.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the sessions was getting a feel for the authors’ personalities. Charlaine was like a charming, but strict Southern aunt.  She was soft-spoken and funny, but was very clear that this is a business to her and that while she is committed to doing her best work, she is just as committed to a paycheck.  Hamilton came off as very self-assured and dominating.  And Kenyon was very down to earth and seems to care deeply about her characters, her fans and her family.
I also met some other fans in line for one of the panels. It was so much fun chatting about books with them.  It was all truly a great experience.

DragonCon: It’s All About Joe

To be fair, there were a lot of great things at DragonCon that had nothing to do with Joe Manganiello.  But as much as I loved those awesome panels with the Buffy cast and Q&A with Sherrilyn Kenyon, I’m pretty sure that neither of them will be feeding my fantasies for six seconds, much less the next six months.  Joe, however, will provide solid fantasy fodder for the foreseeable future.  So let’s dish.

The True Blood panel was the very first event I attended when I arrived at the convention on Friday.  It featured Joe, Kristen (Pam), Jim (Hoyt), and Charlaine Harris.  I can’t say they shared anything particularly groundbreaking. Charlaine did her standard speech about how the show would be boring if it followed the books too closely (Bullshit!) Everyone went on and on about how awesome Alan Ball is (Barf.)  Jim talked about how he’d like to play a darker side of Hoyt, since he has been so thoroughly betrayed by his mother, then Jessica, and now Jason.  And my favorite Joe moment was during the audience Q&A, when a woman told him she was a lesbian, but that she’d like to do him anyway. (Wouldn’t we all?)

The second True Blood panel was Saturday and we scored seats on the fourth row. It was outstanding (except for the fact there was no room for my ass on the seat… but that is a story for another post.)  The fabulous Dennis O’Hare, who played Russell, joined the other cast members for this session and he was wonderful.  He talked about that big scene where Russell came out on television, telling humans he didn’t need their approval and how it served as parallel in his life as a gay man.  It was really quite powerful.  It made Kristen cry. Though to be fair, she seems to be a crier… she also cried Friday talking about her animal charity.  And Jim cried too, over how moved he was by the power of the emotion he felt for the Bill and Sookie love story.  Joe talked about crazy fan moments… how some husbands have asked him to let their wives sit on his lap.  He (and the others) talked about how they trained to adjust their accents on the show. (Joe’s is the best, IMO.) And he was so aw-shucks charming. He complimented Charlaine, pulled out her chair, and he referenced details of the books, which scored him big brownie points with me.

 

And of course, there is this.  The best $30 I have ever spent.  Honestly, I would have paid more.  The photo session was the number one thing I was most excited about in the entire trip.  There were so many people with tickets, the whole thing moved like an assembly line. But standing next to the man was such a surreal experience.  He is so damn tall!! For reference, I’m 5’4.  He says he is 6’5.  I swear to you, I wanted to climb him like a tree.  But it was over so fast.  I grinned like an idiot, saying, “Thank you so much.”  He said, “No, thank you.”  An just like that, it was already some bitch’s turn to have him next.
But she can’t take away the memories.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Top 10 Lessons Learned at DragonCon if you missed it yesterday!

Lessons Learned From DragonCon

I’m back from DragonCon… tired and sore in a lot of places. This is thanks in no small part to four days worth of walking and several Buckets O’ Rum.

It was great fun, but also an educational experience.  Just in case you’re thinking of attending next year, it feels only right that I share some of the many lessons I learned.
1. There is someone for everyone.  Whether you’re sexy and buff, short and fat, cool, lame, tall, skinny, geeky or whatever, there is someone out there who is your perfect match.  If you like to go steampunk… be an elf, a zombie, or even be naked… there is somebody out there willing to do it with you.

2. People standing on the side of you can see your junk behind a fan that covers your crotch.

3. If your belly hangs over your pants/ skirt/ speedo… you need to wear more clothing.  One might think this would go without saying.  One would be wrong.
4. Tape, marker, paint and/or band-aids do not qualify as clothing.  This is especially true in conjunction with lesson #3.  But it even applies to you if you are hot.

5. No matter how hard you work on your costume, someone nerdier than you will find a detail you got wrong.

Sitting in the bus, passing a guy in an awesome elf-warrior costume, the douche next to me turns to his friend and says, “Yeah, he makes a pretty good (whatever the hell he was) –but he got the sword color wrong.”

6. Body odor and patchouli do not create a marketable fragrance.

Seriously. Take a bath.

7. Those platform shoes probably seemed like a good idea an hour ago, but my tennis shoes will keep me from needing a wheelchair tomorrow.

8. If you wear lycra pants and you don’t wear a cup, everyone can see your dangly bits.  Really, this should have been #1.

9. Yes, everyone can smell your nasty fart. You’re not fooling anyone by ignoring it.

10. Have your camera ready at all times. You never know who or what will be around the corner!

*More DragonCon fun to come… including celebrity sightings, my moment with Joe Manganiello and panels with the True Blood cast, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton and others!

DragonCon, Baby!

Just an FYI… If you haven’t seen me gushing about it on Twitter for the past year or so, I just wanted to let everyone know I’m headed out on vacation tonight.  A friend and I are hitting Interstate-20, headed to DragonCon!!!  This is my first convention and I’m very excited… mostly for the True Blood panels, my photo shoot with Joe Manganiello, and a chance for some face-time with the awesome Sherrilyn Kenyon. 

I’ve been hard at work, reading ahead, to get some reviews scheduled to post in my absence.  But beyond that, I don’t know how much I’ll be around.  If the con has wifi, I’ll try to tweet pictures!  In the meantime, I’ll be people watching and submerging myself in the infamous DragonCon Bucket-O-Rum.  What self-respecting New Orleans girl can turn down rum — in a bucket?  (Not this one!!)  Wish me luck. I still have to pack.

Top 5 Ways to Get Joe Manganiello Naked at DragonCon

My book-BFF Jenna and I have been planning our big getaway at DragonCon since last September.  Our passes are purchased. Our hotel is booked.  And every a week, I check the updated guest list to see exactly how our big investment is going to pay off.  So you can imagine my excitement when one of my top-3 guys I want to roll around naked with man-crushes showed up on the list!

 

Super sexy Joe Manganiello is going to be there!!!  I’ve been stewing on this information for a couple of weeks now and honestly, it comes down to one big question: How the hell are we going to get him to take off his clothes?  Really.  I’ve come up with a couple of ideas, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
    • Set fire to a cardboard cut-out of Alan Ball. Not only will it make me feel infinitely better to burn him in effigy, but it may set off the sprinklers.  Mr. Manganiello will either have to take off his soaked clothes OR I can just enjoy him in a wet T-shirt contest sort of way.
    • Cover his chair in chocolate syrup.  Rather than walk around looking like he crapped his pants, Mr. Manganiello will be forced to remove said pants. I could offer to lick up any remnants of syrup that might linger on his skin.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. After all, it’s Atlanta in the summertime. He’ll have to strip to maintain his body temperature.  –But then again, everyone else might follow suit… including whoever is standing next to me and undoubtedly dressed as a Wookie.  Scratch that plan.
  • Use the power of my mind.  Admittedly, this is not the best idea.  Because if that worked, he’d already be naked.  At my house.
  • Arrange for someone at the convention to have a gaping, bleeding wound. Mr. Manganiello will have to remove his shirt and use it to stem the flow of blood.  I have a few people in mind that I could bring for this express purpose.  It would kill two birds with one stone.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  So I am opening up the floor to suggestions. What’s in it for you?  Pictures of course!  I promise to bring my camera.  All ideas are welcome. (Bonus points for anyone who can figure out how I can also get Jason Momoa and Charlie Hunnam to sign up for the conference.)