Friday, September 6, 2013

Dragon*Con Saturday


Everyone dresses up as an element.


The big event for Saturday is the Dragon*Con Parade at 10am. We decided to leave our hotel early to find a good spot to watch the parade. Good thing we did! At 8:30 we got one of the last curbside spots along the entire route (as far as we could tell). Unfortunately, by the time the parade started, many thousands more people had arrived and many were not considerate and stood in front of those who had arrived early. The police had their hands full trying to keep the crowds out of the parade path and weren't interested in helping with these disputes. We managed to enjoy the parade anyway, and saw some amazing costumes and vehicles. The parade was segmented into groups, with all the Star Wars costumes together, all the Ghostbusters together etc. There were even a few special guests in the parade, including Ernie Hudson (Winston) from Ghostbusters, Billy Dee Williams (Lando) from Star Wars, and the author Larry Niven.

Steampunk Tetris, way cool!

LOVED this minion costume!
The parade lasted almost an hour and a half, so there was no way we'd make it to our 11:30 William Shatner panel. Mike says we can just watch some Priceline commercials instead. Instead, we visited the Dealer Tables and Exhibitor Booths to check out all the cool stuff for sale. From wigs to light sabers to tee shirts, there was a LOT to see. We picked up a couple tee shirts for tomorrow's con. The area was still PACKED with people dispersing from the parade, and we had a gap in our schedule, so we walked the two blocks back to our hotel, picked up some Quiznos, and ate in our room. This also gave us a chance to get off our feet for a bit and lighten up our backpacks (we tend to take way more than we need to almost anything we do).

There were a lot of mashup costumes at DC this year

After lunch we made our way to our first panel of the day, "Guests of the Whedonverse", starting at 2:30. We got there an hour early, since that's when the lines are officially allowed to start forming, and we wanted to get great seats. It turns out that the line officially started quite a while earlier and we were pretty far back (or so it seemed). Lesson learned! We actually got decent seats and it was entertaining listening to several of the stars from Joss Whedon's TV shows: Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Eliza Dushku (Faith), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce), Jane Espenson (writer for Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Battlestar, Game of Thrones, and Once Upon a Time), and Miracle Laurie (three characters from Dollhouse).



Our jam-packed Saturday schedule called for us to exit the Westin Peachtree Ballroom and immediately get back in line for the next panel in the same room: "Spellbound: The Use of Magic in Urban Fantasy", with Jim Butcher and five other writers, at 4:00. However, the line for "Spellbound" had started forming as soon as we'd been let into the room for "Whedonverse", so it was now enormous (line snaked the entire floor and two more floors above). Since we also planned to do the next panel in the same room, it didn't seem logistically possible to do all three without either getting terrible seats or risking not getting in at all. We decided to skip "Spellbound" since we'd be seeing Jim Butcher on Sunday. We stuck around until they cleared the room from Whedonverse, filled it for Spellbound, and then started the line for "SG-1 Reunion".

After a 90 minute wait for Spellbound to start, finish, and the room to get emptied, we entered and got seated for the 5:30 panel. The guests for this one were Richard Dean Anderson (Jack), Christopher Judge (Teal'c), Teryl Rothery (Dr. Fraiser), Dan Payne (played many aliens and creatures), and Alex Zahara (also played many aliens and creatures). Christopher and Teryl were great (and the audience got an "Indeed" out of Christopher), but we have to say Richard Dean Anderson seemed a bit weird. We're not sure if he was tired, distracted, or this is how he usually acts during panels.

Christopher Judge smiles and laughs a lot. It's great to watch him, he really seemed to enjoy the panel

When the panel ended at 7:00, we snacked on some apples and cheese we'd packed for dinner, waited quite a while for the room to empty so we could make our escape, then headed briskly from the Westin to the Hilton a few blocks away for our 7:30 event. We got there just after it started, but were able to get in and stand in the back of the room. This one was part of the Skeptics track, and was called "Science, Pseudoscience, and All That Jazz". Massimo Piglucci, professor of philosophy at the City University of New York spoke about how science and pseudoscience are defined and differentiated, and why it's important to keep pseudoscience out of science. Although he spoke about all the expected topics like evolution vs. creationism, global climate change, and homeopathy, his explanation of how science came to be science and how its rules have changed over time was particularly interesting.

I have no idea how he can actually walk through the crowds!
We had planned to attend "Brian Brushwood's Bizarre Magic", also in the Skeptics track, at 8:30 but by the time we found the room, the line was huge and had been capped. We'd toyed with the idea of staying out later (there are plenty events that go to the wee hours of the morning) but we were pretty exhausted so we headed back to the hotel to save our energy for Sunday.

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