I Love Junk

Posts Tagged ‘cosplay

…is cancelled. Family emergency. HOWEVER please do check back here, because I have a few things that are so awesome I can’t possibly avoid posting about them. I just can’t commit to the whole countdown anymore.

Ironically for a post in which I’m announcing the cancellation of the official countdown, I’m also providing an entry. Because this is too awesome not to share. If any of you are going to Halloween Horror Nights and want to avoid spoilers, skip this. Otherwise, you MUST watch, because it is epic. Those of you who read this blog regularly will have noted certain patterns in my interests, and will also note that those are extremely well-represented here.

Seriously, y’all. Having seen Spock dancing to “Single Ladies” and “Thriller”, I can promise that this will be my last thought upon dying, even if I die 60 years from now. This is officially the most awesome thing I will ever see in my entire life. A fantastapotamus couldn’t top it.

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So I just got in from Dragon*Con, and boy are my arms tired hardy harr harr. No, seriously. They are tired, from elbowing my way through crowds for three days, dancing for four hours straight, and driving six hours with only two stops. This was my first year at D*C, and while it wasn’t my first con of any kind – I’ve been to a few piddly, local anime cons – it was my first huge con. So naturally I came underprepared, didn’t eat or sleep enough, didn’t bring water, overexerted myself, and came home with a bad case of the con crud. You know that lull that comes after your favorite holidays, when you keep vascillating between basking in the glow of it all and being depressed that it’s over? Add belligerent sinuses and a Nyquil hangover to that and you’ve got how I feel right now. I’M HAPPY *AND* ANGRY! Nevertheless, I feel the need to write about my experiences before I forget them all, so I’m medicating myself with soup and X-E’s Halloween jukebox and trudging boldly onward. All you Trekkies and TV addicts, ch-check it out.

Day One: Friday

The first thing we did Friday, besides wait forever to register, was to get in a line that snaked out behind a hotel and that someone assured us was “for Shatner and Nimoy”.  We waited in this line for some time before we discovered it was the line for photo ops, not for the actual panel. As cool as it would be to stand next to Spock for four seconds, I am not a person who typically can bust out 80 bucks for something like that. So we ran off in a hurry looking for the Shatner and Nimoy panel, but it was already full, so we had to catch the overflow viewing on a screen in another room. Boo-urns. The panel was still good though. I won’t recount the whole thing because God knows it’ll be on Youtube soon enough, but one of the highlights was hearing them both say “dickhead” approximately ten times in thirty seconds.

I also went to a session where I learned about something called modular origami, where you fold pieces of paper into little cubes and stuff, and then build stuff out of the cubes. It was fun, except that it apparently takes all of the trees in the Amazon to make anything cool. I think I’ll stick with Legos.

Much of the afternoon was ruined by some unanticipated money drama, but the day was redeemed by a Venture Bros fan panel. A friend who doesn’t know dick about the Venture Bros went with me, and it was fun to watch her grow increasingly alarmed as people discussed naked clone armies, implied twincest, magic murder bags, and Klaus Nomi. There were trivia questions, and while I didn’t answer any, I got a free VB keychain anyway. Sweet deal.

After that we went to a panel with a bunch of voice actors who I’m ashamed to admit I mostly hadn’t heard of. When it comes to VAs I’m pretty much an Adler/Paulsen/MacNeille/Azaria fangirl and I have no knowledge of these newfangled modern kids and their rock and roll music. The only one I was really familiar with was Vic Mignogna who plays Edward on Fullmetal Alchemist, and I’ve only seen a few episodes of that because it makes me cry like a big pathetic baby. The only thing more depressing than FMA is those commercials where Sarah McLachlan sings over images of injured puppies. I need to be kept under observation away from strings and sharp objects after seeing one of those.

I was interrupted from this panel when my mom called and informed me that she is insane. See, the reason I went to the Venture Bros panel with a friend who doesn’t watch the show is that my other friend, who wanted to go to the panel, got separated from us at some point and couldn’t find the room the panel was in. I had her cell phone because I’d been separated from everyone when I went to the origami thing, and I couldn’t answer it during the VB panel because we were squeezed into the room like human Tetris blocks, so she called my mom to ask her for my other friend’s cell phone number, which was extremely helpful since my other friend was sitting right next to me and was obviously in the same situation. My mother’s thoroughly rational response to this was to freak out and assume that my friend had been wandering lost in a desert for 40 years. So she phoned hotel security to inform them that my friend, who I should add is 22 years old, was lost. Because she got separated from us for an hour and a half. At a con with more than 30,000 people.

When I got home I asked my mom what the security guy said to her. She says he hung up. I don’t blame him one bit.

That night, we went to a costume contest. It was… meh. There were a couple of totally badass costumes which were so large and heavy that they could, in a pinch, double as fallout shelters. But mostly it was just a bunch of foofy Victorian dresses, and while I appreciate the work that went into making them, I just don’t get geeked over that stuff. Despite being in possession of a uterus, I’m not very girly, and my reaction to big boofy dresses is usually to ponder the logistics of going to the bathroom in such a thing. Also unimpressive was the fact that it was -17 degrees in the room, plus someone sat next to me despite the entire rest of the row being open.

We interrupt this geekfest to bring you a Public Service Announcement. Please do not sit immediately next to a stranger, particularly in a situation where the chairs are approximately half an asscheek wide each, if there are seven open seats just to the left of you and no one is waiting to sit in them. Failing to at least leave the customary one-seat gap makes you seem intrusive and creepy, and deprives people of desperately needed ass-room. This message paid for by the Council to Prevent Me From “Accidentally” Elbowing You in the Face.

So my Friday was lukewarm, and I was worried that the entire con was just not going to live up to my expectations. Fortunately, things got way the hell better on…

Day Two:  Saturday

Saturday started out with the famous Dragon*Con parade, featuring hordes of zombies, Klingons, stormtroopers, Hogwarts students, steampunks, people whose costumes I couldn’t decipher, and even a tiny Dr. Horrible with his dad Captain Hammer. There was a Ghostbusters car, Robot Chicken, Shredder, and at least half a dozen of The Monarch’s henchmen. It was EPIC WIN. We found out later that the parade was on CNN, which seemed incredible until we remembered CNN is based in Atlanta and they probably just wanted a cheap local story that didn’t involve people bitching about dead grass in Piedmont Park. Some photos:

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Now, I can show you pictures of this parade all day long and you will never glean from them what made the whole thing so awesome. It was the feeling in the air. Even though this was the South and it wasn’t even Labor Day yet, everything about the parade screamed autumn at the top of its lungs. The weather was (mercifully, for the people in costume) unseasonably cool. The chill in the air, the festive mood, the sound of marching bands blaring, and the sight of hundreds of costumed geeks all melded together to send one clear message: Halloween season is here, bitches. To hell with waiting for October! Citizens of the Netherworld, rejoice! The time for fake blood and fun-size Snickers is nigh!

After the parade my friends split off to go elsewhere while I immediately got in line for the Venture Bros panel. This was the real deal, with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, and since they’re more popular than they are famous, they didn’t get one of the huge ballrooms. This meant that not everyone who wanted to see the panel got in, so lining up two hours early turned out to be wise and totally worth it. I got to sit second row center, which is pretty much optimum fangirl seating. Again, the panel will be on Youtube so I won’t recount the whole thing, but they showed part of one of the new season 4 episodes and then answered questions. Someone asked who they think would win in a fight between Helen Keller and Anne Frank, and they argued about this for ten minutes. I strongly encourage you all to debate this for yourselves in the comments. My money’s on Helen, if only because Anne would get too distracted looking at her tits.

After that, one of my friends joined me and we went to see Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam. It was probably a fun panel, but I wouldn’t know for sure. The room was dark and cool, and it was late in the day by this point, so I was barely conscious through most of it. All I remember is something about Eric Idle being naked on a children’s show, and something about TV censors mistaking blush wine for “menstrual urine”. Yeah.

Adam Savage was speaking immediately after this in the same room, and we tried to get in line for that, except that we couldn’t actually find the line. Taking this as a bad sign, we gave up and decided to go ahead and catch the next shuttle to the Georgia Aquarium, where Dragon*Con Night was going on. As further proof of Halloween’s looming presence, the aquarium was playing flat-out horror movie soundtrack music as we waited to get in. I’m not sure if they were getting an early start on the season or if the staff was just confused about why a bunch of adults were wearing superhero costumes in early September, but the music seemed like an odd fit for the overall theme of “here are some fish.”

Aside from that, the only thing I remember from the aquarium is that when we went to pet stingrays, one of them slid up the side of the tank and splashed at one of my friends. We couldn’t decide if it liked her or wanted to make an Irwin out of her, but it was funny as shit either way.

Also, I went down a slide shaped like a giant whale. And that’s Saturday.

Day Three: Sunday

This ended up being our last day at the con, because by Monday we were exhausted. Fortunately, Sunday was the best day.

I dragged my poor friends out of bed hella early so I could get in line to fangirl squee over see Leonard Nimoy again, this time in person if it killed me. Actually, it’s not really accurate to say I dragged them out of bed; while getting up at ass-thirty was my idea, I was way backlogged on sleep and they actually had to prod me to get up. They probably sensed that I’d be handing down some wrath if they let me sleep through this after the wrong-line debacle on Friday. They chose wisely.

We had to stand in line for two hours, and I heard from the lady in front of me about what it’s like to get autographs and photos at the con; apparently you can’t talk to the celebrities because the staff rushes you through too fast, you can’t shake their hands because they’re stuck behind Plexiglas like so many salad-bar contents, you can’t look directly at them unless it’s through a pin-sized hole in a paper plate because you’ll damage your retinas, etc. From what I hear the guests didn’t like this setup any more than the congoers did – after all, if I were going to sit in a booth all day so people dressed as aliens and Sailor Scouts could gawk at me, I’d at least wanna be able to ask them why their nametags all said things like BorgNymph.

So we got in to see Nimoy and hear him talk about his non-Trek work – photography, voiceover work, forgotten zombie movies from the 50s, and so forth. It was fascinating to me, but I realize there are probably a grand total of 15 people on Earth who would say the same, so I’ll skip most of the details. One thing that stands out is that his newest photography project, “Secret Selves”, involves a bunch of cosplayers or furries or something. Yes, there is now something nerdier than dressing up as a wizard: having Leonard Nimoy take a picture of you dressed up as a wizard because your nerdiness provides him with some sort of insight into the human psyche. Fascinating.

From there, we got in a gigundofuckingrifficmassive line to see Patrick Stewart. There were some shenanigans involved here, because the Dragon*Con staff decided around 11:30 that it was time to start the Patrick Stewart line. The problem with this was that there was already a Patrick Stewart line; people had clearly been standing in this line since before Patrick Stewart was actually born. You could not possibly miss the fact that a line had already started; it snaked all the way around whatever floor we were on and looped around three or four times, probably violating numerous fire codes in the process. So I can see why they might have needed to move the line, but instead they started a brand new one, meaning many of the people who’d been waiting for hours weren’t at the front anymore. We actually ended up way closer to the front of the line than we should have been, but it wasn’t as if there was any clear way to tell where the fuck we belonged. Still I made sure not to say ANYTHING that indicated I had gotten ahead in line, because several of the people near me were out for BLOOD. One girl chewed out a staffmember for about 15 minutes, explaining that Patrick Stewart was the only reason she had come to the con and she’d been in line since approximately 1974 and if she didn’t get to see him the sky would turn red and the Earth would crash into the sun. So I definitely didn’t want her to know I had only just gotten in line recently.

Of all the people I saw at Dragon*Con (that I had specifically planned on seeing), Patrick Stewart is the one I’ve seen in the least number of interviews, so I was surprised at his demeanor. He’s very funny, though I kind of suspected that; what I didn’t expect was that he’d be so… humble? Not that I expected him to be an egomaniac like William Shatner, but he’s Patrick Fucking Stewart. Whether he’s playing a starship captain or a sassy gay man in a pink beret, he invariably comes off as the kind of guy who is quite capable of blasting your face off with eye lasers if you piss him off. So it caught me off guard to see him nearly blush over compliments and hear him talk about how he’s afraid to get caught watching himself on TV.

After that panel we ate some lunch, sat outside for a little while and for some reason received free ice cream, and headed over to get ready for what ultimately was my favorite part of the entire con. See, what really got me to the con was all the big-name stars, and I was really sure that was going to be my favorite part. But in all honesty, it wasn’t that great. Once the initial fangirl thrill of ohmigod he’s right there in this room that I am also in RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME wears off, you realize you just spent three hours standing in line for something you can watch on Youtube, in the comfort of your own home, with absolutely no risk of having your eye poked out by the metal steampunk fairy wings of a stranger who is sitting practically in your lap. So seeing celebrities wasn’t that awesome.

You know what was awesome? This:

You really can’t see me in that video, which is just as well because I didn’t know the dance all that well and I looked like a dork anyway. There are very few situations in life where failing to wear a ridiculous costume makes you look like more of a dork, but Dragon*Con is one of them.

What we were trying to do is break the official world record for the most people simultaneously dancing to “Thriller” in a single location, which previously was 242. I think the organizers were expecting to get maybe 300 people if they were really super lucky, because they were totally unprepared when 903 people ended up dancing. We had a big ballroom designated for rehearsal space, and there was absolutely no way in hell we could possibly rehearse in there without everyone being trampled to death. And that was only the people who showed up for the first rehearsal. We ended up breaking into small groups, eventually taking over the entire bottom floor of the Sheraton and confusing the hell out of all the hotel guests who just wanted to walk through the lobby without navigating through a horde of zombies.

We haven’t received word yet on if we got the record, but I don’t care if we do or not. I had a great time and learned a dance I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, which I can also show off at parties as long as everyone else at the party is as nerdy as I am. (Not that I get invited to any other sorts of parties.) This was definitely one of the more fun things I’ve done in my life, and if they do it again next year I will put it way higher on my list of priorities than any celebrity panel.

I also learned some things about human psychology, namely that the presence of TV cameras temporarily lowers human IQ. All of the people at this thing were intelligent; they were capable of both carrying on a meaningful conversation and learning a complex choreography routine in two hours. They were not at all the type of people you generally associate with mindless television behavior. Yet anytime a TV cameraperson showed up (and there were a lot of them there), everyone – including me – would start jumping up and down and yelling WOOOOOOOOOOOO, as if yelling really loud would prove to everyone who saw us on TV that we were absolutely the coolest people who ever lived. From now on I’m going to be more forgiving of the apparently stupid people I see on TV. For all I know they might have been discussing astrophysics over a cup of Earl Grey before the cameras showed up and destroyed all their higher mental faculties.

Also awesome: there was a person dressed as a gigantic sparkly Michael Jackson glove. I promise I am not making this up. Look:

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All in all, I had a fantastic time at Dragon*Con, and it was worth any amount of con crud I’ve had to deal with since I got home. Even considering the fun activities though, I think the best part was just the timing of the whole thing. Since the con is Labor Day weekend, and since it’s mostly about sci-fi and fantasy and horror, it makes for a nice transition ritual between seasons. It’s both a last hurrah for summer and a first glimpse of Halloween. Since I have a mid-September birthday I usually try to hold off until at least after that before I begin my tribute to Satan. It’s still too hot in Florida to really get in the fall mood until then. This year, though, I couldn’t resist. A weekend of costumes and parades and zombie dancing gave me the Halloween fever, and now I can’t get through each day without a good dose of ghosts, pumpkins and Oingo Boingo. I suppose it’s fair enough, since by the time it actually feels like fall here I’ll be itching for Christmas.

Consider this your official kickoff to I Love Junk’s Halloween season. I realize I tend to go MIA for months at a time, but this year I’ve got something up my sleeve. Check back real soon to find out… if you dare.