Monday, September 1, 2014

Dragon*Con 2014!

NOTE:  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to blog and catch up on things, however I've had several health problems/hospital admissions/sicknesses that have kept me from being able to attend any of the filming of TWD this year.Hopefully, I'll be good to go by next filming season. If this weekend was a test, then I should be ok by then.


Well, another year and another Dragon*Con notch on the belt. This time, I had the opportunity to stay for 3 days (Thanks to good friend, D. Melton!) and the number of people attending were up again this year. On Saturday, the talk was up around 75,000 to 80,000 people, however that's not an official estimate.

This years guest list was pretty good (as far as my interests go):

Peter Weller (RoboCop; Star Trek Into Darkness)
Colin Baker (6th Doctor Who)
Stephen Collins (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers)
Terry Gilliam (Monty Python; Zero Theorum)
James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy & Dawn of the Dead 2004 writer)
Grant Imahara (Mythbusters; Star Trek Conitnues)
Walter Koenig (Chekov- Star Trek)
Lloyd Kaufman (Troma)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers; The Empire Strikes Back)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Tom Savini (FX Master)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Dana Snyder ( Voice of "Master Shake")
Karl Urban (Star Trek 2009; Dr. McCoy)
Garrett Wang (Star Trek: Voyager)

To name just a few of the great guests there this year! Many more guests, artists & creative types and nuts in general were out in full force!


OK, most of you know I'm old & therefore, "old school".. I grew up in a different fandom setting than today's ultra-chic, esoteric fan-based commercialized trappings, so take what I'm about to say with that in mind.

I know that things change & change is good. However, things have changed so drastically within the last 20 years within the convention world that's it's almost unrecognizable. That would be good if the change wasn't directly centered upon commercialism instead of simply the love of the genres. Hey, I completely understand that people gotta make a living, but to me, this is getting really crazy.

Everyone is out to make a buck on anything they can regarding gullible fans and their willingness to pay anything to get whatever hokey crap is being peddled as popular at the moment. Money is the motivator & it gets the nerds motivated, that's for damn sure. As soon as the established TV & movie industry realized the untapped potential of this, the gloves were off! What was once an exclusive niche for genre fans to meet, discuss, see and greet the stars of their favorite shows & movies (& allowed them to make some cash as well) has turned into a great, big moving advertisement that one PAYS to go and experience.

Now, that's not to say that socialization doesn't occur at cons anymore, it certainly does, however the medium in which it has taken on has a completely different connotation to it as compared to days gone by. LARP (Live Action Role Play) has boomed over the past few years and, for some, takes the place of actual social interactivity. Some of it is, in fact, purposed for that exact reason. What happened to talking to people? It's being replaced by the anonymity of behind a furry mask as to create a barrier for the wearer to not feel responsible for any awkward social interactions that a they may encounter under "normal" circumstances.

Hey, you do your thing & I'll do mine is what I've always said, but we don't have that luxury any longer when the tide totally turns against those of us who have moderate interests in genre subjects. It's we who have to modify our way of interacting or be lost to the tide of steam-punk furries posing with total strangers like they're being pumped in the arse just to try & gain "convention notoriety".

That's another aspect of Cons that has crept into the scene, I call it "Convention Notoriety". It's the propensity for certain costumed convention goers to gain as much "popularity" as possibly by posing & taking pictures with every single person that they possibly can. Some of these folks will do anything to get attention. Although nudity is strictly prohibited, I'm here to tell you that line is regularly crossed and is more often "hovered around" by the female con-goers. Again, it's your thing- do what you wanna do. I would point out that this is probably why there are hardly any kids attending conventions nowadays (6-17 years of age). Just my opinion....the parents need a way to escape their reality and what better way than to put on a mask, leave the kids with a sitter & go partying with other people wearing an Oscar the Grouch costume, huh?

 I, for one, make a special note to the change in dealers & dealers rooms. I mean, come on, each year with increasing veracity the people of the convention are literally herded into, around & back out of the dealers room exactly like cattle. If you stop for one second, you better be buying something or there'll be someone telling you to keep it moving! Plus, the dealers rooms are filled with things that really aren't that collectible- just expensive!

 The experience of being herded like cattle was off-putting enough. DC has far outgrown the venues it currently employs. It needs to change venues or expand, which has an opposite effect on patrons trying to get to where they're going in time to participate in whatever event they wish to attend.

I know, I know...too preachy. Anyway, my way of fandom is on the way out (if it's not gone already) and the next generation has firmly settled itself into the center throne.

One last thing...while my daughter & I were waiting on the ground floor elevators at the Hilton, a middle-aged man was harassing a couple of older women who were handicapped. This was in a crowd of about 20 people all dressed as superheroes. As the bully went back to the women for a second round- I told him "That's enough! Leave them alone. I'm not scared of you, so be quiet & leave them alone."

He smarted off to me and began yelling at me. When he saw that I actually was not scared and was willing to stand my ground. He ran off. Here's what pissed me off about the entire thing: during this 5 -7 minute ordeal; NOT ONE of these "superheroes" even bothered to help the two women or even acknowledge what was happening around them. They want to dress the part, play the part, but when it comes down to HELPING someone else- well, that's too much.

 My 11 year old daughter who witnessed this entire event beamed with pride at me. I told her to never let someone else be victimized in your presence.

So, in her eyes, who's the real superhero now, nerds?


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