Dragon Con is known as one of the largest multi-media pop culture convention in the world, in fact, the largest on the East Coast and is held over Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, GA for the last 27 years. This year I was able to attend three out of the four days of this year’s convention, here is some of my experience from the 27th Annual Dragon Con convention.
Friday, August 29
I got down to Dragon Con early in the morning. The first panel I attended was the “Torchwood”panel with famed writer Jane Espenson (“Torchwood,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Husbands”) and actors Gareth David Lloyd (who played Capt. Jack’s sidekick Lanto), James Masters (who played the villain Capt. John Hart) and Eve Myles (who played Gwen Cooper), the former cop who joins Torchwood in its continuing battle to keep Earth safe from aliens. The panel was a lot of fun, with everyone telling behind-the-scenes stories. Myles made her debut appearance at this year’s first Dragon Con, seemed to had a particularly good time.
Next I attended what was billed as “John Barrowman Live!” Barrowman best known for his role as Capt. Jack on “Dr. Who,” and later reprising it with “Torchwood.” Last season, Barrowman played the villain Malcolm Merlyn/Black Arrow on CW’s hit TV show, “Arrow.” Barrowman is a legend at Dragon Con, with his colorful antics that draws fans to line up hours in advance for his panels. Funny and extremely quick witted, Barrowman gives more of a performance than a standard panel presentation, as he sings, tells jokes and goes into depth with behind-the-scenes stories of not just his TV appearances but also his stints in theatre, on both Broadway and London’s West End. Barrowman has incredible energy and you couldn’t help smiling after seeing him at Dragon Con. I was able to do a 45-minute interview with Barrowman during Dragon Con and will be publishing it on the CW69TV.com website in October, closer to the season premiere of “Arrow.”
“Husbands” is an online comedy series about a gay baseball player named Brady (Sean Hemeon) who wakes up after a drunken binge in Las Vegas married to Cheeks (Brad Bell). The newly married twosome, then decide to stay together to try to make the marriage work. The series just started its third season on the new CW online platform, CW Seed. I attended a panel with the co-creator/writer of the show, Jane Espenson, co-creator/writer/star Bell and Janina Gavankar (“True Blood,” “Arrow”) who will be a regular on the series. They talked about creation of the series, what they hope the series will become and gave a few insights into the newly launched season.
I joined the CW Crew at the Marriott as they handed out items such as posters for the new programs, “Reign” and “The Originals,” along with portable coolers for soft drinks in the shape of a quiver designed after “Arrow” and tote bags to promote “The Vampire Diaries.”
The “Smallville” panel was next with Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan), John Glover (Lionel Luthor) and Julian Sands (Jor-El). Mack talked about being extremely proud of her character Chloe, that showed a lot of growth from being the love struck girl in the first few seasons, to running Watchtower and being on equal ground with Clark Kent and Green Arrow. Glover talked about making his character, the evil Lionel Luthor, a more rounded person, someone who wasn’t just a villain, but also a man who cared for his son.
I attended a performance of the Atlanta Radio Theater Company. ARTC is a group of people who promote and perform the art of Audio Theatre, better known as Radio Drama. They put on quite a funny play called “In Need of a Bard.” It’s always fun to see a radio play performed live, with the actors sometimes playing two or three parts and the sound effects being made right before your eyes.
My final event of the night was a full length feature film called “The Human Race.” The film is kind of a “Hunger Games” for adults, as 80 people are somehow teleported to an undisclosed location and told they are in a race for their lives. The rules are simple; if you go off the path and touch the grass you die. If you are lapped twice by someone, you die. If you don’t race, you die. The horror film was quite bloody, very entertaining and kept you guessing on who was the one person who would survive the race.
Saturday August 30
I missed the Dragon Con parade which goes down Peachtree but I have been to it in the past and it’s a blast to see. Just about every cartoon, anime and super hero character appear in the parade, along with a variety of other delightful cosplayers that fill out the procession. The highlight of the parade is the legion of “Star Wars” Storm troopers that finish the parade.
First on my list was attending the “Guests of Whedonverse,” where the wonderful world of Joss Whedon was discussed. Appearing on the panel were Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Eliza Dushku, who played Faith on “Buffy”/”Angel” and played Echo on another Joss Whedon show “Dollhouse,” Jane Espenson, who wrote some of the best episodes of “Buffy,” Miracle Laurie, who played Mellie on “Dollhouse” and Kristine Sutherland, who played Buffy’s mother, Joyce Summers. The panel talked about their experiences making the various Whedon shows and what those experiences meant to all of them personally. Quite a few female fans talked to the cast about how important it was that they had grown up watching these strong female characters stand-up for themselves.
I then attended a panel for the SyFy channel show “Lost Girl,” which is about a succubus named Bo who learns that she isn’t alone, there are a number of supernatural creatures out there called The Fae. And it just might be her destiny to change the Fae’s world, for better or for worse. Attending the panel were actor Paul Amos, who plays Vex( a Mesmer), K.C. Collins, who plays Hale (a cop and a Siren) and Kris Holden-Ried, who plays Dyson (a Werewolf) who is Hale’s partner on the police force. This was a frollicking funny panel, where each the guys tried to one up each other with jokes and stories.
The highlight of my Saturday Dragon Con experience was the performances of the “Dr. Horrible Picture Show,” followed by the “Buffy Horror Picture Show.” A live cast recreates on stage as the original musicals are show on a giant screen. It’s very similar to attending a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” film, as the audience is encouraged to sing-a-long and shout out things to the performers on stage. The “Dr. Horrible Picture Show” performs the online Joss Whedon hit, “Dr. Horrible’ s Sing-Along Blog,” while the “Buffy Horror Picture Show” performs the musical episode called “Once More with Feeling” which was an episode from the 2001 season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” season. The performances are very inventive and the audience has a great time singing out each song with gusto.
Monday, September 1
I had to miss day three of Dragon Con due to prior commitments but I did go back for the final day. The last day of Dragon Con is always very low key and it a good time to catch up on any panels that a member may have missed out on during the course of the weekend. The crowds are much smaller and you usually don’t have to stand in any of the long lines to get into them. You can also find great deals at the Dragon Con Dealers Hall located in the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart. Many of the dealers, selling items such as comic book memorabilia and Steampunk clothing , are willing to barter a bit on price since they don’t want to have to ship their stuff back home.
I attended the “Arrow” panel, which was made up of Kelly Hu (who plays China White) and Janina Gavankar (who plays Detective McKenna Hall, Oliver Queen’s love interest on the show). Hu talked about all the fight scenes she has to do on the show, saying that her first appearance was her toughest fighting sequence on the show. Gavankar talked about being on a hit show that is just growing in the fandom world.
For my last panel of Dragon Con 2013 I attended the ”Smallville” panel called “Metropolis and Beyond.” Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan), John Glover (Lionel Luthor), James Marsters (Brainiac) and Lauren Vandervoort (Kara/Supergirl) were the cast discussed about being on a show that they loved to be a part of.
Overall, Dragon Con 2013 was a blast to attend!