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‘Dragon Con 2015 Wrap Up’ is part of a multi-post series where the writers of Some Nerd Girl share their convention stories – whether they be good, bad, or ugly!
I remember my first Dragon Con. It was 2007, and I was deep in the throes of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) fandom. My friend Corrine had told me about an online BSG fan group that I ended up joining, and about how Dragon Con is a magical place full of all of the things I loved: gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, comics, just to name a few.
I bought a pass, threw together one of my first ever costumes (BSG BDUs, of course) and trekked down to Atlanta.
Boy, was my friend right. I was enthralled by all of the people, the costumes, and the culture that is Dragon Con. What drew me in was the content, the celebrities, and being able to dress up as the characters I’d come to love in all of my favorite genres. What ended up happening, however, is that I gained an immense group of friends as well.
Dragon Con is now the best geek family reunion I could ever hope for, and I count the days every year until all of us can converge upon downtown Atlanta and share all the revelry together. It’s become a staple of my year, not just because I get to have all the things I love in one place, but so many of the people I love in one place as well. I have heard and been a part of so many stories of friendships, engagements, and marriages beginning at Dragon Con, and I’m willing to bet you have too. I still love seeing the celebrities, getting my comics signed, and marching in or watching the parade—but what Dragon Con really means to me now is “family.”
If you’re reading this, then you know that the Post-Con Depression struggle is real. I don’t want to go back to the Muggle world! So instead, let’s talk about all things Dragon Con in this breakdown of some of the ups, the downs, and the in betweens.
The Carpet. Oh, Marriott. You put down fresh carpet for us? How kind of you! It smelled so new on Tuesday.
The Weather. There was a bit of normal Atlanta heat, but during several photoshoots I was at or viewed on the Hilton steps, it actually got breezy! This was a huge relief when I was wearing my Fallout wasteland gear on Sunday. It actually meant that walking outside if I needed to wasn’t as sweltering and awful as it normally is in Atlanta.
Registration. This year, like last, was an absolute breeze. Kudos to Dragon Con for making this process pretty darn painless.
Key Cards at three of the hotels! How cool is it that this was a triptych? This should happen every year. (Here’s a neat trick: the first and last cards also go together so you can put them in a different order)
The Guests. It’s obviously clear how much I love Battlestar Galactica, so having Grace Park join the majority of the cast here for con, knowing she rarely ever comes to conventions, was amazing. There were so many other shows I was excited to see represented—Lost Girl, Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Defiance, and even Karen Gillan from Dr. Who and Guardians of the Galaxy fame showed up. Great pulls, Dragon Con.
I was also excited for Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction to be there. Comics have come back into my life in a big way, and these two people are heavily responsible for this. There were a lot of great voice actors and puppeteers (hello Caroll Spinney, a.k.a. Big Bird!) I’ll admit, I also nerded out over John Noble (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow), who took my hand, looked right into my eyes, and talked to me like I was the most important person in the room. What a lovely man. Meeting these people are icing on the cake here.
The Parties. You know what I’m talking about. Room parties and other scheduled events of these types are a blast. If you weren’t at one of these, you were likely at the Rave!
The Music Guests. With us, as always, are the goth fairy friendly Cruxshadows, and steampunk favorites Abney Park, but this year Ego Likeness, Here Come the Mummies and Rasputina joined us for some epic rocking. The Doubleclicks (who I had just seen at GenCon) also brought their fun and smart nerd folk. The Mummies made people lose their collective minds with their Funk power, and Rasputina brought edgy cellos into the mix (though sadly, there were major monitor issues during their set, making me concerned they won’t want to come back). I didn’t get to see Ego Likeness this year due to over commitment, but their dark industrial sound is always sure to scratch that itch in your little black soul (Spoiler alert: They’re actually also super nice people!).
The Photoshoots/Costumes. Of course. As always. Man. Just seeing some of the photos coming out of these shoots is part of my Post-Con Depression therapy. There are too many to name, but this is the best way to see a great grouping of some of the best costumes you’ll see. I always go through flickr and just do a search for “dragoncon” in the tags for a great show. (WARNING: Browse at your own risk, some of these may be NSFW!) Then there are crazy mashups that happen without explanation, like Warboy Minion:
Low Points. 😦
The Carpet: Oh, Marriott. Some of these areas looked like, well, like congoers were already in certain spots here.
Congestion. Every year this con gets bigger. Though all reports from my fellow con-goers agree that traffic flow seemed better, there were so many people there, it definitely got a big swampy. Speaking of…
The Marriott Temperature. Anyone else think the management decided to make it too hot to hang out? Even with the obvious large number of 98.6s in the atrium, I don’t remember it being that bad before. The Marriott is usually THE place to be, and this year, I actually found more relief in the Hyatt and Hilton and found myself wanting to stay there instead.
Overflowing Panel Lines and Lack of Organization. I gave up trying to see John Barrowman and Stephen Amell over the weekend. Both panels were lined up for hours (which I get it–if you want to wait in line, that’s part of con, right?) and I was turned away after the “end” of one of the lines was going into the room, being told they weren’t letting anyone else in at all. Later, a friend reported she walked into the same panel 15 minutes after it had started with no problem whatsoever. Here’s the thing—I can’t imagine how hard it is to run these cons. I just know how frustrating it was to not be able to get correct answers from staff on seating.
Panel Choices on DCTV: This year I had a few friends with disabilities and also with young children attend. They weren’t always able to get to the panels and through the crowds (or with an infant, didn’t want to chance a crying fit in a panel) and we chatted about how some of the best panels (like the dual Barrowman/Amell Arrow panel) wasn’t even broadcast on Dragon Con TV that we could find, but some groups were broadcast more than once.There were also technical difficulties which seem an inevitability.
This year we saw the addition of DCTV Land, which was a cool idea, but I think many of us would rather have two full channels of panels instead of “classic DCTV” bumpers and shows. I appreciate the content, and don’t want to insult the fine people who put all the fun videos together (I truly do enjoy them), but it seems like these could be broadcast after panels end for the day (I mean, most of us are up all night), and for the 30 minutes between panels, in my opinion.
Baddie McBadderson Time
The Carpet. Oh, Marriott. I’m sorry. We just can’t guarantee not to spill…well, something on your floors. I’m so glad you have a great cleaning crew, and all the Scotchgard.
Assault? When I got back, I heard of a case of sexual assault that happened at con, which is deeply disturbing (and still under investigation). There’s a reason cosplay is not consent, no means no, and being drunk and incoherent means no, too. There’s a whole can of worms that we could open over this, but I’ll just say please, con-goers, don’t be evil. A lot of people get crazy at con, but there is never, ever an excuse for assault. End of story.
I know I’ve missed a few things that you lovely readers can bring out—after all, none of us can possibly see everything at Dragon Con. So what were your highs and lows? What else would you have liked to have done?
Melody is a Southern Girl living in the Midwest with her equally nerdy husband, Asuka the dog, and Bastet the cat, who only answers to “kee kee kee!” She currently is loving Dragon Age Inquisition (because she’s behind, GOSH) and Sense8. Fandoms include (but are not remotely limited to) Dr. Who, BSG, Supernatural, and Star Trek AND Wars!. She’s Commander Shepard, and this is her favorite blog on the citadel!
It’s official, Alien 5 is happening. The fifth movie in the Alien series, starring Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, has been confirmed by director Neill Blomkamp. As we wait for this new addition to one of the greatest science fiction movie series of all time, I thought it only appropriate to reflect on what truly made this series stand out: its protagonist. The intelligent, determined and heroic Ellen Ripley was a character that broke the mold and, to this day, stands out as one of the greatest female film protagonists of all time.
Ripley stands out as a character who isn’t just in conflict with the inhuman enemy, but also with the people around her. In the first film, she is forced to stand up for herself as crew-mates Ash (who has sinister intentions) and Dallas make decisions that jeopardize her and the crew’s safety. When Ash breaks quarantine rules, Ripley does not just let it slide, but confronts him and lets him know in no uncertain terms that she is his superior officer and that he made a big mistake in going against her orders. It comes up again later in the movie when Ash is revealed as a traitor and Ripley has to defend herself and the crew against him in addition to the aliens.
In the second film, Ripley is under fire by her bosses, as they don’t believe her retelling of the horrifying events that led to the death of Nostromo’s crew. Burke, her false friend, encourages her to go along with what the higher ups are saying, but she never shows any signs of backing down and outright insults her superiors when they are attempting to say that she imagined the ordeal. “Did IQ’s drop sharply while I was away?” One cannot help but want to cheer for her, although we know she’s going to pay for the quip.
You tell ’em, Ripley!
Later, she promises the weaselly Burke that he will pay for his deceptions, and when he tells her he had thought she would understand and expected more from her, she tells him that she is happy to disappoint him and fully intends to go through on her promise to pin him to the wall.
In the third movie this conflict is taken to its logical extreme, when Ripley is forced to live in a penal colony full of woman-hating rapists and murderers. She has few friends in the colony, as most of the people there either want to assault her or leave her for dead.“You don’t want to know me, lady,” one man tells her, “I’m a murderer and rapist of women.” She in turn muses that if that’s the case, she must make him very nervous. Ripley was one of the highest ranking officers of the ship Nostromo, and she does not take any crap from anyone, human or not.
Finally, all you really need to know about Alien: Resurrection is that this happened –
Sure, everyone knows that Ripley is a total badass. Some of her feats include blasting an alien out of the airlock,
…getting into what is basically a robotic exoskeleton and going mano-a-mano with the mother alien,
…setting an alien nest on fire with a flamethrower,
…saving a group of marines (driving right through a sheet of metal to do so),
and committing suicide by fire so that the alien she’s carrying will die with her.
Maintaining a healthy level of badassery the entire time.
She’s an indisputable action star, but it isn’t just her feats of strength in battle that make her character so memorable, it’s as much her softer actions that give us a glimpse into her personality and heart.
The biggest example of this would be her tender interactions with other characters. It is established early on in the sequel that Ripley had a daughter who grew old and died while Ripley spent fifty seven years in hypersleep. Ripley, who hadn’t shed a tear throughout any of her near death experiences or her violent nightmares, breaks down when she learns of her daughter’s death. “I promised her I’d be home for her birthday,” she says through her tears, “Her eleventh birthday.”
Later on in the sequel Ripley meets Newt, a little girl whose entire community was slaughtered by the aliens. When Ripley sees Newt, she’s a filthy, mute little girl with dirty hair and a mess on her face. Ripley gently wipes her face and feeds her, and the girl who’d been silent speaks again, most likely for the first time since her family had died. Ripley protects Newt, but more than that, she loves her like a mother would. She lays down with Newt when it’s night time and the girl is scared, and promises she won’t leave her. The two share a bonding moment where both are able to smile and laugh with each other although they are in a frightening situation, and Ripley’s loving side shines through. In the end of the movie when it seems as though Newt may be dead, Ripley falls to the ground crying, too devastated to keep moving. It is only when she hears Newt screaming that she gets up, immediately going back into the role of protector, rescuing Newt in a truly heroic sequence that includes setting everything on fire and grappling with the queen alien while in a robotic looking lift suit. By the end of the movie Newt is calling her mommy, and it makes her death in the third movie all the more devastating and unfair.
And then there’s the ship’s cat Jones, the other survivor of Nostromo. Yes, Ripley the badass survivor isn’t just a mother, but a cat lover too! Those moments where Ripley cuddles with a cat or jokes around with her teammates just show that the best heroes are human, not stone cold fighting machines.
Ellen Ripley is not special just because she is a female hero, she’s special because she’s a beautifully written, dynamic female hero, with strengths and flaws. Unfortunately we will have to wait for Ripley’s return until after the release of a different Alien film, Prometheus 2, but as long as Ripley is returning, fans of the series can rest easy and leave the franchise in her capable hands.
“This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.”
Rebecca is the daughter of two Mexican immigrants who lovingly support her nerdier hobbies. She is a cosplayer, con-goer, anime lover and lifelong writer who’s had several short pieces of fiction and poetry published under her very long name. She has also recently finished writing her first novel, a young adult adventure book with LGBT characters. She is a new college student and is currently majoring in biomedical engineering.