Conventions – any conventions – are strange affairs. They’re little bubbles of groupthink, bringing out the most extreme tendencies of whatever niche has found hotels and rooms to hold them. No one convention is weirder than the other. It’s all just a matter of perspective. I watched a bunch of Texas delegates do this awkward, phony hat raising thing at the Republican National Convention and thought “Freaks,” even though, two days before, I watched a bunch of people dress as Harry Potter puppets and sing that Mysterious Ticking Noise song and was totally into it.
What I’m getting at is that I spent the weekend at DragonCon, and it was a heck of a thing. I’ve been to cons before, most notably Otakon, but they all seem to have their own vibe. Otakon is much more of an Organized Convention, while DragonCon seemed like a big, fan-run party. There were a lot more people hanging around the hotels, drinking and smoking and hanging out in their outlandish costumes. It was pretty cool, actually. In the way that is not cool to the majority of the outside world. Of course.
There were too many Boba Fetts. Too many Jack Sparrows. Too many Stormtroopers. Too many whoeevers from Assasin’s Creed. Too many Darth Vaders. And, in purely technical terms, too many Leia Slave Bikinis; though from my perspective this was not a problem in the least.
None of this killed the fun. If anything, it just led to lots of “We should challenge every Boba Fett here to a fight!” sorts of conversations. This is what you do when you’re walking around a bunch of people in geek costumes. You compensate by acting like a bigger geek.
Some thoughts. Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville was hilarious. I’ve never watched the show, and may never do so, but I can’t deny it. The guy was a blast. Nathan Fillion from Firefly was also awesome, but that was less of a surprise. I’ve seen him on behind the scenes stuff and I knew he was a Christmas ham. He didn’t disappoint.
I hopped on an elevator with James Callis from Battlestar Galactica and about lost my damn mind. Good to know my star struck geek nerves are still so sensitive to simply standing next to someone from a show I watch. Not embarrassing at all.
It may seem counter intuitive if you have a geek stereotype in your head, but there are lots of attractive people in very little clothing running around for much of the con. I was more interested in the women, but there was, for instance, an extremely ripped dude dressed as God of War which, I’m sure, made some people very happy. For me, though, it came down to girls dressed as, say, Aeon Flux. I’ve got my buttons, what I can say?
I also did some role playing, which was as hit-or-miss as you’d expect if you thought through what sitting down with 6 random people at one of these conventions might be like. The first table was a complete disaster, ruined by a host of drunken thirty year olds cosplaying as twenty year old frat boys. Only the DM, who wisely turned it into a drinking game for them, kept things amusing.
Finally, there was karaoke. We went to get a drink in the hotel bar on Saturday night to discover the Atlanta Hilton’s geek hoard had descended on the karaoke machine, with the apparent intent of giving normal karaoke enthusiasts a reason to feel better about themselves. I walked in, first, to see someone singing Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” while half the room awkwardly did the robot. My thought: Ha! Then, somehow, the thing turned around on me. I watched a room full of disparate fanboys and fangirls, dressed in their own wacky costume of choice, supporting each other and cheering and dancing no matter how awful the song was. Trekkies next to girls in gypsy/belly dancing costumes next to people in latex singlets all on the same page. It made my heart swell a bit. It was kind of awesome.
Still. Next year we’re totally taking down the guy dressed in that Sauron costume, just so we can shout “Rule that, bitch!”