Dragon Con 2015 with ETMF: The Final Chapter
Now that I’ve covered the reporter’s tours and the parade, it’s time to get to the shenanigans that involved me and the rest of the ETMF crew. We stayed true to our name and had entirely too much fun. Not being solo this year made Dragon Con feel like an entirely different convention. I attended around 15 panels last year but this year, with friends to hang out with, I only made it to a whopping three panels and I don’t regret it one bit.
Our adventures began Friday morning after I attended the new reporter’s walkthrough. I met up with fellow podcast member, Marjie, and friend of the show, Kent, in front of the Marriott Marquis. This was their first year at Dragon Con so they were eager to see it all. After we had a delicious breakfast, we set out to get a feel for what Dragon Con 2015 had to offer. The crowds, the cosplay, the random food stands, just making our way around until it was time for the first panel we wanted to attend. The very first thing on my schedule was the Mass Effect: Voice Actors Q& A. The panel seemed to be setup almost identical to the one I attended in 2014 but I love the franchise and was excited to see the actors again. When we got to the location of the panel it was clear that the line was way too fucking long for us to get in. It was time to go with Plan B. Marjie wanted to check out the Podcast & Media Track kick-off at the Hilton so we walked the two blocks and when we got to the room it was at capacity as well. It was early afternoon on the first day and our two failed attempts were already more times than the previous year that couldn’t get into a panel.
We realized that the vendor area was opening soon so we decided to go check it out. Kent and Marjie were excited to see it since I had been telling them how crazy it was from my 2014 experience. When we got within a block of the America’s Mart we noticed a line there too. The end of the line was a block down and around the corner, but it was moving rather quickly so we decided to wait. Once inside it was kind of overwhelming and extremely crowded. On our way out we walked passed a young man selling water with one of my favorite pitches of all-time, “Water $1 fuck wit ya boy.” I wasn’t very thirsty but I was close to buying one since he was so funny to me. We decided to find a place to have a few beers before heading to the next panel on our list. The panel was featuring Felicia Day and the line was CRAZY. By this point, we were starting to think that at least 15,000 of the 70,000 Dragon Con attendees wanted to go to all the same panels we were interested in attending. The line wrapped around a few corners then was cut off and everyone was sent to a room on the floor below and lined up. We couldn’t even get out of the room before we were informed the room was full. It became clear that panels were not going to be a big part of my Dragon Con experience this year.
I showed Marjie and Kent the remaining hotels before we realized we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We got to the Atlanta Braves All Star Grill and enjoyed wings and beer. One highlight was the guy dressed like Michael Jackson, who was escorted around the restaurant by the manager while people cheered for him. It was somewhat odd but perfect for Dragon Con. After the meal I retreated to my hotel to meet my family and rest my weary body for the parade in the morning. Marjie and Kent took a different approach. They partied until the wee hours of the morning and needless to say, they did not attend the parade Saturday morning.
After the parade I parted ways with my family and the ETMF crew connected like Voltron. Dre even came down to join us. Marjie debuted her roller derby Harley Quinn cosplay, complete with roller skates and a big ignorant ass hammer. After watching her pose for a few photos we realized none of us had eaten. We settled on the nearest place that didn’t have a crazy long wait. I won’t disclose the ridiculous amount of food that I ate but there may or may not have been a burger, onion rings, buffalo chicken dip, and of course beer. Suffice it to say, it was delicious. Seeing some people attempt to accomplish simple tasks, like sitting down to eat, while in very detailed and intricate cosplay showed me how dedicated they were to their craft. I know I’m not about that life because if it required help from my friends just to eat a burger, I would change back to my regular clothes.
After our meal we congregated in the lobby at the Hilton since Marjie heard about a photo shoot there. As we waited for the shoot to start, we observed some great cosplay and took several pictures. I even came up with a possible business idea…Thick Ass Brotha Protection Agency. When we arrived at the area where the photo shoot was scheduled to take place, we got to witness at least 50 cosplayers participating in various shoots. It was awesome! Dre, Kent, and I just stood around capturing images and admiring all of the different characters. Come to think of it, I have no idea if Marjie ever took part in a shoot because I was having entirely too much fun. We decided it was finally time to go back to the vendor area to do some serious shopping and show Dre what all the fuss was about. My primary objective was to find an N64 console since announcing my mission to collect all the consoles from my youth. All I needed was the console because I had purchased some games at Momocon. The first N64 vendor I found was selling it for $95. It took everything in me not to ask if he was out of his damn mind. We walked up and down every aisle just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. It could have been a long boring process but I was with my crew and the cosplay did not disappoint. When we finally found another vendor selling consoles it took all of three minutes for me to complete the transaction—one console down, many to go.
After checking out the “Walk of Fame” area we hung around the Marriott until Marjie decided it was time to get rid of her skates. We headed back to the hotel just long enough for her to change, and then we returned to the madness. Once we got back (and Dre went to be a good husband and father), Kent and I decided to accompany Marjie to her only must see event, Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue. As we walked down the street and saw people lined up for various things we came upon the line for burlesque which didn’t start for over 2 hours. We jumped in line and tried to decide what the hell we would do to pass the time. At some point a Dragon Con volunteer came and warned us that if we got out of line and came back everyone we were with would be kicked out. She was somewhat scary but we ran into later and she was really nice, she even took a picture with me. But back to the story, I really didn’t care if I didn’t get to see the show so I did the one thing I felt I needed to…went to the liquor store. The drinks definitely helped pass the time.
The show itself was good. I had not been to a burlesque show before so I did not know what to expect. The performers’ acts were inspired by many movies and games including Mortal Kombat and Final Fantasy. All the ladies had good routines and knew how to play to the crowd. There really isn’t a lot to say about the show except if you like women that get mostly undressed then you will enjoy it. The host was hilarious and performed a very interesting trick with a really long balloon. The only negative was that there was a cash only bar. Not that I cared about paying for my own drinks I just hardly ever carry cash.
The show did not end until after 1 am and I assumed the Marriott would be mostly empty and that that it would be difficult to find a place to eat and/or drink. I could not have been more wrong. The Marriott was still filled with people and most of them were gathered around the Pulse bar. There was a party going on in the big ballroom but it was over shortly after we arrived because the setup needed to be completed for the party that was set to start at 3 a.m.—you read that right, there was a party that started at 3 in the morning! Marjie and Kent bumped into people they knew so we talked to them for a while as the line for the next party began to wrap around the entire level. While we were standing there I realized one of the people in line was WWE Superstar (and part of the Tag Team Champion New Day) Xavier Woods.
As the line got longer and longer I kept looking at Marjie thinking “I know damn well we aren’t waiting in this long ass line that won’t start moving until 3.” That said she really wanted to go so we made it happen. By “made it happen” I mean we walked to the front of the line and walked right in. I was really hoping we got kicked out of the line so we had an excuse to go to bed but much to my chagrin, no one seemed to mind. We stayed at the party long enough to watch the Mad Max themed Go-Go dancers, the drunken dancers on the floor, and talk to a few friends. By 4 a.m.my old ass needed to get in bed, so we got an Uber and that was it for the night.
Sunday morning I got up and checked out of my hotel room and made my crew rise as well. It was imperative that we enjoyed our last day at Dragon Con to the fullest. We woke up too late to catch any of the morning panels so we decided to visit the official Dragon Con store. We all got a few items and realized we were right next to the room as a panel Marjie wanted to attend, Geek & Sundry: Q&A. We had come to a consensus with regard to not waiting in long lines so we went to the room 10 minutes before the panel started and luckily we were able to walk right in. I’ll admit I’m only a causal fan of Felicia Day but she was awesome. She had that girl next door vibe about her. It was evident that even though she is successful, she makes an effort to stay grounded. She was hilarious and seemed open and honest with all the fan questions. I’m not sure how this came up but the most memorable quote from the panel was “I like how the sausage is made, I like to see sausage.”
Next I convinced the crew to go to a Sleepy Hollow panel since it was right upstairs and the line wasn’t too long. I’m the only one that keeps up with the show so they had no idea what to expect. Once the panel started, unfortunately so did my disappointment. The core cast members, Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills) and Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), were unable to attend the panel for personal reasons. John Noble (Henry Parrish) stepped in and did the best he could but it was obvious that he was not prepared to answer questions for an hour. We stayed for about half the panel then made our last trip to the vendor area.
On the way to the vendor area we passed my favorite water salesman yet again. His sales pitch had not changed. “Water $1, fuck wit ya boy.” After accomplishing my original goal of acquiring an N64 console, new shopping mission consisted of getting some prints and shirts for me and my son. As much as I wanted to buy comics, I still had unopened books from the last convention I attended, in April, so I decided against it. I was able to find a nice Voltron shirt for myself and I got my son a Flash and a Superman shirt for his birthday. Here’s a picture of prints I bought.
After leaving the vendor area Dragon Con 2015 was officially over for me. Three full days away from my family was all I could handle. The weekend was incredible and outdid the previous year in almost every way it was great to take in all of the sights, sounds, and experiences with my friends.
Thanks again to the Dragon Con Media Relations team. I can’t wait to do it all again next year! I’ll leave you with more of the pictures I captured over the weekend. Enjoy!
*Enjoy Shaun’s other Dragon 2015 articles HERE.