I’ve been going to Dragon*Con for three years now, and I still can’t thank GreenEggsNSamm enough for talking me into the first one! Every year is a little different. You never know who you will meet, what you will see, and what memories are going to stick with you for the rest of your life, but you can be sure that it will be unforgettable.
This year I probably got around to more events than before, and I would have done more if I wasn’t already dead on my feet by the end of the day. There was so much going on and so much I wanted to do, it was impossible to see it all but I gave it my best shot.
My favorite panel? It’s so hard to pick! I went to two panels for Sylvester McCoy. Growing up I probably saw more of his Doctor Who episodes than any other Doctor, so it was a real treat to meet him and hear his stories from the show. I came home with a personalized signed Remembrance of the Daleks DVD that now has a place of honor right next to my Tomb of the Cybermen DVD signed by Frazer Hines!
I managed to get to three Stargate panels this year, and I’m so glad I got to see all the guests! Although they are understandably disappointed that their show is canceled and there’s still no future to speak of, SGU cast members David Blue, Julia McNiven, Patrick Gilmore, and Louis Ferreria were upbeat and happy to be at Dragon*Con for the first time. They were greeted very warmly by fans who made longer than expected lines to get in to the ballroom to see them. David Nykl, Beau Bridges, and Christopher Heyerdahl also drew huge crowds, but the top guest to meet out of this fantastic bunch was Amanda Tapping. If you haven’t met her yet I just want to tell you that if you have to move a mountain to get to where she’s going to be appearing, it is absolutely worth it! Her panel with Chris and David Nykl was fantastic simply because it was all controlled chaos and hijinks, and all in all so totally them! If you’re going to make me pick a favorite panel, that would have to be it!
Evenings at Dragon*Con are like one huge masquerade of epic proportions. There are costumes everywhere, anyone not in costume or wearing something unusual sticks out like a sore thumb, and it can be a real sensory overload. Lucky for me I’m starting to get used to it! What I will never get used to is being a part of the posse with one of the most popular costumes of the convention! For two times during the course of the weekend, I dressed in my SpaceGypsy costume and followed GreenEggsNSamm and WhiteRabite around in their fantastic Snowth costumes, sometimes acting as a handler to prevent collisions or a lost Snowth. After a while I found myself thinking, “This is what it must be like to be friends with a celebrity!” We would walk a ways, pause for pictures for a couple minutes, pause again to be blinded by flashes, and then go on. Everyone wanted a picture of the Snowths, and lots of people, kids and adults alike had a picture taken with the two friendly Muppets! A couple of times we decided to park ourselves out of the way of the traffic and let the fans come to us!
As crowded and crazy as it was, I was never really afraid of losing the group. If I ever did lose track of my bright pink friends all I would have to do listen for someone to sing out, “Manah Manah!”, followed by the Snowth’s reply, and I would know right where to look! The song followed us around all evening. Some guys even tried singing the improve part of the tune as the Snowths silently shook their heads at them. It was so funny!
It wasn’t just the attendees that loved the Snowths! I fully admit I squealed. I mean wouldn’t you squeal if you saw David Blue chasing down your friends because he wanted a picture with them? Louis Ferreira was so inspired when he saw the Snowths that he sang and danced with them! What I would give for a picture or video of that, but the memory will forever be in my mind.
I had a celebrity encounter of my own! After getting several kicks in the rump from my fellow SpaceGypsies, I requested an interview with Sanctuary’s Robin Dunne, and I got it! We spent weeks prepping my questions, and I spent days trying to prepare myself mentally. By the time I saw Robin coming to meet me at the interview room I has psyched myself up enough that I didn’t just keel over on the spot! He was very friendly and I immediately felt less nervous. Set up went well, and I thought I had tackled my remaining butterflies. However something must have made Robin think that I was still nervous, and he just started to tease and poke at me and off we went! GreenEggsNSamm was falling over in a silent fit of laughter while I feind exasperation with Robin’s antics. It was a fantastic interview that left us wondering how they get anything done on set with Robin around! I couldn’t have asked for a better first interview experience, and I feel like I could take on just about anyone now!
It’s one thing to admire and respect a celebrity from afar, but when you find out first hand that you have something in common, it’s really amazing. For years I have been dying to know if Amanda Tapping really cantered a horse bareback in a silky dress and slipped off when the horse reared in SG-1’s ‘Emancipation’, or if it was all a stunt double. During Amanda’s press conference GreenEggsNSamm asked her about it and I was pleased to hear that though that particular trick was done by a double, Amanda loves to ride horses. Furthermore, she has worked with disabled children learning horseback riding for physical therapy. After we wrapped the conference Amanda went back to that topic a bit, and what really got to me is how she described the transformation that those kids would go from being scared and unable to sit properly to being thrilled at what they can do. I have never worked with physically disabled kids, but I have taught many a terrified crying child who after an hour is suddenly smiling and telling me they don’t want to get off anymore! I knew exactly what Amanda was talking about and I find it just amazing and inspiring that she and I have that in common.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Stargate trivia buff, so when I got the opportunity to go to a trivia contest, I jumped on it. Compared to the Creation trivia panels I am used to, this was much more fun, less stressful, and by far more reasonable. The track coordinators came up with good challenging questions that weren’t impossible, and a fair and fun point system. I joined up with a friendly group of savvy fans to create a team we called “The Jackson Six”. We had the other five teams whipped, quite literally, simply because we got every question right. That is until the very last question which involved placing five events in backward chronological canon order. The catch was that two of the events involved time travel that drastically changed the order. Oh you people and your trick questions! We had a good lead, but the confusing question lost us just enough points that the second team edged us out for the win. Next year, just you wait!
This year I finally made it to a fan run panel for the first time. Naturally it was for Stargate. GreenEggsNSamm had warned me in the past that while the fan run panels may sound interesting, they are a big gamble because the fans leading the discussion really have to know their stuff. I expected a lot from the panel largely because I know a lot about the franchise, and my knowledge comes from sources that everyone has access too, so I expected the panelists to be as up to speed as I am, if not more. I was sadly disappointed. The discussion centered on the future of the Stargate franchise now that SGU has been canceled. I expected a campaign pitch and I got it, but it wasn’t what I expected because the panelists hadn’t checked their Stargate news for quite some time. For instance, they were still under the impression that MGM is still in bankruptcy and therefore can’t produce any Stargate even if they want to. This is not true. As GateWorld reported last December, MGM is out of bankruptcy and in May they started funding new productions including a Viking series. The problem now is that MGM’s new bosses from Spyglass don’t see the value of the Stargate franchise so they have effectively left it to rot.
I completely understand that it can be hard to keep up with the developments, and I often have to go back and re-read things just to make sure I have my facts in a row, so I was sympathetic. The panel was definitely intended to be a group discussion with the panelists leading, but how you managed to actually contribute to the discussion, I couldn’t tell you. When I saw that folks were about eight months behind on their news I wanted to help out. Unable to get a word in edgewise I tried standing up. I was about halfway back in the small meeting room, and there’s no way that the panelists could have gone without seeing me, especially when I kept trying to catch their eye. It just wasn’t happening though. I don’t know if I was out of line trying to get in on the conversation, but being ignored irked me more than the lack of up to date news being discussed. I stayed for the rest of the panel, as much as it pained me to see my fellow fans so ill informed. If I hadn’t needed to bolt out of there I would have tried to comment on the situation to the panelists.
Dragon*Con has consistently blown my expectations out of the water, but this year they went clear to the moon! I have to wonder if it can get any better, but my gut tells me it can simply because there is so much going on that I have yet to experience for myself. I think I need to work on my convention stamina to prepare for next year! Look out Dragon*Con 2012 cuz here I come!