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Dragon Con 2002 - Friday

Despite hearing every day from the mechanic "Yeah, we're going to test drive it right now, you should be able to pick it up in a couple of hours" every day for a week, Friday afternoon the t-bird got the last laugh and decided NOT to be ready for the weekend. Which meant I had to hitch a ride to MARTA from work, walk the mile home in the blazing heat, wash off the sweat and change and walk back to MARTA to get to Drag On, but thanks to the free press pass it was actually worth it.

The lobby at Drag On is the real deal and you don't really need a badge to enjoy it. It's not a con-organized event per se, the lobby is public space, so you get a few non-con folk (mundanes) lurking around ogling. And there's a lot to ogle. A flock of Jedi, complete with glowing light sabers, chats with the characters from The X-Men (movie version) while a platoon of guys done up as C.O.B.R.A. from G.I. Joe (cartoon version) are fixing coffee behind them. They are flanked by characters so obscure even a part-time geek like myself doesn't recognize them but they have a distinctly video game quality about them. Step aside for the various anime characters coming through and I step on the toes of a guy in a massive suit of futuristic armor, looking like a cross between a Transformer and a Space Marine. And on and on, incredible costume after incredible costume, all the more incredible because they're all standing around in the same room chatting it up. It's like a scene from a Hollywood backlot.

C.O.B.R.A. coffee break

This teacher from Tennessee was here for her first con! Her friends on the right were also virgins...

and hot!

Vamps from the film Blade II.

Beetlejuice chats with a Jar Jar Binks can-can dancer.

But eventually I've had enough spectacle and since I'm only spending one evening at the con I need to track down some old friends. Eventually I found degenerate BL and his brother, former degenerate ML. After some catching up, BL says "So have we missed midget wrestling?"
"I don't know, I haven't even opened the program book, and I probably won't all weekend." I answer, but we head down to the banquet hall where it's supposed to be taking place and walk in just in time to see one midget leaping off the turnbuckle to deliver a midget leg drop onto the prone chest of his midget opponent. What follows is nearly half an hour of hilarious cartoonish violence that includes the use of such weapons as a VCR, a trash can lid, the classic folding metal chair, and a box of Lucky Charms. My personal favorite moment was when one of the little people put a metal trashcan over the other one then laid into it with a folding chair. Hilarious.

Unfortunately this was followed by "normal" wrestlers and they just didn't have the star quality the little guys had.

"That's what I like. Little things hitting eachother!"
Napoleon, from the film Time Bandits

The hotel bar was gouging the fans with $7 drink prices so we headed off in search of some of the folks I know from every con I've ever attended (con whores) who were sure to have cheaper intoxicants. Eventually we tracked them down three hotels away at the Travelodge. Degenerate SR was giving away photos from Dawn Marie's massive collection featuring your editor and other degenerates so I picked up a few of her and myself. I'd been haunted by her every moment at the con. I'd see some skinny girl out of the corner of my eye with long blonde hair and say "Oh, there's Dawn." But then I'd turn to look and it wouldn't be her and I'd be forced to remember "Oh yeah. She's dead." Fifteen minutes later I'd see her again from afar, but then looking closer I'd remember again and say "Oh yeah. Got me again. Good one, God…"
This is the first con I've been two since her death and it was a somewhat disconcerting, difficult experience at times. Later, looking through the Drag On official program, degenerate SW was amazed the organizers had no mention of her passing. I wasn't surprised at all, Drag On has gotten too big to care about the fans. Sure, there's a guest from every genre the fans support, but once you're done with the panels and signings and such, you want to hang with your friends and have a few drinks. Which is why many of us huddled in a hotel three blocks away.

Soon I couldn't take the depressing scene in the Dawn Marie photo room and beat a retreat back to the party room for more drinks, more old friends, and more strange conversations with strange people that are the reason many of us go to these things in the first place.

"But Fred, it's about the friends, it's not about the parties!"
Degenerate S, AKA Bardiva

Everyone was giving me a hard time about coming to the con. "Why are you here?" They know my history with Drag On and my attitude about paying for a convention where they don't allow any parties.
I flashed my press pass and they understood, but then they'd give me a hard time immediately afterward when I said I was only hanging around on Friday because the Drive Invasion started on Saturday. What the hell?

Wes and Steph both done up as Dawn Marie.

Sometime close to 4 AM I realized how late it was, how intoxicated I was, and how crappy I'd feel hungover and sleepy at the drive in the next day if I didn't get home. So I made a few parting shots, wished I could be in two places at once, and hailed a cab.

Friday, Drag On Saturday, Drive Invasion Sunday, Drive Invasion Monday, Drive Invasion

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