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2011 Dragon*Con, Part 1


Falls along US-61
Just another day at Dragon*Con...
On March 26, 2011 Jenny sends some e-mail asking me to consider going to Dragon*Con. (The "*" is silent.) On September 2, I was driving to Atlanta. It's something everyone has to do once, right? Right?

I've been to Origins and GenCon, and even to an extent Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but I wasn't quite prepared for 'Cosplay'.

Cosplay is where someone dons costume and accessories to represent a character or an idea. At Dragon*Con, that someone numbers into the thousands. No, really, into the thousands. No matter where you turn, there's a ghostbuster or a storm trooper or a Jedi or a zombie or a very provocatively dressed female. (The latter was my personal favorite.) Wikipedia says it's a performance art, and it probably could be considered as such, but it's really a concentration of extreme fandom of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I understand ComicCon is the king of cosplay in the US, but Dragon*Con has to come in a close second.

The convention is more than just a bunch of geeks dressing up, but a good number of workshops and seminars based on science fiction and fantasy. The big draws are the stars and personalities of film and other media, where the line to get into the auditorium will go out the door and around the block, and not everyone will get in. So in order to see some of the events, you have to arrive hours before the event just to get in.

Don't ever tell me Disney has long lines. Heh.

The W Hotel

I suppose the first thing I have to mention is the lodging. Dragon*Con takes over four hotels in downtown Atlanta; the Hilton, Westin, Marriott and Hyatt. No rooms were available at any of those hotels 5 months out. We (okay, Jenny) reserved a room at the W Downtown Atlanta, about a third of a mile from the closest host hotel. There were supposed to be shuttle buses, but we only saw one during our entire stay, and even then it wasn't at a time we needed it...

Now, I'm probably not hip enough to get the W, but I think I stayed at the most bizarre room ever (for a "mainstream" hotel). I'm not really sure who the hotel is designed for.

From the time you walk into the door to the lamp in your room, the hotel is shiny. I mean stainless steel/chromium/mirror shiny. You were afraid to touch anything, because someone could lift your fingerprint, no problem.

The good and bad? Okay, things I liked about the W... Okay, I'm thinking...

Things I didn't like about the W.

So overall, given the price and strangeness of this place, one star. I mean, I can deal with a lot of what the hotel industry does, but the HISA thing was just beyond the pale. But when an event like Dragon*Con is in town, you sometimes just have to deal with what you can get.

Moral of the story? Decide to go more than five months out and find a better hotel. Heh.

The W Atlanta - Downtown
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Dragon*Con supposedly hosts 40,000 people. Some estimate 50,000. Maybe 10-15% (or more) of the people there dress in costume. Here's a few of the more interesting ones.

Around Dragon*Con
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End 2011 Dragon*Con - Part 1 of 2.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2

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