Once again I need to cove a little bit of the night before I get to the next day. Though technically I suppose it was Sunday by the time I got back to Dragon Con after The Happy Ending. And the first thing I saw? Evil in his Not Mandarin costume:
That shit is amazing. He even got the right shirt.
I was good and drunk by that time, so I had no problem giving him shit for not doing interviews. The only reason I even applied for e Media Badge this year – literally the only reason – was to try and get an interview with Gates. That guy is my hero. But I was told he was not doing interviews. So that combined with the attempted limitations on my picture-taking were enough to make me stuff that ribbon back in the envelope and just go about my normal Dragon Con business.
To his credit, he was as cool as I thought he would be. I still want to interview that dude.
I also ran into Chris Gore:
He was hanging out with Platinum Championship Wrestling’s own Shane Mackey and I had the opportunity to have a very interesting conversation with that gentleman. It’s part of a much larger and funnier story that I will one day publish when the situation is appropriate.
I ran into an absolutely perfect Irisa:
And then we – of course – went to a rave.
Because that’s what you do at 2 AM at Dragon Con. This one was pretty bad. We knew it was called “The Last Party on Alderaan” because there was a giant screen with a 3.5 second loop of a Stormtrooper dancing and the words “The Last Party on Alderaan” kept flashing up. I don’t know what was going on, but it took four dudes up on a platform to coordinate the wholly mediocre music that was happening.
We decided to hit up the Con Suite in the Hyatt at some point. I didn’t expect there to be much there at that hour, but I also didn’t have any other plans. We met these hilarious ladies:
And I totally could have partied with them some more. One of them was a skilled kazooer. Kazzooist? Help me out here, Spellcheck.
There was absolutely nothing – besides those ladies – going on in the Con Suite, so we boogied on back to the Marriott and the raves therein. I was very excited to run into the Doctor Puppet lady:
And when we got to the rave Evil was very excited to show off his mad hula hoop skills:
This rave was tons better than the last one, mainly because of Zoidberg:
We stayed in there for a while, then headed back out to the Atrium. I felt good and accomplished – it was time to call it a night. I took a picture of the last of the revelers and headed back to the room, knowing I was going to need to get up around the crack of noon to get everything done.
I had no reason whatsoever to get out of that soft, comfy Hilton bed Sunday morning. My next panel – the Masters of the Universe one – was at 5:30 PM and I wasn’t nervous about that one at all. I knew I had Mr. Beau Brown with me and that he would probably do the majority of the talking. So I regained consciousness – blissfully hangover-free – around 11 AM and just laid in bed watching Dragon Con TV, which is the best kind of TV you can watch.
Eventually I got sick of the leftover funky taste in my mouth from the night before and got up to brush my teeth. As soon as I did I remembered that the panel with Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy was at 4 PM. I’d have just enough time to stash my stuff for the evening’s panels in the Track room, grab something to eat, and catch that panel before 5:30.
The lines for panels in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom are very, very long. Both panels I saw in there over the weekend required a couple blocks’ walk to get to where I ended up, and both times the line stretched far beyond where I was. Right after I exited the Marriott I passed a guy who was proclaiming, “If you’re getting in line for the Doctor Who panel you can just forget it! The room only holds five hundred!” and stomping away. I think that’s pretty shitty and irresponsible because if people who didn’t know any better heard him they might give up and miss out on a potentially great panel. I’m sure the guy didn’t know any better, but he was acting like a giant baby.
I ended up in line next to a guy in a pretty impressive homemade Eleventh Doctor costume. I admire that because I will be buying that purple coat when Abbeyshot Clothiers produce it. I do not have the time or skills (mostly skills) to make such a thing. I chatted with him a little bit, and we both took or coats off because it was disgusting and hot and muggy outside. And we were standing beside what must have been a vent designed to keep underground piles of garbage from exploding.
Once we got inside it was only slightly less hot and stinky.
I don’t know how this happens, but I always end up sitting next to large people. I myself am a large people, so that just never works out well. I don’t understand why I can’t ever end up next to petite, nice-smelling ladies. But it just doesn’t ever happen. Maybe I should carry some with me.
The panel itself was a bit awkward. The moderator had a couple of good questions, but the chemistry between him, McCoy, and Davison was off. Don’t get me wrong – it was still very interesting and an absolute thrill to be able to see two Doctors up on stage together. It was just odd. And then they started a Q&A session.
I fucking hate Q&A sessions.
I think fan panels where the audience gets to interact with the panelists are awesome. It makes everybody feel like part of the experience and creates a fun group dynamic. But when actual celebrities are up there, there’s a reason they’re getting paid to be at Dragon Con and I’m waiting in line for an hour or more to see them. And it’s not so I can listen to some moron ask about Episode 47 and what kind of socks the person was wearing or if they prefer Maroon 5 or Nickelback. It’s not entertaining to me and I feel like it’s a burden on the guests (though I suppose I’m wrong because they all seem to be fine with it). I just think it’s a bit much to ask these people to try and make something entertaining out of questions from uninformed goobers.
And no – I am not in any way saying that everybody that attends Dragon Con is an uninformed goober. Just the people that seem to find their way to the mics during Q&A sessions.
John Barrowman handled his Q&A session beautifully. He got a number of questions and when they were dumb he just went ahead and talked about whatever the fuck he wanted to talk about. And was so animated about it that nobody even noticed. But I think other celebrities are in a perpetual state of having to stop themselves from saying, “What kind of dumbass question is that?”
So anyway, when they started lining up people for the Q&A I leaned over to the Eleventh Doctor and told him I was leaving. I don’t know why, but I felt that I owed him an explanation.
This left me with over an hour before I needed to show up for my panel. I was already in the Marriott, so I decided I might as well run through the Walk of Fame again. I had only hit up Peter Davison on that first visit and the room had been half full anyway. I didn’t really plan on getting anything signed (I didn’t have anything with me), but it’s always interesting to cruise through that room and see what’s happening.
The first person I saw when I walked in was CCH Pounder and there was nobody at her table. I didn’t understand that at all. That lady is awesome in everything and has popped up in so many great genre shows. Plus she is Amanda Waller. Period. So I went over to talk to her. I am not the best conversationalist when it comes to Famous People. It’s not as bad as those old Chris Farley sketches, but I just don’t know what I’m supposed to talk to them about. Our lives are very different. But I found out this was her first Dragon Con and ended up having a fun conversation with her about conventions and the effect genre television has and fans in general. She was a very sweet lady and definitely a little overwhelmed by Con. The picture I picked out happened to be the only one of that kind she had. I just thought she looked extra sassy in it and told her so.
After thanking Ms. Pounder I headed off around the corner and beheld a truly awesome sight – Michael Rooker was standing beside a table, holding court for a small group of people.
I have thought Michael Rooker to be one of the baddest of asses ever since Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer. His turn in Mallrats only reinforced his coolness rather than undermining it. Follow that up with a string of awesome performances up to and including the lovable yet reprehensible Merle from The Walking Dead and you’ve got a bona fide Bronson-esque man’s man. I had to get a picture with that guy.
The line to see him was not long, so I jumped right in. There were a couple of kids in front of me and I’m glad for that because I got to see the most charming thing I saw all weekend.
The kids told Rooker that their Meemaw was a huge fan of Merle and TWD. Rooker asked them where she was and they said she was at home because she couldn’t get out for Dragon Con. He told them to call her, so one of the kids pulled out his phone and dialed up. When Meemaw answered, Rooker grabbed the phone and said, “Is this Meemaw? Why aren’t you here? This is Merle and I’m pretty pissed off that you didn’t come out to see me. Well you’ve got a great couple of kids here, Meemaw. Alright, love you too.”
That was awesome to see. This is a guy who truly loves doing what he does.
I was up next and got my picture:
And also got him to sign a pic of his monster from Slither.
Let me tell you – just being in that man’s presence is something. He emits power and intensity. I think the closest I’ve been to being quite that awe-inspired by somebody’s sheer presence was Stephen Platinum.
On the other end of the spectrum is Julian Sands, who was two table over and very quiet. He has a whole different sort of intensity to him. I hadn’t even known that he was at Dragon Con, but was excited to see him. I was really hoping he would have a picture from Naked Lunch. He and his assistant both seemed confused by that. I picked out a nice pic from Warlock and got that signed, instead. Later on Mrs. Troublemaker told me he’s on Dexter, so I guess that and Warlock are kind of more his thing than some weird, old Cronenberg film.
Side Note: I watched Videodrome for the first time the other night. I didn’t even realize I hadn’t seen it before. I thought I was a better movie fan than that. I kind of want to write a review, but would that be moot at this point?
After chatting briefly with Mr. Sands it was time for me to be on my way. I had my own business to attend to.
Which you’ll just have to read about on Monday when I post Needless Things Podcast Episode 11: Dragon Con Masters of the Universe Panel with William Stout(!).
Of course, immediately after that I had the GI Joe Panel, which you can read about next Wednesday(!!) when I post Needless Things Podcast Episode 12: Dragon Con GI Joe: A Real American Hero Panel!
Yeah, seriously. Two podcasts in a week and five (FIVE) within a month. I’m taking the rest of the year off (not really).
Just to wrap this up, both panels went ridiculously well. It was fascinating talking to Mr. Stout – a world-renowned artist and the Production Designer on Masters of the Universe – and the Joe panel might be my favorite one that I’ve been on.
The Hooligans had decided earlier in the day that we would try to make Chinese Dinner happen after the GI Joe panel. Gnoll was on the panel with me – and was great, by the way, like I knew he would be – and had made reservations this time. I ran back to my room to change because I really just wanted to be comfortable for a while. The problem was that dinner was at 8:30, I had the ESO Podcast at 10-ish, and I was introducing Calabrese sometime during their 1:30 show. I had to have the mask on for those last two but I also wanted to wear my Phantom Murdermaker costume because I hadn’t had an opportunity to all weekend.
I really sweated over that one. In the end I decided to pursue the least practical route and wear regular clothes to dinner, run back to the room and change into Murdermaker for the podcast, then go back to the room and change into my rock n’ roll gear for Calabrese. It took me a while just to get back to the room and make my decision, so I texted Evil and asked him to go ahead and place my order whenever they got seated. I had also told Rock N’ Roll Jonathan and his lady Indrid that I would meet up with them on the way to dinner. I like the both of them and wanted to hang out some more.
On the way to dinner we saw this:
I had predicted dudes dressed up like Miley Cyrus and I am glad that I never saw it in person. Her costume is not accurate, but her head certainly is.
I have to go ahead and say right now that I made all of these things happen and it was totally amazing.
Dinner was great as usual. Once we got past some initial seating difficulties it was all General Tso’s chicken and
Forbidden Mai Tais
And I don’t care what Little Pond says (repeatedly) – the Chinese Mai Tais are better. They’re not as strong as Trader Vic’s, but they’re fucking delicious.
After dinner we all dispersed and I got back to the room as fast as I could. Our reservation had been for 8:30 (again), but we didn’t get out of there until probably 10:30. The ESO Podcast was a sort of “come in and talk when you want” sort of thing, so being late wasn’t so bad. But being really late kind of would be. Fortunately the Murdermaker costume is super easy – coveralls and a mask that straps on rather than tying up like my wrestling masks. Unfortunately the mask is latex and makes me sweat like a Catholic in… well, pretty much anywhere. Sweat will literally pour out from the bottom of the mask. But I love that costume and was determined to wear it.
I got to the podcast right around 11 and managed to get my two cents in around sips of beer. I only made it through one can the whole time I was there and I think it was because sweat was pouring directly from my mask into the can.
After the podcast I ran back to the room to take a quick shower and change. My rock n’ roll get-up was the most comfortable thing I wore all weekend. I felt like a whole new person and headed out for one big, final night of partying.
My first photo victim after changing was this chick:
I just liked whatever the heck she was wearing. She is clearly happy to be involved in whatever it is I am doing.
Then I saw these folks:
I don’t know why this picture is so blurry - I wasn't even drunk yet. That shit just happens sometimes. They’re dressed as contestants from Super Sloppy Double Dare. I asked them if that’s what we were calling Sunday night at Dragon Con now. I was kind of proud of myself for that one.
Let me tell you about this adorable little lady:
I said, “Excuse me little donut bear – I don’t know what you are but it’s awfully cute. Can I get a picture?”
She said she was Donutella (sp?) from Toki Doki and clearly expected that I would know what the heck that meant. Now, I will admit that “Toki Doki” rang a bell, but I wasn’t sure if it was a cartoon or a video game or what. Then her friend started eating her donut. And I’m sure there was no innuendo involved in that whatsoever.
They said that I should hang out with them because they’re fun and they were going to be getting into trouble. I am old and married and don’t like fun or trouble, so I told them to have fun without me and went on my way. And immediately ran into a group of luchadors in much better shape than me:
I also passed this photographer lady several times. She was definitely doing business – taking photos with a purpose. But her crazy sci-fi bodysuit looked pretty awesome, so I had to get a shot of her:
And these folks:
I caught them coming up the escalator and assumed they were something specific. The designs and profiles all just worked too well together. I’ve gotten in the habit of asking people what they are now. Not because I necessarily need to know, but because I’ve noticed that folks really seem to enjoy talking about their costumes. It turns out they were all original designs they just put together. I think they look great.
Obviously this guy was spot-on:
And I don’t know what this guy is doing, but I’m pretty sure it’s something douchey. He was just walking around like that, not really paying attention to what he was doing. I really wanted to swat that thing out of his hand. But instead I went in the other direction because I had a very specific problem to address.
I hadn’t seen Calabrese all weekend and I was supposed to be introducing them in about an hour.
If you listened to Episode 9 of the Needless Things Podcast then you know that Jimmy and Bobby asked me to introduce them at their Dragon Con show, which was possibly even more exciting than seeing Princess Genius in person:
But every time I had a moment to stop by their table that weekend they weren’t there. Now, it’s not like I had a ton of times to stop by. I went by Thursday night and none of the bands were really in yet. Then on Friday I had my sober agenda to work through and didn’t really think about it. Then panels on Saturday then holy shit it’s Sunday already. You know how Dragon Con is.
But now time was up and I had to talk to somebody. So I went to the table and talked to the gentleman there, who turned out to be the patriarch of the Calabrese clan. He was super nice and showed me to the backstage area so I could talk to the guys. I found Davey back there working on his drum kit. He was the one brother I hadn’t talked to before, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to be.
He was, of course, just as cool as Bobby and Jimmy. He knew about the intro and we kind of went over what we were going to do. The guys have a standard show intro, then play a few songs, then do the full band intro. I’d be doing that this time. I told him how stoked I was and said I’d be right up front, ready to go. And then – because I have learned a thing or two – I checked with security to see how they wanted to do things and make sure they knew what was going on. It was good that I did because they would not have let me up on stage otherwise, regardless of whether or not the band called me up. They told me where to stand and talked to everybody working the show about what was going to happen. I was very impressed.
And here’s where I’m going to sound like a drooling Dragon Con sycophant. But if you’ve read my older recaps you know that is far from the truth. I have done more than my share of pointing out faults with Dragon Con staff when I have perceived them. But over the past couple of years I have seen an outstanding improvement in organization and professionalism. The scheduling seems tighter, the events seem more organized, and the staff seems more informed. There has been a minimum of the rude yelling at attendees that used to be a regular part of Con. As a matter of fact, I didn’t witness any this year. So good job on that, Dragon Con.
Back to my situation - I had gotten everything ironed out with Calabrese and with Dragon Con security. But there was one huge problem left to deal with.
I had spent the entire weekend yelling at wrestlers, talking on panels, talking over large crowds, not drinking enough water, and drinking way too much beer.
My voice was fucking shot.
I had no idea what was going to happen when I got on that mic in front of Calabrese and several hundred excited rock n’ roll fans. But I was doing it anyway. I had to. I had been drinking nothing but water since the ESO panel and had a pocket full of Halls Soothers – which I highly recommend, by the way – that I had been sucking on.
I got right up front as planned, but realized there was another problem. Nobody I knew was there to record my big moment. It was too late for me to go wandering around to find somebody, but I couldn’t very well do this thing and not have it documented. So I leaned over to the girl next to me and told her what was going to happen. I asked her if she’d mind getting video, showed her how to work my camera, and hoped she had a steadier hand and better aim than most of the people that I know.
After that I ended up talking to a couple on my other side. The girl was a big Mike Patton fan so obviously we had a pretty long conversation that was only interrupted when it was time for Calabrese to start. I didn’t tell them what was going to be happening.
And then the lights went down and a timid, unsure voice with a pronounced Southern accent said,
“Ladies and gentlemen, Dragon Con presents Sell-a-breeze.”
Wow. Maybe I should have just gone first. That was officially the worst introduction I have ever heard. I will gladly offer my services to introduce all of the bands next year.
Seriously, though – is there some way I can put my name out there to do this sort of thing? I have seen so many events where there is no thought given to providing an exciting introduction for bands or speakers or whatever. Wouldn’t these folks prefer to come out to a lot of energy rather than a subdued crowd that’s wondering what’s going on?
But then the sleazy dance music from Grindhouse kicked in and it didn’t matter anyway because the Kings of Horror Rock were on their way.
Calabrese kicked out some badass jams. If you’ve seen them, you understand. If you haven’t, I feel bad for you.
After a few songs, they paused for a break and Jimmy stepped up to the mic. I sensed my moment coming and handed my camera off to the awesome young lady that had agreed to record for me. And this is what happened:
As you can see my voice was just fine. Not at my best, but still pretty great. That was one of the coolest things I have ever had the opportunity to do. I don’t know how many people were in the ballroom at that time, but I do believe it’s the largest crowd I have ever performed in front of. And while they didn’t go totally apeshit for me (like a certain portion of the folks at the Earth Station Who panel), I had them.
The rest of Calabrese’s set was a total blur. I was so high from being on stage – and chugging two celebratory beers right after – that I have no idea what went on except that purely by coincidence they went into my current favorite song of theirs, “Dead Don’t Rise”.
After the show I met these two:
The one in white kept poking my nose and going, “Boop.” I don’t know if that was part of a character or what. The other one was at Dragon Con for the first time and we talked about that a bit. I wish I had had my recorder on me. I would have done a quick interview because she had some pretty interesting things to say. I was once again invited to hang around for fun and trouble – or some variation of such – and decided it would be a good time to go and check out other portions of the Marriott. Which led to running into Hoolicanuck Phil:
So then it was just time to go and talk to Calabrese.
I don’t remember specifically what we talked about, but I know 80s toys were a big part of it. I could definitely record another podcast with those guys at some point. Eventually they had to pack up for the night, but we got one last shot of rock n’ roll awesomeness:
After that I ran into Dr. Dynamico and Money Ham.
I think Money Ham gets the award for Most Random Encounters this year. We hung out until the beer was gone and then I took pictures of Money Ham struggling to get into his room:
And went to bed.
I woke up Monday feeling pretty good, but also not wanting to bother with the Dealer Room all the way over at the Americas Mart. Me and the missus have gone back and forth about whether or not the move was good. I felt like it was; she didn’t. I think the fact that I left on Monday without going one last time proves her point. If it had still been in the Marriott I would have gone. I had thought about the fact that the place was so big and further away and decided I would probably be able to get some crazy deals on Monday. But I wasn’t walking to that place and then back to the Hilton.
So I packed the car and went home.
I don’t feel any particular need to summarize. It should be pretty clear that I had an awesome year at Dragon Con. Once again I left completely satisfied and with no trace of the post-Con blues. I had made the most of Con and felt great about it.
Come back Monday for the Masters of the Universe panel and then on Wednesday I’ll put up the GI Joe panel. Tuesday and Thursday will be toy reviews that I haven’t decided on yet. Friday will be the newest installment of Best Cartoon Ever (of the month). After that we’ll be less than two weeks away from
31 Days of Halloween
Which includes my daily commentary on SyFy’s schedule, spooky toy reviews, new Guest Posts, and of course a brand new Halloween episode of the Needless Things Podcast!
Oh, and I haven't mentioned this yet because I am terrible at marketing myself, but I have opened a Storenvy store where you can buy my Luchador versus Owlbear t-shirt, a Podcast sticker, and Belligerent Monkey's awesome Phantom Troublemaker print: