Friday, September 19, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 - Phantom Troublemaker's Recap Part 4


It was around 11 AM on Sunday when I woke up, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

I regained consciousness again at about 1 and decided I should probably actually do some stuff since it was (for me) the last day of Con. Some folks hang around on Monday, but I check out of the hotel on Monday morning and by that time I just want to pack up and go see my family. So Sunday is it for me, with Sunday night being the last big hurrah.

I met up with my pals Jesse and Jonathan and we just sort of wandered around for a while, taking in Con. I finally got over to the Comic and Pop Art room to look around. I wish I had been able to give that room more time this year, as it’s one of the highlights of Con for me, but it just wasn’t on my radar. I got to talk to a couple of folks I knew and briefly look into the Art Auction before it was time for me to head back to the room to get ready for the Conan panel.

I was extremely concerned about my voice. I had put it through an awful lot since arriving at Con and come five o’ clock on Sunday I was croaking. I sent Joe and Gary a message asking who was scheduled for the Conan panel, just in case I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want the thing to be just William Stout and croaky me.

I really wanted to do this panel, so I sat in my room and drank water for about an hour straight. I was also popping Halls like a junkie. I didn’t hear back from the guys, so I got dressed (and looked pretty damn great, purely by coincidence) and headed over to the Marriott.

Conan the Destroyer Panel

I got to the track room and told Joe my voice was shot. And then I told him I was going to do the panel anyway. I don’t know quite how to explain it, but there have been times where my voice has been absolutely gone and I’ve still been able to perform – an MCW show or two, an ESW podcast, and last year when I introduced Calabrese at Con. One moment I’m choking out words and the next I can manage a pretty close approximation of my performing voice. It does always involve copious amounts of lozenges.

I sat down at the table with Gary, Tegan, and William Stout. I was next to Mr. Stout, so while Gary and Tegan engaged the audience before the panel I sat and had a private conversation with Bill. We talked about movies and art and I am really hoping I can get him on the podcast.

Once the panel started we had a fantastic time and my voice held out just fine. I was scratchy, but okay. I encourage you to listen to the whole panel on

After the Conan panel I was hungry. I didn’t eat very well this year, which is not typically a problem for me. But finding time to eat was difficult on a few occasions. I think all I had eaten was oatmeal that morning, so food was a priority. I met up with Jesse and Jonathan again and had one of those weird food crises that happen sometimes: I was hungry but didn’t want to walk anywhere and definitely didn’t want to wait. The Peachtree Center food court was probably closed and the Metro would have eaten up at least ninety minutes of that precious last night of Con. I was being silly and lazy, but I just didn’t feel like doing anything. The three of us couldn’t come to a decision, so we just went with what the most insistent one – Jonathan – wanted to do. We went to the Con suite.

I have been to the Con suite a total of probably four or five times in my life and have only ever found it helpful once. Granted, on that one occasion it was incredible – there was chili and club sandwiches and cookies and muffins and all kinds of stuff. It was wonderful. But all of the other times I have ventured up to that floor of the Hyatt the room has had a selection of items smeared with peanut butter and maybe a bowl of Kool-Aid. 
This is not an indictment of the Con suite. I feel like I just have very bad Con suite timing. And for me personally, it’s just not worth the trek up there for the outside chance that you might be able to save a few bucks on food. Time is simply too precious at Con. I am not trying to say this should be everybody’s outlook and I’m certainly not saying anything bad about the people who work so hard all weekend to maintain the Con suite. They are absolute angels. We just aren’t on the same clock.

Sunday night was one of those peanut butter and Kool-Aid times. So we left and went back to the Marriott, where I got to experience something that until that night had only been referenced by Mr. Beau Brown and never personally experienced by me – the Lobby Burger.
I didn’t know this was a real thing. Quite frankly, I suspected it was some sort of kinky sex thing akin to the Marriott Cock Squat.

Yeah, so I met this chick in a Sailor Moon/Cthulu costume and I thought she might be a little freaky. It was really late, so we went under the stairs in the Marriott. We were kind of going at it and before I knew it I was on my back and she had left a Lobby Burger on my chest.”

I dunno. Something like that.

Anyway, there are actual Lobby Burgers and they are actual burgers and they are fucking great. Or at least, if you haven’t eaten in eight hours and you’ve found them right as they are being sold for two bucks apiece they are great. I had two. I didn’t put pickles or mustard or anything on them. I didn’t have time for that bullshit. The three of us loaded up (I believe Jesse and Jonathan had hot dogs, too) and found a secluded hallway in which to stuff our faces. 
Now that I think about it, that hallway would have been a great spot for the other kind of Lobby Burger, too.

Side Note: Dammit. I just realized I never had my annual Sheraton sandwich. That’s very disappointing. It’s a good darn sandwich.

After we ate we headed back to the room to drop some stuff off and to stock up on beer. Thusly fortified, we went back downstairs. There was a fantastic Prince Robot IV from the greatest comic book of all time, Saga, standing in the lobby and I had to get my picture with them:

Which was a good thing, because if I hadn’t stopped for that I wouldn’t have been stopped by the young girl asking me where we were supposed to meet for the ESO Podcast, which is how I was reminded that we were supposed to be meeting in the lobby to record the ESO Podcast.

Sure enough, a whole crew of ESO-keteers was hanging around the elevators, waiting for word from Director Faber on where we were going to record. We ended up on one of those open-air common areas that are positioned every ten floors or so in the Hilton. The ones where you can always find somebody passed out under a couch. I have no idea how the audio turned out on this thing, but here’s the episode:

I stuck around for about half an hour before leaving to pursue that final party high of the Con.

I met up with Jesse and Jonathan again before they had to leave. After that I hung out with some of the Hooligans and we decided to hit the Puppet Slam. I really wanted to see Sexy Wolverine’s performance in Raymond Carr’s piece. He was playing Racist Walt Disney pitching reboots of Marvel franchises. It was amazing to behold. 
We actually arrived in time to see most of the preceding bit, which featured the stellar Stacey Gordon and was about Buffy Summers dealing with a Twilight-esque vampire. It was pretty great. Carr’s piece followed, and then we had the privilege of experiencing the most wonderful, special thing that I think I will ever see at Dragon Con.

Beau had told me about this. I had completely forgotten because there was a lot to remember about this year’s Con. But as soon as Carl’s voice cracked introducing the final acto of Puppet Slam I remembered. And I knew that this was going to be something special because Beau had said it would be. That’s all I need.

I have video. But I don’t want to post it because I feel like it’s not up to me to decide whether or not people who weren’t there get to see it.

I could describe it. But I couldn’t convey the magic of what those of us that were fortunate enough to be in the room saw that night.

All I can really say about that fantastic, emotionally-charged performance is this:

Get yourself a cape.

If there was a dry eye in the house it belonged to somebody that just doesn’t get Dragon Con and probably never will.

I don’t remember what else I did Sunday night. I know I drank. I know I sent Beau and Sexy Wolverine messages telling them how awesome they are. I hung out with friends. I walked through the Gaming Room. And, as always, I ended up in the Marriott in our spot. I closed out Dragon Con 2015 with my buddies Chris and Beardy. I downed my last beer in the presence of those two awesome personalities and then retired to bed, fully satisfied with everything I had seen and done.


My Dragon Con TV bit is up on YouTube! I’m not as good as I could have been! Here!:

I wish I had been bigger. They told me to be bigger, but I just didn’t have quite enough time to get into my comfort zone. I had never done anything like this before, so my brain wouldn’t quite get into gear. I wasn’t nervous or uncomfortable or anything, I just wasn’t in full-on Phantom Mode. The same thing happens at MCW sometimes. It takes me a few minutes on the mic to really get going.

Still, I’m very proud to have been a part of Dragon Con TV and had an absolutely wonderful time filming. I hope that I can do it again at some point. 
If you want to see a truly hilarious performance, check out friend of the site Bewitched Raven in her spot:

Closing Thoughts

This year was really hot.

I don’t feel like I spent nearly as much time waiting on elevators this year. I think it was due to luck more than anything else, but it was a noticeable difference.

I didn’t go to any panels this year, which was kind of nice. Not because I missed panels, but because I didn’t spend any time waiting in lines for panels. There were still lines – the one for my 2015 hotel reservation (which I received confirmation for on Saturday), lines for food, and the line to get into the Walk of Fame on Saturday (which I had not experienced before) – but not standing in line for an hour for a panel was kind of great. And I still got to see plenty of panels on Dragon Con TV.

HUGE Congratulations to DC*TV for successfully broadcasting the Parade live and for not having any significant audio issues that I heard all weekend. I had to turn up the volume for some of the panels, but the quality was still good on everything. I was really impressed this year.

However – there was A LOT of repetition this year. I saw the same few Sci-Fi Janitors bits over and over again. The Poetry Corner was not to my liking and I saw that constantly. It seemed to me like DC*TV didn’t make much use of its supply of past years’ programming and tried to stick to mostly new stuff, which I feel was a mistake. As good as most of the new programming was, seeing it over and over again got old very quickly and the absence of familiar favorites was noticeable.

I want to leave you with something that I have to hear every year before I leave Dragon Con now. I think once Dragon Con starts drawing to a close, and important thing to remember is that the next one is only a year away.

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