Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dragon Con 2015: My Extremely Tentative Schedule

Dragon*Con starts tomorrow!
This is the post where I’ll take a look at the Pocket Program and run down what I’m doing at Con, as well as what panels I’m interested in seeing and which events I’d like to witness. This year I’m going to start by focusing on what Needless Things is actually involved in, then cover all of the stuff I’d just like to see.
I am super-mega-fired-up for Dragon Con. It took me a little while and a Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show rehearsal to get me this way, but I am there. I can’t honestly say that all of the ducks are in a row, but they’re as lined up as they can be at this point. I’ve got masks, costumes, prizes, and a packing list.
If I’m being honest, I’m at a point where I’m questioning doing anything at Dragon Con. I work very hard at my day job and at running Needless Things the rest of the year, and I’m sort of left wondering why I ever agreed to do more work at the only real vacation I get. It’s not like I even do a lot, but committing to anything at Con is committing many hours of time – not just the time it takes to get to the event and perform, but prep time before Con even starts.
But then I think about entertaining people and getting to work live with folks that I don’t ever get to see and the surge of pure life that comes from putting on a good performance. And I realize that that’s more of a vacation from my day job than just hanging out and drinking could ever be. And I want to do it all again, bigger and better. Just not necessarily more.
It’s going to be another busy year, but aside from Friday things are spaced out quite nicely. And Friday isn’t unmanageable, it’s just that even with only three events planned it’s going to be tight.
Yes – seriously. That’s how Dragon Con is. I’ll explain below. This is but a tiny sampling of all of the delights available at Dragon Con. For now, grab your copy of the Pocket Program or open up your Dragon Con 2015 app – available from iTunes or the Google Play Store – and follow along!
Also be sure to attend all of my panels and give them a 5 out of 5 in the app.
Badges – Dragon Con will be limiting access to convention areas to keep freeloaders from horning in on the action that we all save and plan for every year. I think this is great and it looks like this year it will be enforced 24-7. What this means is that you need to have your badge and/or your hotel key on you AT ALL TIMES. Every time you leave your room, check to make sure you have these items on your person. It totally sucks to get to the entrance to an event and realize that you don’t have your badge.
DC TV – One of the most magical components of Dragon Con. Every year, a special channel run by Con volunteers is broadcast in the Host Hotels. The channels for DC TV are:
Hyatt Regency: 56
Marriott Marquis: 74
Hilton Atlanta: 65
Sheraton Atlanta: 68 or 72
Westin Peachtree: 81
DC TV features not only live and rebroadcasted panels from Con, but also sketches and music videos from some of the greatest and funniest nerd minds in the land. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that this is the greatest television channel that has ever been. I will put it on when I arrive on Thursday and keep it on until I leave.
DC TV will once again be broadcasting the incomparable Dragon Con Parade live so that you can enjoy it from the company of your room. Not to mention that the broadcast version will be accompanied by the sharpest and wittiest narration available. AND YOU CAN’T TEACH THAT. Or hear it if you’re out in the Atlanta streets.
Amazingly, we are getting a whole other channel this year – DC TV LAND. This separate channel will feature segments and panels from past years, basically because there’s just too much real-time content available now. It is going to be hard to choose between this and standard DC TV. The channels aren’t listed yet, so check the app when you arrive.
Note: According to the Pocket Program, DC TV LAND will not be available in the Westin.
Music – In addition to the scheduled live performances in the various ballrooms, some of the musical guests perform acoustic sets in designated concourses. This year they will be set up in the Hyatt on the pool level and at AmericasMart building 2 outside of the Vendor Halls. I always enjoy discovering bands out playing in the middle of Con.
Hotel Bars on Saturday Night – They close at midnight. PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Additionally, from time to time the hotels will try to crack down on what I call “thrifty drunks” – people who bring their own booze. Be prepared to respect their authority in whatever way you need to. They’re just doing their jobs. There’s no reason to give them a hard time. I’m not suggesting you bring cups or find alternative means to transport your liquor. I could never publicly endorse such behavior.
Walk of Fame – This is where they store the famous people. It is located in the Marquis Ballroom on the Marquis Level of the Marriott Marquis.
Marquis. Marquis. Marquis.
Got it?
Incidentally, this is the same level where the excellent American Sci-Fi Classics Track is located and where I will be doing all of my panels. We’re behind the FedEx office.
Hotel Vaping Policies - The host hotels classify vaping as smoking. As such vaping will not be allowed inside the buildings except in designated areas and “smoking permitted” hotel rooms. Generally, vaping areas are not separate from smoking areas. If you have questions about your hotel’s “no smoking/no vaping” policies or designated smoking areas, please check with the hotel concierge desk or hotel staff. (I just cut-and-pasted this one because I was personally excited to see it)
Alright, Phantomaniacs – it’s time to tell you all about the Needless Things portions of Dragon Con. We’ve got some great and new stuff planned this year. The Toy Panel is different, the game show is different, and we are finally doing an official Meet-Up!
Friday – 11:30 AM – Schwarza-Panel!: The Sci-Fi Movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger – This isn’t mine, I’m just on it (which is, quite frankly, a bit of a relief). Debbie Viguié, Van Allen Plexico, William Stout, Director Faber, and I will be talking about Predator, The Running Man, Total Recall, and The Terminator movies. It will be awesome. Marriott M303-304
Friday – 4:00 PM – Needless Things Presents: Toy Stories – I wanted to do something different for the toy panel this year. I love talking about toys, but I wanted to get a little deeper and connect more with the audience. So I recruited Gary Mitchel, Michael Bailey, Shaun Rosado, and Jay Hornsby to come and help me share personal stories attached to toys and action figures. What’s more, I want the audience to bring their own toys and share stories. I’m hoping this one will be very fun and special. Marriott M303-304
Friday – 7:00 PM – Dragon Con Wrestling – As far as I know I will once again be calling the action for DCW. Granted, I haven’t actually spoken to anyone yet, but last year AJ made me sign a contract in blood (not mine; Reverend Dan Wilson’s) that I would be back this year.
Saturday – 10:00 PMish – The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show – Phantom Troublemaker. Miss Lady Flex. Sexy Wolverine. Rad Ranger. Special Guests. We will turn members of the audience into contestants for the dirtiest game show in all of the land. It’s an all-new format this year, so be ready for anything. There will be prizes and remorse. Marriott M303-304
Sunday – 2:30 PM – Sci-Fighters: GI Joe vs. He-Man – Joe Crowe has entrusted me with a sacred duty that I will take very seriously. I am overseeing a panel where we – the panelists and the audience – determine who would win in an all-out war, the fighting men and women of the world of GI Joe or the Masters of the Universe. Bring all of your 80s nostalgia knowledge and help us proclaim a victor. Marriott M303-304
Sunday – 8:00 PM – The Needless Things Meet-Up! – Come on out to the Hilton pool and enjoy the company of the Needless Things Irregulars! We’ll have some rum and some fun and take a picture to commemorate the occasion. I’ll give away the last of the ill-conceived Needless Things Luchador vs. Owlbear t-shirts and there will be special exclusive gifts for the first twenty people that show up. Hilton Pool
Monday – 11:30 AM - Revcast Live!I am honored to have been invited to participate in the Dragon Con Revcast. I don’t normally do anything on Monday, but since this is in my hotel, I might actually make it. Either way, you should go. Hilton 203


This is the stuff that’s in my app or that I might just be interested in doing. Obviously it isn’t all going to happen. Most of it isn’t going to happen. That’s just one of the things you have to accept about Dragon Con. This year I’m going to go ahead and double-book again if things catch my eye (unless I have something scheduled). It doesn’t hurt to have options and you never know where you’ll end up.
Hank West & The Smokin’ Hots - 9:00 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M] – I have to see these guys.
Snoot - Thu 9:30 pm; Cent. II–III [H] - I have to see these guys. Wait… shit.
Bunny Hutch Party & Costume Contest 10:00 pm; A601–A602 [M]; 2.5 Hrs – I’m not specifically interested in this one, but I will in all likelihood end up in the vicinity. It’s always fun to see what kind of Playboy spin the cosplayers can put on pop culture icons.
Inside the Actor’s Gaffe with Julian Glover - 10:00 am; Grand Ballroom West [Hil] – I might be able to catch most of this before Schwarza-Panel. Our Monsterama pal, Anthony Taylor, is moderating Scaroth!
Flash: The Fastest Thing on Two Feet - 1:00 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M] – Catching a panel featuring the cast members of The Flash is pretty high on my list. I could conceivably make this between the Schwarza-Panel and Toy Stories, but I won’t.
Get Over It! - 1:00 pm; Dunwoody [H] – “Does fandom culture nitpick ourselves out of enjoying that which we supposedly love?” This might be the most important panel in the history of anything.
A Harsh Winter: Defiance Cast Q&A - 1:00 pm; P’tree Ballroom [W] – I love Defiance and I want to see one of these cast panels. But the Westin is so far away. I remember the first year I went to see a panel there I felt like I was in a different city.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star - 1:00 pm; Reg. VI–VII [H] – Star Wars puppetry.
Celebrating ‘80s Animated Movies - 2:30 pm; Dunwoody [H] – My initial reaction was that this is all Classics Track stuff, but I guess maybe the Animation Track lays claim to some of the same stuff. I’d like to see this one.
Jaws: The 40th Anniversary - 7:00 pm; M303–M304 [M] – I’m probably more bummed about missing this panel than any other. I wanted to do this one so bad. But nothing will tear me away from DCW. Not even a Great White.
Monster Mash for Charity - 10:00 pm; Reg. VI–VII [H]; 4 Hrs – This is a costume dance for the blood drive and it sounds like fun. Also, it goes late enough that I can make it there after DCW if I choose to go.
The Walking Thread: Puppet Improv – Adults (Mature Audiences Only) - 11:30 pm; Grand Ballroom West [Hil] – If you can make it to this, I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious improve and a fascinating look at how puppeteers do what they do.
@Midnight - 11:30 pm; Dunwoody [H] – Wait – is this okay? Or is Chris Hardwick sneaking in?
Thundarr the Barbarian and Friends: Saturday Morning Sci-fi - 8:30 am; M303–M304 [M] – It’s laughable to think that I would even be up at 8:30 AM at Dragon Con (still up, maybe). But I would love to see this panel.
14th Annual Dragon Con Parade—LIVE/REBROADCAST ON DC TV - 10:00 am – My brain still cannot accept the fact that I do not have anything scheduled during the day on Saturday. We’ll be rehearsing for the game show at 8, but I’m free and clear until then. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stand in the hot, stinking Atlanta streets, though. I’ll watch this from the comfort of my room.
Lost in Space: The 50th Anniversary - 1:00 pm; M303–M304 [M] – Hosted by the former Grand Poobah of the Classics Track. This will be a good one.
GoT: Songs of Westeros - 1:00 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M] – As of right now there’s no reason I should miss this panel featuring Maester Pycell, Ser Loras, and Hodor. But I probably will.
Arrow: Loss Makes Us Stronger - 2:30 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M] – Right up there with seeing a Flash panel. This is probably the strongest possibility as far as me actually going and standing in a line.
The New DC Universe - 2:30 pm; Intl. N [H] – Some of my favorite creators currently working for DC Comics. This is on my “almost certainly” list.
Familiar Faces: Defiance Cast Q&A - 5:30 pm; P’tree Ballroom [W] – Another chance to see the cast of one of my favorite shows on the air. I might actually make this one.
Georgia Philharmonic Orchestra Presents - 7:00 pm; Cent. I–III [H]; 2.5 Hrs – The orchestra will be performing selections from various genre works. I would LOVE to see this. Obviously I can’t go, but you guys could catch most of it and still make the game show.
Match Game in the 25th Century - 7:00 pm; M303–M304 [M] – Normally I would never put over another game show on the same night as mine, but this one has Gil Gerard. And I may be many things, but I am no Gil Gerard. That’s okay, though. He probably won’t talk about Transformer penises.
Swimcast Party - 8:30 pm; Dunwoody [H] – Recommended, but you’re going to have to run to get to The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show.
Fantastic Four: Tales of the Never Released Movie - 11:30 pm; M303–M304 [M] – I would love to take part in this one, but I’ll be busy at the super-secret, ultra-exclusive Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show After Party.
Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue - 12:00 am; Reg. VI–VII [H] – Another event that I put on my schedule every year. I think it’s later this year, so there’s a possibility I might make it. But there are a lot of things at midnight on Saturday.
Frenchy and the Punk - 12:00 am; Atrium Ballroom [M] – I have yet to see their full stage show.
Here Come the Mummies - Sun 12:00 am; Cent. II–III [H] – And I really want to see these lunatics.
Classic Sci-fi Roll-a-Panel - 10:00 am; M303–M304 [M] – I might show up for this one if I’m not still at the DDCCGGSS after party. But that is a very weak might. After the 47 panelists that showed up for this one last year, I’m pretty sure they’ll have this year covered.
Conquer! Kill! Devour! Defiance Cast Q&A - 10:00 am; P’tree Ballroom [W] – I don’t see me making this panel, but I thought I’d mention it.
On the Fringe with John Noble - 10:00 am; Cent. I [H] – I already loved John Nobel from his role as Walter on Fringe, but his incredible performance as Scarecrow in Batman: Arkham Knight put him over the top for me. I’d love to catch him on a panel.
ESW Panel: Is the Doctor a Good Man? - 11:30 am; Macon [S] – I used to be on this podcast. Maybe I’ll be on it again at some point.
Venture Bros. - 4:00 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M] – Always a highlight of Dragon Con. Publick, Hammer, and Urbaniak put on a can’t-miss show. Except that I’ll be finishing up Sci-Fighters and might miss it.
Stump the Geeks - 4:00 pm; M303–M304 [M] – I saw a bit of Stump the Geeks a couple of years ago while waiting for one of my panels. I’d like to see it again. But I DO NOT want to be sprayed with Hulk cologne.
Harley, Kara, & Kori with Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner - 4:00 pm; A601–A602 [M] – I doubt I’ll be able to make it over here after Sci-Fighters, but I might try.
Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary & Costume Contest - 5:30 pm; M303–M304 [M] – It looks like I could pretty much just camp out in the Classics Track room. And it’s not just because they tolerate/encourage my activities.
Bond, James Bond, 007 - 5:30 pm; Macon [S] – I’d watch a Bond panel with Anthony Taylor and Louis Robinson.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure: We Know You - 10:00 pm; M303–M304 [M] – Another tempting panel from the sultry geek harlots of the Classics Track.
The Late-Night Puppet Slam (Mature Audiences Only) - 12:00 am; Reg. VI–VII [H] – There’s no excuse for missing this. It is one of the three best things at Dragon Con.
Superhero-versary: 75 Years of Robin, Shazam, & the JSA - 8:30 am; M303–M304 [M] – If you can find it within yourself to get up super, butt-crack-of-dawn early for this one it will be well worth your time. I would love to hang out with Mike Gordon and Bobby Nash and talk about superheroes. But there is now way in hell I’m going to be up for this (again - unless I’m still up).
James Bond: Thunderballs, Views, & Kills - 10:00 am; M303–M304 [M] – Another killer lineup for a great panel. There’s almost zero chance that I’ll be here, but I’d like to see it.
Terry Jones: A Very Naughty Boy Live! - 10:00 am; Grand Ballroom [S] – It would be great to see this, but I have a bad feeling I’ll be wasting my late check-out by being hungover.
80s Cartoons: One-Season Wonders - 11:30 am; M303– M304 [M] – The fine folks of RetroBlasting talk about some of the best cartoons of the 80s. This one is right up my alley, but it’s also on Monday morning.
Karen Gillan - 11:30 am; Atrium Ballroom [M] – I’d just go and stare at her for an hour. She doesn’t even have to talk. That’s probably creepy, isn’t it? Wouldn’t that be hilarious, though? Gillan On Display – you just walk through the ballroom and there’s a queue to line up and gaze upon perfection. Maybe even get your picture with her.
Oh, wait – that’s exactly what I did at Wizard World.
Defiance Q&A - 1:00 pm; Cent. II–III [H] – Not out of the question thanks to the Hilton’s late check-out. I like how the names of these have become less inspired as the weekend has gone on.
I am totally pumped up for Dragon Con. My personal schedule isn’t super packed, but what I’ve got planned is all so good. I’m in the Dragon Con app under “Presenters”, where you can find me and add all of my panels to your schedule. I’m also in there under “Attendees”, so send me a friend request and come have some rum at the Needless Things Meet-Up!
See you this weekend!
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If you’re here checking out Dragon Con stuff and haven’t visited Needless Things before, thanks for coming by. Me and my writers post five times a week about toys, movies, music, and all manner of pop culture dorkery. I do the Needless Things Podcast once a week. And definitely come back in October for our 31 Days of Halloween! It lasts all month long and everything on the site is thoroughly Halloweeny! Each weekday post also includes a rundown of SyFy’s programming.

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