October 2, 2011

My Time at Dragon Con 2011 (Part 1)

William Shater regales the audience

It was my first trip to Dragon*Con, and it was a blast (but exhausting)! To those of you who made it, I hope you all had as much fun as I did! To those that didn’t…I hope you enjoy reading about the convention as much as I enjoyed writing about it!

So, a lot of stuff was happening Friday. A lot is happening everyday. One thing to keep in mind is that at any given moment, there are at least half a dozen events happening at the exact same time, and unfortunately no one has learned how to be in multiple places at once. So, something is always going to be missed. It’s best to go to these sorts of conventions with a large group of friends, so everything gets covered, and lots of pictures get taken and videos get recorded. Otherwise, you miss a lot.
Luckily, that’s what I did.

So, for the duration, I’ll be covering the events I attended, and I’ll be making a little list of other events at the end.

So, it’s the first day. We should start things off with the biggest event possible, right? Well Friday morning, there was a scavenger hunt, a bunch of intro meet-&-greets for the various tracks, a costume making lesson, a look at creature creation, a look at Macross, a panel about the impending zombie apocalypse, etc. AND a Q&A with William Shatner!

Guess which one I went to?
William Shater regales the audience

Shatner was great! He talked about some of the books he’s written and why. He told tales of hijinks on the set of Star Trek. He schmoozed and flirted, as one might expect. He even waxed philosophic for a while. He cracked jokes, and revealed his sillier nature, and even imparted a few nuggets of wisdom. All in all, he was a charismatic charmer that looked and acted a few decades younger than he really is. You’d never guess he was 80 years old.

Check out his discussion of his recent documentary, The Captains:

Then he regaled the audience with insightful and humorous tales about his life and career.

Check out these fun stories on working with Leonard Nimoy, acting, writing, technology, and what Shatner dubs “The Essences”:

Part 1

Part 2

Then it was off to the Dark Fantasy Track, for a Q&A with Horror Icons Robert Englund, Lance Henriksen, and Tony Todd.
They shared with the audience humorous and wonderful tales about their likes, dislikes, careers, and fears. One audience member used his Q&A question to propose to his girlfriend in front of the panel. She said yes! And Lance picked on them the rest of the morning. I asked these three icons of horror to each tell a story about something scary happening to them, which was a real treat.

Later that day there was a look back at the DC Animated Universe, starting with Batman The Animated Series, and going through Justice League. Primarily it was a look at the adaptations themselves in the context of the era in which they were created. No celebs at this panel. I guess they were all too tired from the San Diego Comic-Con. Oh well, it was still a cool exhibit.

Later that evening, Ralph Bakshi put in the first of several appearances. He spoke at length about his career, sold a lot of merchandise, signed a lot of autographs, and answered fan questions. During the next few days, he held Q&As for The Lord of the Rings and held a screening of Wizards.

That night there was a panel dedicated to the Dark Shadows franchise. There was a general discussion amongst the panel, historians, and fans alike about the original show, movies, and revival series. That was followed by a more serious talk about the upcoming feature film. It’s being directed by Tim Burton. The film will star Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, a vampire with a sordid past that comes back to haunt not only him, but everyone else as well. The film also features Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earl Haley, and Christopher Lee. It will also feature cameos from Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby, and Kathryn Liegh Scott from the original series.

The events from around 10pm to 4 o’clock the next morning featured more adult activity, such as Panels on Hentai or BDSM, adult themed Q&As on your favorite sci-fi/fantasy subjects, concerts, adult costume contests, and the nightly rave in the center of the convention. For instance, Jefferson Starship performed a Concert/Rock Opera featuring their rendition of Vangelis’s score to Blade Runner.

Saturday was a bit of a lackadaisical day. Though not at first, and not intentionally. The morning was spent chatting with the various celebrity guests and getting as many things autographed as one can. Edward James Olmos chatted me up about my favorite parts of Blade Runner, and seemed genuinely happy that someone in their 20s wasn’t there to see him solely because of Battlestar Galactica. I also got to meet Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (Cassandra Peterson).

Edward James Olmos (Detective Gaff)

"It's too bad she won't live. But then again… who does?"

Cassandra Peterson

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Then I lucked out and managed to snag an interview with Sam Huntington (Superman Returns and Dylan Dog). But more on that in the following articles. So, prepping for and recuperating from the interview ate up a large portion of the day, thus the primarily lackadaisical nature.

Sam and Me

There's a funny story about where my hand is….

I did spend the rest of the day going to Comic Book Costume Contests. The first was a regular contest for everyone to compete in. The next was a women’s only Comic Book Costume Contest. I got lots of pics of the competitors, but those will be going up in a later article featuring my Dragon*Con Photo Album. And then later that I attended “Dragon*Con After Dark,” the adult Cosplay Contest. I have footage of that, as well, but due to the nature of the contest, that footage will not be posted.

All in all, I’d have to say that the first two days of Dragon*Con were amazing! Stay tuned for later articles, detailing more events, all the photos you can shake a stick at, and my interview with Sam Huntington!

Aaron Nicewonger



  1. Billy

    Shatner is 80?!? Wow, I didn’t think he was that far up there. I would have loved to be at that DCAU panel.

  2. Aaron Nicewonger

    Yep. It’s true.
    He’s gotten up there in years.
    Doesn’t look it.
    While Leonard Nimoy looks WAAAY older.

    Thanks for takin’ a look-see at my write-up.

  3. Sounds like you had a great time man! It took me a minute to realize Elvira actually signed the picture for you! 🙂

  4. Haha. Takes a minute to notice anything else, especially words, right…

  5. […] much as I enjoyed takin’ ‘em!For my previous coverage of Dragon*Con 2011, please see: My Time at Dragon Con 2011 part 1 […]

  6. Ben

    I’m so jealous you got to go. I would kill to have done the interview with Sam Huntington and the horror legends panel! I look forward to the rest of your write-ups, especially the month long retrospective you told me about.

  7. Yep yep.
    It rocked.

    And the retrospective will be featured in the Movie Mondays Column.
    Our main writer for that column, asked me to take over for a bit.

    So, here it comes….

    All Things “Punisher”!

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