by Rob Balder & Karen Edelstein
August 30 – Sept. 2, 2002
Let me say this, to sum up our overall experience at Dragon*Con: THAT MANY interesting people having THAT MUCH FUN in one place shouldn’t be possible under the Law of “Whatever the Fundamentalists Don’t Ruin, the Lawyers Do.” And yet, there it was. What an incredible event!
So what did we see? We saw three concerts out of more than a dozen that were held. We met artists of jaw-dropping talent, absolute “A List” pros like JP Targete and Artist GOH Alex Grey, and were overwhelmed with how friendly and engaging they were. We partied way too hard with Pete Abrams, Joe Sunday, and Trillian from Sluggy Freelance. We saw a seven-foot Vader, two guys in fully mechanized battle armor suits, an enormous yeti, many mostly-naked chicks in itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny homemade-chainmail steel bikinis, a walking piece of modern sculpture, a stormtrooper from Germany (*shudder*), and one, yes only one, Borg. How ironic. “Yes! We are all individuals!” “I’m not.”
We saw so many cool things in the exhibitors’ hall and dealer’s room that we went into ferret-shock. We saw at least eight Spider-Men in one place, and we weren’t even looking on the ceiling. We saw a guy with a lighted tinfoil box on his head and a sign reading “Free Mammograms.” We saw the best-performed rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show we have ever seen, by Lips Down on Dixie. We saw a horde of goths fit for the sacking of Rome. We saw all this and hundreds of other remarkable things, some of which traveled in pairs.
And I would estimate that we missed more cool stuff than we saw.
What did we miss? Well, the celebrities, mostly. We missed the Trek stars leading the parade and judging the Klingon Beauty Pageant, etc. We missed the MST3000 guys emceeing battle bots. We missed the Babylon 5 reunion, and the Jefferson Starship concert, and Traci Lords, and Linda Blair, and I never even got to a single writing panel, not even John Ringo’s “101 Interesting Ways to Kill Off Characters.” However, we partied with John and half the staff of the upcoming StellarCon for two nights, talking Sluggy and singing filks on the Hyatt’s bar patio. Huge thanks to everyone who made it possible; you are an estimated 20,000 of our closest friends.
But most of all, we want to thank Star Roberts and the rest of the Dragon*Con staff. They REALLY came through for Nth Degree. Our Press badges allowed us access to any event, even when they were blocking people at the stairs. They had a press room, which amounted to a special-access con suite full of beverages and snacks and reading materials. They were as nice as could be, helped us find anything we asked about and answered all of our questions. There was absolutely no hassle, and the few rules we were given were completely common-sense and easy.
If you are breathing and have a pulse next Labor Day weekend, get to Dragon*Con. It’s like Woodstock for geeks, but with clean towels.