DragonCon 2011 has come and gone and, like every year, it was epic. The biggest fan-run sci-fi and fantasy convention in the U.S. is four days of awesome. I was actually there for five days, wore six different outfits (most of which were costumes), and put my arms around everyone from Darth Vader to Tom Felton. (No, really: you can see the pictures here.) Here, in no particular order, are my top ten moments of DragonCon 2011.
1. Dancing in a Thriller flash mob. Back in 2009, I was a dance captain for a Guinness World Record attempt of the most people dancing to Thriller. 903 of us danced, among them my friend and fellow captain Noel Howell. Noel passed away in March of 2011, and a Thriller flash mob in her honor was proposed. So, on the eve of DragonCon, 11 of us broke out in dance on the Atrium level of the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. Lovingly called “Shenanigans for Noel,” it was an appropriate tribute and an absolute blast. You can see the video here.
2. Meeting Tom Felton. He’s Draco Malfoy, and a charming young man. Mom and I were thrilled to get our picture with him.
3. Getting compliments on my mechanical arm. I labored for months to sew a Victorian widow’s outfit, but building a mechanical arm to go with it was a challenge of new proportions for me. Luckily, my steampunk widow was well-received, and I survived being laced into a corset for 12 hours.
4. Hearing Carrie Fisher sing a song from the Star Wars Holiday Special. She was vastly entertaining in the panel she was on with Temuera Morrison, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ashoka Tano on The Clone Wars), but nothing compared to her outburst of lines from the cringe-worthy Holiday Special.
5. Meeting Temuera Morrison. He played Jango Fett, as well as all of the clones in Episodes II and III of Star Wars. What more can I say? He’s a FETT.
6. Learning more costuming tricks. I’m still a relative newbie to costuming, and the Costuming Track panels I attended were brilliant. At Mom’s urging, we also attended “Rivetdale,” a Tolkien Track panel about doing Lord of the Rings costumes with a steampunk style. I’m grateful to the four ladies who presented at that panel for giving us all reference sheets that will be really useful.
7. Being Abby. It’s the easiest costume I’ve ever done, but it draws more attention than any other I’ve worn. A few people thought I actually was NCIS actress Pauley Perrette, and I overheard a guy say, “How can it not be her?” I’ve never had my picture taken so many times in one day. Much thanks to my entourage!
8. Buying directly from the artist. I bought books from the authors themselves, art from the actual artists, and the latest Midnight Syndicate album from musician Ed Douglas himself. I was especially excited to meet Clay and Susan Griffith, authors of the brilliant Vampire Empire series.
9. Watching furries dance to Abney Park. And I don’t mean just a little toe-tapping. I mean full-on, rock out dancing performed by dogs. Everyone loves steampunk band Abney Park, even the furries.
10. The Cruxshadows. It’s hard to tell which was more epic: their 2:30 a.m. show, or hugging Cruxshadows front-man Rogue. Either way, it’s always great to see one of my absolute favorite bands.