DragonCon 2017 – Madcap Recap Of The Con
Ryan Cadaver’s DragonCon 2017 Recap
If you are not familiar with DragonCon it is an Atlanta, GA based multigenre convention that has taken over downtown every Labor Day weekend for the last 31 years. DragonCon brings pop culture fans together for a giant party now officially spanning from Thursday to Monday. The convention is loaded with programming ranging from science fiction, fantasy, wrestling, gaming, horror and much more. There is no better people watching than at DragonCon. Some of the costumes are absolutely incredible. This year’s convention brought over 80,000 people together from all over the world to celebrate all forms of entertainment, and while at times it was exhausting, it was the greatest Dragon Con I have attended. The beauty of DragonCon is that it is so huge, everyone’s DragonCon experience is completely unique and personal depending on how you choose to spend your weekend. This is what DragonCon
2017 was for me.
If you have attended a convention of this size before you understand that it is almost impossible to see everything. I made an intense schedule of events (that I attended around 60% of) and still found myself stumbling upon unexpected and unplanned adventures along the way. I spent most of my time between the DragonCon Horror Track and the American Sci-Fi Classics track. There is so much to do at every hour during the day that just sticking with a couple of tracks worked out really well for me.
I arrived Thursday evening and the only thing on my agenda was DragonCon Wrestling. This is a yearly professional wrestling event with local talent and occasional cameos from wrestling legends. I sat right up front with my purple clad “DCW Hooligans” friends. These guys made the entire experience better, there is nothing quite like a group of rowdy wrestling fans to liven up a show. The ballroom that held the event was massive and it stayed mostly full throughout the show. There was a guest appearance by Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat who expertly laid out DCW’s Nature Boy that was the highlight of the event. Another highlight for me was a tag team featuring horror icons Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers. The show was really fun aside from the really bad sound. Almost all of the intro music sounded like it was from a “Now that’s What I Call Music” CD from 1998 and I could barely hear a word from the
commentators table all night. Aside from that I would say that DCW is a must attend event for a Thursday night at Dragon Con.
Friday is when things really started kicking off. The first panel I attended was “Geek Year 1987”, a nostalgic look at the best movies, TV, and music from 1987. It was hosted by local podcaster/wrestling announcer/gameshow host and personal friend Phantom Troublemaker. The panel was lively and fun and included detailed discussions about topics such as GI-JOE and Hellraiser. My next panel was called Sci Fighters: Creepy & Kooky vs Mysterious & Spooky and I participated on it as a panelist. We worked
with the crowd to create a bracket of famous Monsters vs famous monster hunters. The discussion involved the Scooby Gang, King Kong, Buffy, The Blob, Pinhead and many more. It was a fun debate and It seemed like everyone had a really good time discussing the varied possible scenarios. After leaving that panel I went to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Reunion. I was a huge fan as a kid and was really looking forward to this event. Jason David Frank was not able to make the panel but seeing the original Black Ranger (Walter Jones) and the Blue Ranger (David Yost) discuss their time on the show was well worth attending the panel. My last event for the evening was titled “Behind the Greasepaint of Bad Clowns”. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of clowns at all but this panel was incredible. The Chiodo brothers were awesome and hearing them discuss why they made certain stylistic choices with ‘Killer Clowns from Outer Space’ made me love the movie even more. Overall Friday at DragonCon was a blast. I wrapped up my night by attending the annual Zombie Prom and other various late night parties. That is what makes this con so much fun; the party doesn’t stop. There is so much late night entertainment going on that it would be hard not to have a good time.
The biggest day at DragonCon is Saturday. The parade brings in tons of people and the overall membership attendance is way higher. The parade is a huge, awesome spectacle that should be experienced, but it is also incredibly crowded. I’ve attended the past few years but this year I skipped the parade and went to straight to the Hyatt for “The Horror of Kane” panel. In this panel professional wrestler Kane discussed his WWE career as well as his work in the ‘See No Evil’ movies as the character Jacob Goodnight. I was fascinated as he discussed the parallels between his character development and backstory and the main character of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon. It was a riveting panel that made me respect Kane even more. His knowledge and understanding of the horror genre was impressive and overall he seemed like a very intelligent and charismatic guy. After that panel I hiked over to the Westin for “The Friday the 13 th Legacy” panel. It was an interesting fan panel about the past, present and future of the franchise. The only thing left on my Saturday schedule was the Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show. This adult only (18+) Dirty Dirty show may not be for everyone but this particular brand of low brow perverse geek humor is right up my alley and the highlight of my Con. I participated in segments in the show for the last two years and it was a blast. This year I played the Sexy Silver Surfer and my costume left very little to the imagination… After the show I went out with friends in my eye catching costume and partied all night long. That is the best way to experience DragonCon. Wear a costume and just explore, having a schedule is great but running into random adventures with friends is what makes the con terrific.
Sunday I got to explore the “Walk of Fame” and the vendor room. I had a great time but actually didn’t end up spending much money this year. Later in the afternoon I was on a panel about Batman: The Animated Series and it was a blast. We discussed Batman’s incredible rogues gallery and we relived some of our favorite moments from the show. It was great being on a panel with such passionate and like-minded people. I capped off my last night at DragonCon by catching the performance of the ridiculous metal band Psychostick. They were a lot of fun and it was an awesome way to end the weekend. I intended to check things out on Monday but I seriously needed a day to recuperate.
The most wonderful thing about DragonCon is that your experience will vary greatly depending on what you are passionate about and how you choose to spend your time. I attended and participated in panels about things that I love, I wandered and explored had all kinds of DragonCon adventures. I made new friends and strengthened existing friendships. DragonCon 2017 was my best yet. It was an unforgettable weekend filled with stories I will tell for years to come. I already can’t wait for next year.