Instead of doing a chronological play by play of every waking moment, I decided to instead organize my con experience into my top ten favorite moments, from least to greatest.
Here goes! Enjoy!
This was my 5th Dragon Con but I had never been above the lobby levels of the Marriott, which is such an impressive piece of architecture that deserves to be enjoyed from all perspectives. Since my roomies and I had the benefit of getting to Con early, we took advantage of the light crowd to ride the elevator up a bit. The views are equally lovely from on high looking down. I also found a cool spiral staircase, and spiral staircases will always demand to be climbed whenever possible.
Last year, through the astonishing means of "just ask and see what happens" I got to be part of the Star Wars track's table reading of Shakespeare's Star Wars "Verily, a New Hope". They invited me to participate as Greedo and I had a blast. So this year, naturally, I asked again, and was surprised and delighted not only to be asked back, but with a promotion! I got to be C-3P0. In honor of the part, I bought some round gold sunglasses, though they're kind of hard to see in the photos below. The panel was once again a riotous good time. My cast-mates were talented and funny, and my friend Cassie even got to come up as a volunteer reader, playing Boba Fett! Thank you so much to Carol White for coordinating this fun panel, and I hope the Jedi Doth Return next year!
One thing I knew that would be special this year, no matter what else happened at Con, would be meeting up with my friends Cassie and Becky, some of my very good Christian nerdgirls from New England whom I persuaded to come see what Dragon Con was all about. Most especially, Cassie, because while I was lucky enough to briefly meet Becky once in Maryland a few years ago, Cassie and I had never met in real life before, even though we're very close through fandom, chats, emails, and phone calls galore. So giving her a big big BIG hug in the airport before we even got to the convention itself was a very special moment.
I also got to meet my very first "agent-mate", Nicole Conway, who was able to come briefly to sit as a guest author on a panel all about dragons. Why? Because she is a writer of dragons! And after listening to the description of her stories, I'm definitely looking forward to reading them. Check out her website and/or follow her on Twitter.
Finally, I got to meet another "friend-of-friend", named Josh, from my extended church family that I never met before in real life. After I'd posted my first batch of Con photos on Facebook, his sister commented, "Hey! Josh is at that thing!" So we made sure to meet up before it was over and that was a fun, if very unexpected, occurrence.
Two years ago when I debuted my Red Riding Hood costume, I made the observation that if the skirt were shorter and I didn't wear the cape, it made a pretty darn good "Hobbit Lass" costume too. So this year I took that idea and fleshed it out.
(1) I put gathers in the Red skirt to shorten it, which also had the added bonus of making it all cute and poofy.
(2) I made a half-apron to add to the "hobbity" look, complete with a ruffle on the bottom which is so cute!! It was easy, too. Only about an hour or so with the supplies I already had on hand in my sewing domain.
(3) HOBBIT FEET. This is the best part, and all the credit goes to Cassie. She found some cute "fur" yarn that we wrapped liberally around the straps of a basic pair of brown flip flops for easy, economical, ADORABLE results.
Due to being in Chile last year, I didn't get to make any brand new epic costumes for Dragon Con 2014, so I think that's why I loved pulling together this cute impromptu hobbit lass so much. It felt enough like a brand new costume to get to enjoy that feeling. Also, it gave me something Tolkein-y to wear to the Evening at Bree. But we'll get to that later...
Way way back in the initial stages of Dragon Con planning, I wasn't going to bring my Red Riding Hood costume, at least not in full. But that all changed when Beverly Elliot was added as a guest. She plays Granny on Once Upon a Time, so, um, obviously? She is an amazing, lovely, talented lady and she was a great sport in helping me with the MOST ADORABLE PHOTO OP EVER.
... man, I love this picture!
In addition to Beverly Elliot, there were some other great Once guests at Dragon Con this year. We managed to catch the Sunday panel, which featured Beverly, Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), Robbie Kay (Peter Pan), and Rebecca Mader (The Wicked Witch of the West).
It was a really fun, entertaining panel. Probably the funniest bits were all the different ways Sean Maguire had of saying "No, I can't tell you what's going to happen with Robin and Regina in Season 3" (which felt like every other question). He makes the funniest facial expressions. He also had a hilarious story about not knowing how to shoot a bow and arrow his first day on set as Robin Hood.
And did I mention, that, among her many other talents, Beverly Elliot has a gorgeous singing voice? I didn't take this video, but yes, we were there. It was definitely a highlight. (Bonus feature: proof of Sean Maguire's capacity for funny facial expressions).
This was the very last thing we did, right before fetching our luggage and heading to the MARTA. Monday morning panels are so great, largely because they're easy to get into, but when they end up being as hugely entertaining as this one, well... so much the better.
These guys are just flat-out hilarious. In fact, Craig Parker is guest starring on Reign this season and I haven't been able to take him seriously after Dragon Con. For starters, there should be a whole panel just devoted to him saying "banana" (34:15, in response to someone asking "What's been your favorite part of Dragon Con?")
Feel free to watch the whole thing if you like, but if you only watch one thing in the link below it definitely needs to be Jed Brophy demonstrating Martin Freeman's attempts at doing a forward somersault. (Timestamp 43:00)
The same hilarious gentlemen who made that Hobbit panel so brilliant were also key players in the next item on the countdown-- the Tolkien costume contest. Alas I don't have any stellar pictures or videos, but contestants for the contest were brilliant. There's are separate categories for movie inspired vs. book inspired. My two favorite costumes were both in the book inspired category:
For craftsmanship, the Entwife. I wish I had a picture of this one to share. It was utterly breathtaking, crowned with this elaborate headdress made of delicate twigs and greenery, complete with bird's nest. Craig Parker would not stop fangirling about it behind the costumer's back, even after he'd gushed to her face.
For performance, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, who "tripped" while walking across the stage and spilled a whole bunch of spoons all over the ground.
Also, the guy who came as Thranduil really killed it with his diva performance, and he and a very convincing Thorin kept glaring at each other all night.
Really looking forward to next year's contest!
The costume contest was just one part of my favorite Dragon Con party by far: Evening at Bree. Why do I like it so much? Well, the costume contest is certainly part of it, but mostly it's the dancing! This is my third year attending Evening at Bree and I dance the night way. A wonderful celtic band, Emerald Rose, does the music every year. All the other parties I've tried have that loud, dark, pulsy club music that doesn't do much to inspire me, and I've left those parties within fifteen minutes of arriving, but at Bree the dancing is all folksie jigs and the like (with all of us just making it up as we go along). I have the most wonderful time just moving my feet and clapping my hands. I even found a video from my very first Evening at Bree as an example. (I'm the tall one in the shiny orange shirt).
The dancing is the reason I don't like to bring a phone or camera with me to Evening at Bree. Don't want to stress about babysitting those items. It's also a pretty great workout!
"Vincent and the Doctor" is my all-time favorite Doctor Who episode, and we were so fortunate to get to meet and thank the actor who did such a brilliant job bringing Vincent van Gogh to life in that episode. Even if you're not a fan of Doctor Who, I would recommend watching it if you can. It's available on Netflix. Tony shared with us how many people have been touched by that episode. And he loved Cassie's tiny TARDIS so much that she gave it to him as a gift! Just a lovely, lovely man and definitely an uplifting experience to get to meet him.
Oh yeah. THIS happened too. Hee!
(I think we're exactly the same height. He looks taller because: epic hair)