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September 13, 2017

Dragon Con: A Cacophony Of Fun And Disgust You’ll Want To Repeat

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Written by: Luis Correa
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My first introduction to Dragon Con had been an elevator saturated in vomit that had a distinct smell of sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and sad dreams.

Of course with the frequency of the elevators and the late night need for people to move about — I had been trapped inside that elevator for at least 10 minutes with the reeking, southern smell of regurgitated food that could have fed a hundred baby birds. If first experiences define your perspective then an elevator carpet soaked in vomit seemed to set the tone for what I will experienced in the next couple of days, though in hindsight my experience eclipsed something so simple as vomit.

Elle Graves Cosplay as Bumblebee.

Elle Graves Cosplay as an original character called 8A-8A.

First off if you’re one of the absolutely rare people who live under a rock within the cosplay community and don’t know what Dragon Con is, it’s one of the biggest conventions in North America and every year it virtually takes over downtown Atlanta. It’s held within the nexus of four host hotels each with it’s own theme, panels and activities.

The entire vibe of the convention felt more like a festival that celebrated all manner of nerd/geek culture than any standard convention. At any moment you could walk past a group of people dressed up as Voltron paladins, Trekkies and that killer from Momento talking excitedly about running into John Barrowman in his Wonder Woman attire or you can turn a corner and walk smack dab in the middle of an impromptu dance party hosted by Prince.

It was a cavalcade of wonders with each path you took and there was more fun in the discovery of new and interesting things than just remaining in one location. There were panels galore that any attendee could line up for to enjoy or locations to participate in cosplay shoots if that’s your interest.

Cafe Momo in the food court at Dragon Con.

Cafe Momo in the food court at Dragon Con.

Being that I was on somewhat of a tight budget, the food court had become the de facto location for filling up on food and drink. Gracious friends picked up my meal tabs and we often frequented Cafe Momo’s which had a rather decent walk-in buffet where you paid by the pound for all the food you can stuff into a container. I needed all the food I could get for the inevitable time when I decided to join my mates in indulging of the liquid libations. The food court had all manner of foods for those who have a broad palate versus those who have a bit more of discriminating tongue. Not to mention the numerous smaller restaurants that littered the area and could be accessed with a little bit of effort. It was overwhelming at times, so good pre-planning and some reservations in advance really help to make it a lot easier to organize a meet up with your friends at those locations. I definitely recommend taking the time to sit down with friends and have a meal as it’s really easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is Dragon Con and forgo a meal or three.

Moving around Dragon Con felt more difficult than most conventions as the wall of flesh around you seemed to ebb and flow like the tide and seldom did it break around the impromptu groups that seemed to delight in halting mid-migration to engage in some sort of dialogue relevant only to themselves. These small friend islands where empty bastions of struggling travelers looking for something among the many panels and people. Unfortunately, those islands seemed to take on the look of artificial atolls that expanded more and more to occupy the same limited space. Like a game of space invaders, a person moving about while attempting to strike through long rolls of shambling cosplay drones while avoiding the occasional centipede or hobbit trail as it has been come to be known. Long trails of people holding hands and guiding each other through the labyrinth of costumed people and onlookers with interlocked hands straining to keep hold of one another lest one get sucked into the undertow and lost forever.

I can honestly say that it’s proven difficult to really express what Dragon Con was like, as each thought, each idea leads to a complicated and involved story that always ends back in a hotel room exhausted and content and yet with a small feeling of unease that seemed to nag and claw at the back of your mind. A feeling of … what else have I missed? What else could I see in these few days that I haven’t seen or don’t want to lose out on? Big grand events like the Dragon Con parade that marches through town or small, intimate affairs like fleet parties and the odd hotel room with a thumping base line and several close friends sharing a time together that might be as fleeting as the weekend. I witnessed people coming together whom only share a single thread of interest between them — shake hands and exchange numbers to keep in contact, as well as long time friends whose lives have taken them to different corners of the world and who use Dragon Con as a way to keep themselves tethered together. As I quietly washed my face on Monday morning, looked at my veiny eyes and moved my luggage first to the MARTA and then to my long flight home, I considered what I would do or say and how I’d end this article.

One of my closest friends picked me up from the airport and on the way back to her place she asked me “How was Dragon Con?” and my reply? … “… It’s… just Dragon Con.” I muttered while struggling with my exhaustion and yet in the back of my mind I already planned on going next year and I definitely recommend that you go as well.



About the Author

Luis Correa





 
 

 
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