August 30th - September 3rd, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia

Convention Stats:
Location: Peachtree Center
Event Year: Twenty-Sixth
Reported Attendance: 52,000
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Godric Gryffindor, Harry Potter
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Rory Williams, Doctor Who
Mal Reynolds, Firefly
Richard Castle, Castle
Buddy Blue, Rainbow Brite
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Rowena Ravenclaw, Harry Potter
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Amy Pond, Doctor Who
Dana Scully, The X-Files
Inara Serra, Firefly
LeBreau of NORA, Final Fantasy XIII
Rainbow Brite, Rainbow Brite
Our Events:
A Mighty Fine Shindig
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Nigoki, Sketch, Shiva, DC Staff (x2), Amiephotos, Lionel Lum, Nigoki, Shiva (x8)
Dragon*Con 2012 hosted an estimated 52,000 attendees over Labor Day weekend, drawing pop culture fans of all kinds to downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the growth in attendance, the convention's second year using computerized registration was so successful that there was no wait for badge pickup on Thursday. Over 250 celebrity guests were in attendance, our personal favorites including Dean Cain from Lois and Clark, Gillian Anderson from The X-Files, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, and Michael Dorn from Star Trek: The Next Generation and comics legend Stan Lee, who thrilled fans by attending the annual Marvel photoshoot, posing for photos with cosplayers and giving out free hugs. Other headlining guests included shock rock legend Alice Cooper, MacGyver himself, Richard Dean Anderson, and TV's original Batman and Robin, Adam West and Burt Ward from the 1960s Batman TV series. West and Ward were given keys to the city by Atlanta's city council and September 1 was declared "Adam West and Burt Ward Day" in the city of Atlanta. John Barrowman of Doctor Who, Sean Maher of Firefly, and the casts of Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis rounded out the popular guest lineup. Major events included the Saturday morning Dragon*Con parade, the Night at the Georgia Aquarium, the annual Dragon*Con film festival, and the Wheadon Track's Firefly-themed "Mighty Fine Shindig," complete with a cast look-alike contest.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We flew down to Atlanta mid-morning on Thursday with PatrickD, Svet, and Scarlet, who has attending her very first Dragon*Con! After arriving Sketch headed to the hotel to check in while Shiva and Scarlet waited for Chinako, whose flight was slightly delayed. Once we all got to Peachtree and settled into our hotels, we headed to the Sheraton prepared for the usual lengthy wait for badge pickup and were shocked to discover there was absolutely no line for pre-reg! We walked straight into the ballroom and waited a grand total of three and a half minutes to pick up our badges and walk out. The worst part of the experience was that the ballroom was roped off in the same manner as it was when the line was hours long, and so we had to power-walk the serpentine maze with hundreds of others. The waves of bodies quickly moving back and forth in both directions created a visual illusion that actually made our stomachs turn slightly. We then met up with Ellystar, Nigoki, and Iceman at Metro Café Diner for a late lunch/early dinner and cake for our birthday triplets: Sketch, Scarlet and Chinako!

Friday morning we got into our original Rowena Ravenclaw and Godric Gryffindor costumes and joined Ellystar and Iceman as Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytheryin for our Hogwarts Founders group from Harry Potter. Getting these costumes to Atlanta had been a bit of a struggle; Sketch's metal armor had forced us to play luggage Tetris at the airport to make weight while Shiva's Sculpey-made crown was so fragile she had to hold it in her lap for most of the trip down. Luckily we made it with all costume parts intact, and we were so excited to premiere this group at the con. We were mobbed for photos; carrying our house banners really helped people recognize our characters and we had a blast yelling out that we were awarding points every time we saw someone cosplaying as a student from our house. The costumes were so well-received we spent the vast majority of the day wearing them and migrating between the Marriott and the Hilton to show them off. At one point we were sitting in the Marriott Atrium and noticed an artist began sketching us; he started to fill it in with watercolors before we left and he showed it to us, explaining the backdrop he was going to paint in of the castle. Having our portraits painted in cosplay was certainly a first for all of us!

In the late afternoon we changed into normal clothes; our shoulders were killing us from holding up the House banners and we just needed a break. Sketch’s niece and nephew found us to show off their kid-size Catwoman and Stealth Elf outfits which were super cute, and Shiva brought her Star Trek: The Next Generation cast poster to the Walk of Fame and scored Michael Dorn’s autograph. After a refreshing afternoon we headed back to the room to get decked out in full Legends of the Hidden Temple Blue Barracudas regalia, complete with bloody bandages, mud covered helmets, eye black, fake cuts, and dirt covered skin. We met up with the rest of the crew in their Sheraton room where we helped dirty up our Temple teammates and handed everyone a Temple Medallion which Sketch had sculpted and cast in resin. Sketch grabbed the Silver Monkey he had carved from insulation foam and we headed out, a full Hidden Temple cast ready to party the night away. We had barely exited the Sheraton when we were stopped in the parking lot by an attendee who had actually been on the show as a kid; he had been on the Green Monkey team and told us stories about his experience.

Before hitting up the Marriott atrium we grabbed a quick dinner at the food court; nobody paid us much attention as we were somewhat dispersed, finding tables, getting food, etc. near the back of the establishment. However, that all changed as we were leaving; we had gathered to exit as a group and were walking down the main corridor of tables heading to the Marriott skybridge when somebody at a table shouted “HIDDEN TEMPLE!” and we stopped turned and cheered back in response. To our surprise, everyone at that table simultaneously stood up and applauded... as did the table next to them... and the table next to them, and so on until we were given a standing ovation by the entire length of the food court as we slowly walked down the rest of the corridor with our mouths hanging open in astonishment. “The thousands of hours I've slaved away making costumes with no response and now this with a store-bought T-Shirt? I’m never sewing again,” Ellystar joked. Blown away by the reception, we spent the rest of the night drinking, challenging folks to assemble the Silver Monkey, and discovering that EVERYONE has their favorite Temple team. Our second highlight of the night was when Felicia Day freaked out over our costumes and took our photo, which she immediately posted on Twitter. PatrickD, a massive Felicia Day fan, just about died. We have never before had so much fun or been so comfortable in costume in our entire cosplay careers!

Saturday morning we headed to the parade in our Doctor Who costumes; Sketch's sister was holding a spot for us across the street and we had to run across the route to get there. Undeterred, Shiva picked up the hem of her wedding dress and ran through the parade screaming, “DOCTOR!!” Sketch caught on and followed her doing the same, which successfully got us to our spot with a few laughs for good measure. The parade was excellent and we had a front-row seat, which was awesome. After the parade we hit up the Doctor Who gathering on the 10th floor of the Marriott, and hung out there for a while before getting changed. That afternoon we hit up the Gillian Anderson panel with Shiva dressed as Scully; it was cool to see Anderson and hang out with other X-Files fans. That evening hosted a fantastic room party with Hunger Games-themed cocktails before getting into our Firefly costumes and heading to the Westin for the "Mighty Fine Shindig" party. As soon as we arrived, Shiva was dragged onstage by fellow partygoers for an Inara look-alike contest; she didn’t win, but apparently quite a few people in the audience were upset that she lost since they kept coming up to us the rest of the evening to express their disappointment. We came for the dancing, however, and unfortunately, the Shindig was not able to get the folk band they had two years ago. When we first arrived, a DJ spun rock music which felt completely inappropriate for the party's theme; when he finished his set he was followed by a Celtic a cappella group who sang beautifully but were not upbeat enough to dance to. Slightly disappointed, we ditched the party and headed to Metro for a late dinner.

Sunday morning Shiva wore Lebreau from Final Fantasy XIII and Sketch strutted around as Rick Castle, complete with coffee from Starbucks. We hit up the Walk of Fame to snag two more signatures for Shiva's Star Trek cast poster: LeVar Burton, whom she thanked for his work on Reading Rainbow, and Jonathan Frakes, who was the most enjoyable Trek cast member we'd met thus far. He addressed Sketch as Nathan Fillion, and gave Shiva a remarkably genuine, “Wow, you look AMAZING!” complement on her costume with the classic Riker twinkle in his eye. He even got super excited when she unrolled her poster because he thought his was the last signature she needed: "Oh wow, do I get to finish this?!" he exclaimed. Unfortunately, we still needed Patrick Stewart's signature for that, but we appreciated his enthusiasm. After signing, Frakes took his time to chitchat with us and seemed to be actually enjoying himself rather than putting on a friendly face for our benefit, which impressed us.

That afternoon Shiva fulfilled a cosplay dream as she got into her new Rainbow Brite outfit and we all got ready as the entire cast of the popular 80s cartoon. Everyone was so colorful that we created quite the scene heading down to the Marriott lobby. We did a photoshoot out of the way by the pool area, but once we all were standing together in the atrium we were mobbed for photos. Sitting in one corner, we were unable to move for over an hour as the flashbulbs went off, and we were even filmed for a cosplay "Gundam Style" music video. Scarlet, in her first cosplay ever as Shy Violet, was absolutely blown away by the experience and couldn't wait to make her next costume. That evening we hit up Brian Brushwood’s NFSW panel which was hilarious, pitting Carmen Sandiago in a dance-off against PacMan ghosts and borrowing “Slide Show Roulette” from PatrickD's Anime Unscripted. We hung around after the panel to say hi to Brian, and witnessed one of his fans propose to his girlfriend right in front of him. “You guys – that JUST HAPPENED!” he said to us after congratulating the couple. At that, Sketch grabbed Shiva's ring hand and said, “Oh yeah? Look what's happened since PortCon!” Brian broke out into a huge grin, “Oh my God, you guys, everyone’s getting married! GROUP HUG!” and gave us all a big bear hug. Excellent end to an excellent weekend.