August 29th - September 2nd, 2013
Atlanta, Georgia

Convention Stats:
Location: Peachtree Center
Event Year: Twenty-Seventh
Reported Attendance: 57,000
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Flynn Rider, Tangled
Buddy Blue, Rainbow Brite
Mal Reynolds, Firefly
Rick Castle, Castle
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Schroeder, Peants
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
Rainbow Brite, Rainbow Brite
Inara Serra, Firefly
Kate Beckett, Castle
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Poison Ivy, Batman
Lucy Van Pelt, Peants
Our Events:
A Night at the Georgia Aquarium
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Lionel Lum, Shiva, Sketch, Lionel Lum, Shiva, Chinako, Sketch, Majodere, ChibiRinoa, Shiva (x2), Sketch
Dragon*Con 2013 drew a record 57,000 attendees to Atlanta for a Labor Day weekend jam-packed with pop-culture. As a result of the exploding attendance, Dragon*Con made the decision to move all of its vendors into their own building this year in order to free up panel space in the Marriott. Although this was a smart decision overall, the implementation of the AmericasMart move was terrible with poor signage, a counter-intuitive layout, and a disorganized flow of traffic which created claustrophobic conditions. However, their strict "hotel room key or badge" check policy was expanded to include more hours in order to help keep non-guests from people-watching in the hotel lobbies, which did help alleviate some of the overall crowding. As always, it's impossible to name all the wonderful guests in attendance, but my personal favorites included George Takei of Star Trek, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche from Pinky and the Brain, John DeLancie and Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and RJ, Ron, Laura, Frank from SyFy's Face Off. The cosplay scene was varied and creative as usual, with everything from Steampunk TETRIS pieces and the Fruit of the Loom mascots to and entire football and cheerleading squad dedicated to G.I. JOE's Cobra organization and outfits that matched the Mariott's iconic carpet. Popular events included the Saturday parade through downtown, Night at the Georgia Aquarium, and an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records' number for the most people wearing a Star Trek costume in a single location.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We flew down to Atlanta Thursday afternoon, and were surprised at how many people were already packing the lobby in complicated costumes that evening as we hung about the Marriott. Every year the party seems to start earlier and earlier, and the previously chill Thursday evenings have turned into a full blown convention party by nightfall. We met up with friends for dinner, and did a late-night cake run to Metro Café Diner. Ellystar led the way through the food court straight to Metro’s back entrance. This is our fifth year going to this con and we just realized you can get to Metro from the food court. We feel dumb. Friday morning Shiva got into her Cheshire Cat costume along with Scarlet as Alice, while Sketch wore Flynn Rider from Tangled. After hitting up the Disney gathering at the Sheraton we walked over to the convention space near the MARTA entrance which was housing the vendors this year. It was nice to have the Walk of Fame in the Marriott as a result of the move and have the vendors consolidated in one location rather than spread out into different spaces, but the new location was so horribly crowded and disorganized it was like navigating a maze. It has potential, but Dragon*Con needs to properly direct traffic and post better signage in this new space.

Friday afternoon we got into our Rainbow Brite costumes and re-assembled our full group, sans Lala Orange, for a photoshoot with Lionel Lum at the Marriott. The group was once again a big hit, and we always have a blast in these colorful and comfortable costumes. One girl was absolutely amazed our group had male cosplayers, saying “OMG, you have BOYS?! Are they your husbands?!” as if Sketch and Doug had not volunteered for it, which they had. The entire exchange made us chuckle. For dinner we hit up Hooters as the Brite cast, continuing our annual tradition of wearing inappropriately childish costumes to Hooters. The staff thought we were adorable and we got plenty of funny photos. That night we hung out in our Firefly costumes for socializing before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning we wore our Castle and Beckett costumes and snagged curbside seats to the parade! We were surrounded by exceptionally friendly people who were sharing chairs and water, and we let the little kids sit on the street in front of us. The parade was excellent, but towards the end a teenaged girl in cat ears ran up to us screaming that a little kid was "dying" in back of the crowd and demanded that the people behind us run out into the street. The confused people were stumbling over us and Shiva had to put her arms around the little girl in front of her to stop them from trampling her. Finally, one of our new parade friends from New York (appropriately enough) told this cat girl to piss off. She argued but we all joined in at yelling at her to get lost until she stomped off. We applauded the New Yorker, and found out later that a kid HAD passed out - blocks away, nowhere near us - and the parade officials had made sure the EMTs had gotten to his family just fine. Officials are there to handle emergencies; that girl had accomplished nothing but incite chaos which almost injured additional people. As the parade ended, we hugged our parade friends and parted ways.

That afternoon we hit up the George Takai panel; Takai was interesting and gave long, heartfelt answers to questions while moderator Garret Wang balanced it out with jokes and impersonations. That night we got bloodied up in our Legends of the Hidden Temple gear, met up with the rest of our group, and after seeing the long line for the shuttle, walked the few blocks to the aquarium party. The party was awesome; attendees were eating, drinking, and enjoying the displays while a DJ spun tunes in the lobby. We wandered the exhibits, calling out “Temple Assemble!” to regroup when anyone asked for a photo. We climbed into a rainforest tree in one area, and into a South American temple display for another. The security guards offered to take photos with our own cameras: reason #2,435 why I love Dragon*Con. We even hit up the dance floor using our Temple Guardian pike as a limbo stick, and in response the DJ played the Limbo song and the whole place started limbo-ing!

We also ran into the kid who was actually a Green Monkey and told us his story of being on the show. He didn't get far, so we gave him one of our medallions because it's awesome he was on it regardless. We grabbed a late dinner at Max Lager's and spent the rest of the night hanging out at the Marriott where we met a guy who had been a Silver Snake AND who had MADE IT TO THE TEMPLE ROUND! Amazing! He said that the reason the Shrine of the Silver Monkey was so hard is because the producers put grease on the pieces, which explains some, but not ALL, of the stupid and nonsensical ways kids tried to put it together. We also met competitors from American Ninja Warrior who wanted photos with US, even though they were the athletes. Amazing night!

Sunday we hit up the Walk of Fame so Shiva could get her Star Trek: The Next Generation poster autographed by Marina Sirtis, after which we gave the vendor complex another shot to see if things had improved. It wasn't as crowded but had a maze-like setup and it was easy to get disoriented. By the time we stumbled out the other end of the complex, we were exhausted. We cut through the MARTA station and did a quick photoshoot of Shiva's Poison Ivy costume, then grabbed lunch at the food court where a professor from the University of Tennessee recruited us to complete a psychological survey about cosplay. The form had odd questions like "do you refer to yourself and your character as 'we'?" and seemed to be geared towards people who had disassociated themselves from their real lives when the vast majority of cosplayers just want to have a good time. We ended up writing our own answers to a lot of the questions to avoid choosing from their skewed options.

After lunch we attended the Face Off panel; RJ, Ron, Frank and Laura were standing at the door giving us high-fives as we entered. They all told interesting stories about filming the show, including how Laura and Roy mess with the camera crew on purpose and despite the bullshit of reality TV, each of them has actually broken into the movie makeup industry as a result. They took a lot of great makeup-related questions from the audience and we took notes of their recommendations for products and techniques. That evening we changed into our Lucy and Schroeder costumes from Peanuts and met up with the rest of the crew for a photoshoot with Lionel. We had a full cast, including Chinako as Snoopy and ChibiRinoa as the Little Red-Headed Girl. Shiva was carrying her “Psychiatric Help, 5 cents” booth and within a few minutes of setting up, random people started coming up to her with loose change, asking for advice. She had a blast coming up with answers, and by the end of the night had enough spare change to buy a drink. We finally retired to the room with alcohol and ice cream – a dangerous combination of awesome. We can't wait to go back!