DRAGONCON: Day 1 Recap

Lines away

Friday is the first active day of the Dragon*Con sci-fi convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Day 1 is usually the toughest day just because much of its beginning is spent waiting in line to pickup your attendance badge.  This year, however, was surprisingly better than times past.  The line moved considerably more efficiently than last year and within an hour I had ID in hand and on my way.

Ironically, the speed with which I got my badge left me waiting for the actual panel doors to be open as we’d completed before the con panels were officially set to begin.  Not a bad trade though as waiting on a panel to start far exceeds standing in wait for a badge.

Shatner and his silver tongue

So, once the badge was picked up, it was off to the first agenda item of the day.  A sit in on the William Shatner panel.

Captain Kirk himself had just arrived and was by his own account not really prepared.  He went straight to QnA and spent the next hour or so answering the fan’s written and in-person questions.  For obsessive fans, I imagine much of what he talked about was probably rehashed anecdotes that he’s probably used at other engagements, but for those who haven’t been to his talks — there were some funny and insightful stories about Shatner’s time on the original Star Trek series set and a few new stories from his career since.

One of the more amusing tales was a recounting of a common prank he used to pull on Leonard Nimoy on the set of Star Trek the original series.  As he tells it, the highlight of each shooting day was lunch time.  He and Nimoy would race each other to the craft services area.  It started off as simply brisk walking to the food court, but at some point Nimoy (determined to get the upper hand) bought a bicycle.  Shatner retaliated by buying a chain for said bike.  Nimoy returned the favor by buying some bolt cutters.  This one upmanship went back and forth for a time and at one point Shatner mounted Leonard’s bike on the rafters after instructing the lighting folks to install a spot light just nearby in order to make it harder to spot.  Shatner won the game, but Nimoy had had enough.

The panel wasn’t all stories however.  Shatner made sure to announce a couple recent projects that he has on his plate.  One is THE CAPTAINS; a recent collection of interviews that he did with the Star Trek captains all the way up through the recent JJ Abrams version.  The second project is still in progress and is also a documentary, but this time about the convention going culture.  Shatner has interviewed the fans and promises some really interesting characters.  As an example, he claims to have interviewed a woman (or was it a man) with multiple personality disorder — where each personality is a character from Star Trek.  He isn’t sure if the woman was putting him on, but he figures it’ll make for good drama.

All in all, a decent panel with William Shatner.


The Art of Akira

Next on the agenda was to sit in on one more panel before heading out to take candids of cosplaying con-goers.  The con presenter was Joe Peacock, a self-professed fanboy of everything Akira and Katsuhiro Otomo.  He discovered Akira at age 12, through the anime movie.  His father took him to see a student print of the film in 1991; it blew his mind.  Since then he has dedicated most of his life to collecting all things Akira and most recently he’s been touring the world introducing it to fans and newbies alike.

Peacock owns over 15,000 original sketches and animation cels from the film and has even gone so far as to wear his passion on his person with his left arm almost completely covered by an Akira themed tattoo.  The panel was short, but informative.  Joe is quite knowledgeable about the history of this film and spouted off interesting tidbits about the technical process involved in making this still groundbreaking work.


Camera troubles

I had initially planned to do an hour or so of cosplay photography, but troubles with the camera cut my candid escapade short.  I hope to make up for it on Day 2 where I’ll be shooting the DragonCon parade goers.  Stay tuned for more daily coverage throughout the weekend.



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