I love convention for many reasons, but mostly because it gives me an excuse to dress up and flex my mad photography skills. Note for future cons: bring a suitcase, not a duffle bag. Your shoulders will thank you.
We arrived on Thursday, checked in, nabbed our badges, and unpacked, fully prepared for the morning’s fun. Introductions were made to two wicked awesome people, Alice and her husband Ben. There were sammiches to be had (though sadly no tea), and I mapped out my ConPlan. I aimed to attend as many Writing Track panels as humanly possible. This plan did not happen. Instead, I hit 5 different concerts (one unintentionally), met some awesome people, and danced around in canvas ballet shoes in the rain. I’ll get to that in a moment.
First order of business is costuming. Here it is, the Doom Dress, which took countless hours and yards of gold trim to complete, but finally it was done, and I even had a pepper grinder to boot, though most people thought it was a sceptor. Alice was Day Two of DragonCon, but after all that work and my constant blog complaints about it, I thought it needed top billing. Ta da.
Convention bonus: people stopping you to ask for your photo. I was delighted. No one cared about my Cabaret dress, but they loved Alice and Helena.
Day One began with that I fondly refer to as my Cabaret dress:
This involved a corset, my stripped top and bustle, blooms, and stockings. Basically I was running about in my Victorian undergarments. I also had a lovely design on my face crafted of eyeliner and red glitter burlesque lipstick, a feather and cameo fascinator, Veronica Varlow’s Locket of Secrets, and RockLove Clockwork earrings. Day One had me attending the “How to Break in” panel, which was actually fairly informative and unexpectedly interesting due to one panelist’s questionable state. Basically, publishers are looking for writers who can market themselves. Considering I was prancing around the con with my hand-made Calling Cards, I say I get a check mark in that column. I also met a fabulous literary agent, Deidra Knight, who told me the cards were beautiful. It was delightful to hear after the mess of printing and cutting them.
Friday night found me at the first of many concerts. Bella Morte and The Last Dance killed it. Originally we’d thought Voltaire would be playing, but as it turns out, he was at another venue. Nevertheless, Bella Morte quickly wormed it’s dasterdly way into my heart, ending their set with a surprisingly badass cover of My Heart Will Go On. Yes. That song. You know, from Titanic. I was shocked too, and so was Andy (their lead), who admitted to never thinking he’d cover Celine. Their rendition was less lovey-dovey dearly-departed, and more, I murdered her and kept her below the floor boards.
It was lovely.
The Last Dance then took the stage. They were equally wonderful, and I delighted in flirting a bit with Jeff. He had the most remarkable tie: red, with black knives. It was adorable. Let me tell you, that man has tremendous stage presence. He could have been wearing a tutu and still maintained his air of hardcore rock and roller.
And then he brought out the fan dancer. She was magnificent. I may or may not have stolen their setlist after the show.
Day Two was the Alice dress (pictured above). I’m not entirely sure what panels I attended other than Crossed Swords and Ghost Hunters. I met up with daring Catherine, who made a lovely Black Swan, grabbed some lunch, and had a nice chat. ConHangover has deeply affected my memory as to what happened after. I visited the Bella Morte table where I got a signed CD, a hug from Andy, and eventually a photograph. Then I lost my badge and was trapped in a hallway for 10 minutes because the guard wouldn’t let me through. The boys of Bella Morte were kind enough to keep an eye out for me, but I had to… change my plans. I improvised, if you will.
After my time as Alice, I changed into my belly dancing costume (not pictured), secured an appropriated badge, and headed to see Abney Park. Last year, they sadly did not play DragonCon, and I was deeply disappointed because seeing them was my sole reason in attending. No, really. I love Abney Park. Luckily, they played this year, and my dreams of seeing Captain Robert and crew were realized.
You meet some strange people at DragonCon, but I think, by far, I’ve met the strangest at this concert. We’d gotten there early after stopping to see Kathryn and Emerald Rose, and I’m still not really sure who was playing. He did sing the end song from Portal, and that was cool. I knew the words, even though I’ve never played Portal. After his set ended, I made my happy way to the front of the stage where I encountered THEM. A lady and (who I think) were her three sons. I won’t recount the experience, as I’m still a bit disturbed, but needless to say, if you’re old enough to be at a midnight concert, you are old enough to stand for the hour-long set. I will smush you and feel no remorse.
Sadly, the kid beat me to the set list. But that’s ok. I can let it go because I have some amazing snaps.
Day Three: Helena (also not pictured), from My Chemical Romance’s video of the same name. Dead ballerina chick. This was the day it chose to rain. After acquiring a new badge, it began to sprinkle as I was walking around in canvas ballet slippers I had previously turned black via sharpie. This was not good. I attended a panel on Copyright 101 (very good), met the Ghost Hunters and John Zaffis, went to Kathryn’s panel on Regency Myth and Reality where she gave a shout out to Lord Byron and I fell in love with Panic! At the Disco’s “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and determined that I am going to AnacroCon in February, and then I went to a less-than-stellar panel on belly dance and burlesque. The speakers were great, the audience… eh. I then hit the Killjoy meetup (which was the whole reason for the last minute Helena dress), and felt like I was going to die from smoke inhalation. My eyes burned. It was awful. But someone had turned in my badge!
In the last of the concerts, we trekked to the Time Traveler’s Ball and caught Frenchy and the Punk (and if Voltaire wasn’t going to take until 1 am to hit the stage, I would have seen him too). Frenchy and the Punk were very high energy and I wish I could have been more physically enthusiastic, but my feet were killing me. After the set, I asked “The Punk” for the setlist. He looked a bit surprised, but I left with my treasure. We caught the Masqurade on DCTV, and hit the sack.
Monday: plain clothes. It was odd to say the least, especially after 3 days of corset. I returned my second badge, hit the dealer’s room for a new bag (as mine had broken), and came away with a darling leather pouch with drawstring and lock, and caught the last Ghost Hunter panel (which was basically the same as the previous one but with more hangover and less Tango). Then we packed up our ridiculous amount of costuming and accessories, and proceeded out. Sadly, the boys of Bella Morte were at a panel when I stopped to say goodbye, but Frenchy and the Punk were there, and signed my setlist. I was tickled when I walked up and “The Punk” said, “Ah! The setlist girl!”
We had a nice chat wherein “The Punk” said he would write silly things on their AnacroCon setlist, saying he’d make it out “To the cute girl stealing our setlist.” Que long walk to the train, boarding, and my going home for a much needed shower and nap. I missed my bed. It was cold and very empty, which I love very much. And so ends my ConAdventure, until AnacroCon in February. I’m delighted to report that I gave away ALL my Calling Cards and stickers (and could have used more), and people seemed genuinely excited. I hope they are. I am.
Now I must readjust to a normal, less glittery life, and get back to noveling.
(Photo credit for the top image goes to Julie Garner. All other photography by me. Please don’t steal them. I’ll be angry with you.)