Decked out in full Tamamo no Mae regalia, I drove from my home back to downtown Atlanta, Georgia, where Dragon*Con was being held. And I was already uncomfortable.
Not because - as I overheard in many conversations over the four days of Dragon*Con - costumers are often stressed and working down to the wire, sometimes finishing their grand creations in their hotel rooms while the con is happening. I'll cop to being a procrastinator, and having my costume done just in the nick of time. And yes, that was stressful.
No, I was uncomfortable because I was sitting on the bottom half of my 60-inch straight black haired wig, which was pulling the other half (and my neck) back into a very difficult position for driving a car. That turned out to be a constant issue as I met friends and strangers throughout the night. It's hard to sit down with hair that long, and it quickly dawned on me why Heian era women were always depicted either standing or kneeling.
I also had to bunch up my entire costume just to get into the car. My mobility was absolutely compromised in this cocoon of brocade and satin. I worried one of the costume's fox tails might get torn off when I finally extracted myself from the driver's seat.
Once into the muggy, mid-seventies Atlanta evening air, I knew right away: it's going to get worse. FULL POST
Editor's note: Emma Loggins is the editor of Fanbolt.com, an fan news site that specializes in behind-the-scenes information and interviews with the casts and crews of entertainment franchises with organized fan bases. She can also be found on Twitter @EmmaLoggins.
Dragon*Con's Walk of Fame gives fans a rare opportunity to meet their favorite sci-fi stars: This year celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Richard Dean Anderson, and Dean Cain held court as fans waited in line at the Hilton hotel in Atlanta to meet the stars they idolize.
The event also gives celebrity guests an out of this world opportunity to make some serious dough, with merely the swipe of a pen.
Out of nearly 400 celebrity guests that attended Dragon*Con this weekend, about 100 stars were available to meet their fans at the Walk of Fame. Some of the longest lines were for the cast members of "The Vampire Diaries," who charged between $30 and $45 dollars for autographs and $45 to $55 dollars for photos with fans. Fans could even get a photo with the all of the show's cast members in attendance for $240 dollars.
At one point there were more than 40 fans in line for "Torchwood" star John Barrowman, who was charging $55 dollars for a signed picture, with a consistently long queue of fans waiting for him throughout the weekend. It's not hard to do the math. FULL POST
Sewing is not for the faint of heart, or any other body part.
There's an incredible potential in fabric. It's easy to dream up beautiful possibilities for a few yards of alluring fabric. But, as soon as you press the foot pedal on the sewing machine, an irrevocable commitment has been made. At that point you can easily ruin the fabric and all that potential. And you can injure yourself doing it.
In total, I started with 22 yards of fabric and a pile of rabbit fur scraps that I was going to turn into the outfit of a Heian-era Japanese fox demon. And anything could go wrong.
In the frenzy of stitching together long swaths of the costume's robes, I could accidentally catch my finger in the path of the sewing machine's needle (something of an ultimate fear for every person I know who sews). Or the sewing needle could hit one of the hundreds of straight pins holding yards and yards of fabric together, break and fly off God-knows-where, poking someone's eye out. There was a good chance I could end up bleeding all over this costume.
Luckily, the worst thing to happen was stepped on a pin. It hurt, and now I have a small, bruised battle scar near the arch of my left foot to remind me of Dragon*Con 2012 and Tamamo no Mae.
As I started working on my costume, I made no assumptions about my ability to actually create the version of the costume that exists in my head: A Heian era (the period of Japanese history that lasted from 794 – 1185AD) court lady with nine red-tipped fox tails emerging from the train of her robes.
I know how to use a sewing machine and follow a pattern, but I am far from a seamstress. I know what historic Japanese fabrics look like, but I also know there are no modern recreations of those silks and linens available at the local Hancock Fabrics. I know that an accurate version of a Heian era outfit consists of 12 large robes, layered on top of each other, with an undergarment robe and pants, to boot; but I also know that Atlanta, Georgia, is not the best place to wear 12 robes in the summer.
There were bound to be people on the internet who've been in similar circumstances, I hoped. So I took to Google to find their stories and figure out how to maximize my comfort and the finished product. FULL POST
Atlanta (CNN) - Angie Dowling attended her first Dragon*Con with her father when she was 5 years old. Now, more than 20 years later, she’s the parent squeezing her children through the crowds to secure a prime viewing spot for the parade of science-fiction and fantasy characters.
“Getting to experience the parade with them is even more incredible because they’re looking at it through fresh eyes with that youthful excitement,” said the 29-year-old English teacher from Marietta, Georgia. “They absolutely love it. They give themselves over completely to the experience.”
From Chewbacca and the Hunger Games to quarians and steampunk dogs, there was something for nearly every fandom on Saturday at Atlanta’s annual Dragon*Con parade, one of the most kid-friendly events of the year’s biggest fan convention in the southeastern United States. About 14,000 spectators attended last year’s parade, and organizers expect that number to grow this year.
Regarded among many as a more fan-oriented alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con has grown since its inception in 1987, taking over more of downtown Atlanta each year as organizers add panels to accommodate growing interest in all things fan-related. While Dragon*Con’s panels and parties attract fans of television, film, video game and comic-inspired subcultures from all over the country, the parade is open to the public free of charge, drawing families from all around metro Atlanta who wouldn’t necessarily identify as nerds or pony up for weekend passes that run as high as $140. FULL POST