Dragon Con 2000

Dragon Con 2000

Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA • June 29 – July 2, 2000

There’s no place on Earth like Dragon Con – maybe nowhere in the universe. Once a year, for four days, the normally conservative Hyatt Regency hotel in Atlanta becomes home to “America’s Largest Sci-Fi and Popular Arts Convention.”

That’s the official description, but here’s my description: “America’s Largest Collection of Trekkies, Goth Punks, Comic Book Collectors, and Internet Addicts; and Possibly the Only Place in the World You Can Find Klingons Smoking Cigarettes or an Accountant Dressed in Chain Mail Having Drinks with the Guy Who Played Darth Vader.”

The Hyatt lobby at 1:00 AM during Dragon Con begins to resemble a Hunter S. Thompson nightmare, but you’ll have to experience that one for yourself – here are a few random observations from the event.

The high point of the weekend for me was an evening of good old-fashioned ‘rassling. Not that fog-machines-and-makeup crap they play on the SuperStation, I’m talking classic wrestling, with Believable heroes and villains, like newcomer Devon Desire (a pale and soft wrestler in purple tights, like a slightly more effeminate version of Barney the dinosaur) and elder statesman Abdullah the Butcher. Abdullah handled three men his size (200-300 lbs. each), with nothing but his bare hands. And a metal folding chair. Oh, yeah – and a fork, stabbed repeatedly into their heads, until the blood flowed like vomit at Spring Break. God bless ’em, and you – bring the kids next year.

They revived the “Rock and Wrestling Connection” with appearances by Slymenstra Hymen (GWAR) and Jerry Only (the Misfits). Let’s give Jerry the benefit of the doubt and say he was “extremely approachable” during the weekend. A lesser man might say he was starved for attention.

I briefly met Ensign Chekov from the original Star Trek, and was crushed to find he resembled Barney Fife more than he did an officer of the Starfleet Command. Don’t forget to beam up your hair next time.

Billy Mumy (Will Robinson from Lost In Space, as in “Danger, Will Robinson!”) was there, playing acoustic guitar. It’s little-known that he’s a songwriter (wrote and recorded the Dr. Demento classic, “Fish Heads,” and even worked with the slightly-more-legitimate America) and people seemed to enjoy it, but I was tempted to stand outside the door, waggling my arms and shouting, “Warning! Warning!”

I was stopped in my tracks at one point by the sight of Darth Vader, escorted through the streets of Atlanta by twin columns of Imperial Stormtroopers – I swear to God these were the real thing, like some General Tecumseh Sherman of the 31st century, come back in time to lay waste to the city again.

Another high point was the “Girlie Freak Show,” with ringmistress Slymenstra directing the Torture King (ex-Jim Rose, he ate fire, walked on broken glass, and plunged metal skewers through his arms and neck) and a handful of other performers, doing everything from eating bugs and goldfish to a trapeze act and a vaudeville striptease. Slymenstra even sang a torchy little vamp number (though dressed as a half-snake woman – I bet Billie Holiday never did that). To cap off the Girlie Show, she was attached to a Tesla Coil in such a way that she shot ten-foot lightning bolts from her fingertips. Electrifying.

The clawed, leathery creature from the Alien movies killed a few hours, chatting with fans by the Concierge desk in the lobby. I guess that’s better than killing the fans.

Seriously, though – if you like Sci-Fi books, movies or TV, Tolkien, or even Xena: Warrior Princess, you’ll love this event. And even if you don’t like any of those things, the visuals are great. Go next year, before they beam all these folks back up to the mothership.

MORE INFO: http://www.dragoncon.org.

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