Kellygirl's Pop Culture Palace
Reports from DragonCon and the North American Tribal Gathering
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Part One - "I say Dragon, you say Con"

Much like dreago, I expect this to be a multi-part epic. The timeline is somewhat confused in my head and many of the jokes will only be funny to the two of us (and only when we're very very tired) but I shall try my best.

After my many errands on Thursday, I kept having to remove one item after another out of my suitcase so it would actually close. So I got to bed much later than I'd planned. Up by 3:30am to start getting ready. Made the phone call at 5am to try and get on the flight we wanted (having been booked on the wrong one) which did finally happen after 20min on hold. Met dreago at 5:30 to catch the subway to the airport. Got the plane to Atlanta. On the train from the airport to downtown, I overheard a teen girl say something to her parents about The Tribe and in my head I was like "I wonder if she's one of the WAM contest winners." Oddly, she was! She started talking to us after she heard us mentioning the show too. She was the first prize not the grand prize winner but her parents had promised to bring her anyway. After some confusion, we found our hotel. We were staying at the Marriott Marquis but unfortunately our rooms were not ready so we had to leave our bags with the bellhop.

Our first job was to pick up our badges. While there seemed to be plenty of booths at which you could purchase a ticket for that day, the line for people who had pre-registered was extremely long. I think we waited almost 2 hours. And it wasn't over yet! Then we had to find our way through the maze of conference rooms to pick up our press passes. The people there were really nice and they had snacks. Actually, throughout both hotels there were tables everywhere with pitchers of water - which I greatly appreciated. By this point we'd already missed the "Welcome to the Tribal Gathering" panel so we checked to see if our room was ready (it was) and headed up to change.

We made it to the "Tribe Fashion Show and Costume Contest" about 40min late. dreago looked fantastic but I felt a little silly in my ballet slippers and wished I'd been able to pack boots. We met up with some of the people we knew from the various Tribe discussion forums/groups in the backstage area (thank you, press pass!) including the girl who'd be doing the interview with us. We ended up having some time to kill so we wandered around a bit, I changed into something I felt more comfortable in, and we met up with some of the fic writers dreago knows and ate some food. We kept seeing the Tribe cast wandering around but even in their costumes from the show they didn't stand out in the sea of orcs, Storm Troopers, and fairies to name but a few. Anyway, I think the original arrangement was that we would do our interview that night but due to communication difficulties it didn't happen. The ever professional dreago took charge and made sure we got rescheduled. In the meantime, we got to attend the "Mature Themes in The Tribe" panel (they were actually carding people at the door). It was very interesting and due to the small size of the audience we both got to ask multiple questions. Apparently the cast themselves would like to see more violence on the show - not gratuitous, just to make it a bit more realistic - but there are constraints due to it being a "kid's" show. There are some things that the people who broadcast the show just won't accept. The cast just seems like the nicest, most down to earth group of people. They seemed a little overwhelmed by DragonCon (as was I) but I think they were really impressed by the reception of their fans here and the discussion at the panel. After a bit of exploring the madness of the Hyatt and meeting up with dreago's friends again, they headed off to the Buffy NC-17 fic panel and I headed off to an early night in bed.

To be continued...


Part Two - Better than Photoshop

Our interview was scheduled for 9am. A bit early for the overworked Tribe cast but we were all laughing by the end. I gave them a bag of "American" candy as a thank you gift. In it I put Peeps, circus peanuts, Hot Tamales, Charleston Chews, Oreos, Tootsie Pops, pixie sticks, and Fun Dip. I think the interview went really well - I was left with a good feeling anyway. We'll see how it goes when I try to transcribe the tape or see the video that was shot by Blackrose. Really, they are just the nicest bunch of people. I said it before but they are so down-to-earth. I think it has something to do with New Zealand which, from everything they say, sounds like paradise on earth. And upon my return home I found that my personal goal had been met - our interview was mentioned in their Tour Diary.

After that was a Family Feud style game "Tribal Feud." Then it was off for much waiting in line. dreago got in line to get a book signed by James Marsters and I got in line to attend his Q&A. As I was by myself I ended up less than 10 rows from the front, though it wasn't on the side that the questions were coming from so he tended to face the other way. I'm glad that I went. He said some interesting things (which maybe he's said before but whatever this was my first time).

- about Hollywood "Now I'm comfortable with the fact that they're trying to screw me."

- working on the stage teaches you "it's not all about you."

- says he used to go to cons "Man, I used to have the ears."

- "I wanna do a love scene with a guy that's so hot it turns the girls on." Uh, like that would be difficult.

- is reading the new Harry Potter and says he was pacing around his suite cussing at Snape

- that to do justice to Joss's work you can't send it up "You can't be aware of how witty your are or how strange of a situation you're in."

My observation is that he's too aware of being "on" - too ready with the pose or the sound bite. The worst part of the whole thing was the girl yelling at him to take his shirt off. As if that weren't embarrassing enough, he motioned her up on to the stage and basically said he wouldn't unless she did. So she took her top off. Then when he commented that she was still wearing a top, she took her bra off. Oh, it gets worse. He then hugged the topless girl. Then said he still wasn't taking his shirt off. Ugh, the whole thing was just mortifying.

After he was done, I ran back to the other hotel for the Beth Allen Q&A which was much calmer. Can you believe that after that I went and found dreago who was still in line for the James Marsters signing? I shopped around a bit till she was finally out of there. After food and a little bit of laying in bed we got dressed to head to the Atlanta Civic Center for the big Masquerade. Essentially it was a big costume contest - the kind people spend all year preparing for. Except of course the hosts (it was 2 guys from Star Trek whose names I'd look up if I wasn't so lazy) who, though I assume they could read, did a damn fine job of seeming as though they couldn't. Some of the really great costumes were:

- Where the Wild Things Are - amazing and handmade

- Pac Man - they acted out the video game with the little monsters and eating the thing that turns them blue and the little eyes running away - very cute

- Lara Croft and geek - kid with video game controller making her move around then crawl towards him, then she shoots him

- Frankenstein and Bride surrounded by other monsters lip-synching "Summer Lovin"

- Sully and Boo from Monsters Inc - playing hide and go seek then he hides his eyes and she whips off her little girl dress to reveal a black leather one calling "here kitty kitty" - he picks her up and runs off stage

Of course, as this is all going on it comes to light that Kellygirl is sitting next to the freak who won't shut up. He keeps trying to talk to me and is spitting on me. Then before they announce the winners Meryl and Tom from The Tribe come on. She performs one song from the album and they do a song that they wrote together. All would have been fine if not for the "freestyling" that left dreago curled up in a ball in her seat. Oh, and the freak trying to make some sort of parallel between Meryl and Selena that left us questioning whether he meant that Meryl would be more famous if she died.

Caught the bus back to the hotel where we began the sad process of packing. Today was the first day I felt totally comfortable about talking to people and stuff and now I have to go home tomorrow? Blech!

Only one day left to talk about but in the meantime, check out the pictures I took here. I don't know why so many of them came out blurry - maybe I zoomed too much.


Day Four or why I never want to see another James Marsters Q&A

Monday morning we packed up all our stuff and vacated our hotel room. Once again leaving our stuff with with the bellhop, we made another run through the art exhibit. Yeah, I forgot to mention we did that yesterday. I have to say I wasn't expecting much but there were some really nice things. Which is why I wanted to go through a second time and write down the names of artists I liked. Of course, some of it was exactly what I'd feared. I guess I was a little out of it because when dreago spoke up saying "fairies make me hot" I stupidly had to ask if she was being facetious. Duh. In my defense, she is always going on about elves, isn't she?

The schedule actually worked out really well. There was one last Tribe panel with all the cast and it happened to be held right before the last Buffy panel with all the cast and in the same room. Which means, we showed up for the Tribe, got front row seats, and were able to keep them for Buffy. We weren't the only ones with this idea so there were lots of people there for Buffy but I think there may be some Tribe converts.

The Buffy panel really turned my head. I love Spike but I'm damn sick of James Marsters. Tired of people asking him questions. Tired of his "sincerity." Tired of his overuse of the phrase "you rock" or "that rocks." I already knew that I really liked Andy Hallett who is a funny funny man and sweet too. But the real revelation was Danny Strong. He is so freakin' cute in person. And he had me laughing harder than anyone else on the panel. I totally *heart* him now.

We headed back to get our last photo op with the Tribe cast. Could I feel like more of a dork that practically every time they do a signing/photos there I am? Then again, we are on a head nod/good morning basis with them but I don't know if that makes it better or worse. Apparently we are quite punchy by this point and my first slip of the tongue involved something about straddling the chair. That pales in comparison to the moment when we where preparing to get our pics with Michael Wesley-Smith and someone else is taking a picture for his own website. dreago's hubby had requested that no pics of her show up on the net and she said as much, but I piped up with "but you're not wearing anything slutty today." Needless to say, this elicited quite a doubletake from Michael. We popped in briefly at the Tribe track goodbye then headed off to the airport.

I think everyone on the train, in the airport, and probably on the plane too were sick of us and our incessant giggling. But there was an awful lot to be amused by - particularly when we thought about all the things we've said about the Tribe and what if they happened to read it. You know, like my rant about Lex and his tiny tiny nipples.

I really hope I get a chance to go to DragonCon again. I was both sad and happy to be home but I'm very happy to be sleeping on my awesome soft sheets again.









Can't get enough? Read Dreago's DragonCon report here.