DragonCon 2016 - The Aftermath
This year has been so awesome. Full of ups and downs, but still…just amazing in the opportunities and the activities I’ve been able to participate in. Not to mention the connections I’ve made, that I hope will continue to grow.
DragonCon is my favorite convention. I admit I’m biased. It’s the first cosplay convention I’d ever attended. It was the first place I saw where costuming was not just normal, but celebrated. I flourished with that knowledge and it changed my life for the better. I cannot imagine my life without DragonCon, and just like my life, how I attend DragonCon must evolve.
The convention itself has grown exponentially. It is such a different experience from ten years ago, and completely different from what it was at its inception. I have friends who’d attended the third ever DragonCon, friends who’ve volunteered during the first 10 years, and friends who only started going in the last four. It’s a completely different experience from any other convention, something I didn’t realize or appreciate until this year – mainly because I’ve attended so many conventions that I now see how very different they all are. The new experiences gave me a different appreciation for what DragonCon is and what it isn’t. This is not to say that it’s perfect, because it’s far from that, but it is a unique experience that I don’t see myself giving up anytime soon.
DragonCon is unequivocally the cosplay party convention. One hundred percent. I know that there are people who go there and network or attend panels, but, and maybe this is just a me thing, I go to cosplay and hang out.
And I love it.
This year I had plans, big plans. I was going to cosplay Thursday through Sunday night, even switching to a night time, hang out costume on Sunday evening because Thanos, while great, is not a 10-hour costume. It’s more of a 5-hour costume with a smoothie break. I started out strong, too. On Thursday we checked in, grabbed our badges, hung out, grabbed food, and then headed back to the room for me to change. I’d decided I was going to be Death, but I didn’t feel like carrying a sickle. Yes, I have one but I don’t like carrying props at parties. People kept calling me Storm and to be honest, it wasn’t really a costume – just more of an excuse to wear a wig and a corset. It was fun, though and I stayed out too late talking to tons of people and overall just having a good time.
Friday was lantern day. I have some friends and every year we try to do a group costume. This is something we have talked about for 7 years and the closest we got was last year, where we did Marvel v Capcom. We didn’t organize a shoot and two of the 5 people in the group didn’t get their costumes together in time, but we were able to get a few more people on board and yay! Mini group. This year we opted to do Lanterns – as in Green Lantern and the Lantern Corp. If you didn’t know, there’s a whole rainbow of lanterns that all represent different mental abilities and emotions. Green represents willpower, blue represents hope, orange represents greed, yellow is fear, red is rage, indigo is compassion, violet is love, white is life, and black is death.
I, of course, chose red because rage is my superpower.
I opted to do Red Lantern Bleez because her backstory somewhat resonated with me. Unfortunately, it was a typical rape trope but eventually she evolves past that. I liked the complexity of the costume and that I’d either have to level up my crafting skills or bring some super creativity. Ultimately, I had to do both. I did some leatherworking, which I’d only done one other time a couple of years back with great results, but that was under the tutelage of God Save the Queen Fashions. This time, I was on my own and I rocked it! I mean, it took a couple of tries which wasted some of my leather, but overall, I did what I set out to do. The wings were the most complicated part because what I wanted to do was create some 3-D bone wings but I didn’t have the skills to do it, so I settled for puffy paint and luck. People keep telling me it’s skill, but trust me, it was luck. I was lucky enough to find some wings with a wide enough wingspan to satisfy me. If I hadn’t found those wings, that costume wouldn’t have happened.
I’m really glad it happened cuz the costume came out great.
The only downside was that I didn’t make it to the Black Girl Nerds meetup at Joystick that night. I kinda knew it was a stretch, but I still hoped to make it out there. On the plus side, I did make it to the Lantern shoot I had planned. It was a night time shoot, so everything is really dark, but we had a good time and got some good pictures out of it.
Saturday is a notoriously horrific DragonCon day. It’s so crowded and there is so much going on, I usually decide to opt out of cosplay for the day. This year, since I had such a comfortable, low-key costume, I decided to do Nightwing. I still call it Nightwing Harley Quinn, but people either think I’m one or the other, never both, so I just roll with it. Our room was above the parade so we watched part of that. Then we went to the dealer’s room where my S.O. ditched me and I picked up a couple of other friends. We wandered around for a short while then just found a spot to people watch. I actually attended a panel this year on managing social media. It wasn’t particularly organized but there were some gems of information in there that I’ve stored away for future use…if it’s not outdated by then.
Usually on Saturday night I try to go to the DragonCon dances, but I’m so line adverse that I opt out as soon as I see one. What that means is that I didn’t even try to go dancing Saturday and opted to wander around the Marriott hanging out. It was fun. I watched my friend take pictures and marveled at the amount of drinking happening around me until my feet screamed that it was time to lay down.
Sunday was a cool day. It was the day of the Black Geeks shoot at 11am – too damn early. I made it, although I was a little late because 11 am is too damn early for a Sunday photo shoot. It’s just too damn early for a photo shoot. After that, I had an interview for a documentary *fingers crossed that I don’t get cut out* and then I realized that I felt ill. So ill, that the Uber driver I had gave me some juice because I looked ill under my purple face paint. I ended up going back to my room and changing out of costume so that I could eat and rest.
Sunday was the one day I regret because I didn’t make it to the big Marvel shoot. It was one of those situations where I had to listen to my body and it was screaming to sit down, drink some water, eat some food, get something for your sore throat, and for goodness sake, stop talking. I did everything except stop talking, but that evening I was tucked away in bed instead of out enjoying the festivities. It sucked because I *LOVE* Sunday night at DragonCon. That is the night of the Masquerade and when the costumes come out, they come OUT! Plus, it’s the last full night of the convention. There are people who don’t go to bed on Sunday. Hell, I’m usually out until 3 am.
This DragonCon, I was in bed by 9 pm because I was sick. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to swallow. It definitely hurt to talk. It’s been 2 weeks and I’m still figuring this out.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a good DragonCon. It just means that I needed more green smoothies before and during the event. Every year I say I will prep better so that I don’t get sick and every year I fail. Next year will not be the year I fail.
This was a fairly low-key DragonCon, considering. I hit 6 out 8 of my goals, had a much more successful new cosplay than I expected, and picked up some super cool make-up in the dealer’s room. I’m SO excited to try it out but I need to practice. It’s called Surreal Makeup and it has some of the brightest colors I’ve ever seen! It’s actually going to make me learn how to do eye makeup, as I’ve kinda been bullshitting and making it work.
So that was my DragonCon. It was weird, quirky, and a little difficult to write about without being completely boring, but, you know, I tried.