Well, friends and followers, I’m back home safe from all the excitement of Dragon*Con, but since I only got up to Friday evening last post, there’s a lot more memories to tell you about.
Saturday morning is the Dragon*Con parade, a big tradition. I didn’t get to see it last year, and I didn’t end up seeing much of it this time around either, for a few reasons. One, you have to line up early to get a good spot to watch the parade. Two, I was up so late from the Buffy Horror Picture show that I overslept and got started on my morning routine late. Third, the big Jane Espenson Q&A was scheduled right after the parade, and that was a ‘must-get-in’ on my schedule. So I wandered out the hotel doors onto the crowded sidewalk around ten, checked out the very start of the parade, and then got back up to the eighth floor in time to be third in line for Jane.
Jane’s talk was great – she had the stars of ‘Husbands’ with her, and they showed a short episode – either the second overall, or maybe the second of season two if they’re already on season two, I’m not quite clear on that. But it was really funny, with the two of them getting interviewed by a guy played by Jon Cryer. At first Cheeks wanted to play up the gay and the other guy wanted to play it down, but they were each talking with a confidante while getting dressed, and flip-flopped their positions, so during the interview Cheeks was trying to ‘be straight’ and really getting thrown off when his husband was flirting and being affectionate. Classic stuff. It had a little bit of Joss Whedon on-screen too, which is great.
Jane also talked about her experiences writing with Joss Whedon, Ron Moore, and Steven Moffat – apparently Joss is the most ‘top-down’, with the central vision and ideas flowing from him, and the other writers just adding on as they flesh them out, while Ron Moore has a bit more consensus and brainstorming in his writing room, but still leading with a clear guiding vision, and Steven Moffat started off by giving very vague outlines and guiding with a LOT of successive rewrites, but while Jane was there he was apparently also learning more from her and other new writers about the ‘American way’ of writing a TV show. She mentioned that she really loves working with characters and situations that other people have dreamed up – even Husbands was Cheeks’ idea to start with, and she helped him flesh it out, or something like that.
There were a lot of people who wanted to get something signed by Jane after the Q&A, because she didn’t have a spot on the Walk of Fame. The Whedon Universe track rep was trying to clear us all out of the hall, but I managed to hand her a Buffy Season Eight graphic novel that had her name on it, and got it signed. I actually bought several things to get signed, including Serenity and Dollhouse analysis books that she edited, but I knew that I was pushing it to get one thing signed, and she’d mentioned writing for the comics during the talk, so I thought she might like signing one.
After the talk I went up to my room to drop off the Jane books so I wouldn’t need to carry them around any more, went down again, and was about to go across the street for some lunch at the food court, when I heard people talking about the Buffy Q&A, which was next on my list, so I hung around and waited for the line to start.
That was another great session; J August Richards and Amber Benson played off each other well and were really funny.
So after that talk, I finally got lunch. Sometime around here, maybe waiting in line for the Q&A, I realized that Georges Jeanty, who did most of the artwork for Buffy Season 8 was a guest of the con. He’d done a panel about the launch of the Season 9 comics on Friday, but I’d avoided that, partly because I didn’t want to get spoilers, since I’m not even halfway through season 8 yet.
So I visited the Comics Alley, found his booth, and bought a copy of the first Season 9 graphic novel collection, with an autograph and little sketch of Buffy in the front from Georges. (He wanted to do something a little special for me, since I told him ‘keep the change’ from my twenty. 😉 )
Then I waited at the walk of fame for Amber Benson; she had an overflow line in the middle of the room too, since it wasn’t long after the Q&A, and the overflow line was pointed right at the tables for Batman and Robin from the 60s TV show, so we constantly had people joining our line thinking that it was for them. “No, no, you can just go right up to the tables, they’re not that busy.”
Amber was really sweet. I got a signed copy of one of her books, and her mother/agent threw in a CD for free. I asked her about if she’d been asked back for ‘Conversations with Dead People’, and she said yes, but she hadn’t been able to make it work with her schedule.
By this point, it was nearly time for a new panel to start, and the one that I’d marked on my schedule was the Once Upon a Time star Q&A, with Jane in it as well. So I went into the Mariott Marquis, found the line, and it was one of those really long ones that stretch out the doors, down stairs and around the block, and I decided that I didn’t want to wait through that and maybe not even get in, or get not-great seats at the back of the hall.
So I decided to head over to WeyrFest and had a great time at the panel discussiong all of Anne’s other worlds besides Pern. I also found out about a schedule change, that the Weyrfest game night was being pushed back from 7 to 9 so that the Weyrfest folks could all go to a banquet.
I looked through the schedule to see if there was something I could go to for 7, and ended up going down to the Sheraton for a fan panel on Steampunk in Doctor Who.
That was kind of interesting; they talked about how some steampunk writers and artists might have been influenced by classic Who and dieselpunk and all of that kind of crunchy stuff – most of it went a little over my head, since I’m not big with steampunk, but I probably learned a few things.
On the way back from the Steampunk Doctor Who, I saw what might have been the funniest costume set of the whole con, to me – five people dressed up as Tetris!
I went back to my hotel and relaxed a bit, then showed up in the Hyatt around 8:30 to wait in line. The game night was a little disappointing. The programs said it would be dragon poker and the official Dragon Riders board game, but instead we played Werewolf, which is a game of secret identities and paranoia. I’ve played Werewolf (aka Mafia or Scum, and so on…) online a couple times over on the Straight Dope message board, and I notice every so often that they’ve got a new game going, often novelty-themed for superheroes or Battlestar or something else geeky.
It was fun playing Werewolf in person, I guess, but I was disappointed because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with Pern. They didn’t make the townspeople ‘holders’, and – well, what could you make the secret bad guys in a Scum Pern-themed game anyway? There aren’t any memorable organized villains who can exactly blend in with the everyday populace.
I’m also not really a fan of werewolf generally because it can be hard for the townspeople, (who are most of the players) to get a handle on the psychological side and feel like they’re helping out without making themselves a target. I didn’t do too well at that – the MC was insisting on a strict time limit for the townspeople to vote on lynching before they lost the chance and the werewolves got to eat somebody at night, so I pushed to lynch twice – and got lynched the third round. It was a little interesting to be able to identify the three werewolves and notice how they played during the day, mostly flying under the radar, trying to subtly defend each other from suspicion, but throwing a packmate under the bus when it was clear that he or she was about to get lynched anyway.
The town only found one werewolf, and the remaining two won the game at the end. By this time, it was 10 pm, and they started another game, but I decided that I’d had enough and went home. I heard later that some people played Werewolf again on Sunday night and it went to 2 in the morning or so, so I guess they had fun with it. It just wasn’t my game.