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Monday, September 3, 2007


Seeing as I consider myself a student of life, I readily jump at any opportunity that may in some way teach me something new and shocking about the world around me. Or more importantly, one that might put me in the midst of some really weird people. It was such a philosophy that fated me to find myself myself amidst thousands upon thousands of dweebs, dorks, freaks and geeks festooned to the nines as their favorite comic book/sci-fi/fantasy characters at this weekend's Dragon Con here in Atlanta.

For anyone unfamiliar with the convention (as I was until my very intense recent introduction), Dragon Con is an enormous annual gathering of about 25,000 or so fans of fantasy and sci-fi entertainment. Over the course of four days there are lectures, celebrity meet-and-greats, musical performances, pageants and oh so much more. A group of friends and I made it out to the big parade on Saturday morning to see the true fans decked out in their best regalia. It's one of the highlights of the weekend, and with good reason. Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Buffy, Transformers, Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, Wing Commander, Nintendo, fairies, anime, we saw it all and then some.

Let me put it as articulately as possible: There are no words that can describe what I saw. At points during the parade I literally had to sit down in the middle of the sidewalk because I was either laughing to hard or couldn't mentally process everything that was going on around me. But rather than try to explain, I'll just show you the pictures.

See who you can spot. The chick from Gargoyles? Pee-Wee Herman? The girl from the Fifth Element?

A gaggle of super-geeks.

The sound effects guy from Police Academy making noises into a megaphone on the back of a car. Huh?

The knights from Monty Python "running away." Note rabbit in background. Kind of hilarious.

Lauren and several Storm Troopers. The parade actually ends with about 150 of these guys marching down the hill. Impressive. In the dorkiest sense of that word.

Perhaps the creepiest patron at Dragon Con, this was Furry Captain America. Several things are disturbing about him: 1) His facial hair. 2) He's a furry Captain America. You know that costume was used later that night for freaky sex acts with a portly Wonder Woman and a mangy Chewbacca in a dirty hotel bedroom. 3) He stayed "in character" the whole time. And by "in character" I mean he didn't say a word and would just nod his head and give a thumbs up as if he were a giant Donald Duck at Disney World. Except he was a creepy 35-year old in fuzzy superhero suit in the middle of Atlanta. 4) Lauren and Liza both said afterwards that when they put their arms around him he was damp, meaning that he had sweat through three inches of fur. From then on he was referred to as Moist Captain America.

It'sa me and Maaario!

These guys ruled. Cardboard Box Storm Troopers and Darth Vader. They were hilarious compared to everyone else in the parade. Also, I'm pretty sure the dudes dressed up in the real Storm Trooper outfits had to have been pissed at these guys. The dude in the Whirlpool box didn't even look anything like a Storm Trooper.

Difficult to see here, but this Storm Trooper has a sort of G-string strap going on. It served absolutely no purpose in holding the costume together therefore I concluded that he merely had it there for his own pleasure.

This little gem awaited us as we exited the parking deck. Nice.

It's difficult to express the sheer magnitude of this event and some of the amazing things I witnessed. One thing that made it that much better was the fact that many of these people were--to put it delicately--not the most attractive or in shape. This can give rise to some hilarious sightings such as Chubby Tomb Raider, Beer Gut Punisher or really any of the tragically unattractive fairies.

My personal favorites of the entire day however were the Cardboard Storm Troopers, Furry Captain America and George Lucas (a guy with a white beard, puffed white hair, sunglasses, flannel shirt, leather jacket, jeans and a cup of Starbucks). Also, the real Erik Estrada was there on a motorcycle. (First VH1, now Dragon Con '07. Someone's on a comeback.) Speaking of comebacks, the zombies made quite an impressive showing and really committed, many of them staying in character even after the parade. There was one guy walking past us who I thought might be one as well--stringy white hair, hospital gown torn open in the front, medical bracelets wrapped around his wrists, crazy expression in his eyes--but I quickly realized that he was not actually attending the convention but was in fact a genuinely crazy person who was simply walking by. Yikes.

Truthfully, I've never witnessed such a spectacle in all my life (except perhaps the Tierra Santa biblical theme park in Argentina). I'd highly recommend that everyone attend should you have the opportunity. Not only will you enjoy yourself, but you will also learn a lot about a segment of the population that you may never get to see in such flamboyance. Think of it like Pride Week for Geeks. And a lot of people came out this weekend.

The views expressed in the blog are not necessarily the view of Andy or his parent company Andy, Inc. Just kidding.

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