Friends of the Revue, it’s time to continue my review of Dragon Con 2023 with its second and final act. Previously on TRR – I got some advice from a longtime DC attendee. I attended the Walk of Fame and been recognized by sci-fi celebrities I interviewed in the past. The next morning, I saw my first DC parade and see five amazing voice over artists put a new spin on “The Wizard of Oz”. And now, the conclusion…..
After the amazing Twisted Toonz panel, I got to sit in was the “Garrett & Friends” panel hosted by the one and only Garrett Wang from “Star Trek: Voyager” who does an amazing job leading the charge. I can see why he is the best and why he comes back year after year. The guests on the panel included Christina Chong (La’an Noonien-Singh), Celia Rose Gooding (Nyota Uhura), Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike) and Ethan Peck (Spock) and special guest Emily Coutts (Kayla Detmer) from “Star Trek: Discovery”. The WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike had impacted the actors with their productions on hold and what they can and cannot do at conventions.
The first question was the address the very elephant in the room and how it affected them personally. Taking the reins was Anson who answered the question by painting a unique scenario for the audience to not only think about to the listen with awe as the wonderful Captain woven a great story. He truly helped us understand why the strike was needed and why SAG-AFTRA supports the writers. We couldn’t agree more, and we have their back all the way.
Before the panel began, fans had to scan a QR code and submit questions for the panel to answer since due to the rules, they could not talk about projects they are current involved in. For the next forty minutes, Garrett asked some of the audiences’ questions and it was brilliant for we really get to see a more intimate side of the actors. It was wonderful to hear about their go to karaoke songs to what new gifts they acquire during the pandemic to the strangest purchases they made in their life. I have to admit that this panel was one of the best ones to witness and it gives me some insights to the actors’ lives outside their work!
After meeting up with great friends and putting my first day notes on the macBook, I finally got do something that I haven’t done in a quite a while… participated in a round of Star Trek trivia. I went to the Hilton Galleria to the Trek Track for the very first time. While I was waiting in line, I encountered a group of people who sang a familiar song from the world of pop culture. It took a whole cyber minute to realize that it was “We Do”, the official song of the Stonecutters from the sixth season episode of “The Simpsons” called “Homer the Great”. That was the episode that featured our beloved Trek actor Patrick Stewart who played “Number One”. I had to smile when I heard the familiar tune as it was a sign that I was among my people.
As I enter the track room, I was blown away by what I what saw adorn the walls. A plethora of signs and pictures of all things “Star Trek”. To the right wall, I see a big black & white picture of Lt Uhura played the late great Nichelle Nichols against a star background. To the left, I see the side of a starship’s panel reading NCC-595 of the starship Revere commanded by Commodore Probert. And in the middle were my fellow Star Trek fans ready to put their memories on the line to win the Star Trek Pop Quiz: Trek Trivia Night. The host of the contest was the Starship Tempest, a roleplaying game podcast set in the Star Trek universe and using Modiphius’ Star Trek: Adventures roleplaying system.
The rules were simple: fifteen questions, each one increases with difficulty. With each correct answer, brings you a step closer to earning prizes. Let me tell that some of the questions they ask were some of the most challenging I ever heard that it could put my Sci-fi Jeopardy! to shame. Nonetheless, I answered as many I could and submitted my results. So, they announced the results, and I was stunned about the person who score really high. However, the winner decided to relinquish the win and give their standing to the next three. So, with that in mind, the next three finishers were off by a point each. It was that cutthroat. They announced the third finisher, and it turned out to be….. me! I could not believe it that after all these years of testing fellow fans in Baltimore area conventions that I would finish third! My prize was to pick up my prize from the ALLTRU2U and a 20% discount from another vendor at DC’s Vendor Mart. If this was a great way to end day two. I can’t wait for Day 3!
Sunday was my third and final day at DC and things started off rough for somehow, I sprained my right ankle. Even with though the minor hiccup, that still wouldn’t stop me from accomplishing a couple of goals. My first one was to finally see the mighty Vendors Hall at America’s Mart which is just a few blocks away from the main hotel. I have to admit that this was the longest line I ever had to wait to purchase my usual con swag. I believe I was in the line for about an hour or so. Was it worth it? Definitely was!
Entering the Vendors Hall and you would see three floors filled with so many sci-fi/fantasy/horror gifts, costumes, posters, Funko pops and more that you finally discovered the ultimate fandom store in the world. While I was there, I had to pick up my prize from the Trek Trivia contest last night which were starship pins made of wood that I will cherish! Another highlight was finally reuniting with my best friend Kim who lives in the area. The first time we have physically seen each other in sixteen years and see her again – it felt like no time had passed. We conversed for a long time, catching up with each other’s lives and planning our next adventure in the near future. It was wonderful to see my friend again. I managed to the top floor to not only visit Commissioned Credentials and see another close friend but also purchase a new United Federation of Planets flag that they now sell! I highly recommend the store if you want a custom fandom badge!
Next, I limped all the way back to the Hilton Galleria for one of the epic photo meet-ups – the Trek Track Shoot 2003. Lead by my good friend, Chris Bunye, hundreds of Trek fans gathered in the hallway for the ultimate Trek photoshoot. Once I heard about it before attending, I knew I had to be there. The biggest question on my mind is “what uniform should I wear?” After much deliberation, I decided since I am a newly minted Rear Admiral in Starfleet International, I was going to go with the Picard Season 2-3 Admiralty Uniform. Seeing the uniforms from the different eras of Trek was truly divine. We had everything from the These Old Scientists to Mirror Universe and everything in between. All of us gathered at the steps E and we got our epic group photo… hopefully you’ll be able to find me.
Then, we had some special group shots. From crew of Discovery to Picards & Q to Aliens & Cyborgs & Droids – oh my!
After taking a con break to achieving a personal goal of visiting Georgia’s state capital building, I got back to the action to get some last day autographs and pictures. I stopped by two more guest booths. First, was Cooper Andrews from the Walking Dead! We interviewed at an Awesome Con many years ago and remembered that we talked about pizza. I am so glad that we had a moment that was for us! Then I caught up with Dan Fogler of Fantastic Beasts fame. He remembered when we talked about his film “Take Me Home Tonight” with co-star Topher Grace in DC. Unfortunately, I had to update him that the guitar shop which that interview had taken place is no longer there. He signed my Jacob photo, posed for a picture and gave me a fist bump – hoping that we’ll talk again.
Now that I am sitting here reminiscing about the epic con weekend that was Dragon Con, all I can say is that it was worth the trip. To see all these fans gather here in one city celebrating multiple worlds of fantasy was brilliant! I gathered some ideas of future cosplays, panels that I want to explore the next time and friends that I want to see again. If you have yet to experience this geek mecca, then you owe yourself a trip down to ATL and drink it in for this con has gained a new member in their world!
Until we meet again… Dragon Con. So long and thanks for all the fans 😉
FINAL GRADE: A+++
For more information for the 2024 Dragon Con, go to https://www.dragoncon.org/ and set your calendar for August 29th to September 4th!