Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 25: Dining with Dragons

Yami Yami line!

Food courts: America’s unsung heroes in times when we need convenience most..

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover 2½ months ago:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

After fifteen entries dedicated to our Dragon Con experience, there’s one aspect we’ve left unmentioned till now. In the numerous conventions Anne and I have attended over the years, one of our biggest struggles has been finding palatable food sources on location. Regardless of our excitement levels, we learned from Wizard World Chicago 1999 that we can’t simply eat a modest breakfast, then walk miles and miles for the next twelve hours while fasting. There must be lunch.

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Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 24: Dragon Con Cosplay Parade Special Bonus Encore

Bluepool and Dancing Girls!

Alternate shot of Bluepool and the Captain America: The First Avenger Dancing Girls Costuming Group.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover 2½ months ago:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

Upon our return home, I did my best to post our photos of the experience as quickly as possible, twelve chapters’ worth plus prologue and epilogue. Seven of those galleries were devoted to their gargantuan cosplay parade through the streets of Atlanta

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #12 of 12: Who Else We Saw, What Else We Did

Captain Marvel banner!

One of many banners festooning downtown Atlanta days before the big event.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…and the convention half of our week-long getaway all comes down to this: the final chapter. The panels. The Artists Alley. The comics. The leftover random stuff.

Oddly, what’s left largely boils down to “How We Spent Friday”. As is often the case for cons, the day began with tedium and maddening bureaucracy.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #11 of 12: The Dragon’s Lairs

RX-24 + Mouse Droid!

RX-24 from Star Wars Rebels and a Mouse Droid from the same universe, signs we were definitely in the right area.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…though we weren’t sure how easy it would be to transition from one mode to the other. Thankfully we found D*C has the best head-start program for newcomers that we’ve ever seen at a convention.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #10 of 12: Last Call for Cosplay

Chernobyl Russian nuclear technician!

A Russian nuclear technician from HBO’s Chernobyl.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…and thus we arrive at our final D*C costume gallery. From the badge pickup on Thursday afternoon to the last cosplayer we caught at the Peachtree Center food court on our way out Saturday, ’twas a merry assortment of wardrobes and wearers. Our own modest collection here on MCC is but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total cosplay on display among the tens of thousands of attendees and passersby. The fun thing about so many folks sharing their own cosplay pics is you’re guaranteed never to see the same lineup twice.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #9: No Parades, Just Cosplay

Insurance Mascots!

TV insurance mascots role call: Lady Liberty Mutual! Mayhem! Flo from Progressive! The General! (“For a great low rate you can get online / Go to The General and save some time!”)

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…where, as you can imagine in a show with 80,000+ in attendance, with or without the parade in progress, boring sights were in short supply. Every con of every size has its share of cosplayers bringing fun, creativity, imagination, and heightened quality of life to any and every square foot around them. We spent much of our time in lines, panels, and massive crowds where poses and shoots became next to impossible without making gridlock even worse, but we did what we could whenever time, space, and energy allowed to salute those who did their thing.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #8: Ultimate Final Cosplay-Parade Climax Endgame Finale

Adult Swim coming!

An Adult Swim coterie on the horizon at left. If you know the characters at right, let me know? That isn’t Princess Bubblegum, right?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. And it all comes down to this: one last catchall entry of parade pics that I thought had their own charms, uses, and/or recognizable characters. We have dozens remaining, but they’re largely shots of (a) tiny people waaaaaay in the distance, (b) characters we don’t know and didn’t think we did justice to, and/or (c) parade marchers who turned the wrong way at the last second and faced too far toward the other side of the street, or were obscured by the people next to them. If anyone’s interested in some of those, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to add them here for posterity and curiosity.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #7: Deadpool Presents the Deadpool Cosplay Parade Starring Deadpool

Ladys Deadpool + Grimespool!

Ladiess Deadpool and Sheriffpool!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. Longtime MCC readers are used to Deadpool variants showing up in every convention cosplay lineup. I promise we don’t show up at every convention center asking, “Pardon us, but can you direct us to all the Deadpools? There’re Deadpool cosplayers here, right? It would be so nice if there was Deadpool cosplay!” All we know is wherever we go, there he is.

Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #6: Still More Cosplay on Parade Continued Yet Again

Whovians!

Doctors and Daleks and Davros, oh, my!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. In this installment we throw in a smattering of Doctor Who and then another roundup of random characters from science fiction and here and there and everywhere. Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #5: Still More Cosplay on Parade Continued

Big Brother and Little Sister!

Big Brother and Little Sister from the Bioshock trilogy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

…such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. In this installment we focus on characters from the world of gaming — those that I could identify or half-identify — plus a mini-gallery of folks from a certain old HBO series.

Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #4: Still More Cosplay on Parade

Maleficent and two fairies!

Maleficent with her foes Flora and Merryweather.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

..such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. In this installment we focus on characters of the Grand Disney Empire, including Marvel and Star Wars because why not.

Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #3: More Cosplay on Parade

Penguin!

The Penguin from Batman Returns but 100% less slimy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

..such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #2: Cosplay on Parade

Patchy the Pirate and SpongeBob SquarePants!

Patchy the Pirate and SpongeBob SquarePants!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

The proud annual tradition of the Saturday morning Dragon Con parade is definitely not a thing we can see back home at any of our usual cons. Multiple groups and organizations walk, ride, roll, and gallivant together in a united display of pop culture through downtown Atlanta. Hundreds of participants boast costumes and gear from across the wide spectrum of entertainment. The festivities draw thousands of onlookers every time — not just D*C attendees, but Atlanta citizens as well. Though the many overhead Skybridges running between buildings prohibit the use of giant floats (as we’re used to from our hometown’s own Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade), the spectacle is nonetheless a staggering feat of community and imagination.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #1: The Stars Our Destination

Freema Agyeman!

Us with Freema Agyeman, a.k.a. Martha Jones from Doctor Who, one of the Doctor’s few companions we hadn’t met. Thanks, Dragon Con!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

Longtime MCC readers know our frequent ventures to entertainment and comic-book conventions around the Midwest have their staples: the cosplay photos, the sojourns through Artists Alley, the pile of newly acquired graphic novels at the end, and, of course, photos with actors and other celebrities in attendance, often featuring our favorite jazz-hands motif. We don’t perform for every con photo-op, but those that meet the standard are kept on a dedicated Pinterest board so future generations can look upon our assembled montage and think to themselves, “…oookay.”

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Three Thoughts After Our First Dragon Con

Dragon Con Banner!

The start of Atlanta’s annual Dragon Con parade. Zillions more photos to come once I figure out some way to narrow them down to the best 200 or so.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

I’m typing this on Saturday night upon the conclusion of our virgin Dragon Con experience — two solid days of convention awesomeness plus a three-hour prologue on Thursday. We’re exhausted and disappointed we can’t stay longer, but we’re coming away with hundreds of photos to sort, a bit more reading matter to add to my collection, four new jazz-hands photo-ops to add to that collection, new memories to savor and share in the days and years ahead, and a wider basis for comparison against the Midwest cons we regularly attend. (Not counting the two we had to skip in order to work D*C into our schedule.)

Before I collapse into unconsciousness in preparation for the 8½-hour drive home Sunday, I need to jot down three key takeaways while they’re still fresh in mind and while I’m still riding high on my happy post-D*C buzz.

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The Road to Dragon Con: “The Dark Crystal” Puppet Parade

SkekUng!

SkekUng of the Garthim, a baddie due to make hhs grand return soon.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. 2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of our annual tradition, which began with our very first Wizard World Chicago. Apropos of our history, we’ll be honoring the occasion by combining two of our favorite shared pastimes: vacation and convention.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

When we first began vacation brainstorming months ago, the Center for Puppetry Arts was among the top choices on my half of our list for specific reasons we’ll cover in the future. It’s a modest museum packed with puppets from around the world and across centuries, many of which you’d recognize from beloved movies and TV shows of your youth and mine. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area, and not just because they have their own free parking lot.

Upon our visit they were the proud hosts of a temporary exhibit featuring numerous puppets from the 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz classic The Dark Crystal, which featured some of the most startlingly dramatic puppets of the decade. This exhibit is perfectly timed with the arrival of the all-new Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, scheduled to premiere this Friday, August 30th. Also perfectly timed for both the new series and for Dragon Con, the Center is planning an event this Thursday night the 29th called “The Dark Crystal Ball: Gathering of Gelflings“, for which fans can gather in costume, mingle, imbibe, party, and so on. Deep, constructive preparation was well underway when we walked in on Tuesday.

Please allow me to shut up now and share photos of awesome puppets that were actually used in the actual making and filming of The Dark Crystal, for anyone who can’t be here in person while the exhibit lasts. Enjoy!

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The Road to Dragon Con: Hollywood Comes to Georgia

True story: certain works filmed partly or entirely in Georgia have earned cumulative billions in international box office. Not all of that was from Fried Green Tomatoes.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. 2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of our annual tradition, which began with our very first Wizard World Chicago. Apropos of our history, we’ll be honoring the occasion by combining two of our favorite shared pastimes: vacation and convention.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

As I type this we’re snugly in our hotel and decompressing after Day 3 of 8. We’ve crossed most of the primary attractions off the “tourism” half of our to-do list and have a few more places we’d like to see before it’s time for autographs, photo ops, cosplay, and tens of thousands of other fans descending on Atlanta and making our restaurant waits much, much longer than they’ve been so far. We’ve already amassed hundreds of photos for sharing in future MCC galleries for our regular readers and stray search-engine users.

Until then, please enjoy a ten-pack of samples from my favorite surprise today. We visited the library and museum of President Jimmy Carter under the expectation of seeing grand displays of American history as well as artifacts illustrating his numerous post-Presidency accomplishments. What we didn’t expect was a bonus exhibit saluting the hundreds of movies and TV shows that have been filmed in Georgia over the past 80+ years. While we’re still out of town and not prepared to post all the things yet, please enjoy these ten images from the Carter Museum’s super fun assemblage. You may recognize a few of these.

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The Road to Dragon Con: 20 Years of Road Trips, 2 Lifetimes of Geek Culture

Dragon Con wardrobe!

This is no fashion blog, but sometimes I am faced with critical wardrobe choices.

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

Last year we traveled through Ohio, northern upstate New York, and Pennsylvania as a grand tour of Presidential burial sites. To cover as much ground as possible we stayed in a different city every night. The sights were many and fascinating, but being on the move nonstop was increasingly grueling and left us drained by the end of the tour. This year’s approach will therefore be rather opposite and in its own way commemorative.

2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of our favorite annual tradition. It all began in 1999 with our very first Wizard World Chicago. As newcomers to the concept of road trips, it was a big accomplishment for us. Apropos of our history, in 2019 we’ll be honoring the occasion by combining two of our favorite shared pastimes: vacation and convention.

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