PAX refugee-con August 13, 2009 12:17 PM   Subscribe

DragonCon, which may not have the cachet PAX but is still cool, is coming up in Atlanta over Labor Day. Last year, although a number of MeFites said they were attending, I only ran into jpburns. (He was remarkably accommodating of the number of times I stopped by his booth.) Is anyone (who presumably can't make it to PAX) going this year, and if so, would like to meet up?
posted by JHarris to MetaFilter Gatherings at 12:17 PM (49 comments total)

I'm on staff, so I'll be there although meeting up is dependent on my not-yet-determined work schedule. I'll definitely be around, though!
posted by pointystick at 12:34 PM on August 13, 2009

Oh yes, sign me up for this.

You know who else is going to dragon con?
posted by hellojed at 12:38 PM on August 13, 2009

posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on August 13, 2009

Ah! Adam Savage! This one's going on my list. This should make up for them not getting the build team last year.
posted by JHarris at 12:54 PM on August 13, 2009

I'll be there for sure!
posted by czechmate at 12:59 PM on August 13, 2009

I'll be there. (As per usual.)

I'd also like to state for the record that PAX has only become cool because Wil started going and talking it up. Besides, Terry Gilliam is coming to Dragon*Con this year. Fuck PAX.

pointystick, whose staff are you on?
posted by elfgirl at 1:09 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Last year, the meetup didn't happen probably largely because I wouldn't get down and nominate a place and time. I haven't looked at the schedule yet so I can't name a good time yet, but as for places, there's a Chinese restaurant diagonally opposite one of the hotels that we went to a couple years back, and none of us who ate there died of food poisoning or anything like that. Might I throw that out as a possibility, with the added caveat that, it being near a hotel during a convention, it might be fairly loaded?

Hmm... there is a mall with a food court that intermingles with one of the hotels, but it's usually packed during the con unless it's late.
posted by JHarris at 1:33 PM on August 13, 2009

I live pretty close to downtown, so I can always do recon for possible places. I think they key is to either pick a restaurant at a non-peak time or just meet somewhere for drinks.

I know it is a) potentially crowded and b) hella pricey if we intend to have a meal but Trader Vic's is convenient and great for cocktails.

elfgirl, I memailed you :)
posted by pointystick at 1:39 PM on August 13, 2009

Yeah PAX is cool for a whole host of reasons other than Wil.

DragonCon is also cool. Don't hate.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:44 PM on August 13, 2009

I'll be at DragonCon all weekend, and definitely up for a meetup.
posted by frwagon at 2:57 PM on August 13, 2009

lazaruslong -- It's cool.

(I'll admit to being a little bitter about guests I'd like to see at D*C booking PAX instead. (Wil included, honestly.))
posted by elfgirl at 3:57 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'll be there, although I don't know my staff schedule yet (usually long evening shifts but I am only busy for the first 20 minutes of each session). I hit every hotel while I work, so I can say that the Hilton and the Sheraton are the least crowded, and the Hyatt is the absolute worst for meetups in the evening.

The renovated Marriott has a lovely bar on the top floor of the atrium, and the Hilton has just finished moving everything around the ground floor; what used to be that restaurant behind the snack bar to the left of the entrance is now a cocktail lounge, and what used to be the lounge where Klingons would sing karaoke is gone. The Sheraton has a cozy little lounge on the 2nd floor with a side room lined with couches.

I'm proposing con hotel bars mostly for convenience, but also because if people who aren't con-goers want to join, the non-Hyatt hotel security posses are less likely to bump people without badges. (Of course, it's also an SEC football weekend. Woot for confused people in the elevators....)
posted by catlet at 5:36 PM on August 13, 2009

elfgirl - I hear you and it's cool. I just want to keep the nerd solidarity strong. Lord knows enough people have made fun of me for breaking out my original D&D module in the plastic signed by Gygax for me to want others with even a slightly overlapping hobby to spread the love. Have a blast at the con!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:01 PM on August 13, 2009

Recon would be great pointystick. If it were up to me I'd prefer a food place more than drink place, since I have an aversion to alcohol, but it is not a big deal either way.
posted by JHarris at 7:28 PM on August 13, 2009

There's supposedly a decent Indian restaurant somewhere nearby the host hotels. That might be a good option, especially if there are any vegetarians that are interested in joining us.
posted by elfgirl at 4:53 AM on August 14, 2009

I think the Indian place is the downtown location of Haveli, iirc.
OK, I'll do some recon this weekend and report back.

I believe my track is going to be in Marriott this year so I'll likely be there most of the time.
posted by pointystick at 5:21 AM on August 14, 2009

there is a mall with a food court that intermingles with one of the hotels

When I was a regular con-goer--nearly 20 years ago--there was a restaurant in that mall area that my friends and I ate at religiously. That was the Dragon Con/Atlanta Fantasy Fair/etc. tradition: meet there for a big late lunch on Friday, spend the weekend conning, then wind everything up with brunch at Le Peep on Sunday. But I've forgotten the name of that restaurant now and there aren't any Le Peeps in the Atl anymore.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 AM on August 14, 2009

I won't be at Dragon*Con, exactly, but we never miss the parade. I'd be up for an off-site meetup, maybe.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 8:40 AM on August 14, 2009

Huh, just realized... Adam Savage is going to be there, and he's a MeFite, although we really don't know how much of the site he reads or how frequently. If we're going to have a meetup, we should invite him along.
posted by JHarris at 12:50 PM on August 14, 2009

And that'd be cool sadiehawkinstein.

And that'd be a cool name, sadiehawkinstein.
posted by JHarris at 12:51 PM on August 14, 2009

And-and I'll await your findings, pointystick.
posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2009

Man, this year I'm not going, and now there's probably going to be a good meetup. Blort.
posted by mephron at 1:13 PM on August 14, 2009

Dont know my schedule yet. Why isn't this listed in the side bar for meetups?
posted by strixus at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2009

It's not listed yet because we don't have a firm date, time, or place.
posted by catlet at 5:36 PM on August 22, 2009

In the interest of resolving the date/time/place matter:

pointystick's had a look around, and wants to know a general headcount, whether we want a restaurant or bar, how cheap do we need to keep it, etc. That's a good general question for all of us, so I post it hearby post it directly to everyone interested in the meetup:

1. Would you prefer a bar or restaurant?
2. When would be a good time for you? To my knowledge the con schedule has not been finalized yet; the con site says the pocket program schedule will be ready on the 26th, presumably then we'll be able to know for sure. Generally however, there is less likely to be something hugely interesting at night than in the day.
3. Considering your finances and how many things there are to buy at the con, what price range would be good for you?

For me, the answers are 1. Ambivalent but prefer restaurant, 2. Not sure until the schedule is ready, and 3. towards the cheaper end of the spectrum.

pointystick mentions a Haveli on Spring Street that's vegetarian-friendly. Despite this being my third Dragon in a row I still don't really know the area other than the mall food court upstairs in one of the hotels. pointystick provides a list of Peachtree Center restaurants to choose from
posted by JHarris at 4:24 AM on August 24, 2009

JHarris, Thanks for posting that.
BTW, schedule is up:
posted by pointystick at 9:16 AM on August 25, 2009

Looking through it now. Partly to aid in meetup planning, but mostly because i find it hard not to enthuse about this stuff, this is what I consider to be the highlights of the con:

Bill Corbett is appearing alone (Fri at 4), and Frank, Trace and Mary Jo of Cinematic Titanic are appearing together (Fri 8:30pm, for four hours! Last year they showed an ENTIRE Cinematic Titanic, so I suspect they're doing the same thing this time). All four of these, of course, are from Mystery Science Theater 3000, but there's almost a firewall between the two camps these days, at least in public. The CT guys also have a panel at 2:30 and a signing on Saturday at 4. Aaah, just noticed, Sunday at 1pm BOTH Bill Corbett and Trace Beaulieu are appearing in a panel together! This almost makes up for Joel not making it this year. I'm going to try to attend as many of these as possible; look for the guy in glasses doing tired naked hand puppet schtick.

Adam Savage (asavage to you and me) has an hour at 5:30 Saturday. A good time for us to represent? He's also on the Science track's skepticism panel Sunday at 11:30am.

Sunday at 7pm the Atlanta Radio Company will present a live performance of The Call of Cthulhu. This is quite awesome. (The silent film version produced by the H.P. Lovcraft Historical Society, and probably available in the dealer's room, I can vouch is awesome.)

Also of interest to MSTies, Richard Kiel, a.k.a. an evil robot in The Human Duplicators as well as Eegah himself, has a panel Sat at 5:30pm.


Saturday at 1 is the return of the Venture Bros. panel. Honestly, most Adult Swim stuff leaves me cold (there are several other AS panels throughout the con), and this panel tends to be drenched with that stuff (last year the guy who plays Master Shake was on this panel too), but anything Venture Bros. more than makes up for it for me. Both show creators, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, will be there, and they have a signing right afterward.

Saturday at 8:30pm and Sunday at 2:30 is George Lowe, the Coast-To-Coast Space Ghost. (Adult Swim back when it was cool.) And surprisingly, Sunday at 5:30 is one of the creators of Megas LXR, an underrated Cartoon Network giant robot show that's actually been cancelled for a few years now.

The Sunday 10am European animation panel also looks interesting.

Every night the British Sci-Fi Media track has an entire evening of British television. The past two years, they managed to show some comedy the last night, including an episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie and the unaired pilot to Blackadder. There's also a Prisoner panel Sunday morning.

One of the last panels of the con may be one of the coolest: Bob Burden, creator of surreal superhero the Flaming Carrot (a major inspiration for the likes of The Tick and the Venture Bros), has a panel. That's Sunday at 2:30.

Last year there was a panel on the work of Jack Kirby in which excerpts of a rare interview with the man himself were shown. Alas, I don't see that on the list this year.

Another thing going on Sunday at 1pm is an interview with Mike Mignolia, creator of Hellboy.

The EFF's, as before, has an entire track, and it's loaded with awesome. Lots of panels here are of interest to the stereotypical Mefite, although it should be noted that it contains no octopus-related panels this year.

The gaming rooms are one of the hidden gems of the con. Not for the tournaments, but for having a massive pile of board games, both common and rare, that can be checked out and played, and that's not even counting the scheduled events. For those there's Late Night Nuclear War, Munchkin Gauntlet (a massive game sequence through all the many versions of Munchkin), a round-robin Settlers of Catan tournament (that, alas, to play in would probably mean abandoning much of the rest of the con). Someone's running a game called Ghostbusters 1884. There's more than one 1st edition AD&D game going, and someone is running Castle Amber, a classic module. Someone's running Paranoia, and if you've never played Paranoia, you really should play Paranoia. Paranoia. Someone's running a game based on The A-Team. Another one's based on Girl Genius. These things may be signs of madness.

There's so much coolness going on that it seems obvious that the timing of a meetup probably should not be left in my hands. Hmm.
posted by JHarris at 3:14 AM on August 26, 2009

Now that I think about it, why not hold the meetup right in the board/RPG game room?? Some of the board games there are AWESOME, and can accommodate many players. Of course this might not be interesting to some of you, but I'm always willing to throw down in a game of Puerto Rico or Carcassonne. Last year there was cheap (in quality not price) con food available right there in the room, and I can vouch that the gaming room is open 24 hours during the con.

I'll be checking MeMail frequently for the next week, I really don't want to see this die to inattention this year.
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2009

I haven't had the chance to look at the schedule other than to see when the Nimoy/Shatner panel is going to be so I don't have any concrete suggestions for dates and times yet.
posted by elfgirl at 11:28 AM on August 27, 2009

I think the most prudent thing for me to do at this point is to try to pick two or three times and places, and see who objects to what. I will try to get this done by tonight. Stay tuned.
posted by JHarris at 3:04 PM on August 27, 2009

Okay, it's looking like the best time for me, all told, is Sunday at 4:30 pm. Any time Thursday or Monday, or pre 10am or post 10pm of the other days would also be good (although all sorts of other things are going on late, including costume competitions and parties, so I'd assume those aren't ideal meetup times). Is this okay for anyone else? Or will the echo of my voice rebound endlessly off the cavernous walls of the thread?
posted by JHarris at 7:05 PM on August 28, 2009

Sounds good to me JHarris! I'll try to make it.
posted by hellojed at 11:07 PM on August 30, 2009

Okay, I've had an hour-long bout with the schedule, and to me it seems that the best time for the meetup is:

FRIDAY 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

That's a two-event time block, which will hopefully make it more flexible for folk. Most of the stuff going on in that period is duplicated at some other time or seems missable to me. A notable exception to this, it must be noted, is the talk with Peter Beagle at 5:30. There might also be a pre-judging period for the Costuming Contest. People wanting to make one or the other of those can just arrive/leave late.

Provided there are no objections, this just leaves place. frwagon suggests near Pulse in the Marriott, which sounds good to me but that could just be ignorance on my part.

Possible alternate times:
SATURDAY 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
SATURDAY 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
SUNDAY 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

If someone would like to make a sign that'd help out tremendously, but if no one can I'll make one. I'll see about making another MeTa post with the final date and time tonight after everyone's had a chance to weigh in.
posted by JHarris at 10:21 AM on August 31, 2009

Okay, we've got a pretty good fix on a place now, the mini-atrium on the Atrium Level of the Marriott, between rooms A702 and A708 on the map (page PullOut-42 of the schedule). Near the blood drive.

That's place and time! jessamyn says it's okay to make another MeTa post about it, I'll do that soon.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on August 31, 2009

Well, this post was added to the meetup list so we might as well stick with this one. Still, confirmed time and place! Woohoo! And with four whole days to spare!
posted by JHarris at 1:26 PM on August 31, 2009

Good. I'm organizing the reddit meetup, which is 8:30 that friday, so this will work out nicely.
posted by hellojed at 9:43 PM on August 31, 2009

Hm, that'd be during the Cinematic Titanic thing, which I'd be unable to bear missing. (Last year they played an entire episode! The show is four hours long this year, so it seems likely they're doing it again.)
posted by JHarris at 2:28 AM on September 1, 2009

I'm in for the meetup.

Are we doing it Friday at 5:30 ?!? That's my preferred time -- don't care about the place. I dunno about a costume yet, but hopefully if I come in my metafilter best (now with pants!), y'all won't throw me out.
posted by zpousman at 11:28 AM on September 1, 2009

Yep, Friday at 5:30. I'm not wearing a costume either, no need for anything special.
posted by JHarris at 12:24 PM on September 1, 2009

Ill see if I can manage to swing by. Two meetups in one year, neither of which in my own home state! Rock!
posted by BLuR at 11:08 AM on September 2, 2009

Man, I just moved back to Atlanta, but I won't be making it to this. Can we plan another meetup soon?
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2009

I don't live in Atlanta so I can't plan that one. Maybe someone else can handle it?

I got my badge tonight. Mine says "JOHN H @PLAY," so look for that.
posted by JHarris at 10:58 PM on September 3, 2009

I am on site (Sheraton ftw). Keeping an eye on #dragoncon via Twitter. Enjoy your weekend. Come party with me. Location announced on Twitter later
posted by BLuR at 9:47 AM on September 4, 2009

Ah, ultimately three people showed up: myself, frwagon an a friend of his.

It probably didn't help that the room that we thought would be deserted turned out to be Blood Drive Central. (Perhaps naively, I had assumed that the blood drive would be in an adjacent room, and not essentially in the whole mini-atrium.) Because of that we moved to Pulse (with a sign placed in the atrium telling people where we'd be), but even coming back to the mini atrium for a while after frwagon and friend left, no one else showed up, or at least that I saw, or saw me, or saw me and identified themselves as a Metafilter member.

Ah well, maybe next year.
posted by JHarris at 10:54 PM on September 4, 2009

So it was on the atrium on the Atrium floor. I couldn't find a sign or anything metafilter related. Bleh. Probably didn't help that I didn't know what to look for.
posted by hellojed at 6:44 AM on September 5, 2009

Sorry you couldn't find us hellojed. It really was a washout, I probably could have handled this better. I did hold up a sheet of legal paper upon which had been scrawled "Metafilter' for nearly two hours....

Let's try to look at this constructively. What went wrong this time, and how it could be improved next time?

1. It was held in a room I myself had never been in. People had said it had been deserted in prior years, but the Blood Drive was there this time. When I saw it on the program map, I had naively assumed that it would be roughly confined to its room, and not sprawl out into the atrium. (The thick black border around the area on the map could have been considered a clue in this regard.)

2. It wasn't in a restaurant or bar. After pointystick made several suggestions as to places (also places I had never been in), we ended up going elsewhere. If the meetup had happened, we'd have had to go to a bar anyway. In our defense, we weren't sure of the crowds would have been prohibitive for that kind of thing.

3. The sign was pitiful. Dealing with friends, travel and my own con preparations meant that i had forgotten to get a good sheet of posterboard for the sign, and didn't have a marker for marking it either. A Metafilter T-shirt alone would have gone far towards signifying those looking for some sign of the Blue that this was, indeed, the place.

4. It was at DragonCon. Duh.

I'm not sure if we could get another impromptu meetup set for some other time during the remaining con, or if there would be interest in that at the moment. Anyone still reading this have any ideas to offer/finger-pointing to do?
posted by JHarris at 7:36 AM on September 5, 2009

Next time I would suggest meeting at an event everyone wants to go to. That worked for me and team reddit (probably would have been better mid-day or something) and then after that figure out something to do.

Also pics help, had I known what you look like JHarris that would have made it a bit easier.

I just got back. so I am dead tired and poor from buying vinyl toys. NEXT YEAR BABY!
posted by hellojed at 7:16 PM on September 8, 2009

Ah, what event worked for the reddit event hellojed? I tried to find out what events people were attending but people didn't really respond to questions like that.
posted by JHarris at 7:23 PM on September 10, 2009

It was the Cinematic Titanic showing at 8:30. Posting updates to my twitter account helped the lost ones find me (at least the ones with twitter access). Next year I will probably post a picture of the floor map with a large X where we will meet so there isn't as much confusion.
posted by hellojed at 5:24 PM on September 12, 2009

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