Dragon Con 2014 preview

Pictured (top row, l to r): Giancarlo Esposito, J August Richards, and Mpho Koaho(bottom row, l to r): Nelsan Ellis, Peter Williams, and Ron Glass.

Pictured (top row, l to r): Giancarlo Esposito, J August Richards, and Mpho Koaho
(bottom row, l to r): Nelsan Ellis, Peter Williams, and Ron Glass.

Labor Day weekend in Atlanta is a fantastic time for fans of science fiction, fantasy, gaming, and similar genre, including: movies, television, books, artwork, collectibles and music. Tens of thousands come annually from all over the region and various corners of the globe to Dragon Con, the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the UniverSe.

The Hyatt, Marriott Marquis, Hilton, Weston, and the Sheraton all serve as host headquarter hotels where celebrants come together, mostly in costumes, to attend panel sessions, discussions, party, trade artwork and collectibles, party, and meet and be enthralled by over 500 artists, television and movie actors/actresses, musical artists and authors, and oh yeah—party!

The celebrity guests scheduled to participate include several phenomenal African American stars, including Nelsan Ellis, Giancarlo Esposito, Ron Glass, Mpho Koaho, J. August Richards, and Peter Williams.

Other featured guests include fanboy favorites Amy Acker, Nancy Allen, Kristin Bauer, Julie Benz, Emma Caulfield, Kathleen Coleman, Gigi Edgely, Caitlin Glass, Erin Gray, Kristin Hager, Tricia Helfer, Joanne Kelly, Katrina Law, Caity Lotz, Mary McDonnell, Zoie Palmer, Meaghan Rath, Jeri Ryan, Allison Scagliotti, Ksenia Solo, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Kate Vernon, and others.

Ladies especially might want to meet Aaron and Shawn Ashmore, Adam Baldwin, Paul Blackthorne, David Blue, Grant Bowler, Tony Curran, Louis Ferreira, Lou Ferigno, Joe Flanigan, Gil Gerard, Richard Hatch, Michael Hogan, Sam Huntington, Walter Koenig, Sean Maguire, Eddie McLintock, Michael McMillian, David Nykl, Dean O’Gorman, Garrett Wang, Jesse Rath, Patrick Stewart, Karl Urban, Peter Weller and others.This year’s Dragon Con, Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1, has 37 diverse programming tracks offering something specific throughout the weekend for each participant’s interests, including: Alternate History Track; American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media; American Sci-Fi Classics; Animation; Anime/Manga; Apocalyse Rising; Armory; BritTrack; Costuming; Electronic Frontiers; Fantasy Literature; Filk Singing; Film; Horror; Kaleidoscope; LAN Gaming; Main Programming (contests, performances, awards banquet, opening and closing ceremonies, ‘LateNight’ dances and drum-circles, and blood drives); Paranormal; Podcasting: Now and Beyond; Puppetry; Robotics (they teach you how to build your own robot—with real robot battles) and Maker Fans; Science; Science Fiction Literature; Silk Road: Asian Cinema & Culture; Skeptics; Space (real space science, NASA info, astronomy, etc.); Star Wars; Stargate: Multiverse; Table Top Gaming; Tolkien’s Middle-Earth; Trek Trak (Star Trek); Urban Fantasy; Video Gaming; Whedonverse (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly/Serenity, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog, Fray, Marvel’s The Avengers and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); Writer’s Track; X-Track; and Young Adult Literature. Each track is like its own four-day mini-convention, usually with a large dedicated meeting room to hang out in all weekend long.

Saturday morning’s annual Dragon Con Parade (10 am, EDT) is worth the trip alone. It is now officially Atlanta’s largest parade, dwarfing even the Atlanta Football Classic parade. Last year’s 3,500 costumed participants included dozens of Imperial Storm troopers, Princess Leias, witches and warlocks, the Dharma Initiative, Klingon biker chicks, Spidermen, Harry Potters, Doctors Who, and the like. DragonCon memberships are available on-site.

For rates/more information, go to the website www.dragoncon.org.

Carl Renner (American, 1923–2001), Cadillac Convertible Concept Car, 1951, water-based media on black paper, 76 x 242 inches. Collection of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf. Photo by Mark Wallison.

Carl Renner (American, 1923–2001), CadillacConvertible Concept Car, 1951, water-based media on
black paper, 76 x 242 inches. Collection of Jean S. and
Frederic A. Sharf. Photo by Mark Wallison.

While at Dragon Con visit High Museum of Art

At the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, see the exhibition ‘Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas,’ which includes 17 concept cars from Europe and the U.S. These are some of the rarest and most imaginative cars designed by Ferrari, Bugatti, General Motors and Porsche from the early 1930s to the 21st century.

They pushed the limits of imagination and foreshadowed the future of design, pairing conceptual drawings and scale models with realized cars, advancing ideas of progress and changing the automobile from an object of function to a symbol of future possibilities.

The museum will be open on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1, from 10 am to 4 pm, one of two ‘Hoods Up’ days (Sunday, Aug. 31 and Monday, Sept. 1), during which guests may view the engines of three of the cars in the exhibition closing September 14.

‘African Art: Building the Collection’

In its newly expanded Fred and Rita Richman Gallery for African Art, the 40 recent acquisitions of art from Africa, ‘African Art: Building the Collection’ marks a significant expansion of the museum’s galleries for African Art, more than 60% increase from 2,400 to 4,000 square feet, in High’s Wieland Pavilion.

‘African Mask/Masquerade: More Than Meets the Eye’

Seventeen dynamic works of art from western and central Africa celebrate the diversity of creative expression of African masquerade performances from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Also at the High:

Wynn Bullock: ‘Revelations’

‘Painter’s Painters: Gifts from Alex Katz’

‘Bangles to Benches: Contemporary Jewelry and Design’

‘Top Drawer: Select Drawings from the High’s Collection’

‘Mi Casa, Your Casa’ Molly Hatch: ‘Physic Garden’

The High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. with more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, is located at 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E. Atlanta, Ga. 30309. For more information, go to www.high.org. Hours during Dragon Con include: Friday, Aug. 29 from 10 am to 9 pm; Saturday, Aug. 30 from 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday, Aug. 31 from noon to 5 pm; and Monday, Sept. 1 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Georgia Aquarium houses four whale sharks, alongside manta rays and thousands of other animals.

Georgia Aquarium houses four whale sharks, alongside manta rays and thousands of other animals.

While in Atlanta, check out Georgia Aquarium 

While at Dragon Con (Saturday, August 30, 7 pm–11 pm) visit the Georgia Aquarium. You do not have to have a Dragon Con Badge to attend.

This is an amazing way to experience the Georgia Aquarium with special evening hours and exclusive pricing just for Dragon Con. Imagine yourself exploring the world’s largest aquarium with dim lighting and Dragon Con themes. Special ‘After Hours’ exhibits are open; and the food court will open from 7-9 pm; cash bars are open from 7-9:30 pm. All costumes and gear are welcome, but no weapons, no gum, no lighters, and no pocketknives are allowed. There will be security and bag check for all guests, but no changing rooms or bag storage. There will be a shuttle from the Marriott Marquis to the event.

Special pricing is only $25 ($30 after Aug. 27. Regular adult general admission is $38.95 + tax). You can print your tickets from home or bring your order # to the ‘will call’ window to receive tickets. Guests may only enter the aquarium at the time on the actual ticket. This includes admission to Aquarium, cash bar with a free ‘limited edition’ Dragon Con pin to the first 1500 guests at entry, and music by DJ Spider. New this year is a $75 VIP, including Aquarium admission, private lounge with scenic intimate views of animal gallery, ‘open bar,’ Light Bites and the limited edition Dragon Con Collectible Pin, with music by DJ Little Jen.

The Georgia Aquarium, located at 225 Baker St. NW Atlanta, Ga. 30313, is open Sundays-Fridays 10 am-5 pm and Saturdays 9 am-6 pm. For more information, call (404) 581-4000 or visit www.georgiaaquarium.org