Dragon Con celebrates the stars

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols, David Ramsey, Candice Patton, John Barrowman, Stephen Amell, Edward James Olmos, and Peter Mayhew are among an all-star guest list of more than 400 actors, authors, artists and other creators appearing at Dragon Con 2015, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

Nichols, who broke barriers as Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek television series, will serve as Grand Marshall of the annual Dragon Con Parade. More than 65,000 people are expected to attend Dragon Con 2015, filling downtown Atlanta over the four-day Labor Day weekend, September 4 to September 7, with events and activities across AmericasMart Building #2 and five host hotels – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree and Sheraton Atlanta.

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!

“We’re very excited about this year’s guest list,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. “We have attracted guests from some of the best shows on television today, including Arrow, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and Once Upon A Time. We also have guests from fan favorite shows from recent years, such as Warehouse 13 and classic sci-fi shows such as Doctor Who.”

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Actors from Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and other films join the stars of The Flash, True Blood, and other TV shows. Main cast members from Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and Fringe, CW’s The 100, SyFy’s Defiance, Continuum, Bitten and Lost Girl will be on hand, along with stars from Doctor Who, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Torchwood, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Battlestar Galactica franchise, the Stargate franchise and the Star Trek franchise to attend panels and sign memorabilia and photographs.

The celebrity guests scheduled to participate include several phenomenal African American stars, including B.J. Britt (Marvel’s Agents of Shield), Terry Carter (Battlestar Galactica), Merrin Dungey (Once Upon A Time), Dave Fennoy, Georges Jeanty, Omari Newton (Continuum), Candice Patton (The Flash), David Ramsey (Arrow) , and Michael Xavier (Bitten) .

Other featured guests include fanboy favorites Magda Apanowicz, Kristen Bauer von Stratten, Amber Benson, Katie Cassidy, Terry Farrell, Karen Gillan, Erin Gray, Samantha Inoue-Harte, Tricia Helfer, Trenna Keating, Joanne Kelly, Alex Kingston, Clare Kramer, Stephanie Leonidas, Zoie Palmer, Danielle Panabaker, Tara Platt, Teryl Rothery, Anna Silk, Rachel Skarsten, Ksenia Solo, Eliza Taylor, and Laura Vandervoort.

Ladies especially might want to meet Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell, Jamie Bamber, John Barrowman, Barry Bostwick, Greg Bryk, James Callis, Garry Chalk, Tony Curran, Aaron Douglas, Keir Dullea, Julian Glover, Kevin Grazier, Graham Greene, Richard Harmon, Richard Hatch, David Hewlett, Kris Holden-Reid, Gary Jopnes, Nicholas Lea, James Leary, Gary Lockwood, Yuri Lowenthal, Eddie McClintock, Paul McGillion, Tom Mison, Bobby Morley, Matt Nable, Kristian Nairn, John Noble, Edward James Olmos, Jesse Rath, John Wesley Shipp, Jim Steranko, Michael Trucco, Voltaire, Garrett Wang, and Victor Webster.

This year’s Dragon Con, Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7, has 36 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; Forums; Fantasy Literature; Filk Singing; Film Track; Horror Track; Kaleidoscope; LAN Gaming; Main Programming (contests, performances, awards banquet, opening and closing ceremonies, ‘LateNight’ dances and drum-circles, and blood drives); Paranormal; Podcasting and Media; Puppetry; Robotics (they teach you how to build your own robot—with real robot battles) and Maker Fan Track; Science; Science Fiction Literature; Silk Road: Asian Cinema & Culture; Skeptics; Space (real space science, NASA info, astronomy, etc.); Star Wars Track; 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.

Gamer and actress Felicia Day, voice actor Mark Meer, top video game designers Jonathan LeCraft and Ian Frazier, and a Murderer’s Row of table top game designers will be part of the fun.

“While the cosplay and our celebrity guests get a lot of attention, Dragon Con is actually one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation. Our panel discussions and presentations are as good as you will see anywhere,” convention co-chair Dave Cody said. “Our overall games programming features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.”

Charities are beneficiaries of the convention, as Dragon Con selects a different Georgia-based non-profit each year, raising money through auctions, fan track activities and other events. Since 2005, Dragon Con has raised more than $426,000 for its official charities. Dragon Con’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive — consistently ranked as the largest convention-based blood drive – benefits LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospital in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast. Dragon Con raised $115,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank; every $1 raised in donations will provide four meals to food pantry clients across the Atlanta metro area.

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con programming features more than 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, visit www.dragoncon.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

While in Atlanta Visit the High Museum FREE. 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, Sep. 4, 10 am to 9 pm; Saturday, Sep. 5, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday, Sep. 6 from noon to 5 pm; and Monday, Sept. 7, 10 am to 4 pm. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission on the first full Saturday and Sunday of each month. Discount offered for cardholder only.

Go 20,000 Leagues Under DC at the Georgia Aquarium

Dragon Con takes over Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium on Saturday night, September 5 for a cosplay competition and party hosted by leading cosplayer Yaya Han. New this year, The Chôsen cosplay competition will feature 20 of the top costumes at Dragon Con, selected during a pre-judging session. Han and co-host Marc Lee will emcee, along with a panel of celebrity judges including Heroes of Cosplay’s Monika Lee, Catherine Lee Lewis of God Save the Queen Fashions, and Lee “Fev” Camara of Fev Studios.

Competition winners will share in over $1,500 in prizes, with the top prize including a four night stay at a host hotel for the 30th annual Dragon Con in 2016. Afterwards, Han will stick around to greet fans, take photographs and make autographs available.

“This is an amazing way to experience the intergalacticly famous Georgia Aquarium as only Dragon Con can bring it to you,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. “All the fandoms will be out in force and our amazing DJs will keep the atrium rocking like a barrel of wild sea monkeys. It’ll be a whale of a party!”

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with pre-judging beginning at 6 p.m. The Dragon Con shuttle service will be available. Tickets for Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. VIP tickets, including complimentary appetizers and full bar, plus water and soft drinks, in a special viewing area, are available for $80. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/dragoncon.

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.

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.

Go 20,000 Leagues Under DC at the Georgia Aquarium

by Cass Teague

Yaya Han

Yaya Han

Dragon Con takes over Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium on Saturday night, September 5 for a cosplay competition and party hosted by leading cosplayer Yaya Han. New this year, The Chôsen cosplay competition will feature 20 of the top costumes at Dragon Con, selected during a pre-judging session. Han and co-host Marc Lee will emcee, along with a panel of celebrity judges including Heroes of Cosplay’s Monika Lee, Catherine Lee Lewis of God Save the Queen Fashions, and Lee “Fev” Camara of Fev Studios.

Competition winners will share in over $1,500 in prizes, with the top prize including a four night stay at a host hotel for the 30th annual Dragon Con in 2016. Afterwards, Han will stick around to greet fans, take photographs and make autographs available.

“This is an amazing way to experience the intergalacticly famous Georgia Aquarium as only Dragon Con can bring it to you,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. “All the fandoms will be out in force and our amazing DJs will keep the atrium rocking like a barrel of wild sea monkeys. It’ll be a whale of a party!”

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with pre-judging beginning at 6 p.m. The Dragon Con shuttle service will be available. Tickets for Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. VIP tickets, including complimentary appetizers and full bar, plus water and soft drinks, in a special viewing area, are available for $80. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.georgiaaquarium.org/
dragoncon.

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.

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 the website at www.georgiaaquarium.org