LEXX: Convention: UsCon Recon Mission to Dragon Con, Atlanta 2002
UsCon Recon Mission
Atlanta, USA 2002.
Atlanta bound. As I woke up at the crack of dawn, *before* my alarm went off, I just couldn’t believe it. In a few minutes I was going to start getting ready to go to Lexxlanta. Of course, before I could get too euphoric, I had to wake up theSpouse. He was not excited about getting up at 4:30 to make a 7:30 flight. But, since I had everything well in hand and ready to go, we made it to the airport and actually on the plane before any spousal grumpiness could be expressed. With only a few token fusses about the cramped seating, theSpouse promptly fell asleep before the plane took off. So a good flight was had by all.
Arriving at the Hyatt Regency, which was one of the two main hotels for the convention, theSpouse and I dumped our stuff and went down to get our bearings and lunch. The hotel is adjacent to the Peach Tree Center Mall, which is very convenient for getting an inexpensive lunch and any last minute things that you forgot to bring. After lunch, we returned to the hotel and I waved good bye to theSpouse and went to pick up our badges.
Or so I thought. Apparently, it is not enough that you have the postcard with registration sticker on it. Nooooooo, you also have to have a picture id for all badges being picked up. So as the line grew longer by the minute, I went back up to get our licenses, and then hurried back to the registration area. However, since I had decided, over vigorous objections from theSpouse, to take my trade show cart I was not upset. I spent the next hour sitting in line, talking to the various people around me. All in all, it took perhaps an hour to get the badges. The moral of the story? No matter how much wenching theSpouse does about being hungry…. Get the freaking badges as early as you can, oh and the trade cart? Don’t leave home without it. : )
Just about the time I was done unpacking Mandara K called to let me know she had got her con badge and was downstairs in the lobby. So I went down to meet her. We exchanged introductions and decided to wander over to the Marriot to check out the dealer’s room. Which is just on the back side of the Hyatt property, down a long steep set of concrete steps. Sigh…Some of you may remember how I feel about concrete steps. : ) We had only been in the dealers room for a short while when Flamegrape called and so back we went to the Hyatt to meet him.
After chatting a bit, Mandara, Flame and I went back to the Merriott and started taking checking out the vendors in the Exhibit hall. This room was about the same size as the dealer’s room only upstairs, instead of down stairs. We were perhaps a third of the way through when we were told that the room was closing and we needed to vacate immediately in an orderly fashion. Huh??? I asked one of the exhibitors if they were going to close this early every night, and he said, “No, but the ceiling is getting ready to cave in, so you have to leave.” Color me surprised. He said there was a leak and the room was being closed so no one would get hurt in case the ceiling did start to fall.
Not a problem, I called to Fame and Mandara and proceeded around the corner… to see a torrent of water pouring down from numerous spots of the ceiling. Eeeeep! It looked like a freaking fountain! Heck, I have seen cloudbursts that did not create that much water. Needless to say, I turned back to chivy my companions into picking up their speed. I wanted out of there!
Of course once I had left the room, I immediately kicked myself for not getting a picture. So I bee-lined right back into the exhibit hall. I threaded my way through the numerous people trying to turn me back until I got my picture. You can’t see the water in it unless you look very close, but it is an excellent shot of the hotel staffers telling me to get back outside.
Our merry little band then went over to art room on the dry side of the hotel. About half way down the first aisle, Flame proceeded to convert a vendor who was a casual viewer into a Lexxian. We never made it any further into the room because HDS called while Flame was spreading the faith.
So back we trooped to the Hyatt to meet His Divine Shadow, Tree (his lovely wife) and her brother Todd. (Is it just me, or do all my trips seem to involve vast amounts of to-ing and fro-ing?) Even though HDS was wearing a black leather caviler coat and not his Kai costume, I recognized him and Tree from the pictures that he had posted on the net. After checking to see if theSpouse wanted to pile into the van with the six of us, (he didn’t) we took off towards Buckland and Fudruckers for dinner.
After being stuffed like bunnies, (the burgers at Fudruckers are enormous) Todd and Flame grabbed their beers and we all went out onto the terrace to talk. The weather in Atlanta was unseasonable mild, with a very nice light breeze. It was a lovely evening. So we chatted away for an hour or so. Unfortunately, Tree was a bit under the weather due to spending three hours in the car taking the small one to his grandparents for the weekend, she is apparently not one for long car trips. So we called it a night and HDS dropped us back off at the hotel and took Tree home to rest.
It has been pointed out to me, that I neglected to mention the way that HDS drives. Seeing how I usually add any detail, no matter how boring, I can only surmise that the trauma of the trip, created some kind of mental block. I will say that Mandara’s desire to go to Six Flags for a few thrill rides was satisfied on the way to dinner. It might also explain Tree being under the weather from the ride to drop off the small person at his grandparents.
Anyhow, Flame, Mandara and I, wandered into a lower level bar to watch the crowds until about midnight . Then I headed up to the room to watch a movie with theSpouse. From the slow starts they had on Saturday, I suspect that flame and Mandara stayed up much, much later
Well, I woke early and was contemplating the day ahead, when the phone rang. Fortunately, I had taken a shower before turning in the night before, because a chipper, happy HDS was calling me from the lobby! After telling theSpouse to get dressed and meet me down stairs for breakfast, I scrambled into some clothes, stuffed my pockets full of camera, cell phone and money and then grabbed my trade show cart and headed into my Saturday. Various grumbles about crazy people, this hour of the morning and “hello, I am on vacation” followed me out the door.
I met HDS, Tree and Todd in the lobby and admired their ‘look’ in between people taking pictures of them. Let me tell you, they excited no small amount of attention. While HDS was getting a last minute update on the new parade route, theSpouse showed up. He was introduced to all, and I got this really great shot of him and Tree. Does he look happy or what? Oh, alright… it is as happy as he can be sans gambling, okay? I called Mandara K and let her know about the route change, and then went for an incredibly over priced breakfast in the hotel restaurant. What can I say, neither the service nor the quality of the food justified the price. Hyatt café, best avoided in the future.
After Breakfast theSpouse and I wandered out side to get him cigarettes and scope out a good spot to watch the parade from. The parade was quite interesting, even if it was a last minute thing. I enjoyed watching the crowds gather. The piping voices of the numerous little local kids excitedly asking if Spiderman was *really* going to be there could get on ones nerves if they were hung over, but fortunately for me… I was not. The parade had a fairly respectable crowd, and was quite thrilling with the swirling bagpipes and banners and all. Thank god I wasn’t hung over, or those bag pipes would have killed me. Those thinks are LOUD!
I watched the Klingons march past taunting the crowd and yelling about the how the Federation scum were *behind* them. How this made a difference I don’t know, since none of the Klingon’s were riding horses. Also being at least moderately civilized the Klingons did not leave any little bio-bombs to disconcert the people they were preceding. So, I put it down to the behavior typical of your average Klingon.
Michele Nichols (Uhura) was the grand marshal. You could tell the last minuteness of the parade due to them having her ride in a mini van with the doors open, as opposed to the more traditional convertible. She is really quite lovely, and seems to be ageing very well indeed.
There was a very large contingent of Star Wars people, including a man named George that I heard had been made an honorary member of the group. I could see why. When I first saw him in the lobby, I had to do a double take, wondering is that ‘George Lucas’?!? It wasn’t, but he looked remarkably like Mr. Lucas, and made a fine marshal for their Star Wars group.
Finally, the Lexx crew appeared, a small but proud group. And while I occasional heard “Hey that’s what’s his name!!” drifting over to me, they were well received by the crowd. One thought though… the dead don’t care if Xev and Stan march in a straight line. Not a criticism mind you, just an observation. 😀
I followed the Parade back to the hotel, and met Mandara who had just arrived. I nobly reframed from mentioning, that staying up late is the number one cause of sleeping in and missing parades. (Are you guys proud of me or what? I wanted to say it… I was good and didn’t do it.) I called HDS to find out where he was, and after leaving a message for Flame we all hooked up and went to lunch at the Mall.. Have I mentioned yet what a god-send cell phones are?
This is where my personal transformation took place. Since apparently I was the only one who remembered how to get different places and I had seen the movie ‘Dave’, I became the group director. We needed one because at this time the photo stops were becoming a problem.
“We’re walking, we’re walking, We’re stopping. Everybody stopped? Yes? Okay.” Various people get pictures, everyone gets turned around posing and chatting. “All righty then, time to move on or we will never get lunch. We are headed this way guys, everybody turn left at the elevators, We’re walking, we’re walking, We’re stopping.”
Eventually, after many, many photo ops, we did make it to lunch. While we were eating at the Bread Factory, Dawn Benton, from the Atlanta Sci-fi group walked in with a friend of hers. We introduced ourselves, admired her Lexx Battersea t-shirt (nice design Flame) and confirmed the time and location for the Lexx panel that evening. Sigh…. 10:00 p.m. . What is it with Lexx and the late time slots. Anyhow, Ms. Benton was very funny, and we chatted for a while exchanging news about the last minute 7:00 “Sci-fi Friday Night Trak” that had Lexx added to it at the last minute, and a few other Dragon Con, Lexxian things before moving on (and I use that phrase loosely) to the dealers room.
Eventually we made it to the dealer’s room. Much fun stuff, let me tell you. Everything you could think about for gaming, costuming, miniatures, jewelry, posters, books, buttons, toys, collectibles, you name it, and they had it. The cart came in very handy here. For one thing it gave me a bit more personal space, very important that,and… I didn’t have to carry anything! Buy a book? Toss it in the cart, T-shirt, vendor literature? Same thing. Tree’s purse getting in the way of the pics? Pop it in there. 790 needs to be set down for a minute, so you can look at something? Put him on the seat. Someone wants to look through a ton of CD’s? Fine, pull up out of traffic and sit for a spell while browsing through your con magazine. Tree’s boots starting to bother her? Sit here, until they catch up to us.
One constant, was the stopping and posing for pictures. Which HDS, Tree and Todd did with much grace. Although I think HDS was a bit startled when this woman came over to him and said, “This is as close as I will ever come.” And gave him a big hug! As she pulled away laughing, she admired the costume, with much stroking and patting. All right, minds out of the gutter, she only stroked the front of the costume. Really people, such thoughts. I am ashamed of you. 😀 Anyhow, she turned out to be a fellow Lexx fan, who showed up later in season three Xev costume. So that would explain her Kai fascination. Sit. We also met this other Xev during our travels.
After ‘doing’ the dealer’s room, resting for a bit and riding the glass elevator up 47 floors with out pause and then back down again, we went back to the mall. As you can see here ‘Kai’ and 790 stopped at a coffee bar looking for a proto-blood substitute.
Soon afterwards I split off from the group to spend a few hours quality time with theSpouse. I also wanted a chance to check out the menus and seating arrangements of two nearby restaurants that looked like they might make a good place for dinner that night. So we popped into both and grabbed menus, scooping out the seating arrangements on the way out. While we were walking out of the second restaurant a horse and buggy drove past us. I asked an Atlanta Goodwill Ambassador and he told me that the hack stand was right around the corner from us.
So theSpouse and I decided to take a buggy ride. It was very nice. Atlanta was warm that afternoon, but the constant breezes made it so pleasant. As the horse clopped down the street, the co-driver turned around and gave us a running history lesson of downtown Atlanta . I wish I could say I remembered what he said, but I am afraid I was too busy looking at the sights. I loved the fountain, that neat wedge building and the statue of Atlanta casting a phoenix to the heavens. Oh and the statue of the ‘Climb to knowledge’ was very interesting too. Then, not wanting to ruin a perfect afternoon with *too* much togetherness, we returned to the hotel and went our separate ways.
The gang and I went to the Sci-fi Friday Night Prime panel. It was poorly attended, and there was nary a Sci-fi gerbil in sight. Sigh, and I was so looking forward to strangling… I mean seeing one up close and personal. Before the panel officially started, we had a nice discussion going. The two people running the panel were fairly laid back about it, and once it was time to start, told us to continue as we were. Since I was in the first row and was tired of talking over my shoulder, Mandara and I spun our chairs around, and HDS, Tree and Flame sort of sat sideway and we started talking to the dozen or so people who did show up wanting to talk about Lexx. We met a really nice guy named Ben, who did an excellent Divine Shadow costume. HDS was impressed at how accurate it was seeing as Ben only had pictures to go by.
After reminding everyone about the 10:00 p.m. Lexx panel, we invited Ben to go to dinner with us. Since he had nothing else planned, he dropped off his costume, while I gathered up theSpouse and away we went to Durango ’s for dinner. I wish I could say that the service and the meal were as lovely as the evening breezes out on the patio. But they weren’t. After screwing several things up, and us almost not getting our meal in time, we were vexed at our waiter. Fortunately, another waiter took pity on us, refilled our drinks and ran the cards up, and made change and all that fun stuff. We tipped her. And then hot footed it back to the hotel to make the next panel.
You will never guess who we saw on the way to the next panel? Well yes, Michele Nichols… but even better, STAN THE MAN! Now Todd was doing a fine job of being Stan, being tall and blonde and all. But let me tell you, If I could have just convinced him to brush his bangs back, Pete could have doubled for Mr. Downey on some of the distance shots. : ) He looked very much like Mister Downey. It turns out he is a Farscape fan, but everyone told him how much he looked like Stanley Tweedle, so his girl friend insisted that he dress up like him at the con. We told him about the Lexx panel and encouraged him to attend.
Well, let me tell you, the Lexx panel was packed! Almost all the attendees from the first panel were there, and then some! Dayna Baldwin, Dawn Benton, Patrick Cranford, and Kelley Harkins were the Panel chairs. Since I knew that they were going to fuss over our costumed companions, I made everyone sit up front. Before the panel started, Patrick asked them to do a photo shoot, since as he said, “No one is going to pay a bit of attention to us until they get your pictures.” So HDS, Tree, Todd and Ben posed for pictures, displayed 790, and generally clowned around for the crowd.
Well this panel was more structured than the previous one, but I am afraid that HDS’s costumes kind of derailed them a bit. But they were all very informative, and Flame did indeed propose his Kai-less season five heresy. We were sitting in the front and getting quite a few questions of our own, so after a few minutes, they dragged HDS up to sit with the panel as eye candy. He wanted me to go up there with him, but I told him that everyone could see and hear me fine since I was sitting in the front on a side wall facing both the panel and the audience. So then they dragged Tree and 790 up to the table as honored guests.
I was amazed at the number of Lexx fans who are not net crawlers. But they had excellent questions and the panel was very lively with no lags or pauses. Since it was obvious that we were BIG Lexx fans (literally in my case anyhow) the panel gave us an opportunity to ask and answer some questions. I was able to poll the crowd on their feelings about a Lexx UScon push for next year. The attendees were enthusiastic about the idea and assured me that they would be willing to help urge Dragon Con to invite a few Lexx cast and crew for next year. Oh, and I also plugged Sadgeezer.com for you Tony, since I live to serve, dontcha know.
Then there were more photo ops, including Tree licking 790 and HDS giving him a thrill by laying a big french kiss on him. Those both got a big laugh. Pete, the Brian Downey look a like came in shortly after the panel started, but sadly, his group had to leave before the second photo op. But some of the other Xev’s were there, so great pictures were taken by all. After the panel I introduced myself to Stephanie, who I recognized from her custom Lexx t-shirt. I was then hailed by Trini_T who introduced herself and Hubby Neo. After visiting with them for a brief moment, I went and talked with Mr. Dunne to get the ball rolling on the 2003 Lexx gathering. While I was doing this, no one was leaving! They were still all chatting and laughing and visiting with other people. Finally the next panel hosts started shoving us out of the room, where upon we decided to clog the hallway with Lexxians.
Out in the hall, I quickly gathered up our little, but growing group and made plans to hit the downstairs bar for drinks and duct tape spotting. Our group, which now also included a gentleman named Jim, who had tagged along with Stephanie, made it to the bar in very short order. Baring a few delays from Ben who went to drop his costume off, and HDS and his crowd who were being paused every few feet for the picture thing, we assembled in good order.
We were fortunate to get the same table that Flame, Mandara and I had the night before. It was an great table right in front of the bar window with an excellent view of the crowd. I was able to snag chairs for about half of group by being fairly brazen and ruthless about it, and since we snagged the chairs as they were vacated, in about 45 minutes we were able to grab another table for our group. So now everyone had a spot and the serious drinking could commence.
We spent the next three hours chatting, drinking and saying, “Oh my god, did you see that one!” Occasionally Neo and Todd would dash out to get a better look (or pic) of a scantily clad beauty. Well, okay, perhaps Todd dashed; Neo was much smoother about it. 😀 Flame showed off his Lexx cards and we all critiqued the various costumes passing us by. One brave band of punks dressed in towels and shower caps spotted Trini through the window. We snagged a pic and then they insisted in getting a group shot with her. They were a class act let me tell you. I got an excellent shot of her and her admirers, but I have been threatened with death if I post it. Go figure. We had a great time, I crashed at around 2:00 a.m.
I slept in a bit, until 8:00 I think, woke up theSpouse, packed and then hit the mean streets of Atlanta looking for breakfast. Okay, the streets were just fine; perhaps it was me that was a tad grumpy. TheSpouse sensing my disgruntlement at having to leave early, suggested that we do the check out think, store our bags and then hit the dealer room. Since my b-day is soon, I think he was hoping to have me find my own present there. Before we could get there, HDS made his appearance, and I got to see (and smell) the original Divine Shadow costume. I ended up shoving an extra duffle bag into the cart for them so they didn’t have to carry it. Then theSpouse and I left for the Dealers room
I did get one last chance to talk to Stephanie outside the Marriot while enroute to the dealers room. I think she would make a great original time prophet. I never did see Trini on Sunday; I suspect that since she was staying that night, she was sleeping in late. Sigh… the rat. 😀
We actually never made it to the dealers room, since the exhibit hall was closer. We looked at lots of stuff, but didn’t find anything I *had* to have. I mean just going to the con was present enough. I think, all told, I bought two t-shirts and a book while I was at Dragon Con. How we went through so much money is a complete mystery to me. Oh wait, I keep forgetting about that $35.00 breakfast and theSpouse’s $15.00 steak sandwich. We took a break from window shopping to hit the bar, so theSpouse could refill his nicotine reserves.
Yes, I know. We could have gone outside, but it was hot out there, and theSpouse also wanted a coke. Mandara found us here and we sat and chatted until it was time to go meet HDS and return the back pack. After trooping over to the Hyatt for that, we all decided to hit the mall for one last meal together. The HDS costume, being too beastly hot to wear, was compressed into the back pack, and hung on the cart. I was amazed at its compression factor. But soon, sadly, it was time to leave for the airport. So as Mandara waves goodbye to us, I will turn this over to HDS.
HDS writes – After having said good bye to theFrey and theSpouse and thanking them for being the appointed leader of our merry little band, the left over band (Me, Tree, Flamegrape , Bill and Mandara K) killed sometime in the Hyatt lobby. Bill being re-dressed as HDS got much attention from a female in vinyl body suit. Seeing as he was having so much fun, I also got into the act. Until! *split* the girls suit split at the bum! She was very graceful and offered us both a peep =) …errrr ,,um but we being honorable gentlemen didn’t not take her up on the offer ;).
After having much fun with the girl in black, we went to kill time before the Masquerade costume contest in the dealers room and exhibition hall. We sent Todd on his way to be himself and take photos and to meet back up with us in the Hyatt at 5:00 pm, just in case Pete (the Brian clone) didn’t show up to be our Stan for the contest.
While in the dealers room, we took lots of time out for photo ops with our fellow Lexx fans. We eventually made it to the area where the actors had their tables. Tree and I stopped off at Peter Jurasik ( Babylon 5) and stated chatting with him. He was very nice and even remembered our names later in the day. Tree was dieing to talk to Lou Ferrigno so we made way to his table. I went around looking for Lexx trading cards and only found one dealer with them. I was prompt to chastise him for opening packs to pick out the good card and sell the rest, the same with the binders.
Time was almost near for us to get ready for the Masquerade so we made our way back to the Hyatt lobby to meet with Todd and Pete, the Brian look a like. But, as per usual things don’t always work out as planned. Five p.m. and no Pete! Flame and I started a search for Stan! Going from one hotel to another asking if anyone has seen Tweedle! We got few leads but no Tweedle. Damn the Stan! Good thing I had a back up plan in place. We used our own Stan for the Masquerade. Also, having Flamegrape with us we outfitted him in a Rainbow costume from Brigadoom. It felt good to know someone else can now feel my pain to wear a Brunnen G costume. He was luckier though, he didn’t have a Brunnen-G ‘do.
After getting everyone in costume ready and trying to go over some kind of skit for the show, we made way to the Ballroom. We entered the back room where lots of people in costume were handing in their tech sheets for their acts. That’s when it hit me, our sheet and cd was in a backpack that Mandara K was kindly holding for us so not to get in the way of photo ops, she was such a help. And now the five minute dash to find Mandara K! Luckily, I found her in the lobby and retrieved the tech sheet and music cd. When I returned to the staging room I found Pete! But there was no time to make a change. So Pete made plans to be with his Farscape group. I wished him good luck and we sat and awaited our entry number. We were given the number 28 which we thought was good being that our music was #28 on the cd (run and get your S2 soundtrack).
After getting our act number, we made our way to the back stage walkway with our appointed den mother (act director). Standing inline awaiting our turn to take photos, we got acquainted with the other people in costume. Everybody was cracking jokes and having a good time. Our turn came up to take our groups photos when they promptly backed us up. A running Virginia Hey (Zhaan from Farscape) came out of no where! At this time the event staff told us “Sorry, we have to get pictures of the judges next.” So we contentedly watched a happy, very pretty and very tall Virginia Hey take photos. After our photo’s were taken, we where herded in to the back stage area where we sat and waited for about an hour. They had a screen setup for us to view what was going on out front but sadly, it had no sound! Anyhow, it was time for the Masquerade!
We studied and watched the acts before us until it was our turn. Lights! Camera…what!!!! They cued the wrong music!?! (Kill ‘em Kai!) But we couldn’t stop, the show is the show, and it must go on. So off went Tweedle and then Xev, being introduced by the guys of Sci-Fi Theater 3000. Who were unfortunately having a hard time reading off the cue card. Then it was my turn to hit the stage. This was where Xev licks 790 and the crowed went nuts! Then Flamegrape in the other Brunnen-G outfit came out, followed by the His Shadow, who started attacking us! Tweedle ran off in his Tweedle way and Xev backed off when I, as Kai started to talk about the prophecy and attacked His Shadow. His Divine Shadow threw his arms out to show off his wings and the crowd roared. I fired off a fake brace shot and he fell to the ground to end our act. It was very ‘Lexx goofy’ to say the least, but appeared to go over well with the audience.
Back stage again, we discussed how they messed up the music cue, but, done is done. Now it was time to wait for the judges to pick over the acts and costumes. Survey says! We didn’t win… but we had fun none the less. Afterwards they lined us up in the backstage hall and started getting us ready to ‘run the Gauntlet’. Gauntlet? What’s that? The Gauntlet is a maze of people with cameras, like some Hollywood premiere. We went out there like proud young warriors and got blinded at every turn by mad camera flashes and people shouting, “LEXX OVER HERE!!” Eventually we made our way outside. Which the enormous crowd of people there it was just too much, so we needed to get some fresh air and a smoke. As I stood their smoking little did I know that ‘Kai’ was going to get invited to so many Goth/fetish parties that night. No big deal, but it was just that I was the only one in our small but strong group that was asked! It must be a Kai thing.
Sitting out side, we talked to many people about costuming and Lexx, taking photos when asked and exchanging information and networking with the crowd. ;). As the night grew late ( 2:00 a.m. ) We decided it was a good time to call it a night. Trini_T and hubby Neo bid us ado and went back in for some more partying with Jefferson Starship. All hugged and said good bye. After we retrieved the moth (oh all right, our van) we drove Flamegrape to his car. Flame said that it was the best time he had ever had at Dragon Con.
theFrey wrestles the keyboard off of HDS. – Well, there you have it people, our UScon Recon Mission report. As I indicated earlier, it looks good for next year and I am a definite go. So start planning now. It is labor day weekend of 2003, so you can start making you arrangements or saving your change for it now. With in the next few weeks, I will get together a list of people who want to volunteer as coordinators for the various activities that we will have, and get the information needed to try to get our Lexx Cast invited.
and the UScon site http://www.thefrey.com/UsCon.htm
I want to thank all the people that attended, and donated time, talent and the pictures (Thank you Todd and Flame) necessary to file this report in such a timely manner. Lexxians Rule!
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Report copyright 2002 thefrey
Creator of the Kai Klone Doll and the
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