Report: 221B Con

221B is a Sherlock Holmes convention held in Atlanta every year. This year it was held at the Atlanta  Airport Marriott, which had perhaps the most helpful staff I have ever encountered. I used my walker on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday I used my cane, and any time my husband Ken left my side in the hallway for a minute there was a staff person asking if I needed any help. I was constantly reassuring them that I was fine. I wondered if I looked particularly needy, but they were extremely considerate.

221B is, as conventions go, relatively quiet. What I mean is that it is one of the series of smaller fan conventions we cover in Atlanta. Granted, everything is smaller when compared to the monolith that is DragonCon, which brought 80,000 people to Atlanta every year, but by smaller I mean they have between 450 and 1,000 people in attendance. That is a number that can connect with one another without a lot of confusion and share their love of a particular subject, in this case mainly Sherlock Holmes.

Panels covered Holmes from the books to the movies to the BBC series and ABC’s Elementary. There was a great deal of programming about writing fan fic, which I don’t do, and demonstrations of how to create Victorian cosplay costumes right down to
the proper underwear. Once in a while, some other cultural icon got a moment, such as the Voltron panel we attended on Sunday. But mostly it was Sherlock and John in our ears and in our eyes, in the most pleasant way.

it seemed to me that there was more cosplay this year. Many of the costumes were very attractive and made people-watching fascinating.

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Among the things that we enjoyed most this year were the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company’s presentations. Saturday, they performed the radio drama  “Lady Sherlock,” which features a female Sherlock Holmes and her automaton Watson. it was very amusing, but my favorite performance was their Sunday performance of “Jeeves and Wooster. who have nothing to do with Holmes except that the stories were written about the same time, but they were charming, just the same.

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There was also a burlesque performance for those 18 and over on Friday, which cost extra to benefit the Beacon Society. We did not go to see Fandom Nerdesque perform this time, but we have seen them before and they were both sexy and funny with their fandom-themed shows.

221B Con had a lot to offer and it was all fun, but it was, as always, the feeling of family and acceptance in the fandom that made it such an enjoyable con. I love Sherlock but really, it is the fans that make the con for me, and the Sherlock fans were lovely again this year.

 

Press Release: WHOlanta 2018 About More Than Just Doctor Who

For Immediate Release-

 WHOlanta 2018 About More Than Just Doctor Who

 While the main focus of WHOlanta 2018, Atlanta’s premier Doctor Who convention, May 4-6 at the HiltonAtlanta Airport hotel, is the legendary science fiction program, there are more aspects to the annual three day gathering.

 British Culture – and pop culture – is also well represented and celebrated as a part of the convention, which was named by The Guardian newspaper as one of the top five Doctor Who conventions in the United States.

“Fans of Doctor Who also tend to be big fans of all things British,” said WHOlanta Vice President and Programming Coordinator Alan Siler.  “We work to bring our convention goers a slice of England in more ways than one.”

That includes panels on British television shows, films and literature, including SherlockRed DwarfThe PrisonerThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyBlake’s 7Life On MarsKingsmanBroadchurch, the James Bond films and more.

There’s even a panel that allows people to “Ask A British Person,” allowing curious convention goers to satiate their curiosity on all aspects of British life.

In addition, the dealer’s room features a unique British flare, including sellers of English foods, sweets and various items usually not available at their local markets.

Of course, Doctor Who is the main focus of WHOlanta 2018, with various panels, question and answer sessions and other programming slated for the weekend.  That includes appearances by classic Doctor Who actor Louise Jameson, who portrayed the Fourth Doctor’s companion Leela, and new series director Rachel Talalay, among others.

 

WHOlanta 2018 will take place May 4-6 at the Hilton Atlanta Airport hotel, located at 1031 Virginia Avenue N/A, Atlanta, GA.  For membership information, along with other guest announcements, visit http://www.WHOlanta.com.  For breaking news and updates, check the WHOlanta Facebook page or follow along on Twitter @WHOlanta.

CONjuration was magical fun: Atlanta, GA Nov 3-5, 2017

CONjuration was magical fun: Atlanta, GA Nov 3-5, 2017

CONjuration was magical fun: Atlanta, GA Nov 3-5, 2017

By Rhetta Akamatsu, photos by Takesi Akamatsu

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CONjuration, an Atlanta convention with a magical theme, was indeed a magical experience. There were events suitable for all age groups, from Quidditch matches to mead-making, much music, games, and a variety of panels for every interest. While Harry Potter was the impetus for the convention when it began 4 years ago, it has never been the sole reason for it. Even non-Potter fans, if such things exist, can enjoy it.

Nearly the entire convention was kid-friendly, even those events aimed at adults and which they would probably find boring. There was one event,though, that is definitely adults-only, and that is the Friday night burlesque show. This year, the theme was Sinenchantment, and enchanting it was. While the show was saucy,it was not much beyond PG-13, with no total nudity and only mildly bawdy humor. The performers had real talent and the costumes were gorgeous. The Petronius, in particular, was breath-taking. It was a fun and exciting show. If you get a chance to experience the burlesque of The Fandom Nerdesque, and you like things just slightly naughty, you will enjoy it. It was one of only two events, to this writer’s knowledge, that had an extra charge: $10 a person and it was so worth it!

The other event that had an extra charge was the Tea Party. We did not attend this year but which by all accounts was excellent.

Each attendee can mold their own convention experience, but my husband and I are very fond of panels and discussions. One of our favorite panelists this year were Dr. Dea Mozingo Gorman. She is a professional archaeologist who showed us slides of the graves of shamans thousands of years old and their contents. She even explained what sorts of herbs one was buried with, and other fascinating glimpses into the mysticism of long ago. Another was Phillip Sacco, who combines mythology and astronomy to tell the stories of the night sky.

But don’t think that everything at the convention was that serious. You could game for 24 hours, listen to music all day long, shop in the dealer’s room and the Conjuration store, dress up, dance at the ball, or do a glorious mix of everything. Mostly, what we did this year and every year was have marvelous magical fun with like-minded people.

Next year CONjurtion is moving to a bigger hotel, the Crown Plaza at Ravinia in Atlanta. It will be in November, so keep your eyes and ears open!

Dragon Con 2017: Bigger and Better

Dragon Con just gets bigger and better every year.   According to a press release I received in my email, Dragon Con has “announced a record attendance of more than 80,000 people for the four-day celebration.” And yet, from my perspective as a long-time attendee, things moved surprisingly smoothly this year, with the crowds more evenly dispersed between the five hotels .

There were guest stars for every taste, including the comic creator Stan Lee, whose Marvel creations dominate TV and movies these days. The press release states that Lee, who ” previously announced his retirement from the convention circuit, made his third and perhaps final Dragon Con appearance..” I and everyone else at Lee’s panel appearance clearly heard what Lee said: “What’ya mean final appearance?”  He indicated that he would come back next year if asked.”I love coming here!” So we will see. Lee served as Grand Marshall of the Dragon Con parade this year.

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Every fandom has its favorites but for me it was the year of Dr. Who.  We had the 11th Doctor himself, Matt Smith ,along with  Karen Gillian, who was also part of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 panel, Ale Kingston, Billie Piper, who also stars in Penny Dreadful, and the ever charming John Barrowman, who just may be the funniest man on the planet and who channeled Wonder Woman for his big entrance to his panel.

Add to this the amazing cosplay costumes everywhere, and the Con was a feast for eyes and ears.

But Dragon Con has a heart, too.  Every year, the convention chooses a charity to benefit and this year it was the Special Olympics. This year due to the damage Texas suffered from Hurricane Harvey, the convention raised money for that as well. I do not have the final figures yet, but Dragon Con promised to match up to $50,000 for Special Olympics and $25,000 for victims of Harvey.

And that’s not all.  Again referring to the press release,

“LifeSouth, which has organized the convention’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive since 2002, recognized Dragon Con for its 25,000th donor. This year, some 3,000 donors contributed nearly 6,000 units of blood and blood products, with the milestone donor arriving on Thursday night.”

And,

“Since 2014, which marked the start of the organization’s Superheroes program, Dragon Con and its fans have contributed more than 2,600 hours of community service.  During 2017, Dragon Con Superheroes manned a crafts ‘n’ cosplay booth at the Special Olympics Georgia Summer Games, maintained portions of Piedmont Park, participated in the annual Walk to End Lupus Now, and collected toys and games for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.”

Fun  fandom,  and a flair for giving…who could ask for more than that?

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DRAGON CON ANNOUNCES DRAGON AWARD WINNERS

ATLANTA – September 3, 2017 – Dragon Con, the internationally known pop culture, sci fi, fantasy, and gaming convention, announced the winners of its 2nd annual Dragon Awards, a fan’s choice awards program to recognize the best in books, comics, games and filmed entertainment.

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More than 8,000 fans cast ballots for Dragon Award winners among 88 properties in 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming and tabletop gaming.  Winners were announced on Sept. 3 at Dragon Con, which runs September 1 to September 4, 2017 in Atlanta.

Final voting was held via the dedicated Dragon Awards website, and the voting period ran from August 3 to September 2.  The ballot was selected in an open nomination process in which fans nominated their favorite properties.  The nomination period ran from early April until July 25. The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.

The Dragon Awards were introduced in 2016 as part of the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

And the winners are …

Best Science Fiction Novel

Babylon’s Ashes, by James S.A. Corey

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, by Larry Correia and John Ringo

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

The Hammer of Thor, by Rick Riordan

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

Iron Dragoons, by Richard Fox

Best Alternate History Novel

Fallout: The Hot War, by Harry Turtledove

Best Apocalyptic Novel

Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

Best Horror Novel

The Changeling, by Victor LaValle

Best Comic Book

The Dresden Files: Dog Men, by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo

Best Graphic Novel

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card, by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

Stranger Things, by Netflix

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

Wonder Woman directed, by Patty Jenkins

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, by Nintendo

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

Pokemon GO, by Niantic

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, by Avalon Hill

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon, by Wizards of the Coast

About Dragon Con

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