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.

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AnachroCon is almost here! Atlanta, Feb. 16-18

AnachroCon  is always a fun, family-friendly adventure, and this year the main theme is  Vikings!  Of course, anachronisms are welcome at AnachroCon, so there will still be a tea party among all those lusty, rowdy warriors.

Come on out and see what else happens at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria starting Friday, Feb. 16!

Anachrocon

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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Do’s and Donts from Dragon Con for People With Didabilities

I attended Dragon Con with my husband this past weekend  as I have as a volunteer many times before. But this time was diffeent because I was not volunteering and I have a disability. Since I was not spending a huge hunk of time helping out i none track room, i was free to pick what and who I wanted to see andtry to make that happen. I had a lot of fun. And yes, I learned a few lessons.

The first thing I noticed is that there are a LOT of disabled people at Dragon Con. When the volunteers take us into a ballroom for an event, wheelchairs and other wheeled vehicles first, they call it “loading in.” When they finished loading us in for several events in the 2,000-capacity Marriott Atrium ballroom, we more than half filled it before they let the “abled”  people in. You just blend in to the most accepting, non-judgemental environment you will ever be in: big, little, tall, short, gay, straight, able, disabled, it’s all the samre in Dragon Con Land.

 

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Disabled Con-goers waiting to see Matt Smith outside the Atrium Ballroom

Many of the same rules apply for all Con-goers: Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep and have at least one real meal a day. Eat healthy snacks and stay hydrayed Shower. But for anyone who needs more than a cane to get around there are a few things you should know.

1. Disability Services is your best friend. As soon as you get your badge. go to then and get your stickers so they know what you need. I had two..”End of row” and “Proxinity,” which meant I could sit at the end of any row and that I could be close enough to see any monitor easily. Since we went in first, it usually meant I got to sit near the dront. I could never say enough good things about the Disability Seervice volunteers (soe of whom have disabilities themselves.)

2. But you still have to wait for big events.  There are many different “tracks,” or rooms devoted to particular subjects, at Dragon Con, ranging from Space, Science and various literature tracks to media and gaming tracks and while they do get crowded at times, you are probably safe to get there within the half hour sbefore the panel starts. They all have designated seating for disabilities so i  fyou don’t see it ask a staff person.

But DON’T plan two eents in two different hotels back to back. You will never make it. With the crowds travel time between the hotels utilizing the skywalks and not including the Westin and Sheraton, which require longer, is about 20 minutes, based on my eperience . So if you are going from the Hilton to the Hyatt, allow 40 minutesbecause you hae to go through the Marriott. I tried to avoid that for the most part, using the Marriott as my arrival and departure point.

For big events you MUST be there an hour and a half before time. Reember, your friends who stand on their feet are waiting in lines that wrap arounf the buildings for three hours sometimes! So get cozy in your little corral with your fellow disabled people. Read, write,  knit, crpchet, take pictures, take in the colorful costumes or get to know your neighbors. If you are in a wheelchair or scooter or have a rolling walker, they wil load you in about 20 or even 30 minutes before the show before yours ends. I added two shows to my streaning list that way: “Reign” and “Legends of Tomorrow.” just because their Q and A’s were so good.

3. Here’s the biggest lesson I learned: DON’T rent a scooter unless you are very practised at driving one, and not just around the grocery store. The one I rented was bigger, heavier and harder to steer than I expected and I was terrified to dive it through the crowd particularly on the Mariott Matquis level, where the bars are. There were kids in that crowd too! And backing out of elevators was so hard. The other people were all amazingly helpful and nice but I was so happy to give up the scooter and go back to my wheeled walker on Saturday.

My advice would be to at least go to the actual store and practice with the scooter you are renting in advance.

Even if you ae an epert scooter handler, there is a big trouble spot you should know. At  the Hilton, entrance to/exit from the skywalk, there is a swirchback ranp that is very narrow. My scooter was roo big for it, and others were as well. Soif  you can’t use the skywalk,, you have to go down to the lobby and outside to get anywhere. The scooters do not like the outside with the hills and cracked sidewalks much and you hae to deal with traffic.

4. The other trouble spot for anyone with a mobility issue is the foood court at Peachtree Mall. This is usually the most popular and easy place to get food at the convention, but if you cannot handle stairs, you cannot get there from the closest hotel. the Hyatt, through the “habitrail” as we call them. This inside walkway rom the Hyatt to the foof court has two sets of stairs, one wuth 3 steps and one with 5. There used to be a lift at the bigger set, but it is not there any more. For most dusabled people, that means go outside or go to the food court fron the Marriott.

5.  Food is not as much of an issue as it once was now that there are hot dog and pizza vendors set up in the hotels but DO bring your own fruits and healthy snacks.

Is it worth it? Absolutely, in my opinion. If you want to go, you should give it a try .I got to see everybody I wanted to see. I personlly found that I really missed beung a volunteer and feeling like part of things, and diabled people canvolunteer, too. But however you go, Dragon Con is an experience like no other so don’t let a disability stop you!

Dragon Con Sci-Fi Lit has exciting things going on

You have many choicesto make at Dagon Con, but save some time for the Sci-Fi Lit track. They have someexcitingthings planned!

I had a chance to talk with Sue Philips, the long-tome director of the Sci-Fi Literature Track at Dragon Con. I worked with Sue as a volunteer for years and the track has man fond memories for me. It is located in the Hyatt on the bottom floor in tHyatt Embassy.

I asked Sue which guests she is most excited about and she said Larry Nven and Jerry Pournelle. who are appearing on a panel together for the first time in some years.

“They wrote together for so many years and wrote what I consider to be some of the seminal works in the field, like The Moat in God’ Eye,” she said.

I asked if longtime track supporter and friend Van Allen Plexicowill be there and she assured me he will be and will in fact be moderating the Niven-Pournelle panel as well as other things. One of those other things will be the very popular always lively Si-Fi Jeopardy. Van is a well-known author of first=rate pulp fiction,  and he is also an excellent game generator and host speaker and moderator,

Another popular feature of the Sci-Fi Lit Track is the Little Library and Sue says that if anyone has amy books they woud like too drop off feel free, or pick one up That’s what the Litte Library is for.

I also asked which panels Sue was most looking forward to and she told ne, “One I kind of borrowed from Liberty Con. It;s called

“One I kind of borrowed from Liberty Con. It’s called “No Kidding, There I Was” (Libert Con used somewhat stronger language )and ‘it’s writers who have also been un the military telling war stories. That’s going to be a very late night panel at 11:30 pm on Saturday. The panelists are all representative of each branch of the service. We’ve gpt John Ringo, Todd McCaffrey ,Elizabeth  Moon and Mike Massa, a new author working on his first book. It’s going to be interesting!”

“Another new thing I’m doing is a Religion in SF panel,” Sue said. “I did some politics for a while and now we’re delving into the use of religion inScience Fiction.”

Sue askedt hat I remind people to rate the panrels on the Dagon Con app. It helps them decide on panels for next year. Also, three will be a can at the front of the room (as there should be in most track rooms) for the Dragon Con charity, which is the Special Olympics this year so if you have changeor bills if you feel generous stick themin there!
Dragon Con is going to be natching donations up to $100,000 this year.

As all the panels do Sue will have seating set aside for those with disabilities.

 

STAN LEE AND GAME OF THRONES’ LENA HEADEY LEAD AN ALL STAR CAST OF SUPERHEROES, CAPTAINS, CRIMEBUSTERS AND A COUPLE OF DOCTORS

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Dragon Con is going to be awesome this year! Just read this official press release to see why!

STAN LEE AND GAME OF THRONES’ LENA HEADEY LEAD AN ALL STAR CAST OF

SUPERHEROES, CAPTAINS, CRIMEBUSTERS AND A COUPLE OF DOCTORS

 

Guests from Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Game of Thrones, Dr. Who,

and other top television shows and movies will meet their fans at Dragon Con.

 

ATLANTA – July 25, 2017 – Stan Lee, creator of some of the best-known comic book superheroes, and Lena Headey, the icy Lannister queen from HBO’s Game of Thrones, lead a long list of celebrity guests headed to Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, science fiction, and gaming convention, for Labor Day weekend.

 

Other top guests from television and movies including William Shatner, Karl Urban, Matt Smith, Ming-Na Wen, Alex Kingston, John Barrowman, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, and Peter Mayhew will be among the fan favorites on hand to lead discussions, talk with fans, and sign autographs during the four-day convention.

 

An estimated 82,000 people are expected to attend Dragon Con 2017, filling downtown Atlanta over the four-day Labor Day Weekend – Sept. 1 – Sept. 4 –  with events and activities across AmericasMart Buildings #1 and #2 and five host hotels – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree, and Sheraton Atlanta.

 

Muppeteer Martin P. Robinson, best known for performing Mr. Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, and Slimey the Worm on Sesame Street since 1981, and Lisa Henson, chief executive of The Jim Henson Company, lead a strong cast of puppetry guests. 

 

Star Trek fans will be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation with several of the show’s main characters including Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Marina Sirtis.

 

Jon Heder, from cult classic Napoleon Dynamite, and Michael Rosenbaum, Lex Luthor from television’s Smallville, will emcee The Chôsen costume competition at the Georgia Aquarium on Saturday, Sept. 2.

 

Shatner played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek television series.  Urban plays Dr. “Bones” McCoy in the rebooted Star Trek movies.

 

Smith was the Eleventh Doctor in the long-running BBC series Doctor Who.  Other Doctor Who guests include companions John Barrowman, Alex Kingston, Karen Gillan, and Billie Piper.

 

Gillan also joins Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn representing the Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise.  

 

Fillion is known for his role as Mal Reynolds from the cancelled-too-soon television series Firefly as well as the title character from ABC’s Castle.

 

Wen plays pilot and weapons expert Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  She is also a successful voice actress, best known as the speaking voice of Mulan in the Disney franchise.

 

Fans of the Star Wars franchise can meet Peter Mayhew, who created the role of Chewbacca for the 1977 film and has played the character in a total of five movies to date.   

 

Celebrating 20 years of the movie Starship Troopers, the satirical science fiction action film, main cast members Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, and Patrick Muldoon will join fans at Dragon Con.

 

Representing classic science fiction from 1970s and 1980s, Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Felix Silla from NBC’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century will be on hand. This is the first time all three main cast members have appeared at Dragon Con together.

 

“We are delighted to have so many guests from so many of today’s most popular or, in the case of classic science fiction, best loved shows and movies to join us this year,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said.  “Overall, we will have some 400 guests – actors, authors, artists and other creators and experts – from across science, science fiction, and fantasy worlds, in whatever medium.” 

 

This year’s convention will also feature main cast members from some of the most popular television shows including Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC, CW’s “Arrow-verse” (Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow), Fox’s Lucifer; Syfy’s Wynonna Earp, CW’s Reign, Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, and CW’s The 100.  

 

Other classic science fiction and fantasy television is also well represented, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sailor Moon, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Gene Rodenberry’s Andromeda, and the Battlestar Galactica franchise.