Disclaimer: At the behest of our very own Matthew Queen’s lovely girlfriend Joanna, Daniel put his saxophone down at times. This resulted in him doing things like shopping and going to panels. We lost track of him after about five minutes because he is like a little child with limitless energy and oh wow some of us are thinking about having kids someday and having one with a Daniel-level relentless play-drive just made us have a panic attack. He plays like a German Shepherd on cocaine. How did Daniel’s parents survive? Anyway, here are some of the things he did in part two of his hyperactivity-power-Dragon-Con-Experience.
Dragon Con is more than just an opportunity to dress up like whatever-you-want and play the part of a character for a weekend. It is also a place where you can see interesting presentations and meet the real-life counterparts to some of your favorite characters. While I consider myself quite a bit more lame that anyone reading this, someone told me to write up what I did other than play Careless Whisper for 4 days straight.
The first panel I attended was done by the guys who run the Comedy4Cast and Technorama podcasts. Seriously, check these guys out. When you are all caught up on your Comcastro podcasts/need a break from Max, you should really look up these podcasts. These guys didn’t just do a panel; they did a live podcast. Normally, they are from all over, stretching from Charlotte to Arizona, but they were all in the same room on this night. They filled the room and a good time was had by all. It was fun to see a bunch of guys (and one lady) who have been doing this for over 10 years do their thing. From the chemistry they displayed, you would think that they always do podcasts in the same room and not over Skype. (I’ll talk more about my adventures with them in the next post.) As a guy who got roped into being a part of a podcast, I think it was interesting to see some seasoned veterans do a podcast while working a room. Someday Max, someday.
It would not really be Dragon Con if I didn’t spend some time on the Walk of Fame. Normally I walk around and only get in line for an autograph if I see someone responsible for a character that had an effect on my life. I did not speak of Caroll Spinney on here (tune in for our next issue to hear about that brief interaction), but I did come across two people that definitely had an impact on young Daniel: Yakko Warner and the guy who wrote all of the Animaniacs music! Rob Paulsen has voiced many characters over the years… Pinky, Raphael, Arthur (from the Tick), Donatello… but to me he will always be Yakko Warner. The comedic stylings of the Animaniacs had a major impact on my brand of humor as an adult. In fact, for a four month period, someone had a custom “Hellooooooooooo Nurse” text notification on my phone. In fact, I overheard Randy saying that it was amazing because it has been over 15 years and they have all moved on to work on other shows, but I countered him with this: “We haven’t moved on. Animaniacs was a cornerstone of many childhoods and the jokes, gags and music won’t be forgotten, and as long as you keep coming to conventions, we are going to ask you to sing for us.”
As I mentioned in the Musical Journey Dragon Con entry, I was privileged enough to serenade Felicia Day. I suppose that I should not have been shocked that this happened. She was very, very cool and that saxophone allowed me to do ALMOST anything I wanted (stay tuned for the one guy who told me to stop playing). Now, I’ve been to many a Dragon Con. I once had John DiMaggio sign my Bender’s shiny metal ass. I once dropped $50 for Billy Dee Williams to sign a picture of Lando (I should have had him sign a Colt 45 ad). I even took my little brother one year and had the Green Ranger (JDF) take a picture with him and sign a mint, in-the-box, still taped up, Dragon Zord. With the exception of Bender (because he is the greatest), most of those were not cheap. Pictures were extra. So I get up to the front of the Felicia line. They have hardback copies of her book (pretty great read so far) for $40. I ask how much for an autograph and they tell me it is included. I ask how much for a picture. Also included. The Queen of the Internet is doing everything so much cheaper that the rest of the room. Oh, and after I made my bad pun about having just enjoyed my “Day” she told me I ruined it. Everything was perfect and I ruined it. Felicia Day trolled me. She even repeated it loudly as I walked away. It was pretty amazing. My only criticism was that she could only accept cash because they could not get a signal down in the Walk of Fame (Rob Paulsen got a signal just fine). Since Felicia basically runs the internet, I would like to think that she could have some tubes run down to the basement of the Marriott for next year.
The Animaniacs music panel. This. Was. Awesome. Randy Rogel playing the piano and Rob Paulsen singing in the voice of Yakko Warner. I died and went to kid heaven. They even updated the Countries of the World to include the new countries. Here is the thing though: The ballroom they were given… it was nowhere near big enough. There were hundreds of people behind us in line, and we were almost in the back of the room. Dragon Con, if you are reading this, give them a bigger room next time. Try and imagine all of the heart-broken kidults being told they could not come relive parts of their childhood. Also, this was the ONE TIME someone told me not to play my saxophone. No, not during the panel. I don’t have Sergio Flores’ balls. I won’t crash the middle of a panel. In line, before it even started, I am treating the crowd to some George Michael and the theme from Animaniacs, both of which seemed appropriate. Some Dragon Con volunteer in a kilt comes up to me and tells me that he doesn’t want me getting the crowd riled up. I don’t know who the guy is, but he doesn’t like George Michael and that is not OK. Plus I had to keep telling people that I was was forbidden to play in line. So, to recap, panel was amazing, Rob and Randy are amazing, dude in the kilt sucks.
They sang this live and it was MARVELOUS!
When I set off to go to Dragon Con there were two authors that I was hoping to meet: Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole. I managed to go one for two. Timothy Zahn is the author that got me back into reading in middle school. I picked up a copy of Heir to the Empire at our local Walmart, read it, went back for the next books, and torched my way through that series. Grand Admiral Thrawn is the greatest anti-hero/villain of the modern age. I got in line and patiently awaited my turn. There was a guy sitting with him who told me to play anything but Careless Whisper. For Timothy Zahn, I would play the Star Wars theme in kind of a jazzy manner. Then I brandished two cards from Decipher’s Star Wars: CCG. He signed them both (for free because he is amazing) and wrote, “But it was so artistically done…” on my Grand Admiral Thrawn card. I decided to tell him about the comical mispronunciations of one of his audio books where they kept calling Talon Karde (sounds like Card) Talon Karde (sounds like card-a). I always thought it was funny. I could see how maybe you make that mistake the first time you see the character’s name… but when his ship is called the Wild Karde I would think you would figure it out. He responded with an amusing little story of his own. It turns out that Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) has done some audio book voice work. One day he sits down to record a Star Wars book and they give him this pronunciation guide. There are a lot of hard to pronounce names in the Star Wars expanded (now non-canonical) universe. So he goes through the list and gets down to Tatooine. For those of you not nerdy enough to be reading this, Tatooine is the planet where A New Hope starts. It is where Luke is from. It is also where C-3PO was built. It is pronounced Tat-oo-een. These guys tell C-3PO that it should be pronounced Ta-toon-ie. Timothy laughed, I laughed, the guy behind me laughed, everyone had a great time.
SolveForX. This was just plain fun. I kind of crashed the pre-panel by doing my whole sax man gag (I would kill for a video of this), but the panel itself was hilarious. The whole thing is science oriented: jokes and puns about science, scientists giving presentations that they have never seen before about fields they know nothing about, a physicist telling us about the time he caught himself on fire, accomplished scientists telling stories of post grad work and crazy undergrad students. I really identify with those last two because, as an undergrad, I once had to look my boss in the eye and say, “Hey, Maureen… where is the fire extinguisher in the lab? Time’s a factor.” (Lab safety people. Lab safety.) SolveForX actually does shows around Atlanta, so if you live near the Comcastro Command Center (it is just like the Power Ranger’s command center but we replaced Zordon with Max and instead of a viewing globe we have a bathroom door with a window in it) you should look up SolveForX and check it out if you want a nice laugh.
Monday morning at Dragon Con is always a slow day. I dropped by the walk of fame. Bugged Rob Paulsen to sing “No L” with me. Saw the line for Karen Gillan was still really, really long. Bought some t-shirts for my family. Did my whole Frozen sax gag for a group of Elsas. I guess people who want to ease their children into the nerd life take them to Dragon Con on Monday mornings.
Hey look! A low quality video of me and Yakko Warner himself. Think I might put this on my resume right between 2015 Atlanta Summer League Ultimate Champion and buying a 100% complete vintage Ultra Magnus for $40. All three are so impressive.
Next time: My adventures on the Dealer’s floor, food from Dragon Con, and what it is like to be a part of the parade.