Disclaimer: We let Daniel go to Dragon Con with a saxophone. Things happened. He went to panels and bought stuff, but this whole first blog is about what happened with that saxophone. We didn’t plan on letting him bring a saxophone, but his counter argument was a solid hour of Careless Whisper, and we caved like the Cubs in the playoffs.
When someone asks me to explain Dragon Con to them, it normally results in lots of hand gestures, wide eyes, excitement, jumping, and a little bit of exaggeration. All of this is warranted because Dragon Con is more of an experience than a place. For years I have been going to Dragon Con, typically as Bender, and just roaming around. I was basically a walking photo-op. But this year, Max was all like, “Hey, we should go to Dragon Con and make connections,” and I was all like, “If I agree to this will you untie me?” So after working out some minor details, we set off on an adventure. Separately. Because I am a giant child when it comes to things like this. WITNESS MY DRAGON CON!
So, as I mentioned above, I normally either wear Bender or just walk around in street clothes. When I wear Bender I get my picture taken more times than Shatner. But… Bender is really heavy and it is hard to make “connections” with people when you are encased in a plastic suit of armor. I used this as an excuse to wear the costume that I have wanted to do for years: The SexySaxMan! Now, for those of you keeping track at home, I’m a decent sax player. I can play altissimo notes and I have a pretty good ear… so I thought I would just figure out a few other sci-fi themes to play when I was tired of Careless Whisper. So, after picking up my badge Friday, I headed back to my car to put on my SexySaxMan costume. I suited up and started walking to the Marriott and I heard nothing.
This was terrifying. Suddenly, I was thinking, “Oh no, what if SexySaxMan is not as popular as I thought? What if they laugh at me?” But then I started to think a little more clearly. I thought, “I wonder if they think the sax is just a prop and that I can’t play it.” I decided to test my theory. So, right outside of the Marriott, I took a deep breath, bent my knees a little bit and played the loudest Careless Whisper of my life. Halfway through I heard people start cheering and moving over to me. It was then I realized that I had a license to play whatever I wanted wherever I wanted to whomever I wanted.
Most Frequently Played: Careless Whisper
Could there be any other? People asked me to play it over and over and over again. “Hey, hey, can you play that George Michael song? What about the George Michael song? Thanks man, before you leave could you play that George Michael song?” Also, whenever anyone asked for Free Bird they got an extra-loud Careless Whisper. It was the repetitive soundtrack to my convention and I am looking forward to not hearing it for a while.
Biggest “WTF?” Played: Turn Down for What
So we are sitting in High Velocity. You know, that one bar in the Marriott that you wind going to at least once over the weekend. People at our table start requesting things, and I am just sitting there, in a restaurant full of people, figuring them out. Then, Turn Down for What comes on over the speakers and someone tells me to play that. About 20 seconds later I am bouncing around the area playing the repetitive rhythm and people are staring at me in shock and then THEY started bouncing around. I’m still not even sure it happened for real.
Biggest Accidental Crowd Gathering: Attack on Titan Theme
So I come up behind these girls who are wearing matching Attack on Titan costumes and I just start ripping out the theme as loud as I can. They INSIST that I continue to play while they take a selfie-video looking bad-ass with me in the background. After they walk away I notice several people in Titan costumes looking around, asking where that was coming from. Apparently, if you play the song of her people, Mikasa will come running.
Biggest Headtrip: Animaniacs Music
So I am wondering around the walk of fame, having already serenaded Felicia Day with some quality Careless Whisper, when I come upon Rob Paulsen’s table. Yakko Warner. I walk up to him and tell him that I watched Animaniacs a lot as a kid, and I have a pretty good ear and I think I have figured out the Animaniacs theme. I proceed to play part of the theme, which grabs the attention of one Randy Rogel – the guy who wrote all of those bitching songs like “Yakko’s World” and “No L.” I wind up having a 5 minute conversation with these guys which really made me feel like I was 8 again. Then I went back Monday afternoon and got a short video of me playing along as Rob sang “No L.” I feel like I have hit the pinnacle of musicianship now.
Best Game of Musical Chairs: Blood Drive
I totally turned the LifeSouth Blood Drive into a game of musical chairs. I took requests. Sometimes I could play those songs. If I couldn’t, well, then the crowd would get a heavy dose of Careless Whisper. Even the nurses drawing the blood were getting into it. Then were dancing back and forth and having a good time. At one point, right before sitting down to give blood, I got right up next to a lovely girl, did the whole bit, and then said, “Excuse me, nurse, you might want to check her pulse, her heart is probably racing… and she might need some of those ice packs to cool her off.” Many people laughed and I felt like I was not a complete letdown.
Most Crowd Pleasing Musical Bit: SolveForX pre-panel
So, after having a dinner with the guys from Comedy4Cast and Technorama (look those podcasts up, people) where I entertained a table of blue haired Canadians by playing Phantom of the Opera with a cloth napkin draped over half of my head, we went to the SolveForX show. Keep in mind I am still dressed up like a chubby SexySaxMan. While waiting for the show to start a woman in red walked by, so I decide to walk up right behind her and give her the Careless Whisper that she never knew she needed. To my surprise the crowd laughs at this… so I walk around the back of the room and sneak up on a woman sitting on the isle in the middle of the room and do it again. Same reaction. Now, not wanting to go to the well too may times, I decided to change things up. I approach another woman and play a few bars of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” followed by the back end of “Let it Go.” She blushed, the crowd laughs, I decide to keep going. “Turn Down for What” happens while bouncing towards the front of the room. Then, I make eye contact with another woman who clearly needs some George Michael in her life, but I decide to give her some John Williams instead. I play the Rebel Fleet Theme from Star Wars and the crowd begins to clap like I had just pulled a puppy out of a well. I move through it slowly, getting to the part where it gets high right before the end. And then, AND THEN, Careless Whisper starts. Everyone starts laughing, I can’t even keep playing. It was the second best feeling I had from music over the entire Con.
Most Moving Moment: Frozen for a Kid
I specifically learned Snowman and Let it Go for the kids. I would walk up behind parents and play a few bars of Snow Man and the kids would whip around, eyes wide with excitement. One parent told me to screw off when I did it and their kid began screaming that they wanted to hear the funny man play Frozen. I squatted down and told the kid that his Dad didn’t want him to have any fun so I couldn’t play Frozen. I heard the kid start screaming as I walked away. Parents, do not be douche bags to people who are nice to your kids. (Unless they look super creepy and are driving a panel van.) You have to understand – pulling Frozen music away from a five-year-old is like waking up a sleepwalker: You don’t want to do it.
But, even considering the 30+ little girls in Elsa dresses who sang along with me when I played Let it Go, the most moving moment was Sunday afternoon. I walked into the Marriott in costume and saw an exasperated mother standing by the desk and two kids sitting down. At this point I had figured out that girls always respond to Frozen, boys were a toss up. Sometimes they liked Frozen, other times they responded like a full grown man. So, I aim myself at the girl and play a few bars of Snow Man. The boy turns around with the kind of speed that I only use when someone says, “Who wants a fireball shot?” I could tell that the boy was disabled (and those of you who know me for real and know my family know that I am not going to go into any specific details about that) and his face was lit up like a Christmas tree. He looked so happy and when I started playing Let it Go he swayed back and forth. I finish my bit and stand up and his mother address me and tells me that he had not been feeling well and that was the first time all day that he had smiled.
That, more so than playing for Felicia Day, playing along with Yakko Warner, holding half a ballroom captive with my antics or even crashing karaoke with my sax when Don’t Stop Believing started playing… that was the most amazing part of the whole convention to me.
Yea, we pay the price of admission for Dragon Con to see the panels and shop the vendors and go to the parties. But also, we get to be whatever we want for a weekend. You can be a Ghostbuster (huge props to the Alabama fan with the Crimson Tide Ghostbusters suit), Spiderman, a Jedi, a fanboy, or a SexySaxMan. People love to see their favorite characters in person. But be cautious, you can’t have a bitchin’ costume and refuse pictures: With Great Cosplay Comes Great Responsibility. If you can make people smile and have a good time with your DragonCon antics, do it.
I easily played this over 300 times.