I’m standing at the bottom of Nashville’s Union Station stairwell watching a guy wearing a skirt take pictures of Catwoman and Poison Ivy (that’s the photo at right). This seems somewhat reasonable to me since I was invited to the photo shoot days before, however, I cannot say the same for my fellow Nashvillians, who when passing by would slow their pace to take in the situation. One of the passers usually looked somewhat amused and then immediately stated the obvious while another passer would pronounce the absurdity with a contorted facial expression.
Such is life in the southern United States, with the exception of one long weekend for the past 20 years, where the capes and cowls take over the city of Atlanta’s largest downtown hotels for Dragon*Con. If the Legion of Super-Heroes ever became a reality, it would look like this minus the powers. It is a 4-day pocket dimension where you’ll bear witness to Adam West-era Batman eating tater-tots next to the Blob who chose the salad platter. The costumes are everywhere.
“Dragon*Con is all about costuming,” says the photographer, Derek Deweese, who regularly dresses up in multiple costumes for the event, which actually isn’t restricted to super-hero attire. A variety of people mimicking characters that spans across every genre: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, etc.
Unlike Halloween, where favoritism and familiarity are the only factors for your costume, Dragon*Con allows for the vague, the random, and the strange. Anything goes — anything.
“At Dragon Con, caution tape is a costume, and Slave Leia is considered tame,” says Jessica Molinaro who braved the sunny 90-degree July weather in an all black vinyl Catwoman suit for the photo shoot. She’s been working on her costume for a while and chose it because the Batman villainess is a favorite character.
“You really just have to decide what’s most important to you. Accuracy, your favorite character or originality,” Molinaro says. “There will be at least one person (at the con) who will really appreciate what you’re wearing,” so in other words, do exactly what you want.
Kilt Checking Handlers
Deweese, a seasoned Dragon*Con attendee, says there are other factors people may want to consider when choosing a costume, such as how it will handle when moving around and who will avert disasters before they happen.
“Different costumes can cause different problems,” Deweese says. Scantily clad females may have to avoid costume malfunction and grabby hands (usually only from people outside of the con) while A really good costume may lead to never ending vortex of people snap pictures, thus missing a fan panel.
“I dressed up as Hagrid from Harry Potter last year and happened to be near someone in a Dumbledore costume so we turned around for a few pictures but more and more people started gathering,” he says. When other Potter characters joined the group, the crowd taking pictures grew even larger. “If you don’t have someone moving you along it’ll never stop.”
The “skirt” Deweese is wearing is actually a utility kilt (I’m not making this up) that facilitates the belongings of his costumed friends who don’t have the luxury of pockets. During the convention, he’ll wear the kilt and act as a handler for one of the days, helping navigate from panel to panel and prevent possible emergencies.
Dragon*Con is held Aug. 29 – Sept. 1 in Atlanta, GA. For more information visit Dragoncon.org and be sure to check back for more coverage here at Geeks of Doom.
[Derek Deweese predicted an armada-sized number of people wearing nurse joker costumes — If this large gathering of cross-dressing clown villains happen to perform show tunes, the live stream will be available on GoD immediately – TechGOnzo]