Why I’m excited for Star Wars: Rogue One

rogueone_logo-0-0It all started one summer day when my dad sat me down and watched the Star Wars trilogy when I was five years old in 1988.  The following fall, in first grade, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Answers were what you’d expect – doctor, lawyer, mommy – and then it was my turn.  “X-Wing Pilot,” I answered, without hesitation.  The teacher told me that wasn’t a real job and I should pick something real.  Reluctantly, I murmured “Fighter pilot or astronaut then.”  The other children were confused, the teacher raised an eyebrow and she moved on.

The following years were full of Star Wars for me.  I watched the movies until I knew every line.  I found books and illustrations on ship schematics and obscure trivia. I read as many Star Wars books as I could, and re-read the X-Wing book series by Aaron Aliston and Michael Stackpole multiple times. I fell in love with space and the idea of space travel. I played the Imperial March on the piano for a recital and got my hands on as much John Williams music I could.  I even wrote John Williams a fan letter.  In high school, my friends and I passed around a Star Wars trivia notebook – we’d write trivia questions for the next person to answer as we passed each other in the hall.  We all went and saw Episode I, and I went to the movie theater opening week for every new movie released.  As an adult, I drove to Nashville and waited in the cold for eight hours for a shot to audition for The Force Awakens. When The Force Awakens was gearing up for theatrical release, I avoided all trailers, theories and spoilers possible.  I wanted to recapture that feeling of five-year-old me, seeing the space adventure that had shaped my life.  And it did.  I was enraptured from the moment the word crawl started.  It was so exciting to see a girl leading the charge – something that the Star Wars universe has always lacked.  I had tears in my eyes seeing Leia, still fighting the good fight. And as the credits were rolling, I looked to my left in the movie theater and saw a little girl and her friends, celebrating a birthday and watching strong female characters they could emulate and identify with.  Honestly, I was a little jealous.

imagesWhen I heard about Rogue One, I was excited.  My love for X-Wings had never left me, and the idea of seeing my favorite spaceship and the exciting stories of the pilots who fly them was amazing.  Then I saw the first trailer.  It was on the screen — a female pilot named Jyn flying an X-Wing around and fighting the Empire.  It was someone who looked like me, doing what I had always dreamed of doing.  And I was five years old again, the dream renewed.  With the film less than a month away, avoiding those spoilers is getting harder, but I’m more determined than ever now to sit in the movie theater as unaware of what’s going to happen as possible, eyes glued to the screen as my story unfolds on the opened S-foil wings of an X-Wing (or maybe a Z95 Headhunter).

~ Jen

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The State of Gaming at DragonCon

In 1990 the annual Origins™ Gaming Convention was held at DragonCon (these days it’s stationary, but in olden times it moved around). As a table-top gamer I was super excited to go and see all the new roleplaying games and board games that were being debuted. As I walked through the vendors’ hall, nestled between TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons and Game Designers Workshop were two new games that were premiering: Torg and Rifts. This year at GenCon the big talk was about the revival of Torg and Rifts. It’s the gaming industry. What are you gonna do?

But I digress.

11986948_10100655657549266_7403375748303020854_nIn the past 25 years (and since the advent of collectible card games in general) I have heard that tabletop gaming is dying. With fewer Friendly Local Gaming Shops, the three tier system of delivery (publisher to distributor to store) created a bottleneck that resulted in the appearance of the death of the hobby.

Then came crowd funding.

Today the industry is not only healthy – it is thriving. You hear the term Golden Age of Gaming and it’s not far off. So, when they tell you the hobby is dying, tell them “You couldn’t tell by looking at DragonCon. “

The DragonCon Gaming Track is sprinkled liberally across the host hotels, but the stronghold lies at the venerable Hilton Hotel on Courtland Street. In the basement ballrooms, it’s wall to wall gaming. Award winning board games and card games cover every table and the gaming population fills every available seat from early in the morning to the wee hours of the next morning.  The latest and greatest games share play space with classics. Gray haired veterans (like myself) shared tables with diverse groups of younger players. I looked on as a group of 50 somethings taught the intricacies of Starfleet Battles to a group of teens. Didn’t bring a game to play? The massive board game library was happy to provide you games for an hour, a day, or the weekend.10599114_10100653951877446_3026110638374308924_n

But what about RPGs? The RPG rooms on the third floor of the Hilton were packed from 8 am to midnight. Campaign RPGs like the Pathfinder Society and Shadowrun Missions were present in force and non-campaign games for first time players and old campaigners were run round the clock by some of the ablest judges I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with.

I haven’t mentioned video games have I? LAN gaming is always a big draw at DragonCon. Tournament play, casual play, and pick-up games were in abundance. Bring your own PC (or console) or rent one. Over 150 titles were available. It was a thing of beauty.

Panels from industry leaders were also in abundance. Topics ranging from “How to fix your roleplaying game” to “How to design games” were addressed by major industry names like Kenneth Hite (Pelgrane Press), Jason Buhlman (Paizo), and Monte Cook (Monte Cook Games).

If it sound like there was enough gaming going on that I had time for little else, that’s because it’s true.

So next year, if you want to get your game on, DragonCon is the place to do it and, if they tell you the hobby is dead, tell them you couldn’t tell from DragonCon.

 

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Costober 2015!

Photo Sep 30, 9 03 21 AMHappy October! We’re celebrating the official month of costumes by updating our logo to include our newest member, and kicking off Costober 2015! All year long, y’all see our costumes – now it’s your turn! Send us photos of your awesome costumes all month long and let’s make this the best Costober ever!

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RECORD CROWDS EXPECTED IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA FOR DRAGON CON 2015

Cosplayers, Gamers and Pop Culture Fans Return for Annual Fantasy, Sci Fi & Gaming Convention

More than 400 Actors, Artists, Authors and Creators Will Give Talks and Meet Fans.

 

ATLANTA – August 18, 2015 – More than 65,000 people are expected to pack downtown Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend as Dragon Con, the internationally known pop culture, sci fi, fantasy and gaming convention, returns for its 29th consecutive year.

Dragon Con fans will travel from every state in the nation and a few foreign countries to participate in the four-day convention, where they can meet their favorite actors, artists, authors and creators, and talk about the stuff they love.

Guests More than 400 guests, from the worlds of movies, television, comics, literature and other universes, will lead panel discussions and meet with fans.  Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos, Star Wars’ Peter Mayhew, internet personality Felicia Day, as well as John Barrowman, David Ramsey, and Stephen Amell, all from CW’s Arrow, head an all-star guest list.

Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, will serve as grand marshal of the Dragon Con Parade.

And, at this year’s Dragon Con, Sesame Street meets Peachtree.  Famed puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who recently retired after 45 years performing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, as well as Muppet performer Steve Whitmire, who has performed Kermit the Frog since 1990, will appear at the convention.

“We’re very excited about this year’s guest list.  We have attracted guests from some of the best shows on television today, including Arrow, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Once Upon A Time,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said.   “We also have guests from fan favorite shows from recent years, such as Warehouse 13 and classic sci-fi shows such as Doctor Who.”

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Cosplay Dragon Con is well known for the quality of its cosplay – or costume play – and that tradition will certainly continue.  The nation’s top cosplayers will show off their best work during the show, participating in costume contests every night of the convention and promenading throughout the five host hotels and the streets of downtown Atlanta.

Cosplay competitions remain a mainstay of Dragon Con, including the queen of competitions, Dragon Con Masquerade, which is both the oldest continuously run competition in fandom as well as one of the largest in the world.  Dragon Con is also thrilled to introduce the newest competition, The Chôsen, which will premiere at Dragon Con Night at the Aquarium.

Parade Atlanta’s largest parade, the annual Dragon Con Parade, will step off Saturday, September 5 at 10 a.m.   To better accommodate parade spectators, the parade will have a new route.  Beginning at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Linden Avenue, the parade will head south on Peachtree, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The new route is now a little longer – .9 miles, from .8 miles last year, and brings the route closer to the North Avenue MARTA station, in addition to the Civic Center and Peachtree Center stations.  Parking downtown is expected to be tight, and Dragon Con encourages parade spectators to consider taking MARTA.

Gaming Perhaps better known for the celebrity guests and cosplayers, Dragon Con is also one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation.  Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown and parts of the Sheraton Atlanta, gaming at Dragon Con features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.

Official Charity Earlier this year, Dragon Con selected the Lymphoma Research Foundation – Georgia Market as its official charity for 2015.  Through auctions and other charity events, plus a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000 from Dragon Con, the convention will raise money to support this important community organization.

In 2014, the convention raised over $115,000 for its official charity, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and collected 535 pounds of food.  Through the Superheroes community service program, Dragon Con fans contributed more than 900 hours of community service.

Dragon Con also conducts the largest convention-based blood drive in the nation.  Last year’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive attracted a record turnout, with 2,972 attendees donating more than 6,000 units of blood and blood products, benefiting LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospital in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.

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.

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Another Secret Identity Dress!

We heard you! Check it out – P1010704We had so much fun with our first two, we decided, due to popular demand, to design a Loki-inspired dress.  You can find it now in our Etsy store.  Now you can make that presentation or go on that first date with the power of Loki, and really, who doesn’t want that?!?

 

 

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Secret Identity Dresses are here!

We’ve been working hard on designing our very first fashion line – Secret Identity Dresses. Jen has spent the past six months designing dresses, doing research and making prototypes. Her idea was to have dresses you could wear to work or out that would represent your favorite superhero (or supervillain!) without being an overall print. Over the weekend, we were able to have a small photo shoot thanks to the great folks over at The Maker Station.  Her final results are in, and we have the first two of our Secret Identity Dresses – Deadpool-inspired and Nightwing-inspired dresses. You can order them now in our Etsy store, and we’re working on more designs, both for characters and types of dresses! Let us know what you think – who would you like us to do next?

Deadpool-inspired Dress

Deadpool-inspired Dress

Nightwing-inspired Dress

Nightwing-inspired Dress

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Dragon Con – the charity side of geek

unnamedIt was a muggy Saturday morning in September in Atlanta.  We were on our way from the Sheraton to the Marriott, having just stood next to a pool in our historically-accurate costumes with historically-accurate underpinnings, when we got stopped by a family dressed as the crew from the Starship Enterprise.  They asked if they could take their picture with us, and we happily obliged.  The mom told us how wonderful we looked, and sheepishly admitted she wasn’t really a Star Trek fan, but their daughter Dawn was, so they all dressed up with her.  We told her that we love seeing the family cosplays, and that they looked wonderful.  The family hurried on their way, smiles on their faces, and we didn’t think much more about it.

Two weeks later, we saw an article by the Huffington Post with a picture of Patrick Stewart hugging our Star Trek family.  Dawn was meeting Sir Patrick Stewart as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Over the past few years, we’ve attended a lot of conventions, and one of things that sets Dragon Con apart is the involvement in charity, both on the local and national level.  Last year, the Dragon Con charity was the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where over $115,000 was raised, including the company match of over $50,000.  Every year there is a blood drive for LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospitals in the Atlanta area and more than 110 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. In 2014, the drive welcomed 3893 donors and collected 3,292 units, assisted by a crew of more than 60 people from all three states who descended on Atlanta to handle the flood of donors in costume.  Also new last year was Dragon Con Superheros, which is a year-round community service project, which is continuing this year.

lrf_logo_KOThis year, Dragon Con’s selected charity is the Lymphoma Research Foundation, which will again match $50,000 of money raised.  We’re certain the charitable attendees will surpass last year’s donations, and it’s nice to know we’re using our power of geek for good!

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Secret Identity Ties are here!

IMG_2237There are lots of options for women to participate in closet cosplay, but not a lot of fun options for the guys.  This is something Jen has been working on for a few months, and she’s really excited to finally reveal it – Secret Identity neckties!  You can check them out at our Etsy store, or see them in person this weekend at AthCon! We’ve got these three designs currently, but plan to add many more.  What’s your secret identity?

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