By Howard Pousner
Dragon Con organizers were predicting attendance of 57,000 over the four-day Labor Day holiday weekend, but anyone moving with the coursing sea of humanity on Sunday had to feel that at least that many Stormtroopers, assorted “Star Trek” characters, various skimpily clad vixens and other costumed creatures were out in force.
Each year, the science-fiction, fantasy and pop culture extravaganza commands more downtown real estate, and each year it’s never quite enough. For this edition, for instance, the merchandise vendors moved across Peachtree Street to AmericasMart exhibition halls that were instantly jammed with folks who seemed anxious to part with disposable income.
As usual, the costumed attendees were a gawk-worthy show unto themselves, an exploding pop culture universe populated by Marvel characters from Captain America to Deadpool, “Dr. Who” denizens, refugees from “Elf” and “The Walking Dead” escapees.
Amid the madness, exposed flesh and perspiration, here are five things we heard, overheard or otherwise saw:
1. A guest entering the men’s room outside the “Walk of Fame,” the Atlanta Marriott Marquis ballroom where celebrities of various stripes were selling autographs for easy money, and finding a long line: “Whoa! Is William Shatner singing in here?”
2. George “Space Ghost” Lowe, scribbling on a glossy photograph in the well-trafficked Walk of Fame ballroom: “This place smells like Tang, chlorine and (passed gas).”
3. One customer hotly to another while both jostled for not enough foot space in the AmericasMart vendor aisles: “Don’t run me over, man!” (Actually, given how thick the crowds were everywhere, citizens of planet Dragon Con seemed remarkably civil.)
4. Sign on back of a wheelchair: “WARNING. If zombies chase us, I’m tripping you.”
5. A Marriott Marquis worker when told by a guest that he bet the staff couldn’t wait for all the crazies to leave: “No, man, we love it. When ya’ll go, it’s pretty boring.”
Dragon Con 2013
Concludes Sept. 2 at Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel and Westin Peachtree Plaza (all five host hotels are sold out). Convention “membership” for Sept. 2: $30. 404-669-0773, www.dragoncon.org.
MORE DRAGON CON COVERAGE:
William Shatner talks new album, George Takei gives band advice, http://bit.ly/14OODi8