DragonCon 2019: A Weekend in Review
Saturday was supposed to start with the parade. For us, it started with a view out of our hotel room window while the parade crawled down the street. I really wanted to go and take pictures, but it would have made the rest of the day that much harder. Being both press and a cosplayer certainly takes its toll, and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. It’s a good thing I skipped it, because getting into Pumat Sol for the Critical Role shoot took about 2.5 hours!
It was an improvement from Gen Con since I already knew what I was doing. Once again, I have to thank Hannah and Sarah of the Terrible Trio for teaching me how to apply the prosthetics and giving me a great reference for doing the makeup. This time, the Proaiir didn’t go on so smoothly so I had to fill in the patches with some Mehron body paint. The advantage of Proaiir is that it’s alcohol-based, so it dries very quickly and holds up for longer. I guess I layered it on too thick and it started to crack, leaving my skin looking scaly. Mehron doesn’t hold up as well to profuse amounts of sweating (since it’s water-based) but it worked well enough to turn me into Pumat Sol for a day.
After rushing to get ready, I made it down to the Hilton patio for the shoot with less than five minutes to spare. Those few moments were consumed by talking to friends and taking a few photos before everyone assembled for the massive group photos. DragonCon’s critter cosplay meetup didn’t have as many people as Gen Con, but the energy was intense nonetheless! Once again, Pumat Sol was a big hit among the Critical Role fans, and I was happy to play the part of the beloved merchant.
Unfortunately, just like Gen Con, we were out in the sun for an uncomfortable amount of time. The moment we wrapped up the photo session, I made a dash for some shade to cool off. I hung out with Christian and a few other friendly critters while we took a few individual photos. Stormy (@tiny_villain_cosplay) and Ted (@tengutri) let me know that they were setting up their equipment for a quick room shoot and I suddenly had my next objective. The majority of my convention photography is based on the event itself, so I was more than happy to take the opportunity to practice some cosplay portrait shots.
As soon as I got to their room, I took off half of my costume. Even with the air conditioning, Pumat’s four layers of clothing and wig are really hot. Stormy and Ted were kind enough to offer me some cold water and snacks while we waited for others to arrive. The first bunch to show up were some fellow critters! They were excited to see me again, having spotted me among the photographers at the shoot earlier. Ted and I took photos of them and several other talented cosplayers as the afternoon went on. I was very grateful for the opportunity to get some much needed practice in a controlled environment like this. I have to thank Ted and Stormy for bringing the equipment to make it possible!
After the photoshoots, I took some time to wander the Marriott lobby as Pumat. Surprising your friends in a costume that makes you nearly unrecognizable can make for a really fun time. It wasn’t long before the heat got to me though, and I was forced to switch over to the casual version of Pumat. The plan was to go get dinner at Gus’s Chicken. I severely underestimated how long it would take to remove my nose prosthetic, clean off all the Pros-Aide adhesive, and repaint my face to look like Pumat again. By the time I finished, Stormy and Ted already discovered the enormous wait for a table at Gus’s, which prompted a change in plans. I made due with a few choice snacks before heading back down to the lobby.
One of the biggest parties of the night was the Last Night on Alderaan. Of course I was very tempted by a Star Wars themed party, so I walked down to the Hilton with a few of the St. Louis crew to celebrate the end of the biggest day at DragonCon. The line was surprisingly short, but the ballroom was absolutely packed. It was Star Wars themed, but we saw plenty of costumes from many different fandoms. I got up onto stage for a few moments to take photos of the crowd and was greeted with plenty of entertaining sights. The DJ told the party that he had been told to keep it down, and played “Turn Down for What” in response. The room was literally bouncing with the crowd. The Force was strong with this party!
After losing track of everyone in the dancing mass of people, I decided it was time to wander and see what else was happening. Then I had a first-hand experience with one of the best things about DragonCon… anywhere can be a party. As I was crossing the skybridge from the Hilton to the Marriott, I heard some familiar music. The sound was quickly accompanied by singing and I recognized Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Nearly everyone crossing the bridge was singing along. At the Marriott end of the bridge stood a cosplayer. Deadpool, dressed as Freddie Mercury, proudly held up a speaker pointed directly into the bridge. He was just one of the many mobile parties roaming around the convention, but certainly one of the more memorable.
When I arrived at the Marriott lobby, I was almost immediately greeted by the majority of the people I knew at DragonCon. I shared some great moments and laughs North Carolina con fam, just about all of my St. Louis friends, and Annie Graves all in the same place. The elevators may have been a pain in the ass, but it was worth it because the Marriott was the central hub of activity for the whole con. Pumat was still recognizable even without the full costume on. Several critters remembered me from the big shoot, including Ragemore Roberts (@ragemoreroberts) who had a badass Beauregard cosplay that featured an arm puppet to represent the adorable kenku Kiri.
Another advantage of staying in the Marriott came later in the night when I had run out of beverages. I retreated to the room for a short break and a refill, meeting Tom who was recovering from the day. As I cleaned up a bit, Tom had the great idea of throwing together an impromptu cosplay. Justin has a signature look… black shirt, a St. Louis Cardinals hat, and some Converse shoes. Tom and I thought it would be funny if he dressed up as Justin for the rest of the night. It was a great hit among our friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Justin’s initial reaction to it, but our friends said it was absolutely hilarious.
At a time in the night where the party crowds were dying down, the majority of my friends were still hanging around the Marriott lobby. Exhaustion was setting in, but I didn’t want to call it a night just yet. I decided to take a walk around to see what I could find. I landed in the lobby of the Hyatt where most of the con-goers had already cleared out. As I was about to turn back, I heard a familiar voice call my name. Desiree (@desireecosplay) was about to call it a night when she spotted me. I had seen her a few times over the past couple days, but this was the first time we actually got a chance to chat. We recalled the day’s events, the parade, and the Critical Role shoot. She was impressed to see me still in all the makeup, which had been on for 15 hours at this point. I pride myself on having talented friends, and to get compliments on my work from them means the world to me. After the refreshing few moments catching up with Dez, she retired for the night while I returned to the Marriott.
It wasn’t long before I had to go back to the room. I said goodnight to everyone I could find, then went upstairs to wash off all the body paint. Just like Gen Con, it took about an hour and a half to get clean!