Dragon*Con Part Two by Jennifer Tarrazi-Scully



After a day walking around the Dragon*Con conference getting lost in a sea of mythical characters, zombies and superheroes, it became very clear who I strongly identified with. Can we all scream Steampunk very loudly!!!! This Victorian, futuristic, post apocalyptic society was warrior- like yet pretty and polite. They carried strange elaborate weapons and wore leather, pin stripe and lace. They walked strongly through the dense crowds and conjured up images of tinkers and inventors who have to defend their place on the earth. I’ve mentioned before that I am a little obsessed with podiobooks, and last year I came across a series of books by Mur Lafferty, the “Heaven” series, where these characters would have fit perfectly.

I have mentioned before that I am a self-proclaimed entertainment junky. One of my sick pleasures is the protagonist/serial killer named “Dexter”. So when I saw Julie Benz on a panel, it didn’t matter which to me. She was in fact there for “No Ordinary Family” a show which was unfortunately cancelled after its first season. I did, however, get some good “Dexter ” nuggets. For example, Julie Benz didn’t know Rita was going to be killed off, until she got the script. She didn’t know how, until an hour before shoot. Plus, it was the last shoot of the season. Talk about having the rug pulled from underneath you…

“No Ordinary Family” was a drama with a super natural element. Benz was accompanied by one of her cast mates Autumn Reeser to talk about their experiences. This show was originally geared towards the whole family, but times have changed and people are looking for niche shows. It was a rough year at ABC and they had a tough time slot. Unfortunately, they were only able to produce one season. The devoted audience seems to think “No Ordinary Family”, will become a cult classic. The DVD came out Tue 9/6/11, and this panel convinced me to run out a get one. By the way, it has been turned into, and it may be more successful as, a comic book series.

If you like surround yourself with costumes, collectables, tinker props and get lost in a world of fantasy, Dragon*Con is the place to be. I tend to show my girly colors when shopping opportunities arise and the shopping a Dragon*Con was amazing. Comic books, superhero gear, corsets, art, jewelry and anything geeky can be found at this market. I have completely planned out my steampunk persona from this whimsical market and here are a few of the vendors I’ll be talking to. For my Steampunk accessories I’ll be consulting museumreplicas.com, deliciousboutique.com and Mr. Glenn Barr at glbarr@earthlink.net . For the most fabulous corset I’ll be going to Artemis Leather artemisleathers.com. I was also blown away at the inventions created at Brute Force Studios by Gentleman Genius Thomas Willeford, bruteforcebruteforceleather.com if I am brave enough to start my tattoo sleeve I’ll make a trip to ABT tattoos in McDonough, Ga.

The most exciting event of the whole weekend, and obviously not just for me because the line went out of and 3/4 of the way around the building, was the “True Blood” panel.

“Alcide, Oh Alcide!”, No that wasn’t my internal dialogue, but the woman next to me in line clutching an autographed copy of his face to her chest.

On the panel were Dennis O’Hare (Russell Edgington), Kristen Bauer (Pam Swynford De Beaufort), Jim Parrack (Hoyt Fortenberry), Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux) and the creator of the characters Charlaine Harris.

O’Hare plays a 3000 year old vampire with a well crafted, old, upper class Mississippi accent. At the end of last season, one of the most gripping scenes was when Edgington ripped out the heart out of an anchorman on national news. He gave a speech about how vampires didn’t need to get permission from the human race to exist. Humans were food. As a gay man in real life, O’Hare, has been seeking acceptance his whole life and found this speech particularly liberating. It was empowering for him to say, on screen, that he doesn’t have to apologize or get permission for being who he truly is. Last time we saw Edgington, he was buried in cement for eternity. Inquiring minds want to know, is this the last we see of him?

One of my favorite vampires on the show is the dirty talking bully, Pam. In real life Kristen Bauer is a kind and sensitive. She even got emotional on a couple of occasions. One of which was when she discussed how, even thought this show is set in a supernatural world, it really brazenly attacks the ideas of tolerance.

I am excited to see some of the peripheral characters come into light more and more. Hoyt, played by Jim Parrack, is one of them. Parrack talked about how moved he is about the love relationships in the show. As far as his character goes he says, “There is just so much a person can take before they start killing people.”

The female favorite was the hunky Joe Manganiello, who plays the sensitive werewolf Alcide. He doesn’t see the “True Blood” characters as supernatural, but as people with serious handicaps trying to become human. Manganiello admitted he was a little shy with Alcide’s accent his first season, but fortunately he went to Carnegie Melon University where they drill the phonetic alphabet. This helps isolate and recognize different sounds related to accents and dialects. Alcide’s speech patterns were patterned after an ex-football player, who went to Europe, rode motorcycles and ended up a judge in Jackson, Mississippi. Serious stuff aside, it was hard to concentrate with all the cat calling and hollering going on. I’ll admit I contributed to the noise in the room.

Charlaine Harris is a hoot. The show follows the trend of the books but goes off on its own tangents. Harris is amused by the fact that her books are being read in college. She ventured to say that she might not even understand what they’re talking about. “Am I that deep? …Probably not.”

An audience member was curious about Pam’s Vampire Chemical peel. Bauer said they can make Pam beautiful on the outside, but she will continue to rot on the inside. There will be some physical manifestation of this, such as over pronounced veins. Personally, I am curious about her character’s emotional journey in the next season. I would love for her to become more of a central story line.

Someone in the audience asked who the actors would like to play, other than their own characters? O’Hare would like to try a hand at playing Andy Bellfleur. Bauer is interested in romping around as Jason Stackhouse. Parrack wants to walk in Lafayette’s shoes. Manganiello made up his own ancient Roman soldier turned vampire that resides as king somewhere. Finally, Harris would totally kick ass as Hoyt’s big Mama.

They audience wanted to know, what they’re doing when they aren’t shooting? O’Hare lives in a state of constant panic and because he is a creative being, he’s always seeking work. Manganiello eats a lot and visits his wolf Thunder. Parrack directed his first movie recently with120 Productions Co., does plays, and is joining the staff at an acting school. Bauer loves animals and is an animal rights activist. She paints and stays busy with her marriage (which ended up more time consuming than she originally thought).

When asked what their favorite story lines are, Bauer said she loves the relationship between her character and vampire Erik. She thinks they have a really healthy relationship, as far as a maker and baby go. She said, “They get each other and would both die for the other.” Bauer is looking forward to learning about the genesis of their relationship. I personally love that she was emotional on this panel, and so different from, Pam. She also stated that she loved seeing Sam imitating his brother, the Bellfleur therapy session, and anything Jason Stackhouse does.

O’Hare loves the Jessica and Hoyt storyline. Parrack enjoys that Bill is able to find love after such a long time, and having someone like Sookie look at him so lovingly. Manganiello wants to know what Alcide’s childhood was like, in order to understand the struggle he is having with Debbie wanting a baby. He’s also fascinated with the struggle of Godrick, a monster tired of being a monster, who would rather not exists than be what he is. Harris agreed with the Manganiello, and loves the death of Goddrick, and in a true whimsical spirit, she also said, “I’m a fan of the possum drowning.”

They were finally asked how their Dragon*Con experience was? O’Hare said, “You guys are wild!”, and Manganiello said, “Anytime women walk around in bondage outfits in the afternoon, I am a happy guy.”

Not bad for a bunch of Geeks.

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