A meander through the Walk of Fame and the Exhibitor’s area in the Apparel Mart was like being in a somewhat surreal bazaar. I started at the Walk of Fame, where Apollo Smile had a HUGE line of (mostly male) fans waiting to meet her. Richard Hatch and Jack Stauffer of Battlestar Galactica, who have been friends for 30 years, were very chatty with their fans. Then, across the way, Maggie Egan (Babylon 5) was willing to talk for quite a while with each fan. Peter Jurasik, as usual, was his very warm and debonair self and was sitting next to Wortham Krimmer (Babylon 5), who is quite handsome even without the trappings of empire. Next in line was Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5), who seemed a bit shy compared to some of the others, but was quite willing to pose for photos. Grace Lee Whitney looked as nearly as young and as pretty as she did when she played Yeoman Rand on the classic Star Trek.
Having spent all my money on stars’ autographs, I continued to the exhibitor and dealer booths, where a seemingly endless supply of goods and services were available: old books; new books; collectibles; jewelry; comics; trading cards; videos; PC games; souvenirs for every possible group of SF fans, including the ubiquitous SW: Episode I stuff; artwork, sharp-and-nasty-looking-and-oh-so-kewl-bladed weapons, and clothing for everyone from the regular kewl folks (Everyone at Dragon*Con is KEWL!) to the Goths, near-Goths, sometime Goths, and wanna-be-but don’t-quite-dare-to-be-Goths. One seller had wonderful dragon prints, including some done on silk, which were very beautiful. Another seller had extraordinary cast posters for Babylon 5, Voyager, and some other popular shows. If you want to see what $1300 looks like, check out his stunning photo-quality poster showing the entire B5 cast and all their autographs…. We regular folks can get unsigned ones for only $150. My personal favorite was the one where you can get contact lenses to make your eyes look, well, …out of this world. For only $125, you can order lenses that will either baffle your friends, who won’t be able to tell what’s different, or immediately mark you as definitely alien. I’m saving for this item for next year… I stepped back a little from all those swords and knives. Some of them are absolutely stunning, with shiny blades and intricate hilts, but even this nearly middle-aged meanderer can have murderous thoughts once in a while..… You can get the 1999 entertainment folks’ air brushed t shirts listing all of this year’s entertainers, and you can visit the Dragon*Con store and get the official t shirts for 1999 and 2000 or a special Dragon*Con lanyard for your badge or even a Dragon*Con kite!
The people in their costumes, the smiling peppy folks, and the never-smiling-multiply-pierced-and-tattooed Goths were fun to see. It is an always-changing venue, a place where people can come together and meet others who enjoy the same things. The atmosphere is like a bazaar, a faire, an old-time rendezvous. So be sure to visit the Exhibitor’s/Dealer’s Room in the Atlanta Apparel Mart while you are here. Enjoy the show, spend a few bucks more than you have, and go home happy.