Nancy Collins call to boycott Dragon*Con worked. The writer did so because of many reports, all powerfully echoed in this space, about co-founder Ed Kramer, a convicted child molester who owned 31 percent of the Dragon*Con corporate structure, and thus pocketed a substantial amount of the annual ticket sales money.
The blog The Mary Sue received a press release from the PR firm McGraw Euston Associates which announced the termination of the old Dragon*Con, and the formation of the new one: “The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Dragon Con / ACE, Inc., producer of Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, have agreed to merge the company into Dragon Con, Inc. (Dragon Con) in a cash-out merger.”
Led by Pat Henry, David Cody and Robert Dennis, ownership of Dragon Con includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / ACE (the old Dragon Con). The effective date of the merger is July 8,
Edward Kramer, who has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
So, Kramer walks away with a lot of money, but at least Dragon*Con doesn’t have to worry about bloggers like me coming down on them for this problem. Still, I have no plans to attend Dragon*Con this year, or in the future. And the reason is that after the press folks pissed me off over extending an invitation to come back to Dragon*Con in 2011, and pulling it back out of some weird-ass criticism claiming I didn’t blog alot about Dragon*Con when I made a slew of blog posts, social media communications, videos, and even a segment for my TV show, I was then tipped off about the Ed Kramer problem, and that happened during a conversation with a neighbor back in Oakland. I was massively livid. You know what they say about people in glass houses, right?
Frankly, I didn’t care to return to Dragon*Con before I got wind of the issue, and for one simple reason: there wasn’t a lot of celebrity people to talk to or up-coming movies to feature. I make money from web traffic, and Dragon*Con just doesn’t produce enough material for content that people want to see in great amounts online, and I’m not in the porn business.
Most of the celebrities at Dragon*Con were B-listers when they were known celebrties, and generally that was 20 to 40 years ago. I’d not even known about Dragon*Con itself until a friend at CNN asked me if I planned to cover it for CNN iReport because I happened to be in Atlanta.
So, I went to apply for a press credential in 2011, and made my material, some of it actually suggested by Dragon*Con staff, like this video, for example, which came from an idea by the Dragon*Con press people:
The bottom line is, for me, there was a lot of walking around, and in circles, and nothing much more. The other highlight I got was this video about zombie heart-eating.
And this video was for my local TV show, Atlanta Vidblogger:
So I produced content, but I’ll be damned if any show manager who’s event’s got a massive conduct problem that extends up to one of its owners is going to talk to me like I’m a junk yard dog, and then expect not to be punished in kind.
The number one rule is this: don’t piss off a blogger. Dragon*Con did that, so when I found out about the Ed Kramer issue, it was icing on the cake, and I went to town on them. And I’m not done because Dragon*Con has a lot of problems.
I’ll be totally frank. Dragon*Con is nothing but an adult fetish fest, it’s not a geek fest – that’s all cover and show and bull crap. There’s not much compared to WonderCon or Comic Con. But what there really is in Downtown Atlanta, is a constant feeling of collective anticipation for night fall and for people wearing next to nothing in costume. That climate may sound like fun if you’re from California, belong to a gym, and hard-wired to expect fit, hard bodies, but the reality is a vomit-inducing, cringe-developing experience in tolerance for the extremely overweight exhibitionist.
Look, this is The South, where Paula Deen’s cuisine reins supreme, and Southern-fried foods are standard fare, served-up with Sweet Tea. It’s completely illogical to expect Dragon*Con to be the breakwater for the presentation of bodies that look like before candidates for The Biggest Loser. Baby, it’ a blubber-fest. But what goes on between the extra-plus-size version of Princess Lela as slave girl, and Hercules after a two-year pizza binge is something you don’t want to know about.
And that’s where Dragon*Con still has problems, even after Ed Kramer, and maybe because of Ed Kramer. Look, when I walked around, I saw a number of questionable sights, like teen-looking boys who looked like they were dressed for fetish and out walking about, making you wonder where there parents were. The whole Dragon*Con climate at night makes one feel down-right icky just to be there, and to compare it to San Diego Comic Con is a total joke and an insult to the truly kid-friendly SDCC.
San Diego Comic Con is about celebrity sitings, the latest movies, lavish parties, and shindigs thrown by Zack Levy of NBC’s Chuck – Dragon*Con is about over-weight fetish exhibitionists and bible-belters seeking sinful thrills, and has nothing like SDCC. Dragon*Con’s idea of fun is where attendees hunt for hotel fetish party listings on Craigslist or via texts from friends.
And when they’re not in the hotel rooms at Dragon*Con, crappy stuff still can happen, like reports by men of being groped by other men in the restrooms of hotels like The Sheraton, as was written in the comments section of this Dragon*Con blog post.
And even if you manage to get through Dragon*Con without one weird siting you’d cover your kids eyes up for, which is impossible, you still have to deal with the fact that getting an autograph from what few notable stars are in attendance is going to cost you.
Yep, Dragon*Con is known as the place where you pay for autographs from celebrities who don’t charge for them at San Diego Comic Con. Some of my friends don’t have a problem with B-List celebrities asking for $40 to $75 per signature, but personally, I do. Have them buy a photo or t-shirt, but that? I don’t care if it’s’ a fool-and-his-money, that doesn’t mean the poor, hard-working fan has to be taken advantage of.
Dragon*Con? I’m not going. Forget it.