My weekend in Atlanta celebrating The Walker Stalker Convention proved to be probably the best 3 days during my (ahem…) 39 years on the planet. Taking place at the Westin and AmericasMart November 1-3, this amazing display of fan love was probably one of the best conventions that I have been to (and I have been to a lot over the last few years). If you are a fan or even a casual watcher of AMC’s The Walking Dead (and really there is no such thing as a casual watcher of this truly amazing show), I hate it for you if you missed this one. Created entirely by two fans, James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff, this convention left no (head)stone unturned. Literally 90% of the main cast members were in attendance. Fan favorites Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln appeared, as well as Steven Yuen, Scott Wilson, Danai Gurira, Emily Kinney, and oh goodness the list is too long to type (check out Walker Stalker Con for a complete list!). There were also several post-mortem characters on hand as well.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at WSC was how organized it was. “Organization” is not typically synonymous with “Convention”. They had printed out schedules and maps all over the place. There was no shortage of volunteers that were always on hand and quite knowledgeable about the happenings and whereabouts of just about anyone/anything you had a question about. Panels, photo ops and autographs sessions were scheduled with fine-tuned precision.
Of course there were hiccups like “entitled” con-goers who are similar to Northerners that move down South (in a nutshell – we don’t care how you do it at other conventions – this is not that other convention) and any time you have 10,000 fans – yep that many – all trying to see one person during an autograph session or panel there is bound to be some back-ups and traffic jams.
The vendors were amazing! Some of my personal favorites were The Attack Line, Art by Pork (not what it sounds like- check out their Facebook page), Zombie Portraits (your likeness only zombified), and soooo many more. Also a tattoo artist was on hand so that the Norman Reedus autograph you got could immediately and permanently be placed over your left boob…
Saturday was the big day, at least for me it was. Like my mom at an Elvis concert, I clutched my Norman Reedus autograph and photo op ticket and my Andrew Lincoln photo op ticket, daring anyone to look cross-eyed at me. Expecting to be in it for the long haul I was pleasantly surprised that the wait time was actually less than waiting on the cable guy! And yes… you are dying to know….Norman Reedus gives the best hugs and cheek kisses and Andrew Lincoln was not too shabby either.
Overall Saturday was a whirlwind. I met so many people that I admire and that was the one true joy of this convention. You had actual access to these people (not just Walking Dead cast members either) you could go up and introduce yourself, shake their hand, have a total geek moment, breath the same air and it was all allowed. I was lucky enough to meet Judith O’Dea from the cult classic Night of the Living Dead. She was lovely and welcoming and just all around, well, cool. My major geek out was meeting my costuming guru Eulyn Womble, costumer for TWD. She and I have communicated several times via Twitter- she is responsible for 90% of the boots I have in my closet. I went up to her table and didn’t say a word…. I just pointed to my boots and she knew exactly who I was. Then she signed them and my day was made…it’s the little things really…
If you thought I was done….you were wrong. Saturday night Emily Kinney (aka Beth Greene) put on a concert promoting the release of her new album Expired Love. Anyone that watches the show knows she sings. Seeing her live you think “Wow..not only can she slay zombies and still look cute but holy shit she can really sing.” There is no lack of talent where this girl is concerned and I expect to see her around for a long time.
But wait…. just when you may have thought Saturday was over…. the Zombie Bash happened. Spinning talents courtesy of DJ Nemesis, this party was crazy good. If you were tired when you got there, his mixes would knock the sleepy right out of you. Several of the season 3 prison gang members were bustin a move, Zach Galligan from Gremlins, Waxworks, and Hatchet fame was also mingling with fans. It was quite a surreal experience.
Sunday there was even more stuff to do! I was able to check out the Steven Yuen panel before I had to throw in the towel and head home. I swear there was a lump in my throat as I drove out of Atlanta. I had made so many new friends I felt like I was leaving family behind. The one thing that kept me from a full-on 4-year-old-leaving-Disney-World meltdown was the word that they are gonna do it again next year and possibly twice!!!! Details coming soon! Be sure to check out the full gallery below of Walker Stalker Con pictures, and tune in to James and Eric’s Walker Stalker Podcast for more information as well as weekly discussions about the show.