Revenge of the nerds 

The legacies of Labor Day weekend's Dragon*Con and Decatur Book Festival

Atlanta has never been a particularly whimsical city — not in the freaky and surreal way that New Orleans or San Fran can be. Nor is it a terribly literary place, at least not compared to the bookish scenes in Seattle or New York.

Of course, try telling that to any of the tens of thousands of Atlantans who stuck around town for Labor Day. Whimsy and intellect were on full display last weekend. And of the many well-attended events on what's become a holiday weekend worthy of a staycation — Black Gay Pride and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, to name a few — it was a downtown sci-fi convention and, over in Decatur, a book festival that drew the biggest crowds.

What do these two wildly successful, drastically different, and far from traditionally "Atlantan" events say about the progress of our fair city? We think it means Atlanta is becoming more hospitable than ever to freaks and geeks. And we couldn't be more thrilled.

Dragon*Con has grown into the world's largest fantasy convention, and its highly notable presence offers more than a mere opportunity to gawk at stormtroopers and steampunks. It helps set the stage for smaller scale but similar events, including the annual Zombie Walk, which hits the streets of Old Fourth Ward and downtown in a few weeks, and the glorious Little Five Points Halloween Parade, which will celebrate 10 years of gore next month. These events help build the kind of communities we want to rally around — communities populated by the kooky and macabre, the artful and the walking dead.

In a similar way, but for a notably different crowd, the Decatur Book Festival doesn't just attract tens of thousands of bookworms and hundreds of authors — including this year's biggest literary superstar, Jonathan Franzen, who delivered the festival's rousing and eccentric keynote address. It also provides a podium for emerging authors and a source of inspiration for aspiring ones. And the festival's afterglow helps shine a brighter light on the readings and signings taking place in warehouses, galleries and indie bookstores across the city.

The success of these two events speaks to a portion of the Atlanta experience that's been previously untapped. We're excited to see these subcultures emerge, in all their freaky, geeky glory. And we're proud that what we've always held true — that this is a city of artists and thinkers, exhibitionists and nerds, writers and weirdos — has proven itself in such emphatic, exhilarating ways.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Opinion

  • Unwelcome 20

    Federal officials and local law enforcement need to stop raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants
  • None of your business 19

    In silly debate over transgender access to bathrooms, transgender people are the real victims
  • Time to fight blight 11

    Neighborhoods need more tools to combat dilapidated houses, illegal dumping
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Don't be a tourist 16

    Too many Atlantans sit on the sidelines when it comes to shaping the city. That needs to change.
  • Stick around, Millennials 31

    Atlanta can be more than a stop on the path of adulthood for young people

More by Editorial Board

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

Search Events

  1. Goat Farm Economics 5

    Can art and good old-fashioned capitalism breathe new life into one of Atlanta’s most historic and overlooked neighborhoods?
  2. Solving downtown's homeless problem begins with taking the red pill 95

    Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter is the root of downtown's image problem
  3. Unanswered: CL's metro Atlanta officer-involved shooting database

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation