A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Okay; after seeing the mangling job that cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word did on the last post (damn you, smart-quotes) I've tried to fix them all up. I'll repost my whole Gathering journal; hopefully that'll fix the whole problem and have the added bonus of it all being in one place. It's long. Wow. If any of the punctuation friggs up and comes out as tags, I apologize, and it just means that Bill Gates and the Microsoft Word Paper Clip ae evil geniuses that are out to ruin my life.
Friday, August 6
The preparations for the trip had kept Stormy and I up for longer than we'd expected; Thursday had dissolved into a parade of framing artwork, editing writing pieces, haircuts and packing. All of this had started late. We had gone to the Annapolis Valley in southwest Nova Scotia on Wednesday, to check out Digby's annual scallop festival and visit with a friend. We had only gotten back to Halifax at one p.m. on Thursday, and that left us with not a whole lot of time to do everything that we needed.
But it all came together. Somehow, in the end, it always does.
I didn't get much sleep that night. We had to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready for the flight, but I was also trying to think about the Gathering and how I felt about the whole thing. I was excited about going, but I was also feeling a bit wary and ambivalent. I had recently sort of drifted away from the fandom by default, still talking to people but not writing much in the way of fanfiction or thinking much about Gargoyles at all. I had thought that it was a bit of natural progression, that I was making the transition to writing only original stuff and settling into my second year of medical school. Either way, I was wondering what the Gathering would do for that, whether it would reverse the course, bring me back into the fandom, or whether it would just be an excuse to meet with people and have a good time before coming home and doing much as I had before. Last year's Gathering had given me a "post-fandom bounce", so to speak, but last year I was still pretty involved. It was a question that was on my mind for most of the four hours I was trying to sleep.
We woke up at five, spent an hour getting showered and dressed and preparing the cats for another weekend without us, and then we were on our way. I made do without coffee, driving through the streets of Halifax and across the span of the Macdonald Bridge over the Narrows. Stormy was excited, looking forward to seeing everyone for the first time; this was my second, so I knew the score, and we spent much of the drive to the airport talking of what she could expect and what we were looking forward to. She was excited about the art show and the Phoenix Gate anthology (which we had both been published in), while I had my list of Gathering goals: buy Keith David a drink, get the Acadian flag on the DVD footage in honour of the 400th anniversary of Acadian settlement in North America, speak French as often as I could, and have a good time with all of the friends I had met for the first time last year.
I don't like flying that much, but I like airports, and the pre-flight experience was stressless. Check-in, breakfast, security screen: all fine, save for the fact that my belt buckle dinged in the metal detector and I was asked to undo it in order to prove that I was not some sort of sartorial terrorist. We waited about twenty painless minutes to board, and I had my coffee and my Globe and Mail to keep me happy, until finally we were on the plane, settling in. I almost crushed poor Stormy's hand when the plane took off; have I mentioned that I don't much care for air travel? Aside from that, the flight was flawless, and we landed at Trudeau Airport about an hour later. We got our luggage and called a cab, and twenty minutes and thirty-one dollars later, we were at the Delta Centre-Ville. We checked in, hearing the ominous phrase "king-sized bed" and then went up to the twenty-seventh floor to find our room. Just the king-sized bed, room enough for three people. Problem was, we had asked Mercedes and her brother Andrew, two more con virgins and friends of ours from our frequent trips to Maine, to stay in the room. Only three of us would get bed space; the last would have to find somewhere to make the floor comfortable. By the time Mercedes and Andrew got there, I had already decided that it would have to be me. I'd reserved the room and though there would be two beds, so the fault, such as it was, was mine. But that was okay; I'd slept on less comfortable floors before, and I was sure that the magnanimity would make up for the mattress deficiency quite nicely.
We went down to La Terrasse to find when registration would start. No one really knew, but there was a crowd down there, many old time friends including Allaine, Spacebabie and Revel, Mara Cordova and Aaron Wheeler, Kathy Pogge, and Ellen Stolfa, who I hugged first and longest. We all had a series of chats, and I met a few new people, including Tim, Christine and Becca Morgan, who were there as well. It was time for lunch, though, and people were splitting off and going their separate ways, and so Stormy, Mercedes, Andrew and myself started on our way to find people to hit Montreal with. We ended up going to Chinatown with Greg Bishansky, and we saw a nice part of the downtown before getting to the Chinese Quarter. Nothing seemed to open until eleven, so we had to wait a few minutes, and eventually we found a Vietnamese restaurant and had a fine meal. We got back to the hotel just in time for registration to begin; from that point on I had my Gathering badge, announcing to everyone that I was Whitbourne, and that I was with the fan crowd. And that was when the events started, and so we all started splitting up to check out what the Gathering had to offer.
I first went to the General Round Robin, presented by Spacebabie; the turnout was a little sparse, but that worked fine for the crowd, and I got to spend a little bit more time with Spacebabie, Allaine, Revel and Sarah the Great, catching up on old times since Manhattan last year. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that c-words were off limits (even if it were the adult round robin I have no doubt that same restriction would have held true) and then we started round-robining the scenario of Demona and Macbeth meeting in the Grand Canyon as a prelude to the events of "Sanctuary". I picked "whiskey" as my word, but ended up using "salamander", and it didn't take long for the round robin to be hijacked with a running joke involving Macbeth inviting Demona for a ride in a dinghy. It seemed funny at the time, at least. After the round robin ended I went to look at the art room. Stormy and Mercedes had set up their work, and the Icestorm Brooklyn that Stormy had painted to look like Whitbourne was standing proudly (drunkenly?) on his table. After that, I crept into the Combat lecture being given by my friend Flanker; he was having a good time, even though Hudson and Aaron, in the back, seemed to know just as much about weapons as he did, prompting him to jokingly ask why they were even there. It was a fun lecture on a subject I know very little about; I liked the sniper scope that was passed around, though I thought it sort of funny that whenever anyone got to look through it, they inevitably used it to line up the crosshairs with Flanker's head. Poor guy.
Next came the radio play auditions, something that I didn't take part in last year but was looking forward to this time. I got my form, and filled out my preferences (any part, think I can do a Scottish/British accent, no to cats and dogs) and had a nice chat with Kathy Pogge before I was called in to the audition. I ended up reading the Brooklyn part in the audition package, and even though I was one of the last, Greg Weisman told me that I was the first to read for that part so far. "Really," I said, though I was thinking "cha-ching". So I read the part, and then read the part again from a farther distance, trying to use all my experience as a drill instructor in cadets to get the emoting across. Greg seemed impressed enough, told me I had done a good job, and so that was the end of that audition. I went outside, met with Stormy, Mercedes and Andrew again; it was getting late, and we wanted to find some supper before the fast-approaching Opening Ceremonies.
I can't understand the difficulty we had in getting food. Everything we could find in the cafes nearby was closed or too expensive, and it took us nearly fifteen minutes to find a sandwich bar that had enough to sate us. We grabbed our food and raced back to the hotel; I had time to eat half of my salad and half of the sandwich before people got called in to the ball room for the opening gala. I sat with Stormy and told her most of what to expect, though I was surprised at how many were there. The room was full, it seemed, much better than last years had been, and even Greg seemed surprised. I got to catch up with Wingless, Gabarus and a few other old and dear friends. Karine Charlebois, the con chair, got up and gave a speech, and that was when Maui and Abe Wintersmith got up and hijacked the convention for the Clan Olympics.
I had been signed up for this by Flanker, and I owe him big-time for that. I had been conscripted onto Team Canadian Body Massage, a WTF name if ever I heard one, though I must confess that we had one of the fuller esprit-de-corps' to be found. It was a neat excuse to wave my Acadian flag, anyway, and try to get it on the DVD, but any pretense at dignity was soon gone as I stood in front of the Gathering wearing a ripped T-shirt, having plastic balls stuffed down my front. And we didn't even win, even though we cheated fair and square. I had my suspicions that it was rigged, though I at least got to shout "Acadie!" at the DVD crew, and that made things somewhat okay. During the aftermath, Greg Weisman found me and told me that they had forgotten to get me to try the accents during the radio play auditions, and so that would have to be one of my first goals for the next day.
The opening ceremonies continued with a pitch for the 2005 Gathering in faraway Las Vegas, and they sold me completely and utterly, so long as I'm not doing an overseas placement for med school in Africa or Southeast Asia. After that, Greg took the podium, talked about the DVD release, and then showed off the goods – the pitch reels, the storyboards, the concepts for some of the thwarted spinoffs, and the voice recordings for the Team Atlantis episode "The Last", all of which I'd seen and heard but which Stormy had not. She was delighted, and I was pleased that I knew what to expect. With that, the Opening ceremonies ended, and I went out to do the social thing that was, is, and ever shall be the centrepiece of my Gathering experiences. I totally skipped out on the Clan Olympics for it, leaving Flanker in the lurch and causing Maui no end of grief (she hates me still, as far as I can tell), but it couldn't be denied; it was time to see Montreal. Poor Stormy had to go to bed; she was exhausted from the trip and wanted to make sure that she could attend the masquerade the following night. So Ellen, Allaine, Princess Alex and myself headed to the outside world, bound for Ellen's old stamping grounds from her McGill days and some of the Italian restaurants there. There was quite a bit of talk about writing and baseball and inclement weather: I had lived through my first hurricane last year, while Ellen and Allaine had spent some time together watching the Cubs play. It was a fine meal with good friends, and for the first time in months I was hearing fanfic writers talk about stories that had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with giant transforming robots. It's enough to make me believe in God.
On the way back, Ellen and I talked a little bit about fanfic, and I ended up mentioning that I was thinking of giving it up again. I told her that I felt I wouldn't have enough time, that I wanted to spend the writing time I had on work that I could publish, that there wasn't enough time to get my name out there if I spent it working on fanfiction. In her infinite patience, she told me that was fine, but then told me that if I really wanted to write fanfic then I shouldn't stop myself, because forcing myself to write what I wasn't interested in was a sure recipe for dissatisfaction and frustration. (At least, that was the gist of it; the conversation extended over several city blocks, at least). I had to admit that the original, artsy-fartsy stuff I had been writing had been utterly less than satisfying, and that the most success I'd had so far had been with poetry and with a story based loosely on my fanfics, and that the rest was shaping up to be elegantly written garbage. So I had been given something to think about as we got back to the hotel, something that carried on into a conversation with Ellen and Alex in Ellen's hotel room as we waited for the blue mug-a-guest with Greg to start.
We showed up with a few minutes to spare and joined the crowd; Greg was a few minutes later than he'd been scheduled (though he hadn't entered Keith David territory yet), and as soon as he showed up, the questions began. The thing was, for a blue mug a guest, the questions were surprisingly tame. They were mostly about the DVD rather than any positions or fetishes, and most of the revelations (that I was there for) had to do with special features and such, not like the bombshells of gargoyle sexual orientation that had galvanized the conventions last year. But that was okay, and the theory is going that had Thom Adcox been there then things might have gotten raunchy quickly. Or pantsless. Or both.
At about one o'clock, Flanker and I left the mug-a-guest and went out to explore a bit more of Montreal by dark. We ended up at a small tavern just off of Ste. Catherine Street (another goal!) where I had a pint of Stella Artois and he had a cup of coffee, though something got lost in translation, because he said that he didn't want any "fancy coffee" and the waitress apparently took this to mean that he did, in fact, want fancy coffee. But things were soon settled, and we sat and talked about military matters, his panel earlier in the day, and a few of his experiences overseas in Bosnia through the Canadian reserves. It was a great conversation, one that will go down as one of the memorable moments of the Gathering for me; we came back to the hotel and parted ways, and then I stumbled upstairs to bed. Stormy, Mercedes and Andrew were sound asleep in the bed; I got a few pillows from the front desk, found a blanket in the closet, and made a nest on the floor to try and while away the few remaining hours of the night, my first in Montreal.
Saturday, August 7
I had spent much of the night shivering; the fan was up too high and it was bloody cold, and I hadn't gotten much sleep until I had cranked 'er up to Saharan comfort. Nevertheless, I woke up at seven that morning raring to go, running on five hours of sleep. I went to the hotel pool for a brief swim, and then got back to go to breakfast with Stormy, Mercedes and Andrew at the Deli Planet café in the Gare Centrale. We caught up on a few old-times stories, and then got back to the hotel in order to go our separate ways again. I went back to the Radio Play auditions, both to hold a place for Stormy while she checked out the art room, and to follow instructions and give my impression of Scottish and British accents. It was in a different room than the day before, so I followed a crowd of people to find it, heading for the auditorium. Maui was greeting people as we walked in, and she looked delighted to see me. "Witless!" she said. "You're coming back to Clan Olympics!"
"Wait a minute, this isn't the radio play auditions?" I asked.
She punched me in the shoulder and chased me away, calling me nasty names.
When I finally got to the St. Charles room for the auditions, Greg called me Brooklyn and the "cha-ching!" sound went off in my head again; nevertheless, I tried reading Hudson's lines for the accent tests, and they went a little less successfully. Now if there had been a character speaking in an Acadian accent, I would have nailed it, but alas, there was no Avalon Tour episode about Goliath and the others ending up in Bathurst and having to speak in chiac and play the spoons, so I was out of luck. Stormy did well, too; she told me that she had been asked to meow like a cat, and she just imitated our Smokey doing his morning dance for food and attention. It apparently impressed Greg, much more so than Smokey impresses us. This didn't take all the allotted time, so I snuck into the Thrill of the Chase panel being put on by Spacebabie, Ellen and Christine. It was pretty neat; loads of cool suggestions about chase scenes, a discussion of the movie "Memento", and plus I got to talk a little bit about "Trailer Park Boys" (my new favourite show, go and find it, it should be on Bravo down in the States and most of it is on DVD now). That panel ended up going a little bit over time, as all of the best writing ones often do.
We stupidly decided not to get lunch, and instead just milled about chatting with friends and acquaintances, waiting for 12:30 when the radio play cast was announced. Both Stormy and I were chosen, as was the third member of Team Canadian Body Massage, and I could just imagine Flanker and Maui breaking down into fits of wailing and gnashing of teeth at our inconstancy. Stormy and I went to the room where people were getting set up for the weapons display by the Society of Creative Anachronism; we sat with Flanker, though I was not in the mood for watching people play with wooden swords and say "verily" a lot, and just before the demo started I announced that I was making the quintessential Canadian journey: the Tim's run. Flanker gave a me a toonie, and I set out up University Avenue to score some Tim Horton's coffee. As I was making my order, I ran into some American fans who had never been in a Tim Horton's before. "They take credit cards, right?" asked one of them, staring in confusion at the price lists and the wide array of crullers and donuts.
"Why wouldn't they take a credit card?" replied his friend, looking confident in her ability to buy bagels with plastic. I thought that I might perhaps watch the show, but I chickened out, and told them that every Tim Hortons in Canada that I'd ever been to was cash only. They looked vaguely horrified, but I think in the end that things worked out well.
I came back with the coffees to the weapons demo, and Flanker and I watched for a while. To my surprise, it was quite interesting, and the guys doing the swordplay seemed pretty cool. I think that after spending so much time in the insular cliques of medical school, the geekiness threshold is a little lower once you get to a place like the Gathering; fortunately, I got better. In fact, I figured that if my friends at school hadn't already googled my name and found my fanfic, then the fact that I had a chance at being on the DVD in my Dalhousie Medicine T-shirt would probably knock me out of the geek closet forever. I ducked out of the weapons show at the first break and went to watch the auction, long enough to watch a bidding war for an animation cell that went up to $455; it was a nice battle, but then it was time for the radio play auditions. I met Stormy and started heading for St. Charles; on the way we ran into Carole Wagner, who told us that the DVD crew had been wanting to interview us as one of the couples who had been brought together by the show. So we ran downstairs to the ball room to see if they were there; sadly, they weren't, and so we went back up to the auditions.
Greg gave out the parts first thing; I was awarded the role of Brooklyn, while Stormy got to be Cagney. We ran through the lines, floored by the sheer brilliance of the other actors, especially the two playing Elisa and John Castaway. Stormy went all out on her Cagney lines; I did my best to reach into the Brooklyn lines, especially the "parting is such sweet sorrow"; I concentrated as hard as I could on every ex-girlfriend I'd ever had for that one, and I thought it went fine. The audition ended on a positive note, and as Stormy and I left the room, Carole found us again and told us that the DVD crew wanted to try again.
We went down, and gave a ten minute long interview of which I'm sure they'll use about five seconds. It wasn't that hard for either of us; Stormy is money under pressure, to coin a phrase, and I'm so used to TV crews an audiences, not to mention that I think I was born with a silver tongue. We talked about how we had come to discover the show, how we had met, how long we had been (I ended up making a crack about my parents' frustration with the lack of an official wedding that I hope to every God and saint they cut from the footage) and then we gave each other a soft kiss on camera. It seemed sort of lame, but I have my doubts that they'd have used the raunchy French-kiss that I'd wanted to give her, so maybe it's all for the best. At the end, we were asked why we thought Gargoyles was so unique; I asked if I could be elitist, and then went off on a spiel about how it was a show unafraid to show its intelligence, and how it depended on becoming involved with the characters as though they were real people. Ellen was watching us do this and she tells me that she thought it was eloquent; I have my doubts, but when it comes to TV, I'm always a bit self-flagellating. After that it was time to run upstairs and get ready for the actual performance of the radio play. We had to wait for the DVD crew to arrive, but when they did, we tore right into the performance of "The Journey", uncut and uncensored. I got a few wild whoops of applause when I stood up and was introduced as Brooklyn, which is always a wicked boost for the ego; I'm not sure how well I did with the lines, though, especially since the DVD crew came up and caught me on tape a few times. It's something I'd do again, though; loads of fun and lots of laughs. I got Greg to autograph both my and Stormy's scripts, and then we went to drop some things off in the hotel room before Stormy, Mercedes and I took off to find some food and explore the city.
We walked to the metro station at Victoria Square, pretty much just to say we took it, and we rode it two stations down to the Old Port, or Vieux-Montreal. We walked past a bunch of weddings in the public square and got a bit of the flavour of the place; after a short search for a nice restaurant, we ended up finding a fantastic place called Le Grill. Uncrowded and tucked away in a sort of alcove, with just enough shade to make it comfortable. We had a criminally good meal; I ate filet mignon and drank draft beer, and my companions ate just as well. After that we ended up walking up and down the streets looking for interesting things to see, and we came upon the medieval store that a few people had been talking about, Excalibor. (Is that French or just charmingly misspelled? I'm not sure). But the store was magnificent, and almost instantly I found a multi-coloured raven mask that I had to have. Mercedes bought a mask, and she and Andrew both bought pendants; only Stormy escaped, and she bought something at the native art store. Vieux-Montreal is horrific as temptation for impulse buys. We also went to see art galleries and a few of the streetscapes, including the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral. I had not spent a lot of time in Montreal before this, only a few hours spent waiting for connecting trains to Toronto or Moncton, so I was glad to see a bit more of the city than Gare Centrale. We ended up walking back to Chinatown, where I saw the Fu-Dogs at the gate on Rue Saint-Laurent, and we got to see it at a busier time than the day before. I also managed to see the street-sign for Rue Sainte-Urbain, or St. Urbain Street, the literary turf of one of my greatest heroes, the incomparable Mordecai Richler, famous for bringing that street to life in books like "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" and "St. Urbain's Horseman". Had I time enough and world, I'd have walked on that street for hours trying to retrace the steps, sort of like a Bloomsday pilgrimage in Dublin only with smoked-meat sandwiches; alas, time was getting late and we had to get to the hotel for the masquerade. Stormy had to finish her Quarryman costume, and Mercedes and I at least had masks now, though few clothes to go with it. We got back in time and got the costumes squared away, and then we went down to see what things would transpire.
The costumes were amazing, even though my wicked raven-mask robbed me of any semblance of peripheral vision; we enjoyed the masquerade and the cosplays even to the tune of the nurse's reunion singing karaoke next door. There were plenty of great costumes that took lots of hard work and effort, and I swear to God I'm dressing up as Bonavista next year if it kills me. Poor Lynati, though; her Ophelia costume was great, even if it was also late, but she at least got an honourable mention for it. I still have that stupid "I'm a Gargoyle Who's Afraid To Fly" song stuck in my head, every so often. Aneurhythms are dangerous things.
There was a party afterward, but we didn't stay; a crowd of us went upstairs to the hotel bar and had a few drinks. Stormy stayed till midnight, and Andrew came and had a few rounds, all the more poignant since he's not legal in his home country. I med Sadistic Cow and a few others, and Ellen and I started a few conversations about misbegotten golf games and classical music. The DVD crew came up again, though without their cameras; they'd had a long day, too, I gather, and I can't blame them for wanting a drink.
About fifteen minutes before one o'clock, when the bar was scheduled to close, Ellen pointed out that Mr. David had just appeared. She would know; she'd been to the banquet and had been enchanted by the stories that he had told, I turned around and saw Keith David sitting at the bar, and almost unbidden, I announced that I was buying him a drink, and then I was suddenly up and walking toward him. I think I was a little bit lit; I certainly was more courageous than I usually am, and that explains why I thought nothing of walking up the bar and saying "Mr. David, if you don't mind, I'd like the honour of buying this round."
He looked at me in surprise, then flashed me a wide and pleasant smile. "That's very kind of you," he said. I fished a twenty from my pocket and gave it to the bartender; he then gave Mr. David a double shot of Muscovskaya (I know because I kept the receipt; how's that for a souvenir?) that earned me only three dollars in change. I was startled, but I didn't show it; I left the toonie as a tip, then ran back to my table, got my beer, and joined Keith David for a drink. We had a long and pleasant conversation about medicine (he caught just from the way I talked that I'm interested in psychiatry and thinks that I should go for it). We talked about his interest in the ministry and his belief that acting is vocation as much as his job. We talked about good-and-evil, we talked about memorable roles, we talked about ideal Canadian cottage country and the beauty of Montreal. He bought the next round, and so I can say that Keith David bought me a pint of Sleeman's with as straight a face as I can manage. After a while, Ellen came over and introduced herself and told him a story about cremation magazines and centrefolds, and Keith laughed so hard that he nearly spilled something. It was just an awesome evening, and when it ended and Keith had retired for the night, the bar lights came on and we went back downstairs. So not only had I met my goal of buying Keith David a drink, but we had actually closed the bar down with him. The only think that would have made it perfect would be if we were in Halifax and he'd bought me a pint of Keith's Pale Ale, but that would have been asking too much.
We went downstairs for a few minutes and congratulated Greg on the birth of his nephew, and then Ellen, Kathy Pogge, Alex Garg and myself went up to Ellen's room for a nightcap. It was another brilliant conversation (I'm running out of superlatives, here) that touched on writing, on Freudian slips, on language, and on the fandom as a whole. We shared book recommendations and tales of reading, had a few final beers; however, I couldn't help but notice that a few times I had been talking about writing fanfic in the present tense, and I wasn't sure how scary that was. I noticed Ellen shooting me a few knowing smiles about it, though. She's wise, that one.
Finally, at quarter past three, I was on the verge of collapse and so I reluctantly took my leave. I went back downstairs to my room, still giddy at the events at the bar and the receipt in my pocket; that night, when I lay down in my blanket on the floor, I had no trouble at all finding sleep.
Sunday, August 8
I hadn't mentioned the Gargoyles Biology panel that I had been scheduled to give with Yggdrasil and Lynati up to this point; the reason is that I hadn't worked on it, and so waking up that morning was just like school; making a mad rush to the Tim Hortons with a notepad and jotting down discussion notes. It looked very much like my early mornings in undergrad when I'd stumble, bleary-eyed, to the Pit (the campus coffee store) and do the work that I should have done the night before. I got back in time to greet Andrew and Mercedes parents, and say goodbye to our friends, who were leaving early (They did come to the biology panel, but I was playing Teacher and so it was better to get it out of the way early). I went down to the Auditorium to get the talk ready. Check the lights, write a few things on the white-board, everything that those of us who've given thesis seminars know about first hand. This, though, was at least promising to be fun, though there was no degree lurking at the end of it.
It went spectacularly. We had a great crowd, and I was vastly impressed with the turn-out we had, considering that we were up against the adult round robin and the first of the mug-a-guests with Keith David (though we later found out that Keith hadn't made it to his first one, so maybe that's kind of unfair). Yggdrasil had got a powerpoint slide on genetic engineering ready, and Lynati had her notes on musculature and bone structure ready. I was acting more as facilitator, I suppose, but we had a lot of good questions and neat ideas on the metabolism of stone sleep, the mechanics of gargoyle gliding, the healing factor, the glowing eyes, etc. The DVD crew came in and filmed us, and so there's the geek closet just blown wide open, but it was still a great talk filled with neat ideas and fun people. Some people told me later that they wished Greg had been there, but I have the suspicion that Greg is just happier not thinking too much about the biology of the show. I'm sure many a B.Sc undergrad would feel the same way, given the opportunity. But I have to say it again; there are a lot of thoughtful and smart people in the fandom, many of whom have tried to look at the broader scientific questions that get asked with a series like this. There were even a few questions that flirted with the blue end of the spectrum, though everything ended up nice and PG friendly.
After this it was a mad-dash scramble to get checked out of the room and to stow our stuff in Ellen's room, and then we were immediately wrangled by Christine to go and start signing copies of the Phoenix Gate Anthology in the art-show room. I signed quite a few for the other authors and artists, and I also signed quite a few for a lot of fans who seemed amused at the whole idea of us sitting at the table and brandishing pens. I felt a little like a poser, and since Keith still hadn't come downstairs yet, I also felt a little like the opening-act who won't get off the stage to let the headliners come on. But we did get great seats for the mug-a-guest, and Keith finally did come downstairs; he got to talk to everyone except the PGA crew and Carole semi-firmly told him to sit down and start answering questions (Nicely, though; I'm mostly teasing. Mostly).
The night before I had been speaking with Keith one-on-one; this time I got to see him work the crowd. He's singularly charming and he answered every question with wit and a genuine sense of enjoyment. He's also a master of the artful segue, and quite often a seemingly closed question would branch off into a rich and expressive answer that had nothing to do with what had been asked, but gave a great glimpse into the mind of someone who clearly feels at home in his own skin and who viewed his craft as art and calling as much as job and paycheque. Just like in my conversation last night, his topics ranged from acting to philosophy, and I think he would have gone on for hours had not Carole insisted that he go and get some lunch before the closing ceremonies. With that, he took his leave, and the rest of us lingered and settled in to wait for the last Gathering event. I was starved and there was no time to run up to the Tim's; I went looking through the underground mall for something to eat but everything was locked up tight. Annoying, but hardly the end of the world; I figured I could live of my glycogen stores for a couple of hours and wait until the airport for food.
Closing ceremonies was kind of a blur; I was kind of distracted, wondering if we'd have time to be able to say proper good-byes to friends before having to run out and catch a taxi to the airport. We watched the art show awards, and Stormy was amazed at winning five ribbons (I was happy that the Whitbourne kitbash and Revel's picture with good ol' Witless in it won some accolades, but then again, I'm vicariously selfish). We got to hear the pitch for Las Vegas, and I decided that I would go as long as my projected voyage to Africa for school next summer allows it. I also had to explain my T-shirt (it says "MEAT" and has a picture of a T-bone steak with a caduceus on it). a few people asked about it, and I had to tell them that it was a shirt printed for our joke-gentlemen's club at school. MEAT stands for Medicine, Ethanol, And Testosterone. It'll be on the DVD, I assume, since the crew was there for the biology panel, so of anyone's curious, that's it.
The ceremonies ended earlier than I expected, and so Stormy and I had time to join the line to have Keith sign our Phoenix Gate anthologies after all. Stormy showed him the Goliath she had dressed up in drag for the art show, and he thought that was flipping hilarious. He also sang to her; a riff on her fan-name, which he justified by saying that he'd had a friend nick-named Stormy when he was younger. He signed her book, and that book's now at her parent's house in Clifford, Ontario, stored safely away for posterity.
I got him to sign my book, too, right on the front page of my story. He remembered me from the night before and we followed up for a moment on the conversation we'd had. Once he got a close look at my name, he looked up at me and asked if I was familiar with the works of Dylan Thomas.
I nodded. "I was named after him, actually," I said, and this is true, though my parents hadn't read any of his poems and they just thought his name was interesting.
"He had some good advice," Keith said, and then he took my book and his pen again. At that point he'd simply signed "To Dylan – all the best", but he then added "& remember, do not go gentle into that good night". I've never planned on doing so, but now I have even more incentive. Thanks, Keith.
Time was growing criminally short, now, and the last of the Gathering was spent saying farewells to all of our friends again. Lynati, Wingless, Allaine, Kathy, Maui, Princess, Mara, Aaron, Spacebabie, Revel, Dan, Flanker – the list is endless, with so many dear friends to speak of that it's impossible to name them all. We didn't pre-register for the Gathering next year, there just wasn't time, but we both know that unless we're in faraway lands at the same time as the Gathering, we'll be there in Las Vegas. Heck, I'm actually buying a guitar and learning to play it just for next year's Gathering, so I can go as Bonavista. (And now that's on the Internet, so people can hold me to it as though it were a legal contract.) We got to prolong the farewell with Ellen, mostly because we were stashing our swag in her room for the afternoon, but in the end we had to say bye to her too, and that one was just like last year's for me; bittersweet, with the promise of a Gathering reunion the next year.
We left, pretty low-key, got our stuff, took a taxi to the airport; we talked of the Gathering the whole way there, confusing the driver, I'm sure, and we looked back at the Montreal skyline, wishing we were staying but knowing that the real world was beckoning. We got to the airport; twenty minutes, thirty-one bucks, just like last time, and did the dance of the Infernal Check-In, with its ritual questions of "did you pack your bags yourself" and "did you leave them unattended" to round out the routine. We ate junk food for supper and then boarded the plane; on the way there I ran into one of my friends from med school, who had been in Montreal visiting friends. We talked for a few minutes, but we didn't say much; she ran into a friend of hers from undergrad, and Stormy and I were tired, but still, that time we spent waiting in the gate seemed to sum it all up. At one end of the chairs was my friend Erin, where we talked about med school and Halifax, but then I went back to my own seat and read the stories in the Phoenix Gate Anthology until it was time to board the plane. Real-life and fan-life have always been sort of an interesting dichotomy for me, and somehow that image, so close to the end of the Gathering, lingers as much as anything else that happened that weekend.
On the plane ride home, I fussed and fidgeted for a while, and then turned on my laptop and started editing a fanfic story that I hadn't touched in three months. It felt right and proper. It won't ever get me published, and sometimes I fear that the crowd who reads that is ever diminishing, but still, it felt good. Stormy looked at me with patient understanding; Ellen, I'm sure, would have beamed. It wasn't all that productive; by the time I started getting into the editing groove we were landing in Halifax and catching our bags and finding the car, but it was there. The Gathering had brought me back into the fold.
I'm writing this a couple of weeks after (as a crappy postscript, I just found out that the alternator on our car went and it needs to be replaced, something that seems to be a shortly-after-the-Gathering tradition) but I'm still feeling the buzz. I'm going to show my family and friends the Phoenix Gate story, and I'm going to natter them into buying the DVD. I'm going to look into going to Africa next summer but I'm also going to make sure I have time to go to Vegas. I'm going to learn to play the guitar and make enough money that I can buy all the guests a round for next year. And most importantly of all, I'm going to get out my laptop more and write, as much and as often as I can about the things that command me to write about them. It won't always be fanfic; other muses lurk in the ether that have visions of the Giller, the Booker and the Nobel prizes in their heads, but it will be what I enjoy. That's the legacy from the Gathering that I want to keep.
See you all in Vegas.
I'm not sure if the reposting was necessary... but what the hey! More diaries the merrier.
Morning comes WAY too early but we get ready for Karine and Patrick to pick us up at ten. At ten, we get a call - they're coming to get us at noon. Okay, so more relaxation time is always good, we watch more Trigun. Karine and Patrick show up and we load up the tshirts and auction stuff and our baggage and head off to the airport to pick up Laurean, Liz, and Taylor, and Patrick displays his uber l33t packing skillz!!! Back to Karine's to pick up more stuff, we met up with Kaylee, get everything packed and out to lunch, more packing, many many trips back and forth from the West Island to Downtown and back again, getting all the stuff and all the art display panels and everything to the Hotel. Met up with Chameleongirl and Sapphire, YAY YAY YAY!! I spent some time packing con packets, which was a lot of fun. Then still MORE time on the road, heading out to the airport to pick up Greg. We hung around the con suite, then headed out for a VERY late supper. There was a bit of a mixup, at first I thought the supper was open to everyone who wanted to attend. Turns out we had to let down a bunch of people, which was unfortunate. Had a very nice late supper, headed back to the hotel, collapsed asleep.
Why oh why is morning so FREAKING EARLY? Head off to a local diner for a very slow breakfast, which meant everything got pushed back a little. Unfortunately we wound up losing one of our dealers, who had shown up early to set up and been told by the hotel's staff there was no convention going on, so they had left. Oh well, we wound up needing that space in the dealers' room for other stuff. I manned registration for most of the day, which annoyed me a little because with Karine in panels all day long, it kind of seemed like no one was in charge and things got a little disorganized. But that's probably the control freak in me talking. Anyhow, we got the news that Keith David's plane had been delayed from 6 PM to 11 PM. I went down to the auditions at 3, intent on auditioning, Jen grabbed me and said, "You're auditioning first so you can get back to work." I read for Xanatos, and I guess my voice work and all those years in theatre paid off, because Greg told me normally he'd have me read from the back of the room to see if I can project, but that wouldn't be necessary in my case. Anyhow, I went back to work. With someone else manning the registration desk, my control freak stress level went way WAY down, and we were off to opening ceremonies, where we got more news about Keith David being delayed once again - to Saturday, 5 PM. Sigh. Okay, so we start off Opening Ceremonies, my first ever! Greg tells a bunch of stories and shows a bunch of video clips, pitches for the show mostly, that everyone seems to by heart, except me. Anyhow, Opening Ceremonies are a success, everyone seems to enjoy the Clan Olympics interruption, and around nine-ish (I think) we head off to supper with the Andersons and the Morgans. There's a Blue Mug a Guest at 11, but I'm zonked, so I head off to bed.
Grab a quick breakfast in the Hotel restaurant, get organized for the day. Set someone up to take over con suite and reg desk so I can spend the day running around making sure everything is getting done, which is what I really truly need to do and luckily I'm fairly good at it. At 12:30 they post the cast for the Radio Play, I got cast. Rehearsals start up after lunch, and I got the part of GOLIATH!! WOO!! If Keith hadn't been late, I would have gotten another part, I think... but it's the one time I'm HAPPY he's late! We rehearse the play once all the way through, Greg gives us notes, and then head on over to the show! Believe it or not, that's NOT the least rehearsal time I've ever had... anyhow! Greg introduces the cast, I get the big starring intro and a huge round of applause. The radio play - The Journey, from Goliath Chronicles, is a GREAT success, everyone loved it, AND I got to say the title of the play! Woo!! So then we're off and running to get everything organized for the Banquet. Daniel Fortin, our contact at the hotel, had printed up some GREAT souvenir menus, the Banquet is AMAZING, although I spent most of it waiting for Keith to arrive, both because he's the Guest of Honour and I'm on staff and wondering where the hell he is because he should have been here two hours ago, AND because our table won the draw for where he was to sit! We'd be sitting with Keith David! YAY! So eventually he shows up and Sandman7 sniped my seat! No biggie, he deserved it for all the hard work he did all weekend. Congrats Marc, you're welcome. After banquet, we split up to get all costumed up. The wig we had planned for my Xanatos costume didn't fit, so I wore the black suit anyway and went as President Luthor. *LOL* Anyhow, the Masquerade was AMAZING, Cindy looked awesome as Titania, Karine looked great as Pregnant Fox, in fact, ALL the staff who dressed up looked FANTASTIC. So after the Masquerade there were TONS of pictures being taken, and we had to figure out how to hook up the Karaoke, which we eventually did. Cindy kicked it off with an AMAZING rendition of All That Jazz. Cins you ROCK! Then she and I beat a hasty retreat to tally up the Art Show votes. Good thing we did too, because we were up until 1:30 AM counting all the votes. Collapsed asleep that night, lemme tellya.
ugh... mornings suck. Quick breakfast, the last of the panels. Took down the art panels during Keith's Mug-a-Guest. He's a great storyteller. I got some bad news about my uncle dying then, left me a little dazed for the afternoon. Closing ceremonies went VERY well, thanks. I got to sit next to Keith, he's a VERY cool guy. Chit-chatted with him a little during the ceremonies. Most of Sunday is a bit of a blur I was so freaking tired. Closing ceremonies, then the signing with Keith, where I got him to sign my Radio Play script, telling him I had been his understudy. He laughed. After the signing, we closed up everything and went up to the con suite where Scott Rogoff had set up a WONDERFUL thank-you gift for the Staff - some bottles of wine and some great chocolate. What with the booze we had bought for ourselves, we had QUITE a fine time at the Dead Dog Party, lemme tellya. Ordered the best pizza EVER ( flavoured with exhaustion and hunger, so may be my memory is a little biased) had a great time at the DDP.
All in all, this was the absolutely best way for me to lose my con virginity - that's right, it was my first convention EVER. And it ABSOLUTELY ROCKED. I loved the family atmosphere, the sense of community. It was AMAZING, and I really have the fans to thank.
Greg, you created a fantastic show. But what's more important, you created a Clan out of the fans. Thanks.
Thank you. Thank you all. Give yourselves a hand.
Gathering 2004 Report
Or: Nips and Lipples! Keith David owes me money!
Wed, Aug 4th
I start with Wednesday because it was such an important day, being the last day before we left. I was up at slightly after 8am and wouldn't quit until 1:30 am Friday morning. Wednesday was mostly spend making prints, buying ink, doing last minute errands. Packing was easy, for the most part; I just wanted to make sure I took the right supplies, didn't forget the most important originals, and get my damn mask done. The wig had to be sewn on, then I had to figure out how to pack the costume in a way it would receive minimal damage on the journey.
I ended up forgetting Binoicle: Mask of Light. Bummer. But I didn't forget anything really important.
Taylor and I left at 4am Thursday and had no problems getting on the various planes and etc, despite being total zombies. I would faze from being a zombie to being awake all Thursday. But that's almost typical pre-con Liz anyhow.
Was very long. Of course, that I'd been up since 8am the previous day didn't help. But we made it into Canada with no mishaps, and met up with Trishana right after we got our baggage. Somehow we managed to be on the same plane in and not realize it. It was great to hook up with her at the airport tho'. We also managed to snag Laurean a bit later.
Patrick, Karine, Cindy and Rob picked us up in a van (after waiting for a while, wondering if we were waiting in the wrong place). Everyone kept asking me what kind of van, what color van Patrick was driving. I kept responding: "How am I supposed to know, it's a rental?" Ah well, we were all worried and nervous.
Headed to Karine's to pick up Brenda, then had Poutine at the same restaurant from February. Back to Karine's to pick up equipment and supplies, then onto the hotel!
I realize now my Live Meet 2004 Report is rather incomplete. I'll have to piece it together later.
Snagged Trishana at the hotel and shoved Taylor on her. (Wanted to give Taylor a chance to not have to deal with staff things and start enjoying himself pre-con. Plus I figured he'd enjoy Trishana's company.)
Helped haul a crap load of things from the van to the cons uite and such. Packet stuffing time! Half of the staff got together to stuff pins, PGAs, shirts and programs into the pre-registered packets. I have to say again that the pins were awesome (Thanks, Two Wacky Pin Guys!) and the programs were gorgeous, thanks to Laurean. Yes dear, you rock. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Managed to get praise from Costume Goddess Cindy on my Yama costume. Got some tips and hints and help for future projects as well.
Hauled my own suit cases to Kelly's room, met up with Trishana, met Julie, Australian Coolie. I remember futzing around, then getting snacks with Kelly, Trishana (coffee!), Julie, Taylor, Tony and I know here name but it escapes and shames me. "Elisa Maza." It'll come to me. No, not Salli Richardson. Gah. Andrea! Anyhow, I got some fruit and we all talked for a while. Headed back to the hotel and chilled with people, keeping in mind about the Staff/not staff dinner.
Anyhow, futzed around, and got more surly, grumpy, tired and hungry by the minute (sorry guys), but dealt with it. Time rolls around for the staff/not staff dinner and Greg has not arrived. We've gotta wait another hour. Or so. Taylor and I explored the hotel a little, found the underground/covered alley-way, then talked with some arriving fans at the hotel, then back to the hotel room for a while.
Looking forward to the staff/not staff dinner was the only thing keeping me awake at this point. At the last minute, find out it's now a staff only dinner. ;.; Well. That's all I'll say there. There were good reasons, I'll leave it at that.
The walk was long (both ways) but entertaining (both ways). The dinner was great, but a bit overpriced IMHO. I was so happy to get to the hotel and just crash. Everyone else in the room was asleep already, gah! But I managed to not only go to bed without bothering people, but get up at a decent hour for pre-con staff breakfast.
Breakfast was at some local restaurant. We got the day planned over coffee and assorted things, then headed back to the hotel to get the con started and the art show put up. I took a shower, then tried to help answer questions, set things up and whatnot. Discussed events with the Clan Olympics hosts, set up my own art show (badly, yet again. I'll learn some day), and attend a voice acting panel hosted by the incomparable Greg Weisman.
Gawked over artwork in the show, set up my own Artist Alley table with Taylor. People like my work, and that makes me happy.
The DVD crew was out and about, starting with the first panels. I'm sure they got many, many many, many interesting things over the weekend.
Opening Ceremonies was fun; I got to start talking about the various contests happening at the con when the Clan Olympics literally stole the stage (and me right off it!) and had their first event, Stuff It!, right there in the middle of the ceremony. Rawk! Yes, it was staged, but apparently I was convincing enough that the audience didn't realize it. Makes me happy. I think it really opened up the con in an upbeat way. Not only did the teams have fun, but the audience loved the antics. Afterward I finished my contests points and handed the podium on to the next staff member.
Greg did his usual schpeils and showed the various pitches for The Dark Ages, The New Olympians, Bad Guys and played the audio for The Last. He also played a tape made by Carol Wagner of a bunch of staff, cast and crew for the show, a new bonus for the convention!
"Vampires... it's what we're not."
Afterward was dinner at Le Marche (The Move and Pick) with Ethan, Kyffin, Julie, Trishana, Kelly and Taylor. I had garlic bread with cheese, stir fry shrimp, cappucino and cheesecake with berries and chocolate sauce. Yum!!
Taylor and I went to the Blue Mug-A-Guest after dinner. The con suite was just packed with people, but the mug wasn't very blue (adult). Poor Taylor; Puck is Owen he didn't know yet, but found out and ducked out afterward so as to not be spoiled on any other points. (He's only seen the first few episodes of season 2). I started drifting off during the thing; it's hard for me to stay awake late at night if my hands aren't busy, and I was teased for it. Ah well, it's true, it's true. Ian arrived a bit later, and stayed for about a half hour. I was awake again by then, but when we got back to the rooms everyone else was asleep. :P So to bed, again!
Julie and I tried chatting for a while tho', since she wasn't very tired either. But poor Trishana couldn't take it. "Man... guuuys... geeeeez." Boy, that was funny. We got quiet and went to sleep.
Artist Alley again! I loved talking to people about my different works and doing artsy things. I worked on my Then and Now image (to be posted later), then auditioned for the Radio Play. I read for Angela, since apparently no one else had. I got into the play with just 2 lines, the same word three times, but still had a blast.
Back to Artist Alley, which started booming around lunch. And the DVD crew came at some point to film the art show. I attended part of the auction and bid on some things. I really wanted some Rita M. art (damn, I even made the prints for her!), but missed my chance on two pieces. However, they went for fabulous prices, and that pleases me greatly. Taylor bid on a cel from Awakening Pt 3, but let it go at $450. I think it ended up reaching $455 CAD. Congrats to the auctioneers Taras and Sandman7, who were fabulous. We then I practiced for the Radio Play, then I scrambled around getting the music videos running. Phew!
The Radio Play, The Journey, went wonderfully. Mike, who played Vinnie, won my heart over with his performance. Then people scrambled to watch the music videos and I got to chill for a little bit before the Banquet.
Our table got Greg Weisman as our guest of honor. Okay. I'll be honest. It hurts, but I will. Karine made a mistake in announcing the draw and said we'd get Keith David. Now, I love Greg to death. And I love hearing his stories, accomplishments, failures, funny moments and etc, but I was super psyched to get Keith. So I was a little disappointed for a moment (and felt horrible), but you know what? Having Greg at the table for dinner was awesome and I do not regret that in any way. So, you go Greg.
Dinner was fabulous. Even after tasting and picking everything out in February I was yet again amazed at how good the food was. And except in a few strange cases, everyone loved the meal. Quail stuffed with grapes? Shrimp cocktail with avocado? Delicate chocolate and fruit desserts? Oishisouuuuuuuuuuuuu.
Keith finally arrived at the end of dinner, and folks were all geared up to ask him questions. Poor guy. After being delayed three times and being awake for ever and I'm sure starving as well, he still delighted in answering questions. I had to cut out, tho', to get the Masquerade forms counted and organized, then get into costume myself.
Trishana and Ian helped with the Masquerade organization, then I popped down to the room where Trishana, Julie and Kelly helped me dress. And boy did I need the help. I will say again, I would not have been able to get dressed without your help, ladies. Especially the body paint part. And the man boobies on the bodyplate.
Down to level C where Ian and I corralled Masquerade contestants into Recency A and got them set up to show off their stuff. I was amazed with all the costume submissions this year, and so very happy to see a plethora of cannon characters. I was also extremely pleased to see so many non-contestants dressed up for the ball. I was especially impressed with just about every staff member dressing up and Lynati's Ophelia.
Oh yeah, folks were impressed with my Yama costume too. I'm just glad it survived the trip up with little damage. After showing off, having a billion pictures taken in different areas and poses, I was more than eager to change to something more normal. Because it might have looked good, but DIZAMN was it hot! I can't wait to see photos.
I changed and showered after, then headed back down to the ball for dancing and karaoke. Mostly karaoke. Strange! People liked it tho', even if my CDs didn't display the lyrics in Jen's computer. Taylor blew people away with his rendition of the 'Love Boat' theme, and a group of 20 or so amused the crowd with their rendition of YMCA with no lyrics. "Something, something somethingsomething. Somethingsomething.." I sang too, but am shamefully out of practice and shamed myself with Heart Breaker. Maybe next year I'll be smart and do Black Velvet or Holding out for a Hero.
I eventually split with Kelly and Taylor, and we went back to the room to draw and talk with Julie and Trishana. We stayed up lat and loved it!
Ah no, it's nearing the end of the con. Got up late but down to Artist Alley only 45min late. Stayed there for a while, then hosted my panel on marker and computer coloring. Granted, nearly everyone was in the Keith David Mug-A-Guest, but to the few that were there: Thank you. I enjoyed helping you guys out.
Back to Artist Alley for a bit, where I met Felix in person! Foofy hair! I met Gen earlier in the hotel room. Then on to Closing Ceremonies. Karine got to thank everyone again, and 2005 Staff talked, Clan Olypics announced the winners, promised to return next year, Cindy handed out all the art show awards, and I announced the Music Video Contest winner.
Keith David had his autograph signing while the staff fled up to the con suite for the thank you present from Scott "Abe" Rogoff. For those who didn't know it was coming, they were A) surprised B) elated C) unbelievably grateful. For those that did, just B and C, but still. Scott? You rock. Thanks for my Ginger sauce!
Word got around that Keith David was blown away by my print of Spawn and Goliath together. He wanted a print! I was going to give him one anyway, but that he liked it so much.. he loved it! I couldn't wait to give him one, and get my own copy signed.
But first I helped with taking the Art Show panels and such down, then to the van. Good work. And I got pre-registered for Gathering 2005, Vegas, then waited in line for Keith David. (And Gen, Felix, Ian, Trishana, Julie, Kelly and Taylor were hungry. We all wanted dinner. But I couldn't take the chance of not getting Keith's autograph.) I had him sign some things and was random fan #23598716098 until I pulled out my 11x14 print of Rumbling Thunder. Please sign this too? The other stuff was just icing; I made that print specifically for him to sign for me.
And he asked for a print for himself. I pull out 1/10, "It's always been my tradition to hand guests a piece of artwork as thanks for coming." And he goes, "Could you sign it for me?" So I did, and he asks, "Do you have any more?"
Pause. "Ah, yeah, I've got three or four."
"Can I have them?"
Pause. "Sure! I've got some here. Lesse.. oh, I've six."
"Great. I'll take them all."
"Ten dollars. But for you, five!"
"No no, you decide how much. Just let me have the rest and I'll pay you. Do you have a card?"
"Yes, but not on me. I'll go get you one."
And then Shaun took pictures of me with Keith David,... eeeee! Had then to grab my Artist Alley supplies and take them to the room, then get some business cards. Waited in line again to be polite, and handed Keith the original 11x14 ink of the image. I was going to keep it, but, what the hell. It just made the experience even more special.
"I've got some cards. Do you want just one, or a couple?"
"Give me a couple."
I hand them to him. "Someone might contact you."
Liz. About to pass out, figuratively.
So then he had to go get cash. I didn't actually get paid until late Monday, but that's okay. It was Keith David, I knew he was good for it. Any still, even if hadn't, to be able to say, "Keith David owes me money!" is one of those strange, weird, awesome things. I'm sure he had to go to dinner with his family and other fun things, plus he was planning on possibly going to laser tag with the fans.
We finally headed to dinner, sans Kelly and Julie, who were in the business meeting for 2005. That's cool; important stuff planning for a con is. Gen, Felix, Trishana, Taylor, Ian and I were headed off through the streets of Montreal to a place that had food in crepe form! What. A. Spectacular. Dinner. Holy cow, Montreal has good food! And the dinner conversation/company was great. Never a dull moment. Never an awkward one. You guys rule.
Back to the hotel and to Tacky Town, thanks to Ian. I bought an Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru pillow and some zipper pulls. One over-priced item a trip! We then had to part ways with Gen and Felix, boo, but hopefully I will meet up with them again.
Back at the hotel there's the Dead Dog Party for a while, then video game competition fun! I had fun kicking ass in Mario Kart, and even ended up owning the Double Dash Master, Taylor, once. And it felt so good.
By the way, Mike "Riverdale," you also rule. You were one of the most amusing people I met at the con this year. "Sucking hind teat" indeed.
Well, after Bloody Roar: Primal Fury, we had to call it a night. Afterall, tomorrow was LaRonde day!
Monday we all got going pretty much on time and got to the park in good order. Group shot in front of the fountain, then we rode some crappy stand-up coaster. Then lunch, and DDR! w00T! I'm so out of practice, but I had a great time anyway. Probably because despite being out practice Kelly and I still showed up the 'tweens trying to hound the pads. Feh! We then rode The Dragon, 'oooh, aaaah,' the crappiest ride the in the park, but amusing, and the ferris wheel. Oh yeah, I forced Dippin' Dots upon Julie, and she loved them.
The Monster had been closed earlier, but was open by then, so we rode the second tallest wooden coaster in the world. What a fantastic ride! As far as wooden coasters go, it was the second best I've ever been on. Second only to the Cyclone at Coney Island.
After that we were going to enter in the Double Dash tourney in the Nintendo building. But it wasn't worth it; 50+ horny 10-16yr olds (mostly 10yr olds) acting like it was a life or death thing? Feh, Taylor would have wiped the floor with them all; castrated them before they knew what as coming. So we didn't bother; Taylor's the Double Dash Master; he doesn't need to prove it... but so many times. Instead we waited in line for The Vampire for an hour and a half. Awesome ride that one.
Afterward, Dippin' Dots for Liz and Kelly. Ian and Taylor went off to ride a back-and-forth, swinging-spinning ride. Julie, Kelly and I instead played DDR. Well.. Kelly and I DDR'd, Julie watched. Kelly fended off the pad monkeys, and we kicked ass again.
Headed back to the hotel and had to part ways with Ian. Love the guy; wish he could have stayed yet another additional night.
Dinner at Tim Hortons.. it was okay. After calling Le Marche, "open 'til 12!" but not really; arrived at 10... doors locked. Bastards.
Back to the hotel yet again to babble and doodle. Sang the 'Star Wars Cantina' parody to Copa Cabana with the additional verse Taylor and I came up with. Arted, laughed, a lot. Eventually slept.
Ahh, Tuesday. Why'd you have to come so soon? Packed up all my stuff, got breakfast. Wrote a note to Keith David and took it to his room with Taylor.
Keith David.. answered the door... and hugged me again! I thanked him for coming, for interacting with the fans, for being so fun, friendly and the stories. He's totally psyched to come to Vegas in 2005. Did I mention that before? Because it's true.
Best Keith quote:
"Excuse me? You take that right back where you got it."
On phrases you bring home with you from your travels. (Like Australia.)
Keith is so much fun to talk to. He's so.. one on one, down to earth. And he invited Taylor and me to go to the spa and pool with him and his son. Spa. With. Keith David. Pool. I could have spent the day with Keith David! Gah! But Patrick, ever the calm voice of reason, happened to interceed and reminded us that we indeed have a plane to catch. Sigh. I got more hugs from Keith David tho', and that makes me unbelievably happy. Like Greg, it'll carry me to 2005.
Oh yeah. This didn't hurt:
"Where are you guys heading?"
"Ah, I have family down in Virginia Beach I'm visiting in September."
"Oh, it's wonderful there that time of year. Still warm, but most of the tourists have cleared out. I'm sure you'll have a great visit."
"Oh yes. And maybe I'll give you a call."
Again. Even if he doesn't.. that it was said.. damn! Happy Liz! More points for Keith David! More hugs too. ;>
The plane rides were uneventful, but quick. Even the 2hr layover in Cleveland wasn't bad. I sketched for Patrick on the first plane ride. Just for chips and giggles I did a female Puck.
Madeline and Mrs. Fauss picked us up at RIC and dropped us off at their house, where we collected Taylor's Tahoe and headed back to my home. Taylor dropped me off and we talked for a while, then my stuff was hauled inside, and crashed. Phew!
I had an unbelievably wonderful time at the convention this year. It's definitely been my best Gathering yet, and I've heard the same thing from some of the other fans as well. This pleases me to no end, and I hope 2005 goes as well as 2004 did. Good luck to you, Las Vegas. And I look forward to seeing everyone, and more, back in late July next year!
Remember, you have A YEAR to plan; no excuses! It's Vegas too, so it'll be much cheaper than normal. Don't let The Gathering pass you bye! If start now with a positive attitude, you will make it.
I'm glad I wasn't too big a disappointment at the banquet. (I totally understand. It sometimes amazes me that the entire fandom isn't totally bored with me by now.) Think of it this way, you got me and you didn't really lose out on Keith since he didn't show until much later.
So in a tryce came the documentary depicting many a Chinese doll and also the three wise men (who may or may not have been kings) that needed sixty-two dollars between them to redeem the coupon, which offered up solace and not a little irony to anyone who hadn't yet seen the crew chewing on leaves that weren't tobacco, but might have been sage and still left horrible stains in the dirt floor of the lean-to where I left my ski poles after the overnight with the cranes that were kept on the lake domestically for the purpose of tourism but who could also speak Latin on occasion when prompted by offers of cheese or jerky -- though not just any jerky, it had to be salmon jerky -- which isn't always easy to come by when you've agreed to leave before closing on summer days in the springtime of your life, which has been known to last longer in people who aren't concerned about under-inebriation or over-intoxication or both: it's the balance which is everything when nothing else will do and no one else will participate in the extravaganza that's been created by the giant invisible flying monkey brain that is modern life in the Twenty-First Century, counting since the (approximate) birth of Christ -- as long as the lack of the number zero doesn't disturb your math sensibilities as, frankly, it does mine, though I like to think I've made peace with that and with the Skrull too, since I haven't picked up an issue of that book in about nine years, which wasn't an intentional or explicit act of cold turkey so much as a sliding away followed by a none-too-impressive epiphany -- far from the best epiphany I've ever had, say, compared to Tintagel or Lego, not to mention the birth of certain children, which couldn't get more personal than the zany antics of the semi-erotic flea circus, which used to travel the stars waiting for an invitation to land at your door, since you are the personal target of the extra-lunar probe that counted all the seahorses that Aquaman used to make the giant seahorse that he could actually ride, though no faster than he could swim himself on his own power -- and no, we're not talking Super Friends here, but something older, more primal, something that was born back when the Ptero-whatever streaked across the sky leaving behind contrails made not of smoke but of pure and unadulterated grace, a commodity in which we are sorely shy as a planet, and yet which we find in the most unlikley of places, including but not limited to contracts which dictate how we will interact with each other but do it in such a way that no normal human being could possibly wrap their heads around the language and internalize the meaning, which we declare to be progress or civilization and which is not meant as a criticism so much as a detachment of troopers marching on a hill that you wouldn't pay five ducats -- FIVE! -- to buy yourself, or so I told myself and Hamlet night after night, but now Hamlet is a Thief on FX and I haven't seen him face to face in over twenty years, which sometimes seems quite normal but sometimes blows me away, not that I want to move backwards at all, though I'm not sure that I'm truly moving forward and I'm convinced I'm not moving sideways, though the metaphor of the sidewinder is appealing, not in the cliché sense of something sinister and left-handed, though I do throw with my left hand, I can bowl just as badly with either hand, and even though I'm 42, I quite prefer to have bumpers instead of gutters, where the rain gets backed up and sometimes flows over the lip and creates leaks in the roof and drips, drips, drips down into the shiny metal bowl that's usually used for something much more pleasant like mixing cookie dough to create chewy wonderful ... well.. cookies (I mean "duh") that taste a little bit like home even when you are home and it is raining, or maybe ESPECIALLY when you are home and it is raining and the water overflows and the ocean fills and the giant seahorse peaks out and winks at the cranes, which is exactly what the documentary crew was hoping to capture when they first took out their cameras and shot the whole thing from three different angles across six different days and still never saw the giant invisible flying monkey brain, because it was, to put it mildly, invisible.
The last of my Gathering journal. Now it's off to shame my friends into writing them!
Sunday, August 8
I hadn’t mentioned the Gargoyles Biology panel that I had been scheduled to give with Yggdrasil and Lynati up to this point; the reason is that I hadn’t worked on it, and so waking up that morning was just like school – making a mad rush to the Tim Hortons with a notepad and jotting down discussion notes. It looked very much like my early mornings in undergrad when I’d stumble, bleary-eyed, to the Pit (the campus coffee store) and do the work that I should have done the night before. I got back in time to greet Andrew and Mercedes parents – they were leaving early, and I gave some warm goodbyes – and then I went down to the Auditorium to get the talk ready. Check the lights, write a few things on the white-board – everything that those of us who’ve given thesis seminars know about first hand. This, though, was at least promising to be fun, though there was no degree lurking at the end of it.
It went spectacularly. We had a great crowd, and I was vastly impressed with the turn-out we had, considering that we were up against the adult round robin and the first of the mug-a-guests with Keith David (though we later found out that Keith hadn’t made it to his first one, so maybe that’s kind of unfair). Yggdrasil had got a powerpoint slide on genetic engineering ready, and Lynati had her notes on musculature and bone structure ready. I was acting more as facilitator, I suppose, but we had a lot of good questions and neat ideas on the metabolism of stone sleep, the mechanics of gargoyle gliding, the healing factor, the glowing eyes, etc. The DVD crew came in and filmed us, and so there’s the geek closet just blown wide open, but it was still a great talk filled with neat ideas and fun people. Some people told me later that they wished Greg had been there, but I have the suspicion that Greg is just happier not thinking too much about the biology of the show. I’m sure many a B.Sc undergrad would feel the same way, given the opportunity. But I have to say it again; there are a lot of thoughtful and smart people in the fandom, many of whom have tried to look at the broader scientific questions that get asked with a series like this. There were even a few questions that flirted with the blue end of the spectrum, though everything ended up nice and PG friendly.
After this it was a mad-dash scramble to get checked out of the room and to stow our stuff in Ellen’s room, and then we were immediately wrangled by Christine to go and start signing copies of the Phoenix Gate Anthology in the art-show room. I signed quite a few for the other authors and artists, and I also signed quite a few for a lot of fans who seemed amused at the whole idea of us sitting at the table and brandishing pens. I felt a little like a poser, and since Keith still hadn’t come downstairs yet, I also felt a little like the opening-act who won’t get off the stage to let the headliners come on. But we did get great seats for the mug-a-guest, and Keith finally did come downstairs; he got to talk to everyone except the PGA crew and Carole semi-firmly told him to sit down and start answering questions (Nicely, though; I’m mostly teasing. Mostly).
The night before I had been speaking with Keith one-on-one; this time I got to see him work the crowd. He’s singularly charming and he answered every question with wit and a genuine sense of enjoyment. He’s also a master of the artful segue, and quite often a seemingly closed question would branch off into a rich and expressive answer that had nothing to do with what had been asked, but gave a great glimpse into the mind of someone who clearly feels at home in his own skin and who viewed his craft as art and calling as much as job and paycheque. Just like in my conversation last night, his topics ranged from acting to philosophy, and I think he would have gone on for hours had not Carole insisted that he go and get some lunch before the closing ceremonies. With that, he took his leave, and the rest of us lingered and settled in to wait for the last Gathering event. I was starved and there was no time to run up to the Tim’s; I went looking through the underground mall for something to eat but everything was locked up tight. Annoying, but hardly the end of the world; I figured I could live of my glycogen stores for a couple of hours and wait until the airport for food.
Closing ceremonies was kind of a blur; I was kind of distracted, wondering if we’d have time to be able to say proper good-byes to friends before having to run out and catch a taxi to the airport. We watched the art show awards, and Stormy was amazed at winning five ribbons (I was happy that the Whitbourne kitbash and Revel’s picture with good ol’ Witless in it won some accolades, but then again, I’m vicariously selfish). We got to hear the pitch for Las Vegas, and I decided that I would go as long as my projected voyage to Africa for school next summer allows it. I also had to explain my T-shirt (it says “MEAT” and has a picture of a T-bone steak with a caduceus on it). a few people asked about it, and I had to tell them that it was a shirt printed for our joke-gentlemen’s club at school. MEAT stands for Medicine, Ethanol, And Testosterone. It’ll be on the DVD, I assume, since the crew was there for the biology panel, so of anyone’s curious, that’s it.
The ceremonies ended earlier than I expected, and so Stormy and I had time to join the line to have Keith sign our Phoenix Gate anthologies after all. Stormy showed him the Goliath she had dressed up in drag for the art show, and he thought that was flipping hilarious. He also sang to her; a riff on her fan-name, which he justified by saying that he’d had a friend nick-named Stormy when he was younger. He signed her book, and that book’s now at her parent’s house in Clifford, Ontario, stored safely away for posterity.
I got him to sign my book, too, right on the front page of my story. He remembered me from the night before and we followed up for a moment on the conversation we’d had. Once he got a close look at my name, he looked up at me and asked if I was familiar with the works of Dylan Thomas.
I nodded. “I was named after him, actually,” I said, and this is true, though my parents hadn’t read any of his poems and they just thought his name was interesting.
“He had some good advice,” Keith said, and then he took my book and his pen again. At that point he’d simply signed “To Dylan – all the best”, but he then added “& remember – do not go gentle into that good night”. I’ve never planned on doing so, but now I have even more incentive. Thanks, Keith.
Time was growing criminally short, now, and the last of the Gathering was spent saying farewells to all of our friends again. Lynati, Wingless, Allaine, Kathy, Maui, Princess, Mara, Aaron, Spacebabie, Revel, Dan, Flanker – the list is endless, with so many dear friends to speak of that it’s impossible to name them all. We didn’t pre-register for the Gathering next year – there just wasn’t time – but we both know that unless we’re in faraway lands at the same time as the Gathering, we’ll be there in Las Vegas. Heck, I’m actually buying a guitar and learning to play it just for next year’s Gathering, so I can go as Bonavista. (And now that’s on the Internet, so people can hold me to it as though it were a legal contract.) We got to prolong the farewell with Ellen, mostly because we were stashing our swag in her room for the afternoon, but in the end we had to say bye to her too, and that one was just like last year’s for me – bittersweet, with the promise of a Gathering reunion the next year.
We left, pretty low-key, got our stuff, took a taxi to the airport; we talked of the Gathering the whole way there, confusing the driver, I’m sure, and we looked back at the Montreal skyline, wishing we were staying but knowing that the real world was beckoning. We got to the airport – twenty minutes, thirty-one bucks, just like last time, and did the dance of the Infernal Check-In, with its ritual questions of “did you pack your bags yourself” and “did you leave them unattended” to round out the routine. We ate junk food for supper and then boarded the plane; on the way there I ran into one of my friends from med school, who had been in Montreal visiting friends. We talked for a few minutes, but we didn’t say much; she ran into a friend of hers from undergrad, and Stormy and I were tired, but still, that time we spent waiting in the gate seemed to sum it all up. At one end of the chairs was my friend Erin, where we talked about med school and Halifax, but then I went back to my own seat and read the stories in the Phoenix Gate Anthology until it was time to board the plane. Real-life and fan-life have always been sort of an interesting dichotomy for me, and somehow that image, so close to the end of the Gathering, lingers as much as anything else that happened that weekend.
On the plane ride home, I fussed and fidgeted for a while, and then turned on my laptop and started editing a fanfic story that I hadn’t touched in three months. It felt right and proper. It won’t ever get me published, and sometimes I fear that the crowd who reads that is ever diminishing, but still, it felt good. Stormy looked at me with patient understanding; Ellen, I’m sure, would have beamed. It wasn’t all that productive; by the time I started getting into the editing groove we were landing in Halifax and catching our bags and finding the car, but it was there. The Gathering had brought me back into the fold.
I’m writing this a couple of weeks after – as a crappy postscript, I just found out that the alternator on our car went and it needs to be replaced, something that seems to be a shortly-after-the-Gathering tradition – but I’m still feeling the buzz. I’m going to show my family and friends the Phoenix Gate story, and I’m going to natter them into buying the DVD. I’m going to look into going to Africa next summer but I’m also going to make sure I have time to go to Vegas. I’m going to learn to play the guitar and make enough money that I can buy all the guests a round for next year. And most importantly of all, I’m going to get out my laptop more and write, as much and as often as I can about the things that command me to write about them. It won’t always be fanfic; other muses lurk in the ether that have visions of the Giller, the Booker and the Nobel prizes in their heads, but it will be what I enjoy. That’s the legacy from the Gathering that I want to keep.
See you all in Vegas.
Wow. That's bloody inspirational. And although it probably sounds like it, I am NOT being sarcastic. Honestly.
And for the record, I've always wanted to attend one of those "Gargoyle Biology" Panels, but I'm always scheduled to do something else at the same time. But I'd love to talk about that with fans at some point. Casually.
Babbles on The Gathering 2004 - (part II)
Saturday, August 7th
I woke up (around 7, says my memopad. I kept a small memopad during the con to jot down notes, but I honestly don't remember waking up that early. I wonder why?) Killed time by eating breakfast and lunch. At some point, I visited the dealer's room and met Jen's dashing hubby, Alan (whose goal it would be to get me to mack on his wife the rest of the con.) Oh, like I need any persuasion... ;)
It was also confirmed that Keith David would be missing the radio play, but would be there in time for the banquet. I was kinda bummed. Because playing *opposite Keith David* would have been...it would have been close to a religious experience, let me put it that way. But I guess it wasn't meant to be. It was still insanely fun and Rob did an awesome job as Goliath.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.. Saw the cast list posted, and then wandered around. Was told by Carol that I should go down and talk to the DVD people. Eeek. I love interviews, but not unless I feel very familiarized and fresh with the subject matter (and to be honest, I've not really had the chance to watch much Gargoyles in the past 7 months abroad) So one thing I was kind of reflecting on this whole con was 'what Gargoyles means to me.'
I went down, watched some really good interviews before me (including Michael's, which just blew me away. It was everything you could possibly want in an interview like that! I am betting a large cut of what he says makes it on to the dvd.) Then I did my interview for the DVD people. Let me rephrase that. I fed spacecrack to the DVD people.
I think it was because I was grappling with that question--what does Gargoyles mean to me? I can't say specifically that Gargoyles inspired me to follow a certain career path, but I can say that it largely shaped the way I think about the world and the person I became. It was like a crash course in Shakespeare, world mythology and history, a tale of romance and humanity and drama and hope. It was a portal into countless other things, all which helped me explore different intellectual interests and grow up. And because of my idol worship of Elisa, my preteen wardrobe was filled exclusively with red and black. It was my childhood.
Thinking about my own experience with it, and hearing stories from other people, I realize--That's the power of great art. Something that can have such a transforming role in the lives of so many. It's incredible.
So I yada yada-ed something like the above very inarticulately, but the DVD staff was really cool. They were easy to talk to.
Next up was Radio Play rehearsals! Where it was revealed that the script was...The Journey! (Which, actually, I already knew, thanks to a reliable source ;) ) And I found out I was going to play Elisa! Yay! Greg told me later that he thought about casting me as Castaway. (Aaaand Zehra's long history of playing men continues.) But I'm glad he didn't, because the guy who played Castaway (blanking on his name right now) was rocking.
So we did what you normally do at rehearsals, and rehearsed. I enjoyed the chance to work with a script that was more action noises than words for dialogue, because I've not really done that before (I do a bit of stage acting, often in verse.) After rehearsals, the radio play was about to start, but I remember moving some chairs to the auditorium (there was something like 31 of us in the cast.)
The one thing I remember right before the play--FLASHBULBS going off EVERYWHERE. People got really camera happy. I was blind by the time the first act started. I'll just consider it preparation for when I'm rich and famous, I guess. ;)
The show was fun to be in, and based on the audience reaction, fun to watch. Everyone rocked their parts! Applause all around.
After that, I went up to my room and being kind of tired, debated whether to sleep or not. I ended up taking the world's shortest nap, woke up at 5:55, and ran down to the ballroom for the banquet, thinking that I'd be late. But people were meandering in slowly, and I was on the early side. At dinner, I had the honor of sitting with Jen and Alan and the Morgans! And two new folks from Boston, Nicholas and Darrien. I hope they weren't too lost/scared. ;) Dinner was DELICIOUS but I had a hard time getting into it because of lack of appetite caused by the world's shortest nap. By the time the quail got there though, I was back in the game. Jen treated me to wine (read: tried to get me drunk. I have you figured out, woman! ;) ) I left to go to the ladies room at one point, and of COURSE that's when Keith David walked in. But yay, he made it!
Keith David. This man drips POETRY. Not only is his voice beautiful, but the things he says are bursting with something I can only describe as resonance. I could listen to him talk forever. He said something in particular that I wish I had written down word for word because it was phrased so perfectly and really hit home. But now memory fails me. AND his kids are ADORABLE. Also, mega-props to the folks who met him and his family at the airport--Patrick and Carol, I think--these folks were running around all evening and didn't get to eat much, if at all.
After Q&A with Keith, the masquerade began. I was blown away by the intricate, well thought-out costumes. There are so many talented people in this fandom! What is so great about the Gathering is that everyone gets the chance to strut their stuff and really shine at what they love to do.
I particularly thought the Eye of the Beholder Fox/Xanatos couple (Torvik and his sister, I believe) was a really cute idea. And very fitting that Jade Griffin was a hot Elisa as Belle, also from that episode. The cosplays were all very clever and amusing. Not to mention the STAFF whose costumes were rocking. I loved Karine's pregnant Fox. Alan was a dashing Macbeth and Jen was a gorgeous Gruoch. And Siryn pulled off a gorgeous evening gown and Tom all in one night. Now that's versatility.
After the awards had been given, the dance/karaoke portion of the evening began.
Keith David regaled us all with his acapella (with a BABY strapped to his chest no less, oh my gosh, cuteness.) I must say, our karaoke was far superior to the banshees next door.
Around 2am, the masquerade was winding down. Because of his early flight, Greg wasn't going to bed. So a group of us (Jen, Karine, Andreas and Archangel (who made a HOT Bad Elisa and Dracon at the masquerade) and Patrick--there were also some more folks there at some point) went up to the con suite to keep Greg company before he left for the airport (or what I affectionately call the "Grope Greg Weisman Panel." ;) ) Everyone was pretty cracked out on sleep deprivation (you know when *everything* becomes funny?) There was live action Sailor Moon, there was miming...I don't think I've laughed that much in ages. Sadly, we broke it up a little after 5 am so Greg could go get ready for the airport.
Stay tuned for part III, Zombie Sunday and so forth.
Turns out you must have done fairly well on your DVD interview, because you definitely made the cut. That was a fun all-nighter. Almost made me feel like a young college student again... except the next day I felt like a real old fart.
My babbles on The Gathering 2004 - (part I)
Firstly, I'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who made the Gathering a blast, especially the con staff. You guys rocked the house DOWN.
I had a lot of fun meeting so many of you for the first time, as well as seeing those of you I'd met in 2001 and 2002.
Forgive me in advance for forgetting names of folks I talked to. I never forget a face, but the names are a bit harder...
Thursday, August 5th - Setting off!
I left for the airport around 2 for my 7:30 flight. I took a shuttle bus to the Indianapolis airport because my dad had to work all day and couldn't drive me down, and ended up at the airport ridiculously early--something like 3 hours in advance. But better early than late. Packing the night (or morning) before was a challenge, as I hadn't yet unpacked from Japan (I got back about a week before.) I ended up forgetting some essential things (like a watch) so I did some duty-free shopping at the airport.
I also took the opportunity to reintegrate myself into my mother culture by ordering a good old American hamburger from TGI Fridays. Ahhh....my love, how I have missed you! If there's one thing America can do better than Japan, it's the hamburger. Anyhoo, I write about it because I find it amusing that I have started speaking English with Japanese characteristics. For example, I didn't want the pickle. Usually you say "no pickle" or "hold the pickle" right? Instead, I said "I don't need the pickle." Which I guess is understood just fine, but I know it comes from the Japanese way of saying you don't want something "x wo iranai." (literally "I don't need x.") The ex-pat process is nearly complete. ;)
I had an uneventful flight, an uneventful connection in Pittsburgh, and arrived in Montreal around midnight. My taxi driver on the way to the hotel was really nice. He was telling me about neat places in Quebec to hit if I had the time. Also, he asked me if I knew what my name meant, and I said it's the Arabic word for flower. He said not only that, it means "rose." I don't know if that was an indirect come-on or what, but I appreciated it. ;)
More name weirdness--when I checked in at the front desk, the clerk commented on my name and asked me if it was Lebanese. It's used in Muslim families, so I guess it's used over there. I was exhausted, so I fell asleep pretty soon after I got to my room. This would be the only night of the weekend where I would get a normal night's sleep.
Friday, August 6th
I woke up around 9. I had one of the Signature Club Rooms, because when I called to make my reservation, the hotel informed me they were out of the rooms that had been blocked off for the convention. So they gave me the best deal they had available, and that happened to be for the Signature Club, which included access to the private roof lounge. Delta Signature Club--why just *feel* like a pretentious snob when you can actually *be* one? So I had free continental breakfast in the roof lounge which overlooked a magnificent Montreal morning.
Around 10 I meandered down to register, but no one official was around. There were some familiar faces down there. I must say here that I hope I didn't appear anti-social in any way throughout the con. I had planned on dragging some friends with me this time, but it didn't pan out, so I was a lone wolf. I am a pretty extroverted person, but get shy and cautious in social situations where I don't know folks very well, especially if there's already an established group dynamic. I'm workin' on that!
I forget what I did to kill time, but I got a manicure and another burger at some point. But I did get registered--I think Siryn and Rob were manning the desk when I went up.
In the afternoon, I went to the voice-over panel/workshop/Q&A/thing. And as I was about to walk in the door, who did I run into but GREG WEISMAN! Who gave me a hug and commented on my short hair.
The situation then was that Keith David would be arriving a little late, but despite his absence the panel was interesting. Something I found interesting from the director's standpoint was the idea of creating a "sound pallet" that sets the tone of the language for the show--Gargoyles was Neo-Shakespeare. Try to surprise yourself in casting choices I think was another good piece of advice. (fangirl aside: I just think it's so coool that this con exists, and that professionals like Greg and other guests over the years give these workshops and AMAZING opportunities to learn from the pros. It is MIND BLOWINGLY cool.)
Jen sat behind me during the panel, but was unaware that the woman sitting in front of her would soon become her LOVAH!!! ;)
Listening to the exercises of the panel got my acting-bug aroused, and so I decided to audition then as opposed to the next morning. I must give mucho applause to Carol Wagner, who was running the line. I had the pleasure of getting to talk to Carol a little bit throughout the con, and not only is she an amazing guest coordinator, she's an absolute sweetheart.
Ah, auditions, the sweetest torture. I love auditions, even though they make me want to die. I never get nervous during an actual audition. I'm all nerves before, but once I'm actually in there going, it's like I'm in my own little world. And then I'm all nerves after. But the part in between, man, that's fun. I was feeling kinda rusty actually, as it was my first audition in nearly 9 months (there wasn't a lot of performance opportunity when I was in Japan.) I chose Xanatos' lines, because they seemed like the ones I could have the most fun with. I think it went okay, because Jen and Greg seemed pleased.
After the audition I think I went back to my room. Opening ceremonies was fun. I always love seeing Greg's spiel. It's kind of bittersweet though, because I see those pitches and think wow...those would have been awesome shows. Also nice to learn the DVD release date (December 7th!) I really hope they start releasing more of the Disney Afternoon shows on DVD (my life won't be complete until I have Darkwing DVD.)
After opening ceremonies, I was hungry. And really didn't want to end up eating at the hotel restaurant again. And was looking for company. Here's where that shy thing comes in again. I was wandering lost through the lobby and luckily I ran into Greg and he invited me to come along with a group to this crepe place. It was a nice walk through Old Montreal to get to the restaurant. Very European feel. There were street performers with accordions and bagpipes and cobbled roads and charm.
I want to marry the crepes I had that night. Mmm... As great as the food was, the company was greater! It ended up being Greg, Karine, Kathy, Siryn, Shaun and some cool folks whose names I didn't catch (sorry!) The restaurant had a really interesting outdoor lighting scheme that changed from red to pink to orange to yellow. The waiter was a nice guy, but sort of dangerous dropping plates with food and knives and what not here and there. It was fun talking to Siryn about Japan/Asia. I had been semi-miserable being back in the US for the past week, so it was nice being able to reminisce and swap stories. (But let it be known that thanks to the Gathering, I'm not miserable anymore!) Greg also regaled us with the story of how he met his wife. I'm such a sappy girl, I love stories like that.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel (Greg rushed ahead so as to not be too late for the blue-mug-a-guest) I almost went to the blue-mug(which in retrospect I wish I had,) but I was kind of feeling dead when I got back to my room, so just decided to call it a night. Also, being that Gargoyles is kind of like my childhood, I was afraid of being SCARRED FOR LIFE (that would happen the next night. ;) ) So to sleep I went.
Stay tuned for part II, Saturday shenanigans!
Ah, Zehra, we missed you last year in Vegas. I hope you can make it to Los Angeles this year. You are always so much fun!!
But what's this about you and Jen being "LOVAHS"? I must know more.
Since Kaylle has opened the line of discussion on things related to gargoyle sleep, I might as well ask...
Do gargoyles dream of stone sheep?
On occasion, who doesn't?
Hi! Here's my con-report for the Gathering 2004 "Le Gathering".
My husband and I live in the Champlain Islands of Vermont, so we're very close to the border, so we just drove up to the convention every morning, and then drove back everynight.
This was the first time I've ever been to a Gargoyles convention. I had been a fan of the show since I in college (back in 1995), so when I heard that a Gargoyles convention was happening so close to here, I just couldn't pass it up! I even learned how to draw Gargoyles by watching the TV show. Having been an anthropomorphic artist, I've been to furry conventions before, so I had a rough idea of what a Gargoyle convention would be about. I actually heard about the Gathering through an online comic that one of my friends has; he had a banner that I clicked on, and the rest is history.
The first day was a little slow, but that's very normal for any convention I've attended. Having never been to a Gargoyle gathering before, I was pretty much a stranger to everyone, and vice versa. But I met some artists in the Artist Alley who were very nice and friendly to talk to, and I had the chance to check out the art show. There was some VERY talented artists in there! I wish I could've voted for more people in a particular category, it was very hard to choose just one.
Later that afternoon, I attended the Opening Ceremonies. I've never been to them before, at any convention I've ever been to, so I thought that I would go and see what it was all about. It was interrupted during the beginning of the ceremony for the first event of the Clan Olympics. I had a very vague idea of what it was all about, but I had no idea that they looked so fun! We watched the different teams rushing around, trying to get as many plastic balls into specially-made holey shirts and the teams were given points. After the event was over, the ceremony resumed, and Greg Weisman talked to us for a while. He played us a tape in which Ed Asner and Keith David as well as other cast and crew of the cartoon had recorded themselves on tape and addressed the audience. We were also treated to some videos, in which a younger Greg talked to us about different possible spin-offs of Gargoyles. Personally, I think I would love to see two of these spin-offs make it: The Dark Ages and Time Dancer. I've always liked the idea of Gargoyles staying in the medieval/dark ages setting, so I think the Dark Ages show would be great. As for Time Dancer, I'm a fan of time travel stories, and it features Brooklyn (my favourite Gargoyle) so I don't think they can go wrong there. ;) We even listened to a recording of a show that was never animated, where the crew of Disney's Altantis meets up with Demona, which we all thought was interesting as well as funny from all the grunts and other things from the actors. We left after the Opening Ceremonies for the day.
On Saturday, I was supposed to be in Artist Alley to try my hand at drawing gargoyles for people, but we were exhausted from our drive, that I wanted to sleep in. I missed out on selling and drawing for people, but my main concern was that I wanted to go to the auction. I LOVE going to auctions! I had seen the many things that were being offered up for bids on Friday, and I really wanted to get myself a Brooklyn action figure (I'm kicking myself for not getting one when they used to be in the Disney Store years ago). So, I went to the auction, and it was TONS of fun! The hosts (auctioneers) were very friendly, out-going, and joked around alot. I didn't get the chance to get a Brooklyn action figure, but I managed to walk away with a few things. I was amazed at just how much some of the prints were going for as well. And it was fun to watch people fight over the animation cel they had there as well. After the auction was over and after I had paid for my new Gargoyle merchandise that I had won, we had to leave early so that I could get some housework done. The job of a housewife is never done!
Sunday was the same as Saturday: We slept in a little bit and we got to the convention in time for all of us to sit down and meet Keith David. I was expecting that he would just wave to us and sit at his table, but he surprised me when we went to everyone in the room (myself included), shook hands with them and actually greeted them and asked how we were enjoying the convention! I thought that was really nice of him. He was very friendly when questions started and it was interesting to hear a glimpse of behind-the-scenes of Gargoyles of when he was the voice of Goliath, and to hear his own opinions of things. I had a question for him as well, but I was much too shy/chicken to ask!
About half an hour after the Mug-A-Guest was over, they had the closing ceremonies. It surprised me to hear that I had won a CD! One of the dealers in the Dealer's Room was having a draw for a CD and I had entered at the last minute, not really thinking I would win anything, so it was a surprise :) They announced the many winners of the artists in the Art Show, and I'm glad that many of them won something, their art was definately worth it! They were also talking about the next Gathering, which will be held in Las Vegas. If we could afford to go, I would...but unfortunately, we're already planning a big trip to a different convention next year. It's too bad, because I remember going to Las Vegas when I was 13 and I missed out on the slot machines because I was too young...
All-in-all, I had a great time! If The Gathering ever plans on coming back to the area (either in Montreal, or in the Nothern NY state or Vermont area), I would very much like to go again! The hotel was located in a wonderful location, so that it made it very easy to find when coming over the border. I'm actually Canadian myself, and I was glad that many of the workers in the hotel will speak English for you if you're not familiar with speaking French, and they were kind and polite there as well.
I'm really excited about the first season of Gargoyles coming out on DVD, and just in time for Christmas as well! You can take a guess what'll be on my Christmas list this year ;) Again, I do hope that they make some spin-off shows of the Gargoyles, or even start making new shows of it. The whole reason why I like Gargoyles is that it's different, and it's also a different style for a Disney cartoon as well. I had a great time at the convention, and it really made me more interested in wanting to know more about the Gargoyle fandom and viewing more Gargoyle fan art as well.
Thank you everyone for the great time! I hope I can go to The Gathering again :)
I'm glad you had fun. You might think about attending G2006 this year. It'll have about 50 special guests (artists, actors, writers, etc.) and only about 300 attendees. That's a pretty stunning attendee to pro ratio. You won't get that at ANY other con.
Ok, this might be a bit off topic (YAY) but first I want to say a BIG. HUGHE. GIANT. Thanks to Disney for releasing season 1 on DVD!!! I'll try to get my hands at it here in Europe and just hope I can help bring the series back on screen!!! And I hope Season 2 will follow soon...
Now the question:
You often stated the large number of spinn offs occuring even after the Gargoyles-timeline (meaning Timedancer, 21** etc.). Well, that would mean that eventually, Gargoyles would have a spot where it would end in time. Wich year would this be? Around 2030?
Thank you for awnsering and for pushing so much time in all that stuff (just SOOOO excited on the DVD finally REALLY comming out!!)
I'm glad you're excited.
But as to your question, I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. I guess if you're asking: "Is there a point in time when the original "GARGOYLES" series would end?" I guess my answer is, "Yes, in March 2198." At which point, we'd change the name to "Gargoyles 2198" and the spin-off would become the series.