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GATHERING REPORT 2004
Greg, I know you wanted Gathering reports posted here, so here's mine. It was good to see you and everyone, and as always, thanks for sticking by the show.
I wrote up the original report with links to photos. Since I don't think Gore accepts HTML, and I didn't want to interrupt the purported narrative with URLs, I've removed most of these links from the text of the report. Photos are available on Norcumi's site at http://norcumi.gargles-fans.org/photos/con2004 for anyone that's interested. No, that's not a typo.
Norcumi and I got into Montreal on Friday at about 2 in the morning. Apparently MapQuest had underestimated driving times, because we had been /planning/ to get in earlier the previous night. The last 45 minutes' drive inside Canada proper was largely composed of road construction, replete with signs politely warning us in French that we were to beware of the tigers. Or something. I remembered enough high school French to get by, but I think the signs made Norcumi's head explode. But to me, the really funny thing was the customs agent at the border. The Gathering site had led me to expect the usual bilingual thing, where everyone who works with tourists greets them in both languages. Many of the store clerks and waitpeople in Montreal did indeed do that, but the customs agent didn't, so my ear didn't process her greeting the first time around. The conversation went like this:
Me: "...say again?"
At which point I got it, but I thought it was rather interesting that she didn't switch to English once it became apparent that I spoke it. She simply repeated herself. Har har.
Anyway, since we arrived so late, we looked at the schedule and figured that none of the panels on Friday looked interesting enough to lose sleep over, especially since the Blue Mug was scheduled for that night. So we slept in, and Friday afternoon we went out to wander around Montreal a little. Nice city, though the fact that all of the signs were in French was consistently, and unduly, intimidating. At a square around the corner from the hotel, there were a couple people with a table and a sign bidding all passersby to "IMPEACH CHENEY". There was also a lot of nice architecture, some of which was nice enough that they were shooting a movie with it a couple blocks up the street. We didn't see the actual shoot, just the no-parking signs and a couple Old West-style telephone poles which had been cemented into tree holes on the street.
That part of Montreal has an interesting system for its subways. In order to reduce the number of subway stations while still making them easily accessible, they have an underground grid of walking tunnels which connects to a subway station every few blocks. Makes sense, given how far north they are. We didn't actually take a train -- we got as far as the station and turned back -- but we did wander around, and get lost in, the tunnels. Ultimately we followed the signs back to the hotel and wound up in the food court vaguely underneath it, where we ordered from Subway and McDonald's in a combination of pidgin English and gestures. (I was loath to use my high-school French, probably because I was afraid I would mispronounce stuff. I tried, but wasn't able to work myself up to it.) While we were eating in the (beautiful) food court, a random Gargs fan who turned out to be Yggdrasil struck up a conversation with us. (Maybe he noticed Norcumi's shirt? Or did we just look like the con type?) It was his first con, so it was interesting to get his impressions of it, though we mostly ended up talking about Canadian gun control laws.
After that was Opening Ceremonies. It was pretty much the usual, though they held the first Clan Olympics event /during/ OC. It wasn't very well planned (http://norcumi.gargles-fans.org/photos/con2004/20040807_174126_1382), but it was amusing, and the sign trick they pulled at the beginning was cute. Greg announced that the first-season DVD will be out December 7, and introduced the camera crew that was filming a Gathering documentary for the DVD. He read some PowerPoint slides that had been conveniently overnighted to him on pieces of paper, raving about how great the show was -- it even had a yearly convention attended by THOUSANDS OF FANS. Heh. (Though we had a surprisingly large number of con virgins this time, as it turned out.) Chris Rogers gave an impressive talk about 2005, and then Greg did his song and dance. I've seen the leica reel three times now, and this is the first time I understood all of the action in it; the animation can be pretty jerky at times. They also played an audiotape made by a bunch of people who worked on the show who weren't able to be at the Gathering. One of those people was Ed Asner, and something in his message jumped out at me. I wasn't taking notes, so all I can give is my impressions rather than direct quotes... but while everyone else on the tape was talking about the show as something in the past but somehow still in existence, Ed was very definitively talking about the show as though it was finished, dead, never to happen again. The finality of his tone really took me aback. Thom, Keith, and Greg are all realists, but they all seem to think of Gargoyles as having some sort of existence outside of, or alongside, reality: that it's about more than 65 episodes which aired from 1994 to 1996. Ed doesn't seem to think that way. I don't mean to say that it was deliberate. It didn't seem to me that he didn't enjoy doing the show, or that it wasn't very important to him at the time. Mostly it felt to me that his method of dealing was to move on. But I don't think he was aware of the discordant tone of what he was saying.
After OC we wandered around. We dropped in on MGT3K for a while, but the room was too big and it didn't seem like anyone could hear anyone else. So we headed to dinner in the hotel restaurant -- very good food. Nice clam chowder.
Then we went to the Blue Mug-A-Guest. Like last year's, it wasn't very blue, and there weren't any major revelations this year, but the Blue Mug is always fun because of its informality. It was held in the con suite, presumably so that we wouldn't be kicked out the way we were last year, but there wasn't really enough space to go around. Norcumi and I got there early, so we had seats, but most of the people ended up having to sit on the floor. It came up at some point that Owen was Puck, and there was a con virgin sitting next to us who hadn't gotten that far in the series and was really disappointed in the spoiler. We both felt bad about it, but what are you going to do? Greg also made an interesting comment about this idea for the Korean gargoyle clan: what they protect is an idea, and the idea is justice. But not in the way the Manhattan Clan does: the Korean gargs believe in poetic justice, meaning that you get what you deserve. Apparently they never were able to fit that into the World Tour, but it's an interesting idea nonetheless. He also explained TGC: apparently the people who worked on TGC had just come away from working on /X-Men: The Animated Series/, and didn't have time to come up to speed on Gargoyles before starting to write for it. Thus things like putting Goliath on trial: it made perfect sense to these people that the existence of gargoyles was accepted, because they were thinking of them in terms of mutants.
After the mug, on the way out to the elevator, I pinned Greg Weisman and told him that Norcumi and I had first met in person at the 2002 con and that we had been together for two years. ("You're probably not collecting these anymore, but...") He congratulated us and told us to tell the film crew about it, and we all went to bed. I hadn't been able to get up my nerve to mention that to him at 2003, so it felt good.
Saturday we slept until the radio play. Before they opened the doors, we hung around the mezzanine waiting for the play to start. We went through the art show; very nice work. I enjoyed all of it, but particular kudos to whomever did the Mary Sue piece. We talked to BrooklynX some, got big hugs from A Fan, and I determined from another staff member that the schedule was in fact correct: Greg would /not/ be at Closing Ceremonies. Nice of them to keep us in the loop and everything.
The radio play itself was a modified version of The Journey. It was fun, though I do wish Greg would return to using non-Gargoyles scripts for the radio plays. If we're going to the Gathering, we've probably already seen the episodes, and IMHO it's much more fun when we don't already know what's going on. It makes sense, what with Keith David (who ended up not making it in time for the radio play anyway) and the film crew, but still. Nonetheless, the (huge) cast gave a very nice delivery.
After the radio play we wandered out to find the film crew. Given Norcumi's story and mine, we figured they might want an interview, so we asked them about it. Apparently they had already struck the set they used for interviews, but they told us to find them during the masquerade and they'd interview us somewhere. We headed up to the con suite for a while and then went down to wait for doors to open for the banquet, only to run into the film crew again. They ended up doing a couple interviews right there (including ours). They were done in the style of a fake conversation: grab some random fan and bore them by telling them your story for the cameras. It was fairly annoying, actually. The interview before ours was pretty good, but I'm not at all sure (and was not at the time) that we gave the film crew anything usable. The fake-conversation device was just so /awkward/. Maybe the part about Norcumi coming to G2K on a Make-A-Wish grant was usable... anyway, we did our Honorable Duty, and if they don't use the footage I'll probably be happier anyway. I looked like an idiot.
Then came the banquet. This was a delicious five-course meal which started with shrimp cocktail and a salad and then went on to stuffed quails. I ended up eating Norcumi's shrimp cocktail as well as my own, not that I'm complaining. We ended up sitting at a table with BrooklynX; a French Canadian fan; and a girl from Vermont and her father, who were only there for the day. Apparently it was the first con of all three of them. The girl from Vermont had seen the website and convinced her dad to come out to Montreal for the day. She ended up giving Greg a piece of art she made, and he really seemed to appreciate it. It was really sweet.
BrooklynX, Lynati (who was in and out; she had to work on her costume for the masquerade), and the two of us ended up spending most of the meal talking about con politics; hopefully that didn't distress the other occupants of the table too much. The Canadian added an interesting point, though: the con T-shirt shows the Canadian beaver riding on top of the Quebec mascot. He said: "This shirt would be fun as a gift to a child or something, but I would not wear it." Apparently it's offensive to Quebec separatists. I doubt this occurred to anyone responsible for the shirt; it's just interesting how politics always come back to bite you.
Keith David had been scheduled to be there for the entire convention. Apparently his movie got behind schedule, so he wasn't able to leave for Montreal until Saturday morning, and then he had delays at the airport. He showed up at the end of the banquet, and so everyone ended up grilling the poor man while he attempted to eat dinner at the same time. Unfortunately half of his comments were inaudible, due to the tenor of his voice and the bad karaoke sounds coming from the next con over. ("Somebody shoot that ho!" -Keith) But he was interesting. On more than one occasion his answers were so profound that everyone erupted in spontaneous applause. He delivered the most spirited, considered praise of gargoyles as a species that I have ever heard. It was clear he really feels the characters; the extent to which he personalized Goliath was heart-warming. And, on a personal note, when he had to duck out he asked me where the restroom was. It was the extent of my interaction with him, really, but it made my day. Isn't that sad? (While he was out, Norcumi managed to save his meal from destruction by the hotel's Plate Retriever Person, so we both have a really bad story to tell.)
After the banquet, BrooklynX grabbed us to help rearrange tables for the masquerade. No one knew what was going on, but it got done, and at the very least it meant we got front-row seats for the masquerade itself. We therefore got to see the saga of Daniel the hotel coordinator, who was sitting at the judging table right in front of us. He had done up the banquet menu himself, complete with Gargoyles logo and a screenshot from the Disney site. He was really proud of it, telling us all about how he did it, and very enthusiastic about the con. He was fun. When Greg came in he had him sign a copy of the menu, and while Greg signed Daniel turned around and gave us an exaggerated thumbs-up (http://norcumi.gargles-fans.org/photos/con2004/20040808_214602_1406). That's gotta be the best photo of the whole con - Greg, seriously, check it out. I ended up getting Daniel's email address to send him a copy of the photo when we got home.
(He also let A Fan borrow his hotel nametag, which Fan used to do his butler routine and stand next to the door. Fan was even waiting on Daniel, getting water and such. The whole thing was a blast.)
The masquerade was truly amazing. Apparently everyone was hamming it up this year for the film crew. The photos tell more than I possibly can, but it was just amazing. We even got a guy in who is apparently an amateur master costumer of some sort; he goes from con to con showing off his costumes. He won Best Costume, of course.
After the masquerade we hung around for a while. Lynati wanted to give some art to Greg, since he was leaving the next morning, and so we chased around with her for a while as she got everything together. I wound up sitting in the hallway outside Lynati's room, waiting for people and chatting with Aaron, who was trying to get into the room to get his shoes but didn't have a key. Then we went back downstairs, Lynati gave Greg her thing, Erik sang "Blame Gargoyles", and Lynati and the two of us headed up to our room to talk until about three and a half.
Sunday, because we had been up so late, we missed everything again. We seem to be making a habit out of this; it happened last year too. (We both seem to be going more and more for the people, and less and less for the events, as the years go by.) We got downstairs in time to catch the middle of the 501(c)6 organizing meeting, which was not nearly as fun as a KGB meeting nor as well organized (!). Then we met BrooklynX for dinner, which ended up being at a diner nearby. The food was decent, but it was outside the hotel and wasn't McDonald's, so no complaints. We came back to the hotel and hung around for a while, but Norcumi wasn't feeling well so we headed back to the room.
Eventually Norcumi started feeling better and we got bored, so we went out to look for Lynati. Though we didn't find her we found a Muzak knob next to the mezzanine elevators, which was cool enough that I had to go back to the room to get the camera. Got camera, took pictures, went down to the lobby and promptly ran into Lynati, who was waiting for people to get back from laser tag. So we ended up sitting around the lobby talking to Lynati until several in the morning. And playing with the camera. Over the course of it, Emambu, Mara, Aaron, CKayote, and GregX were there for various periods of time. There was TGS, there was Aaron telling stories about driving down the highway with his foot out the window, and there was a long, animated, highly amusing discussion between Aaron and Emambu over the quality of recent seasons of MST3K.
Eventually everyone that was left (Lynati, Mara, Aaron, and Emambu) decided to go bug Hudson and we decided to go to bed. Yet for some strange strange reason, instead of going to bed, we went along to bug Hudson as well. Mostly this consisted of hanging around in the hallway listening to rants about MST3K while Mara and Lynati went to see if Hudson was presentable. Apparently he was not, and by the time he was, everyone wanted to go to bed. Thus we stood around watching Hudson watch everyone drift off to go to bed. I decided I had had enough, told Hudson that we hadn't been able to sleep without him, and went to bed. The whole thing was worth it, just to be able to deliver that line.
Monday we checked out. We had been planning to wander around Montreal a little before heading out in late afternoon, but we were too tired from all the late nights. So instead we hung around the lobby. A bunch of people came and went -- there's no way I'm going to remember who-all was there, so I'm not even going to try -- but mostly I listened and wished I had the camera again. Chris Rogers was there, and so I aired a few things I had wanted to mention for next year's con, but mostly it was just sitting there hanging out. Keith David came by wearing a bright blue suit and posed for a picture with everyone. (By the way, whoever took that picture, please get in contact with Norcumi or me. I'd like a copy.) Ultimately we decided we had to head out. We had another meal at the lobby restaurant (while watching the public works department pull up all the manhole covers on the street outside, look underneath them, then close them again) and then headed for Connecticut to visit Norcumi's parents.
One final note on the organization of this year's con. I thought the con went really well this year. The hotel was terrific, the location was great, and organization was good. The hotel staff were incredibly tolerant of con craziness; it astounds me that they even let us make nuisances of ourselves in the lobby as much as we did. The schedule was overly light and had some timing problems -- three of the four interesting events during the day on Saturday were scheduled during the 12:30-1:45 time block -- but that was my only major complaint. Except for this: the staff had a persistent us-against-them attitude which I found highly distasteful. The staff was highly defensive, and anything that looked like it /might/ be a criticism was jumped on with all four feet. During Opening Ceremonies, someone said that they missed Thom. It wasn't a gripe about the con staff, it was just the sort of thing people say when Thom isn't there, just the sort of thing they said at 2002 -- and suddenly Karine was at the microphone berating people for wondering why Thom had been cancelled at the last minute. That's the first example. The second example is the way Keith's schedule was handled. Again, his travel delays weren't the staff's fault, but neither was the staff particularly communicative (though they did try) about what was going on. And finally, to my knowledge, it was /never/ announced that Greg wouldn't be at Closing Ceremonies. I figured it out by looking at the schedule and then asking a staff member, only to get snapped at for my trouble. Now, I don't think /anyone/ would object to Greg leaving early so that he could be there for his daughter's birthday. I don't think anyone would blame that on the staff. But I /do/ think people wanted to know that, so that they could say their goodbyes or whatever. But I never heard it announced. It should have been. The con staff was too busy defending their turf to keep people in the loop. Folks, you can do better than this.
Next year's Gathering looks to be a fun one. The staff really seems to have it together, and the schedule and location should make for interesting times. Honestly, my biggest fear is that we'll be completely overwhelmed. Even if the DVD sells very badly by Disney standards, the Gathering documentary will send lots of new recruits our way, and in the worst case I fear that we'll be completely overwhelmed by con virgins next year. Not that that would be bad from a financial perspective, but the smallness of the Gathering seems to be a major attraction these days. Many of us don't come for the events anymore, but for the people. And if the people have trouble finding each other, it'll be a very different con. We could certainly use some new ideas and new blood, though, so it'll be a mixed blessing no matter what happens.
I don't think you'll ever have to worry about not being able to find your friends at the Gathering... For better or worse, we're never going to turn into ComicCon.
As for the Radio Plays, I like to mix things up. So I'll continue to do new stuff and old Garg scripts. Both are fun, for different reasons. And honestly, I don't always have new stuff to present.
And I see your point about staff defensiveness, but you could also cut everyone a bit more slack. I'm not sure you realize (a) how much work goes into putting one of these things on and (b) how much complaining does take place. The examples you gave may indeed be instances of people being defensive, but the reason for that defensiveness is because (and I've witnessed this) so MANY instances of people, well, bitching.
And frankly, I'm not sure that you're being entirely fair. My non-appearance at Closing Ceremonies was in the program, as you stated. That to me qualifies as an announcement. And Keith's delayed appearance was spread by word of mouth... how else would it get spread? At the time of Opening Ceremonies, no one knew Keith would be delayed. After that, when was everyone together for a grand announcement to be made?
I know it may sound like I'm being defensive now, but I'm not on the staff. I'm just a bit protective of these good people. Still, I'm sure we could all stand to lighten up a bit.
I tried finding an answer to this question via search( a very handy tool on a site with this much info!) but could not, so I beg pardon if this issue has already been adressed and/or is trivial:
Since I rediscovered Gargoyles about a week ago (with ep.1 on Toon Disney)I have not missed an episode. Just yesterday I found out about the gathering and the DVD. I'm so excited! I'm trying to spread the word in everyway that I can, on all of my public internet locations and by word of mouth. To make it easy for people to acess the right information quickly, I would like to know if it would infringe any copyright laws/issues if I supplied a link to the What_You_Can_Do_To_Help video provided in the Gorebash's Gathering 2004 Archives.
Thanks for your time and efforts on the Gargoyles over the past ten years, I really hope to see this DVD take off!
I'm not sure what you're referring to, but I can't see how you providing a link to an existing website would be problematic. Go for it! (Assuming you're still hanging around to read this two years later.)
Sunday Aug 6
Slept in and woke up in time to get dressed quickly. I slipped into a pair of jeans and my Samwise shirt. I didn't have time to eat. I didn't want to miss Allaine's panel.
Allaine had set up a tape recorder to record our voices for Mooncat who couldn't make it this year. We wrote down names of the characters and mixed them up before he selected a couple. It went well and we decided to use the end for an upcoming fic challenge. With a few extra minutes left Allaine read his entry for the canceled reading challenge. It was funny and the way he read it made it even funnier.
After the panel. Revel and I went to look for Chris Rogers. He wasn't in the dealer room, although I did manage to buy a Brooklyn and Goliath dangler. Now my Lex Dangler won't be so alone. We found out Chris was still asleep.
After he, Kaelyan and Hudson had fully woken and dressed we went to seek food. First place, no food. The sign pointed to the revolving restraint at top. Gregx, Aaron, Mara and eventually Dancer joined us.
After a small wait we were seated and we received our beverages. I had ordered coffee of course. We loaded up our plates with food. I had a croissant, a little cup of blueberry yogurt, scrambled eggs, bacon, crepes, and some potatoes. Mara discovered the chocolate milk at the juice bar and Aaron found the desserts. After eating I reloaded my plate with some cantaloupe, a piece of cake, an éclair, and a slice of raison bread with some chocolate spread.
We ate and talked while studying the scenery. We saw the dome shaped frame that was once part of the expo center, a strange structure that was part of the 1976 Olympics and a large crane with a potential jumper. The police seemed to talk him out of it. Chris agreed to cover the bill as long as we paid him back later. I gave him my last 20 Canadian dollars and promised to pay him the rest back later.
We were rejoined by Lynati in the basment and gathered around a small table while Chris showed us how to gamble via cards. He showed us the positions of the game table and told us when would be a good time to fold. We used the hotel candy as chips to mock gamble with. We played a few rounds until Closing Ceremonies.
Closing Ceremonies is always a depressing time for us. It is a sign the gathering is officially over. The medals were given out to the winners of the clan Olympics and ribbons were given to the artists. We were reminded to prereg for next year before they gave us the official farewell.
After it ended I pre-regged on Chris's laptop. It's been a whole year since I used a laptop, but I eventually figured it out.
After pre-regging I went to exchange some more American cash for Canadian and returned to the art room to see if I won the art I bid on. I did! I won the lovely ink drawing of Demona by Karine and a beautiful marker picture of the trio and Puck riding a shopping cart by Eden.
With my newly acquired art safely placed in Revel and my hotel room I took a small nap while Revel paid for his meal and repaid the rest I owed Chris. After snoozing for a couple of hours Revel and I went to look for people to hang out with before we searched for food. Couldn't find anyone.
We decided to find a Subway and walked along ways to find one. I ordered my favorite combo: Teriyaki chicken with a diet Pepsi and baked lays. We returned to our room and ate while leaving the TV on for background noise. We also watched an episode of South Park and King of the Hill…the voices were waaaaaay off.
Next Up Monday: Theme park day.
Winding down, are we?
GATHERING JOURNAL, PART THREE (CONCLUSION)
Sunday morning brought with it the luxury of sleeping in till 8:30, as opposed to 8:00. Good thing, too; at this point, I needed that extra half hour to prepare for the day. I got to the mezzanine in time to get a couple of authors' signatures in my anthology, then repaired to Allaine's adult round robin. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect, maybe it was because we were all in the same boat of abject exhaustion, but this time around it didn't seem as difficult as the first time, last year in New York. (That happened to be the greatest challenge of my entire writing career, such as it is. There's something about composing prose on the fly, without seeing it or being able to revise it, that frightens me.)
We moved the story along tastefully and seductively, and ended with a neat cliffhanger that we decided would make for an ideal complete-the-story challenge for the sorely-missed Mooncat's Gargoyles X forum. Allaine wrapped up the session by reading aloud a little tale he graciously penned at my urging earlier this year, an account of a sudden-death playoff hole at the British Open golf tournament between Hudson and (if I recall correctly) a "Kim Possible" character named Duff Killigan. Many of you know that Allaine can pen dramatic dialogue with the best of them, but how many of you are aware of his talent at *humorous* dialogue? I laughed so hard I had to wipe tears from my eyes.
I decided then that I needed sustenance to remain vertical for the next few hours, and was happy to find that Kathy and Princess were willing to accompany me upstairs for brunch at Tour de la Ville. We found lovely things to eat and once again had a very enjoyable conversation, with me often gazing glassy-eyed at the handsome city outside as the view gradually rotated around us.
When we went back downstairs, I was dismayed to find that I had missed a substantial portion of the anthology-signing session. However, in retrospect, I would have been far less functional if I hadn't taken time out and eaten something -- again, those trade-offs. Upon joining the group, Christine immediately presented me with a stack of books that I gratefully signed. Just the idea of scrawling my signature upon a story of mine in print, even on as amateur a basis as this, boggled my mind.
As our book-signing wrapped up, Keith David began a question-and-answer session in the same room, in the area where we seated. As he had the previous night, he enthusiastically answered our questions and generously regaled us with tales about his work, and all present listened in rapt attention.
After a while, Karine quietly came up behind us and had us sign, one by one, a copy of the anthology to present to him. "What a nice idea," I thought. As I accepted the book from her and began to open it to my story, I was struck by the irony that I should be signing an autograph for Keith David, as opposed to the other way around.
And then I looked down at the title page of my story, and it hit me: Not only was I signing an autograph for him, I was signing it to a story I had written *entirely from his character's point of view.* From a purely creative standpoint, this was more than big. This was definitive. My story would be read by one of the *co-creators* of this character we know as Goliath.
My hands started trembling.
I took a deep, calming breath, and commenced writing. "Mr. David," I inscribed, "this one's for you. I hope I got it right." I signed my name, handed the book back to Karine, and simply sat, silent and outwardly calm, waiting for the feeling to return to my extremities.
The closing ceremonies had a relaxed feel to them, with the con staff clearly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and all of us running on empty rest-wise. Mr. David reiterated his intention to attend the next Gathering in Las Vegas, delighting all present. The con staff got nowhere near the applause they deserved (but then, this would have been impossible under any circumstances), and the proceedings wound down in a relatively low-key manner.
I had to bid farewell to Dylan and Stormy at this point, unfortunately. The time with them went entirely too fast.
My two objectives now were to preregister for Las Vegas and to obtain an autograph from Mr. David, who remained his amazingly personable self as he patiently and jovially signed pictures, programs, books, and whatever else we fans scrounged up. He had smiles for everyone.
I had brought with me a black-and-white press-kit sketch of Goliath for him to sign, then it occurred to me: What was there of mine for him to sign, really, but my anthology story? When my turn came, I recounted my earlier experience of signing my autograph to this story in his copy, and his reassurance in reply convinced me that I had nothing to fear from his judgment. Leo was kind enough to take a picture of the both of us. It turned out great.
Once I had preregistered, Allaine, Princess, Leo, Alex Garg, Kelly, and I headed over to the train station for some supper. It was nearby, sure to be open, and relatively inexpensive, but I regret not returning to Movenpick, where the food was far superior. This was negligible, however, in light of the pleasant company. We had some passable sustenance and good conversation. Then Leo, Alex Garg, and Kelly obliged me not only by waiting patiently for me while I changed into my walking shoes back at the hotel, but by letting me haul them up to the top of Mount Royal. I knew *I'd* enjoy the view, but would *they* consider it worth the trek (some of it on rather sketchy trails through the woods necessitated by the reconstruction of the steps to the top)?
They insisted that they did, and the exclamations I heard from them when they first beheld the panorama of the St. Lawrence River Valley made me believe they were being honest.
We enjoyed the view of night settling upon the city, then started downward. We took the long way this time, walking down the dark but wide main path. I took my companions on a shortcut through the McGill campus, then was indulged by them further when they allowed me to buy them a round at one of my old student haunts, an Irish pub farther down University, on our way back to the hotel. Through sheer dumb luck, this little detour delayed us just long enough to enter the hotel lobby about two minutes after my husband did. I made introductions, then bade goodnight and farewell to my fellow hikers.
I took the husband upstairs so that he could drop off his bag, then accompanied him back down for a tall cold one. While we were in the bar, we were joined by a small group that included Princess, Kathy, and Chyna Rose. We enjoyed a conversation that involved immersing my hapless better half in the wonderful world of Gargs fandom in general, and Garg fanfic writerhood in particular. He did fine -- if he was scared, he didn't let it show.
We stayed up well past our bedtimes once more, then shuffled upstairs and collapsed.
The following morning, we slept late, and it felt simply grand. Through confusion and missed communication, however, we failed to join Kathy, Mandi, and Princess for breakfast. I met up with them later for long enough to apologize to them, and then Kenn and I were off to walk the streets of Montreal.
The weather was perfect that day, and I amused Kenn by saying over and over, "I can't believe that I don't have to *be* somewhere in five minutes!" He had (quite accurately) described me as being in "college final-exam all-nighter No-Doz mode" when he met up with me on Sunday night, so this opportunity to wind down was welcomed by both of us. We strolled up St.-Laurent north of Sherbrooke, looped back down St.-Denis a little ways, stopped at Schwartz's for smoked meat, wandered back downtown, and found a lovely little sidewalk café on McGill College. We sat, enjoying the weather, the scenery, the rush of people around us, and the fact that we weren't among them. It was at this point that I felt truly unplugged from the glorious but frenetic Gathering scene.
Highlights from then on would be of little interest to those reading this account, but they included, in chronological order:
-- Dinner at Gibby's in Old Montreal on Monday night
-- A visit to the Museum of Fine Arts on Tuesday afternoon
-- Dinner with a good friend Tuesday night (the one, ironically enough, responsible for the humorous anecdote with which I regaled Maestro David in the bar)
-- A visit to the basilica of Notre Dame de Montreal on Wednesday
-- A visit to the Montreal history museum in the old city
-- A one-night delay in getting back home, thanks to the hurricanes and what-not obliterating flight schedules up and down the East Coast.
One last Gathering-related anecdote: On Wednesday as we were checking out, we ran into Keith David once more, in the hotel lobby. I introduced him to my husband with the line, "Kenn, this is Goliath," which elicited chuckles all around. Mr. David mentioned that he had begun to read the anthology, and that he was impressed with the quality of the writing and artwork featured in the book. (He mentioned that he was just about to read my story. From this I surmised that he'd read Dylan's by that time, and evidently -- and not at all surprisingly -- liked it.)
When we were finally airborne Thursday morning, I mentioned to Kenn that I was having to put some thought into how I'd respond to the people back home who'd ask me, simply, "How was your trip?" I decided that the most accurate answer to that question would be, "It was an alternate universe." And I have the con staff and my fellow writers and Garg fans, as well as Greg Weisman and Keith David, to thank for that. You folks are something else.
See you in Vegas!
Hey, give yourself credit too. You made the effort. You came, so you get to see and conquer. Showing up is more than half the battle.
So all of you... it's NOT TOO LATE...
Come to the TENTH ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE GARGOYLES in Southern Cal. June 23-26.
For more information, check out www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com
My "ALMOST A GATHERING JOURNAL" Journal =D
Firstly, I have been to previous Gatherings (VA and NY) but wasn't able to attend the Gathering this year in Montreal. Of course I wanted to, because the Gathering is really a wonderful experience for anyone in the Gargoyles fandom. All the ones I've attended have been warmer, friendlier, more fun than anyone could hope for. It's like the ultimate family reunion where you all have these great common interests and are all so happy to get together and have a good time and enjoy the company of people you only get to meet up with in real life at these special Gatherings.
It's not just your fellow fans who are warm and accessible, but the industry people, like Greg Weisman, who is so friendly and outgoing and willing to share his personal thoughts and good humor, that the experience of a Gathering is extra special and memorable.
In any case, I would have loved to have gone, but unexpected family and financial emergencies kept me at homebound for this year. But even though I was many miles away, in Kansas, I didn't feel forgotten or left out. Special friends of mine in the fandom, people I've only met in the flesh at previous Gatherings, were doing their best to catch and save a bit of the event to send to me in a WONDERFUL package I got just the other day. So a most special THANK YOU to Allaine, Princess Alexandria, Seri Wavelength, who called me from the Gathering itself in Montreal to give me updates on everything going on at the convention, and super special thanks to Allaine who went above and beyond the call of friendship to audio tape portions of the convention for me, the round robins and the mug-a-guests and the opening and closing ceremoies... All of which I'm listening to with a very loved feeling and happy heart. I couldn't go to the Gathering, but my friends managed to send a bit of it to me *^_^*
Along with these great tapes, Seri sent me a wonderful piece of art from the convention, whee!!!, I got one of the Gathering schedule booklets which is just grrreat! And most wonderfully Allaine picked up my copy of the Phoenix Gate Anthology and got it signed by everyone there who participated in the book. Which by the way, I've read most of now and it is TOTALLY KICK ASS!!! Art to die for, and some of the best writing I've seen fan or pro, and all terribly enjoyable. If anyone hasn't gotten a copy yet, see if you can because it's so worth it =D
Besides the much appreciated care package, other fans have put up picture galleries, vids and audio files that are so fantastic, and help the fans who didn't get to go have virtual peek at the Gathering. And the Journals, the wonderful, wonderful Gathering Journals, which gives even people who were there an even broader knowledge of events and a richer experience. For those of us who didn't get to go, it's pure gold, every journal eagerly sought and devoured.
So, I'd like to give a big THANK YOU for everyone writing a Gathering Journal and posting it, because it's such a neat opportunity for others to experience through you some of the Gathering. It's so very appreciated.
Well, I'm definately going to be going to the Las Vegas Gathering in 2005, barring having an anvil dropped on my head... Already making plans and preparing for the trip, because I don't want to miss another Gathering if I can possibly get there at all. Viva la Gargoyles!
Ahh Pshaw. We all try to pitch in. Hope to see you next month too. (Man, I'm really tired of being a full two years behind.)
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