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My Gathering Journal. Part of this was written in the hotel on Thursday night. Part of it at the airport before heading home, and the rest from home. So if it seems a little disjointed, that's why.
My Gathering Journal, Day One.
So, I'm here in Chicago. Operating on no hours of sleep.
At 4am, my roommate, Dustin, drops me off at LAX so I can catch my flight to Chicago. American Airlines. I hate American Airlines. Been spoiled by JetBlue, and honestly, I've never before been nervous about flying. I had a window seat, and the wing looked like it was about to fall off. I couldn't sleep (and already I was up for twenty four hours). The guy behind me was sleeping well... everyone on board heard him. I tried to read, but couldn't concentrate, was just too exhausted.
After a four hour flight that felt more like twelve, we landed. My day began getting much better, my suitcase was one of the first off the plane. That never, ever happened to me before. I caught a car service from O'Hare airport to the Hotel Orrington. My driver took the back roads, because the traffic on the freeway was murder, as the rest of the con staff would soon find out (Feel free to insert a joke about my driving here, Greg ;)). On the way, the driver and I discuss International oil politics and Barack Obama. We also drive through the town where, as he pointed out, Hillary Clinton was born.
Finally, I am dropped off at the hotel, and I immediately run into my fellow staffers, Susan Leonard and Patrick Toman. I check in, bump into Rob, and we catch up. It was fun. I shower, shave and change, because I'm rank from the flight, and greet Jennifer, Seth and Sammy. They check in and we take their bags up stairs. I get to hear all about how their plane was late taking off, and when they landed, they spent half an hour on the tarmac. I was glad I came on a different flight. And then, of course, they got stuck in traffic. Naturally, they were starved when they arrived.
Everyone kept trickling in. Karine Charlebois showed up, and Jen's roommate, Rebok. Eventually, everyone except Nikki was present.
So, we go to dinner. Sushi. There were about fourteen of us. Let's see: Greg Weisman, Jen, Karine, Thom Adcox, Seth, Sammy, Patrick, Rebok, Josh Silver (Hollywood producer and Keith David's agent) and eventually Keith David showed up with his wife and kids. We sat down, ate sushi, had a lot of laughs. Toasted to a wonderful weekend. Hey, any weekend that begins with booze and raw fish is incapable of sucking.
Except for one minor annoyance, this con looks like it's off to a great start. Now... well, we're all off to bed because, well, we're old... and tired. And have a long day tomorrow.
My Gathering Journal, Day Two
Writing from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
So, I woke up, showered, shaved and joined the staff for breakfast. An apple, coffee and pastries. The staff breakfast meeting is a tradition. Though we're mostly laughing while discussing business. With that over, the art show is set up, and, that minor annoyance from the previous night... got a short but stern talking to.
I'm mostly blanking out about the day, but I saw a lot of people. My roommates, Revel and Spacie arrived. I saw Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Emambu, CKayote, Matt, Mandi, damn... a lot of people.
At 5pm, Opening Ceremonies started. The staff sat in front of the room this year, which has happened previous years, but never when I was on. So, that was kind of cool. Susan introduced us, and the guests. Greg Weisman, Keith David, Josh Silver, Thom Adcox and Karine Charlebois. Then, Jennifer got up and introduced next year's victims... er, I mean, con staff, yeah. I am one of them, so, yeah... staffing another Gathering. I am a masochist.
As usual, Opening Ceremonies consisted of Greg's videos. The original Gargoyles pitch. The press release tape. The New Olympians and Dark Ages pitches. The Bad Guys animatic. And "The Last"... which the fandom is finishing for Greg.
Afterwards, I was starving. So, Aaron, Emambu, Lynati, and... er, two newbies whose names I don't recall went searching for pizza. I wanted to try the Chicago Pizza. I did, and it was good. I liked it. But, I like New York pizza better. I've actually gotten into the pizza debate before with my classmate and director, Bill Castanzo. He never tried NY pizza. I never tried Chicago pizza. But, like Harlan Ellison says, "you're not entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion." Well, now my opinion is informed. ;)
We returned to the hotel room, and were joined by Revel and Spacie. We chatted, chilled, watched Cookie Monster's appearance on "The Colbert Report" and, eventually I plead exhaustion and we kicked everyone out and went to bed.
Heh, reading that last paragraph... the real exhaustion will come on Sunday night/Monday morning. But, not getting ahead of myself ;)
My Gathering Journal, Day Three.
Again, got up early and I want to profess my undying love to something very important to me. Something which, without, I would not have had the same joy working on this con as I have. I am of course referring to coffee. The Con Staffer's best friend. The filmmakers' best friend to, for that matter.
So, after the staff breakfast was over, I spent the beginning of the day doing crowd control for the Radio Play auditions. Which meant getting to converse with people, and meet some new people... with one glaring exception, everyone was cool. Finally, I decided to audition, myself. Not seriously though, considering that I already knew what this year's Radio Play was, I knew I had no chance in hell. So... I decided that I would just have fun, and provide a laugh for Greg, Thom, Keith and Jen. I auditioned for Angela... and sucked... but we all laughed.
Next, I went to Karine's panel on Comic Page Layout. As a long time comic book reader, who has mostly paid attention to the writing aspect, this was very informative. She's a talented artist, and while at one point she got quite envious of Greg Guler's "powers," I am confident that she will get there. Her comic art is getting better with each issue she does, and I say this as someone who has always been a fan of her art.
There was a brief incident during the panel, where someone tried to steal the comics she had on the table. I watched him slowly, and subtly stuff them into his bag. I wasn't going to interrupt Karine's panel to call him out on it, but I had full intention of making him give them back the second the panel was over. But, Karine noticed they were gone, asked who had them, everyone pointed at him, and he gave them back.
Afterwards, I spent time helping out in the Art/Dealers Room. A lot of great art. I bid on pieces Karine brought. An awesome shot of Hunter, and page 3 of "Bash," Thailog and the clones standing over a fallen Goliath trying to hold his guts in, and blood dripping off Thailog's blade. Or, as it was later known... "Keith on Keith right after penetration." ;)
I went to the men's room somewhere around here. Normally, I would not report on this, but, this will be funny at the end of this entry. Trust me. The urinals made this creepy scream that could be heard as the urinals flushed. Again, bear with me.
Finally, it was time for the Radio Play. Issues 7, 8 and 9. Chronological order. The play was terrific. Keith was Goliath and Thailog. Phoenix Talon reprised her role as Elisa from last year. Jen was terrific as Shari. Thom as Lex. Seth did a great job as Amp. Emambu turned on his Scottish as Macbeth. Laurean as Constance... awesome.
The play itself, I liked. But, now I understand why Greg chose to tell the story in the comics the way he did. It just did not work in chronological order. We had several Shari stories in a row. Good thing Jen is great at monologuing. And every time she got up to tell one of Shari's stories... the wind and the rain could be heard. Something supernatural was going on there ;)
Issue 9... wow. Just... wow. I'm not saying another word until it hits the stands.
Once the Radio Play was over, it was time for the staff dinner. Susan bought the staff dinner at Pete Miller's steak house. Damn... best meal I've had in ages. I had a lobster bisque to start. And a medium well Fillet Mignon. The mashed potatoes were awesome, garlic was mashed into them. The scotch was great. It was a good time.
Greg left early to get back to the Blue Mug. Eventually, the rest of us got back, a little drunk, but hey, the Blue Mug is always better when you're drunk. I say we have an open bar at it next time, get everyone to lower their inhibitions. Let's see how naughty the questions are then ;)
Greg left to use the men's room and came back and reported the same thing about the urinals but was able to place that scream. The urinals sound like that scream the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs make when they explode. Creepy.
Eventually, we went to bed.
My Gathering Journal, Day Four.
You know the drill. Woke up, had breakfast. Talked about the previous night and the day's itinerary.
First up was the "Gargoyles & Bad Guys" Comic Book panel with Greg and Karine. Some news was divulged.
- The future of the comic is uncertain. SLG wants to renew. But, Disney is now starting their own comic book company and might no longer want to license their properties out. Also, if Disney raises the licensing fee, SLG will have to decline. Greg is cautiously optimistic.
- Issue 9 will probably be David Hedgecock's last issue. For no other reason than he has problems meeting deadlines.
- The next spin-off is no longer "Pendragon." Greg has this "Dark Ages" story he needs to tell.
- There was another revelation, but... gotta wait for #9 to come out, folks ;)
Personally, if I had my pick, I'd make "Bad Guys" an on-going book. I am loving everything about it.
Next was the "Spectacular Spider-Man" panel. Greg told the story of Norman Osborn's chauffeur. The worst chauffeur ever. I'll admit, I cringed at first, because he's been making fun of me over this for five years now. But, then I realized, you know what, I am a moron. It's the good kind of poking fun, and it was in an episode of Spider-Man. Laughing with me, not at me. So, I got up, and took a bow...
... later on I told Greg that I received a phone call saying my house blew up, pieces of pumpkin debris were all over the place, and the neighbors reported the sound of a gigantic urinal. ;)
After that was over, I learned that Susan won the bidding war. Thailog and the clones standing over a bleeding Goliath was hers. I did end up going home with the beauty shot of the Eyrie Building from #5. And the page with Thailog's "moi".
After that, I was starving and needed lunch. A large group of us, Aaron, Mara, Revel Spacie, Lynati, Mandi, CKoyote, and Kimberly went to Paneira's for lunch. I then hurried back for the end of the auction and got my comics signed.
My favorite autographs:
"Worst chauffeur ever!"
- Greg Weisman
"But best reference finder ever!
- Karine Charlebois
Finally, it was down to my room to get ready for the banquet. Suit and tie, as always. The food was good, the company was great, and the trivia contest was fun to watch. By the time the thing ended, we were writing up new questions just to get it over with. Greg and I both wrote up the last question which ended the contest. I can't disclose that question here because it ties in with #9.
Afterwards, it was time for the masquerade. Mara, Aaron and Lynati came back to my room with Revel, Spacie and I to change. And then it was back down. We didn't have many costumes this year, but what we had was terrific. D.Taina was the spitting image of Shari; Odin had a fun skit; the Tourist Garg was great; but, my favorite had to be Karine as Hunter. If she were allowed to participate, she would have taken Best in Show in a heartbeat.
After that, it was dancing time. You know it's a nerd con when half the people are dancing, and the other half are in the corner playing video games. Guess which I did? I tried dancing. I have never danced before in my life. But, I figured I'd give it a try. I sucked at it, but I am thankful to Mara, Karine and Spacie for the quick dance lessons. I will do it again, of course.
Aaron did lure me over to the Mugen JEB brought with a challenge. Megatron vs Galvatron. We'd finally settle it. I was Galvatron... and I kicked his ass. Galvatron wins! ;)
Things wound down, people started going to bed. But a very small group of us ended up in Susan Leonard's room where we talked, laughed, drank a little and just enjoyed each other's company until 4am.
Gathering Jounal - The Conclusion
Wow, I was so overdue in finishing this.
So, after staying up till 4am the previous night, once again I was up at 8am. Grabbed a shower, and packed. Today was the last day of the con, and there was much to do.
First I raced upstairs and met up with Jen, Karine, Nikki and Patrick, and we went off in search of breakfast. I had bagels and lox. It was a good breakfast. While eating, the waiter over heard us talking about "Spectacular Spider-Man" and we pointed at Jen and said she worked on the show. After breakfast, it was up the art room to collect the art pieces I won. Two original pages from the comic, and an awesome piece of Hunter. All by Karine. Good stuff.
With all that out of the way, Revel and I searched for a non-existent Fed-Ex Kinkos. When we discovered that it was indeed non-existent, we ran for UPS so I could send a package home and get myself some big envelopes to protect the art I bought. As a result, we were late for the Blue Mug Productions panel.
The Blue Mug Productions panel was a lot of fun. On that panel were, as they've been dubbed, the three angels: Jen, Karine, and Mara. Also, we met Edmund Tsabard. Very fun panel.
Finally, it was time for Closing Ceremonies, which are always bitter sweet. Edmund ducked out, and Greg Weisman returned. Awards were given out. Revel, Karine and Mara cleaned up at the art awards. I won three awards for the two music videos I entered. "Gargoyles Comic Intro" won third place in action, and "Kill David" won both second place in action and third place in comedy. Susan Scoggins' "Demona - 1985" won a well-deserved Best In Show award. Now, I am plotting for the next music video contest. I have two ideas.
Finally, we talked about Gathering 2009, which will be back in my newly adopted city of Los Angeles: http://www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com/g2009/ so everyone register. After that, I made my way around the room saying my good byes. Lots of hugs. But, I had to run. My cab was waiting out front to take me to the airport.
And so, another Gathering come and gone. Well, until next year, anyway.
FYI, Josh is Keith's manager, not his agent.