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Gathering 2006 (aka, my first con)
Oh, man! It was fun. Smaller than AWA, but that was a good thing. The Gathering didn't have the overwhelming feeling a larger con has, and once you started meeting people, you felt really welcome. And it was great getting to actually meet the people I've known through galleries and message boards only.
For all purposes, the trip for me started Thursday. Got to the Atlanta airport easily and a little earlier than planned, but that was good. Had a delay in departure due to the airconditioning, but otherwise uneventful. Met up with Becky's mom at the baggage claim, took a very long time to get to her house to meet with Richard, then we went out to lunch. This was enough to make me hate LA traffic. Overall, sort of reminds me of Miami, but I didn't see much of either, so not a fair comparison. Becky arrived later that evening, we talked a little and got ready for the next day.
Friday We left the house and got to the convention early. I was nervous because we had signed up to volunteer, and I wanted to make a good impression. Karine -- whose name I found I'd been mis-pronouncing -- we found after registering, and I think she and Carol were glad to have us. We weren't needed for that day because there weren't many guests, so the two of us kind of wandered and soaked things in. Checked out the dealers' room, she drew and I read the Grimorum anthology until the first panel. The sketching and character design panels were so much fun; part review and part new things to consider. We found the mall (the main food place within walking distance), eventually ran into Sonia, auditioned for the radio play. The big event was the opening ceremonies. The AMVs were varied: I loved the Beauty and the Beast video, and wanted to smack and shake the hand of whoever did Feel the Love Tonight (you'd have to have seen it to get it). After hearing about it for the last few years, I finally got to see the Bad Guys reel. Looks like it would have been fun, if just because they can't stand each other. A treat was the Atlantis episode, a semi-fan project of storyboards to the actual episode audio. I need to contact the person about helping with it.
Saturday Here's when the fun really started. We arrived early and were given the general directions of helping escort any guests to their panels. Which wasn't really called on for most of the morning. Meanwhile, we sat in the hall to be on call and drew. Eventually, we went to the art room and started hanging out with the artists. I finally got to meet Eden, Karlyl, Shinga, and a number of others. It was fun to listen in on the conversations and look at their sketchbooks. The only panel we really went to was the gargoyle physiology and sociology panel. First experience where I opened my mouth where I should have kept it closed. The hosts were late showing up, and Christine asked for volunteers, to which I admitted to actually taking part in a recent S8 discussion. Got roped in to go to the front. Thankfully, Greg showed up and I escaped back to my chair and basically contributed nothing for the discussion. Learned alot, like the tricky nature of the stone sleep and suggestions on the skeletal nature of gargoyles. More was filled in later at the Blue-Mug. After that, we went to lunch, came back and hung out some more at the artist alley. That evening, Becky, myself, Taylor, and the kidnapped Sonia went to lunch. It was nice grill, but I can't remember the name of it though. Back to the art room, where we drew, and I was asked to teach how to draw a face by Abbi, something I was honored and embarrassed to do. Good ravioli. The Radio Play was fun. They did "The Mirror," and there were some fun bits, namely Crispin trying to do Hudson. Abbi did an exellent job as Elisa (she looked like she was going to melt when Keith said Goliath's "how beautiful you are" line.). Eventually, we got to the Blue Mug. I have never been in so crowded a room. It was so much fun, because we got to talk with Greg, Crispin (who really is hot), Thom, and Keith. High points included hearing Keith sing a little (I can only imagine what he'd sound like when warmed up and really belting), and the Thom-Crispin holds. Unfortunately, we got kicked out because of noise complaints (understandable, no problem). The problem was downstairs. The prick of an employee told us we couldn't meet in the foyer, we couldn't be allowed back into the rooms we rented, and wouldn't shut the fuck up so we could figure out where to go or whether to dismiss ourselves. That was only the start of the problems that I knew about. Not sure about everyone else, but Becky and I called it a night.
Sunday Oh, man! Sunday. That was the busy day for the two of us. We met up with Karine and Carol, and began to do what we intended to do Saturday. And we were put to maximum use. From around 10am to just after 2pm, we were pretty much running around, getting items, guiding guests to their panels, checking things. I got to meet Bridgette Bako, Elisa Gabrielli, "Petros Xanatos" himself, Morgan Sheppard, a few members of the WITCH cast, and I got to deliver coffee to Keith at one of the panel. At one point, Becky was told we should be cloned. We eventually got a break at 2pm, grabbed lunch with Taylor, and met with some of the others briefly in the food court, and returned in time to do one last escort. While it was fun, that was enough to make me hesitant to volunteering again (still open, just hesitant). Hung out in the art room until the room closed. I won my bid on one of Brianna's pieces (yay!). That evening, saw the masquerade. There were a lot of good ones. Abbi had a lovely Princess Katherine costume. Loved the Puck costumes, am scarred by the "hatchling gargoyle." Had a reprise of the Blue Mug, more subdued but fun and informative. Had to leave part way because it was getting late and we had to get up around 5 so I could get to the airport with time for the security check.
Monday, got to the airport with surprisingly little trouble. Uneventful flight and drive home. That's it. Hi, to anyone who's new. I'm glad I got a chance to meet so many people. Will do my best to contact many of them. Looking forward to the next one in Tennessee, and I hope it's not a Hyatt (those guys are going to get so many complaints)
I'm glad your first Gathering went well. Lots of guests at an L.A. Gathering of course, because most of us are local. So the need for volunteers goes up exponentially. Notice I said the NEED for volunteers. I'm not sure the NUMBER of volunteers goes up just cuz the need does.