Whew. Think I've finally recovered from California, so here's the rantings for the Gathering, 2001! Rantings first, or just hit the end key to get to the pictures link
Ok, so where to start? Hmm. Well, due to human nature, there'll always be things to gritch about any situation. But I think that, overall, my only whine about this year's con is everyone I (re)met seemed to think I'd be dead!!!!
All right, that's probably too harsh. I mean, it's amusing, overall, but after the third person spouted off "Wow! I didn't think/know you'd be here!", I was really wondering just what they thought I would be doing. In case you didn't know, the cancer is DEAD. Five years gone. I am in remission, I have (ok, so there's another month, but I'm being really optimistic here) hit the point doctors consider the cancer will not return, I AM AS HEALTHY AS I WILL EVER BE. ::coughs:: 'Scuse me. This is really the wrong note to start off much gushing about the wonderfullness, but I'd like to make the situation very clear. I am now addicted to the con. I will be back. And I am healthy.
But I swear, next year, I am going to spend at least one day in a shirt that reads "The cancer is dead, I am not, you're stuck with me. You may run screaming now." Or at least something along those lines. I've a year to figure out what it'll be. But yes, I will be at Virginia Beach.
Enough with that! Moving right along to actually ranting about the con, which did indeed kick some major ass, just like Greg predicted.
We (Mom and myself) flew in two days before things started. I really have nothing to say about that bit, because things went so smoothly, it was scary. Security didn't even go after us about the metalwork I was taking for the art show, and was paranoid enough to insist on it going travel-on. I thought for sure they'd get uber suspicious and demand to check it out, and we'd packed accordingly. Murphy's Law: duct tape it, and they will want to look. Use rubber bands, and all clear. So we survived a very quick layover in Chicago to get to LAX in one only slightly bored piece, luggage was literally right there.... Heck, I'm still scared over how smooth it went! And many thanks to the person (CrzyDemona?) who recommended Super Shuttle as a way to get to the hotel. I thought Connecticut drivers were scary, but L.A. ... man, I'm glad there was a professional messing with them.
The hotel itself was a very pleasant shock. I mean... wow. Beautiful place, and BIG. I have to admit, with the 2000 Gathering as my only previous experience, I had no idea what to expect, and even if I had, the Sheraton blew them all away. And we got a lot of time to admire the lobby, since we got there about one, and check in was at three. Doh! A quick meal at the hotel resturant (expensive, but good staff, and the quantity, if not just quality, made it worth it- that and some "world famous" burger joint on the City Walk hosted most of our meals), and we got back to the lobby only to see several others had arrived. BrooklynX and Zaius (who, pleasant shock, greeted me with a big hug. This what happens when you try to steal a guy's soul- er, take his photo? ;) ) were the first, then MorningSong and Darkhorse showed up, and Goliath116. I think there was someone else, but blasted if I can recall who. Ah well. Apologies if I did forget.
After check in time finally arrived, we hit the room, did a bit of unpacking, then spent a lot more time lurking around the lobby to greet other arrivals should we spot them, and I got into a long, highly amusing chat with BrooklynX and Goliath116, only to crash at what was a VERY early hour. Three hour time difference, whacha gonna do?
The next day was pretty quiet. BrooklynX and I wandered around the CityWalk for awhile, then went to see Shrek. Good movie. Let's see. There was much more lurking in the lobby, but the rest of the day was pretty quiet aside from the sudden realization of what we'd forgotten (it's a fact, you must forget at least one thing whenever traveling or going on vacation)- thread to keep the metalwork on their display boards. I suppose I should be glad it's nothing major, but it was good for a hefty dose of panic. At least we could hunt some down in the hotel, so all ended fairly well.
Early morning, early breakfast, and off to the lobby again until around registration time. Yes, there WAS much time spent looking freaky in the lobby. :) I never did make it to the con suite this year. That makes two for two!
Registration went very smoothly. I was really impressed. The schedules they handed out at the desk were great! Came in useful, unless you happen to be an idiot and misread the thing. *cough* I'm willing to swear the boxes on mine had migrated at some point, then switched back when I checked later. And no, I wasn't drinking. :) I just can't pay attention.
I got a swift preview of the artshow right after when I went in to set up my metalwork. The entries were absolutely stunning, and so much of it.... Manohman, the talent in the fandom really amazes me. Even when I went back later, there was just so much to see I couldn't even fill out the ballot for best artwork in there, though I tried! It amazes me at the skill and the sheer amount of it.
After ferret shock, it was back to the lobby to meet the girl who'd be rooming with us for the con. It was her first con, and our first attempt at getting a roomie sight unseen, so learning experience all around. Dawn/Yon Kokoro (eeek! I hope that's her net name!) arrived safe, sound, and relatively on time, so we got her settled, then headed down to the panel on make up, with am emphasis on the latex (er, I think?) face molding stuff Jamie Murray uses to become Myhr. Not only was the material fascinating, but Jamie is a hoot to listen to. He obviously enjoys his work. Although he and Eden are a dangerous pair, in a highly amusing way. It was proven later on during the costume panel, when Jamie modeled a pair of wings Eden made. I know I put up a picture of him bouncing around stage with a set of pink fairy wings. :)
As mentioned, there was much lurking in the lobby. Heather Hudsyn joined us for a bit, along with- urk, so sorry, I forget who. Mom, BrooklynX, probably Dawn.... and no idea who else. Apologies. Somehow a discussion came up about weirdness in the show, so Heather pointed out that it could all be blamed on Greg. Someone mentioned that it was either him or Oberon's Children, so she belts out "That's right! Blame it on the fairies!" Of course, Greg happened to be walking by at the time, and he paused, gave us the weirdest look, and hurried on to the elevators. Poor Heather had her back towards him, so she had no idea why the rest of us suddenly burst into laughter. When we told her, she just stood up and yelled after him that we really do luv him. I'm not sure if he heard us or not, but I'm still highly amused that he walked by when it was blamed on the fae. Hopefully he just put it down to con weirdness.
Opening ceremonies was a blast. Greg seems worried we're sick of repetition or some such, but I personally find it all fascinating. There were little bit and pieces he adds in and mentions that he didn't touch last year, so it's still new. And very cool. I'm all for see it again next year!
Let's see. Jamie was again, highly amusing. "Con virgin" was the gag phrase of the evening. Lexie got an award from Thom, who really seems to love playing to the crowd (any and every chance he gets! :)). And Virginia Beach promises to be awesome.
I can't seem to recall anything else very exciting going on that evening, so that's all for Friday.
The three hour time difference made it fairly easy to get up and out early, so we spent some time in the lobby (hey, at least this time there's the excuse that the con suite wasn't open yet!). It proved pretty amusing, because not only did we get to see the guests as they came in, but Thom stopped by several times in his quest for coffee. I think he finally found it, but we were gone by that time.
While I got to very few panels and whatnot, Saturday was the best day of the con for reasons that have very little to do with gargs. See, my mother's brother, his wife, and their son (about 2 years younger than myself) live in the LA area, and the last time I met them was about fifteen years ago. Since I was 5, well into an obsession with dinosaurs and Voltron, I don't really recall much of my relatives other than my cousin shared some of the obsessions. We met midmorning, and I've got to say, while I knew my cousin was tall, man, I wasn't expecting him to be THAT tall. That side of the family apparently got the height gene. He's got to be on the upper side of 6 feet tall.
There was much bonding and interrogation over brunch, and it was really amazing how Evan and I clicked. Not to mention speech patterns were scary to listen to, but again, in a good way. Familiar, but sorta spooky. Later on I happened to glance over at him, and was freaked to find we were both slumped in the chair the same way. Annnyway. After brunch and the obligatory picture session, Mom went off with my Aunt and Uncle, while Evan decided to hang around the con with me. Turned out he's really into anime, enough to head to the convention in the area that's went on not too long after the Gathering. On the pretense of not letting any cousin of mine going there as a "con virgin", I signed him up for a day's attendance and we went out to see panels.
Guess who had major problems reading the schedule at this point? We popped in and out of several, and it was no offense to the guests that we up and left right in the middle. It was 'cause idiot here was having a no brain day. Ah well. It was fun to just hang out with him for awhile.
And now, back to your scheduled Gathering Report.
There was a close encounter of the Jamie Murray kind (yes, of course in the lobby). I was chatting with Mom during a quiet moment, when all of a sudden I notice her snickering at something behind me. There was a rush of footsteps, then Jamie strolled around Mom's chair and casually started lounging on the arm. There's a picture of it lurking around. This rather... interesting introduction led to a very nice, relaxed conversation that didn't last nearly long enough ;), but was fun all the same. It was really cool to just chat with Jamie. Very nifty guy. He's retiring soon, but maybe he'll come to some more in the near future.
I think we hit a panel or two more that day, but it's rather vague. I was hyper and gushing over the visit with the relatives. So that brings us to the Radio Play.
WOW. I guess the easiest way of putting it is it was the director's cut of Hunter's Moon 3. Missing scenes, a line or three here, and a few nifty changes there.... Very cool to see the original work. The actors themselves were terrific. Lanny made an impressive Goliath, Zehra was spot on as Elisa, and Crispin Freeman was so much like Broadway/Bill Fagerbakke, it was scary. And of course, Thom as Lex. Or was it the beaver? Greg didn't seem to know which when announcing the actors. :)
All in all, a perfect ending to the night.
Sunday was considered the big day, what with the banquet, auction, and the autograph sessions, along with the voice actor Q&A. Of course, guess who was having major problems reading the schedule that day? I totally missed all but the last three minutes of the Q&A (something I'd been looking forward to), so I was the rude idiot who barged in at the last second. Guilty as charged and apologies to all. The only good thing about that was we were told to line up outside for autographs, and being right at the back I was quick enough to get a good spot in the line. I'm happy with that, since I was told by a friend not to come back without Keith David's autograph. I've been graciously allowed to live, so long as I send it along to her soon. Maybe in another day or so.... };-) Having somehow survived the weirdness of the autograph request (ok, I admit it, I personally find it odd to ask people to sign stuff for me. I'm weird that way... among many others) it was time to hang out until the auction and a break to get my junk- er, metalwork- from the art room. Nothing of importance, except a trippy moment when Thom called my name and waved at me from the stage the guests were signing things- and then Jeff Bennett joined in! Since I didn't think I'd mentioned to anyone my being a major Brooklyn fan (though I must admit, Thom has by now stolen that loyalty), I didn't quite know how to figure that one. So at a relatively quiet moment I went up and asked him if I wanted to know what that was about. He said something about just pointing me out, so I took that as a hint to leave well enough alone.
A trip to the Dealer's Room resulted in my first encounter with Myhr. Took the obligatory pictures, since his makeup job is way past unbelievable, but it was cool to chat with him just as Jamie.
Then it was back to the studio rooms to wait for the auction, and Myhr eventually stopped by to see if we could hold onto his camera. Since the signings went overtime (from what I've seen, standard for the convention), I headed to the artroom to claim my stuff. Since the artists had to wait for the buyers to pay off for their purchases for a little bit, I hung around with several others outside the door for a bit. Guess who came strolling down to claim his art? I got a literal double take out of Myhr when he saw me, and then another when I managed to beat him back to the auction area. Eh, since no one bought either piece for sale, I just had to jog back to the room and dump the sculptures off, so it didn't take me that long. The auction had some pretty impressive items, but it wasn't as well attended. I ended up buying the JLA Showcase comic, in which Greg wrote a highly amusing tribute to Gargoyles. Well, perhaps it's not meant that way, but it's one entire in-joke. Depending on how warped your sense of humor is, you'll kill yerself laughing or groaning when you read it. Highly recommended. I didn't get the other two items I was after: one of Carl Johnson's CDs of Gargoyles music, or the trip for two to see a voice recording session of Team Atlantis. Ah well. Instead, there was a great opportunity to chat with Seth, one of the two major bidders in last year's war for the storyboard of The Mirror, which he drove over $800. VERY cool.
Finally giving up on the CDs, which were going for massive prices, it was off to the banquet in the Roof Garden. Absolutely stunning setup, with a view of the city that has to be seen to be believed. Even the smog was accommodating and at minimal levels. Gorgeous view.
Mom and I sat with Dawn, our roommate, BrooklynX, and four other people I'm afraid I didn't get the names of. Eeek! It was sorta like the table was split in half, since they knew each other, and we knew each other, but the groups were strangers. Ah well. BrooklynX, Dawn, and I began to joke around about what guest(s) we wanted at our table, we settled on Thom, Greg, or Crispin. Irony being what it is, we got Thom! [insert much cheering here] REALLY cool to get a chance to chat with him about even more random stuff, as well as dinner. You see, I've grown up calling my mother Miss Manners, simply because she's one of those people who knows which fork to use when, and the ins and outs of formal dinners. She also made sure long ago that I have a vague clue of how the silverware pattern works. However, it turned out that most of the table didn't! So Mom kept everyone in line about that.
Anyway, if you've heard about the shenanigans Thom and Crispin got up to during the banquet, it really did happen. It all started when between courses, Thom took his napkin over to Greg's table and pretended to be a waiter, asking if they wanted to see the wine list, I believe. It didn't get much of a laugh, so he took a side trip to Crispin Freeman's table, which was right next to ours. He got a much bigger laugh there, so he came back to the table happy. But then, a little while later Crispin came over wearing sunglasses. In a very MIB mode, he told Thom had to come with him and leave the building for impersonating a voice actor. More laughs for everyone, and the gag war was on! Thom moved next, playing waiter again and telling him that his credit card had been declined and therefore he had to leave. Crispin's retaliation was to come over and do his startlingly accurate Broadway impression from The Silver Falcon: "You shouldn't've messed with my partner, Thom, 'cause when someone messes with your partner, you're supposed ta do somethin' about it!" So in return Thom went over later and told him Don Johnson called and wanted his suit back (ah, you have to see the pictures to get that one).
Crispin topped it all by coming over during the last course. He stood next to Thom, and stated in a very serious voice, "Thom, I thought long and hard about this, and yes, I will marry you!" And with that, he gave him a big kiss. There didn't seem to be any way to top that one! However, after dessert was the awards ceremony. Crispin's girlfriend, Izobel, went up for an art award, and when she came back, apparently another gag moment occurred. I wasn't at the table at the time, so I'm not entirely sure what happened. The story I got was Thom escorted Izobel to our table, and Crispin came over, sat in Thom's lap, and accused Izobel of stealing his man! For all their pranking, Crispin and Thom won the Best Couple gag award later on.
The Masquerade was beyond impressive. So many stunning costumes, and quite a few amusing skits. I'm amazed the judges could decide! And of course, those unforgettable moments: Thom dropping his pants; Dreamie, Demona May, Kythera, and several others wrangling Slash (who was doing some kickass- but LOUD!- heavy metal); and Crispin dipping Thom for a heck of a kiss. I'll leave the rest of the night to the pictures and better reports than this.
Last day of the con was pretty relaxed. We sat through the Starship Troopers and 3x3 Eyes panels, during which the guests kept declaring that they outnumbered us! It wasn't QUITE that bad, really. And the panels were really fun to sit through. At last, it reached time for closing ceremonies. Most of it was spent thanking - well, basically everyone involved in any way. Warm fuzzies throughout the room! And there was a chance to sign up for next year (and come hell or high water, I'll be there!). Rather than brave the dead dog party, Mom and I first returned Dawn to her family, then we joined BrooklynX for a meal at the CityWalk. After that, more goodbyes, and we retreated to our room.
There's not much to say about the extra day we had afterwards. Much more time was spent in the lobby chatting with people, and we eventually wandered down to the CityWalk movie theater and, thanks to the shameless plugging (not to mention the fact that a lot of the Gargs team is now working on the TV show based on it), we watched Atlantis. GOOD movie! I'd say it's a must see. Having gotten in our walkies for the day, we headed back to the hotel to just hang around and wind down from the con. Irony struck again later that night. We actually watched the news, and there was a report on scam charities that take money and build off the reputation of better known, reputable charities- such as Make-A-Wish, which "grants the last wish of a dieing child."
*TWITCH* I really hope the people in the rooms next to us weren't there to hear me yelling at/cussing out the idiot reporters. It's the wish of a 2 to 18 year old that has had a terminal illness. Survival does not discount one for it.
Ahem. Apologies. I'm sure that particular soapbox is getting annoying to everyone.
Eh, just random bits and observations that didn't work well into the flow of the report, so they got chunked together here at the end in no particular order.
I'm not sure if I was less intimidated of Thom this year, or he was less intimidated by me (who knows, maybe both), but it was much easier to chat with him this time. Again, it amazes me how friendly the con is. Ever time he passed me, he'd either wave, say hi, or in the many instances I wasn't paying attention, give me a quick shoulder tap and walk away grinning. Nut. And I admit it. I've been converted to a Thom fangirl (just don't expect drooling, shrieking, or similar insanity. I'm happy to continue teasing him the same way I did this con).
It was really great to hear the stories from the other people that worked on Gargoyles. They all indicated extreme fondness for the show, and working on it, and it was highly amusing to hear them rag on Greg. While most of the con-goers (aside from the con virgins) are comfortable enough to fool around with him, there's still generally an attitude of "THE Greg Weisman, the Creator!" that people are quite so willing to go against. The guests had no such problem, which was truly fun.
Nothing but kudos and praise for the staff. Things went with incredible smoothness, even the with typical (and honestly, by this point isn't it expected?) delays and mix ups. They did an outstanding job! Same tribute and worship goes to the volunteers, who really did go above and beyond the call of duty. Heck, everyone did!
Two of life's very strange coincidences occurred before the con. I took Christine's first book, Curse of the Shadowbeasts, with me to the dentist, since I wanted to reread the series before getting her third book at the con. One of the nurses stopped by, asked what I was reading, and started wondering out loud if this was the author her daughter was ranting about, a fantasy writer who did gargoyles fan fiction.... Also, while choosing books for the plane ride, I passed by a P.N. Elrod vampire book. I'd picked it up, but put it back in an effort to keep my book binge in moderate control. I later saw it at the con- and it turns out Jamie Murray did the art for the book cover! I made sure to pick it up on my next Waldenbooks run.
Since I have no idea where to actually put it, and leaving it out (much as my blush factor and general confusion would like that) makes me feel guilty since most of the con participated in the voting, I guess I'll put the info here. Three of my four metalwork sculptures won prizes in the art show. My only attempt at explaining it is that there wasn't overly much 3D art to choose from. Cave Canem, a pewter plaque of Bronx in an arch, won first for 3D Canon art; a sculpture of Orien, one of Artemis's characters (and titled "at Dawn" to fob off the fact that I had no idea what I was doing with the patina that left him partially green and partially patchy gray), won second in fannon 3D; and lastly was Drake, a gold drake (read: I didn't want to put wings on my dragon), which got first in fantasy 3D. Don't look at me, I don't know how it happened. Also feel the need to mention that the last piece was a pin of BrooklynX's online persona, which I did when he had sudden medical problems that might've kept him from the con. I wanted to make sure at least _A_ BrooklynX was there, even if it was in the art room the whole time.
Many, many thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hi, asked how I was doing, or (good grief, you deserve a medal!) remembered my name!
And finally, the pictures - they're now nicely archived HERE! Thanks for reading, and apologies for ranting!
And that's all! To head back to the rantings page, click HERE.
For commentary, e-mail me at Norcumi@backtick.net