Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Non-Attendee (yet) Love for Gallifrey One

It's been a busy two weeks for me - and it's only going to get busier.  But guess what? Doctor Who's coming back on Saturday! Yay! (and it's going to be the hottest week of this summer between now and then - boo...)

I went down to visit my family this weekend, as I do from time to time and I enjoyed myself.  Got to see my little niece (there is no child cuter - I defy anyone to even attempt to convince me otherwise), see some people I don't often get to see and completely miss seeing my brother, who was out with his buddies (he's heading off to college in a week or so - he doesn't have time for his nerdy older sister).  Before I began my trek back, I downloaded the most recent Radio Free Skaro and put it on my iPod for my 2-hour drive back to the city.

Before I go on, I must mention that I was feeling a bit down about some things.  Nothing serious - just life being stupid.  I'd intended to listen to an audiobook I got from the library, but I decided to listen to RFS instead.  After the boys gave their Torchwood reviews and discussed current Doctor Who news, they had an interview with Shaun Lyon, program director for Gallifrey One, the extremely huge and awesome Doctor Who convention that takes place in Los Angeles every February.  I thought I'd be a little bummed after listening to the interview, seeing as how I am not currently in a financial position to spend money on such trips, though I have resolved to go in 2013 (as long as I am more gainfully employed at that point than I am now).  I thought I'd be even more depressed as Shaun and The Three Who Rule discussed events and guests and just general Gally-awesome-stuff.  But, you know what? The discussion actually cheered me up some.  So much that, by the time I got home, I wasn't worried about what I'd been upset about in the first place.

Last year, I participated in Gally the way many people did - via the internet.  And while I felt a twinge of jealousy for the people who were there (you are were in the same building as Peter Davison??? *whine*), I did feel as though I had been a part of it.  The best way I can describe how I felt about Gally is that I was happy that it was something that existed, even though I couldn't be there.  What's more, I started planning my own trip for when I actually am able to fly down to LA and take part in person.

In the RFS interview, Shaun mentioned that some people have asked if they'll ever stream the entire convention online.  His reply was that you just don't get the sense of community from viewing it online that you do from attending the convention.  I have to disagree with him just a little bit there, but I'm not about to ask that they stream the convention anyway (NO, PLEASE DON'T!)  When I watched people's YouTube videos and saw their photos and tweets and listened to the podcasts, I felt like I was part of the community a little bit and I could enjoy the convention as it was going on.  At the same time, I felt like it was something I had to see for myself (again, you don't need to stream the convention.  This is something that has to be experienced in real life and streaming it would cheapen it in a way. But I digress).

This is something I love about the Doctor Who fandom that I don't think other fandoms have - in the DW fandom, you can just jump in anywhere with anybody and you immediately have friends.  Just as an example:  I work as a substitute library clerk where I fill in on an as-needed basis at several libraries in the Salt Lake City area.  At one of the libraries where I worked this week, I met a lady whose been a Whovian since time immemorial, yet she was willing to discuss the series with me, a lowly newbie.  At another library that I worked at a few weeks ago, I met a girl who been to Gally and who cosplays and who is damn good at it and we had a great conversation (I'd seen her in several photos and videos and I felt like I was meeting a celebrity - she was cool about it, though).  There's no line of demarcation, no cliques within the fandom - everybody gets along and everybody has a great time together.  Oh, sure, there's debate and controversy (what do you expect from a group this large with so many different backgrounds?), but by and large, Whovians are fantastic human beings who just enjoy fantastic stories and characters and who come together to share in that enjoyment.  And I think Gally is a manifestation of that camaraderie.  You just don't get that in other fandoms (I'm side-eyeing Harry Potter fans here).

I don't know how you plan for that or if it just happens, but I have to tip my hat to the people who put Gallifrey One together because from where I'm sitting, they do an outstanding job.  So much so that I'm looking forward to this year's edition even though it's unlikely I'll be able to attend (I'm not going to say for certain that it won't happen this year, but I will say that I'm aiming for 2013 - the 50th anniversary year is probably going to be something special. No pressure, folks).  I'll watch the goings-on through what people post online and I'll get excited for the next year.

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