Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gallifrey One Postgame Show - Part 3: You're...A Fan

Do you know how long I searched for a gif or a video clip of just the Fifth Doctor saying to the Tenth Doctor "You're... a fan!" from "Time Crash?" Apparently, people like the Master's Beard joke more (nothing wrong with that - but when I'm trying to find something else... *sigh* Oh well).

One of the big draws about Gallifrey One is meeting the stars of "Doctor Who."  Before I even got on the plane for Los Angeles, I was a bit nervous about how I was going to comport myself in front of these famous people, who I admire so much.  I certainly wanted to meet them, but I didn't want to get tongue-tied and make a complete ass of myself.  I'd heard plenty of stories from fans at Gally who just struck up semi-normal conversations with these actors and even kept in contact with them afterward.  Then there's me thinking "Pfft - right! I could never do that!"

I made it to LobbyCon and was definitely feeling starstruck when I spied Frazer Hines and Nicholas Briggs across the way that first night.  But I had the good fortune to fall in with some new Gally friends - Sara and Sarah from Texas (I need to find them on Facebook or Twitter or something) - and they coaxed me into asking Nicholas Briggs for a photograph, which he was only too happy to do!

I posted this on my first Gally recap - but I'm posting it again. It's that cool!
Oh, and of course, my infamous antics (at least, I felt like they were antics. Anyone watching probably wouldn't have noticed) trying to corner Frazer Hines for a photograph.  Getting Frazer's autograph was easy, even though was babbled like a nutty fangirl the entire time (Glenn can attest to this - that's why he got pictures of it. Actually, I'm glad he did).  There were so many times I'd see Frazer in the hall and try to talk to him, but he always had somebody else cornering him (I got to talk to Deborah Watling after the interview she did with Frazer on Sunday because of this, though. And I regret not getting her autograph too. She is like the sweetest, sweetest version of your grandmother, but with a hint of mischief in her eye.  So wonderful). Finally - FINALLY - on the last night, Mel pretty much dared me to go out there and ask Frazer for a picture.  And I'm damn glad she did because I would never have had the guts to do it without someone playing wingman - and Mel was a fantastic wingman (wing-lady).

Look how insanely giddy I am! I had to run back into the hotel before
I squee'd so much that I embarrassed myself. I mean, more than I already had

Here's a roundup of the autographs and pictures I got with the various guests -

The Dalek's a celebrity, right?

with Dan Starkey (Strax) before he even got his coffee.

Mel, Shaun and I found Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra) - Love her!

Ian McNiece (Winston Churchill)

Also - Autographs!

Mark Strickson (Turlough) - This was a special treat for me because, well, Turlough's awesome!

I was so excited to get Frazer Hines' autograph that I had to run up to the lobby and tweet about it.
I had not initially planned to get Peter Purves' autograph, but as the con went on, I realized that I really needed to meet Steven - he was one of my favorites from the First Doctor's era.

Freema Agyeman - she was such a treat to talk to.
Sylvester McCoy - love this guy.
(These are all going up on my wall as soon as I can find decent picture frames)

It's funny, but every time I met Doctor Who actors at Gally, the only thing I could think of to say is that I loved their work on the show.  Which was very much true!  Jamie is one of my very favorite companions of the Classic series, as is Turlough (I maintain that if Tegan had left earlier on in the Fifth Doctor's run, the Doctor and Turlough would have made an awesome team on their own).  Steven Taylor is another gem of Classic Who and I love Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones (as well as in some of the other things she's been in).  The point is that I wish I could have thought of something much more profound to say than simply "I love your work!"  But I quickly found out that often, that was the best thing you could say to these actors. 

This really hit me on Saturday night during the Classic Companion Panel (plus the Valeyard, but he's loveable anyway).  The first of two Freema Agyeman interviews was scheduled for that night in the main ballroom and they were encouraging people to pick one or the other so everyone had a chance to see Freema.  I had decided to go see Freema on Sunday morning so I could see the Classic Companion Panel (actually, it was called Legends and Lore in the program guide).  Mel kept talking about wanting to see Turlough (Mark Strickson) and Glenn and Shaun couldn't figure that out until Mel and I spelled it out for them.  So, we all went to that on Saturday.  We talked about it on one of our Gally Updates (I think it was Gally Update 3), but I can talk about it here.

The "Legends and Lore" panel - I can't get over how awesome this panel was.
All of the panelists were fantastic.  There were so many great stories from all of them about being on Doctor Who and their work since then - can I remember them all? Of course not! (note to self - bring a notebook next year!)  But the feeling in the room was one of genuine love and admiration, both from the fans and from the actors to the fans.  I think it was Mark Strickson who talked about how amazed he was that so many people would come see a panel of people talking about a show that they did thirty, forty, fifty years ago when they could have gone to see Freema Agyeman (i.e. - someone more modern) downstairs.  The rest of them more or less agreed that they didn't think there would be so many people in the room - and it filled up fairly well.  A running theme throughout the entire panel was that, it might have been an embarrassment at one point to admit you'd been in "Doctor Who," but the fans made it all worth it.

Michael Jayston (who played the Valeyard in "Trial of a Time Lord") said that something that impressed him about "Doctor Who" fans was that we are in love with the stories.

Deborah Watling (who played Victoria Waterfield in the Troughton era) was absolutely lovely.  She told a story about writing her autobiography and how that was one of the hardest things she's done.  She spoke her time on "Doctor Who" with such fondness and love - even when Frazer Hines was teasing her a little bit (you could tell that those two are the best of best friends - more on that in a bit).  Speaking of Frazer - he and Mark Strickson both talked about coming back to do Big Finish and they both gave a little performance as Jamie and Turlough, which made the crowd go nuts.  It was great - at first, they both were acting like they were dragging in the morning and tired and whatever and once it was time to be the character - they both became their characters.  I mean, it's one thing to meet these actors and know who they played back-in-the-day, but to actually hear the characters' voices coming out of their mouths and realizing - "Holy crap, that's Jamie!" or "Holy crap, that's Turlough!" - it was so cool!

But the best part of the entire panel (and I could have listened to all of them go on and on for hours) was at the end when they were wrapping up.  And I talked about this on the podcast, but it still stuns me that this happened and that I was even there to see it - all of us fans stood up as one entity and gave these actors a standing ovation.  It wasn't just one person here, one person there - ALL of us stood and applauded.  And if that wasn't enough, the panelists stood up together as well and gave us, the fans, a standing ovation right back.  Shaun later said that he saw Deborah Watling tear up a bit at the reaction.  Make no mistake - it was a powerful moment.

Something I love about British actors - and I didn't quite realize this until the end of Gally - is how genuinely humble they are.  I don't think this happens with "mainstream" American actors because of this disgustingly ridiculous celebrity culture we have.  The actors I got to talk to at Gally were so gracious and so easy to speak with (once I got over my "ZOMG - IT'S YOU!" fangirl nuttiness).  Even Freema Agyeman, who's been in "Doctor Who" more recently and has other shows she's been in that are running now, was so sweet and gracious and genuinely touched that I loved the things she's done (I saw her in Law and Order: UK and thoroughly enjoyed it. Which, I don't even watch the Law and Order series in America).  None of them seemed like, say, Mark Sheppard (who had a panel Sunday afternoon) who had this air about him of "Yeah, I know I'm amazing and I know you all worship me. Bow down before me, peasants!" (and then all the slobbering fangirls did exactly that, which earned a massive eye roll from me).  Even when they were onstage - they were just there to entertain their fans and share in the love and joy of this little show that didn't seem like much at the time, but has expanded to include everyone who falls in love with it.

You know, people give me grief over my interest - nay, obsession - with science fiction and fantasy, particularly "Doctor Who" (let's face it - how many people choose to spend a weekend a convention - any kind of fan convention?  With the possible exception of San Diego ComicCon, which has been taken over by the industry as a glorified advertising campaign and the media pretending to respect geekdom for a week and makes my bullshit detector goes haywire). But these moments are what make it all worth it.  It's the best kept secret in the world - whether you're a Whovian or whatever makes you SQUEE! - you know what it's like to love and love deeply.  The Not-We (for lack of a better term) may have their socially accepted interests and know how to be calm and cool for the in-laws and the boss and the rest of the world, but very few of them will ever get to experience a love for something that only they get.

(Did I just piss some people off with that line? Good. After all the crap I've taken from some of you, I feel justified).

And that seems like a good place to leave this recap for now.  I think all I have left to talk about is the Dealer's Room and my sentimental-type reaction to the convention as a whole.  Bring tissues.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Gallifrey One Postgame Show, Part 2: Playing Dress Up

Our "Deck of Cards" Cosplay Photo - Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five (me!),
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Romana as the Queen, Master as the King
One thing that has eternally impressed me in all my "from afar" observations of Gallifrey One is the cosplayers.  Actually, any cosplay from any fandom has my undying respect because it takes talent to put together a costume.  Most of my cosplay was purchased with some add-ons, the exception of which is the skirt, which I made from scratch from some awesome fabric I found from Mom's Craft in Delta, Utah (Mom's a small Mom-and-Pop craft store in my hometown that nevertheless has a fantastic variety of stuff there you're not going to find in chain stores, so I wanted to give them a plug).  Ever since I discovered that Femme!Doctor cosplay was A Thing, I wanted to try my hand at it.  And I wound up with a really great Femme!Five outfit that I'm quite pleased with.  I bought the tan coat from an online clearance sale (which was a tremendous case of serendipity that I found out about that at all) and added red trim (partly by machine and partly by hand and I had the sore fingers to prove it).  As I said in my previous Gally recap, I bought the hat from Wal-Mart and replaced the hatband.  The sweater was from a group purchase on LiveJournal (there was no way I was going to find or make anything comparable). The celery was from FreckledCrafts on Etsy and I wore red socks and white Not-Converse low-tops that I bought at Payless.

What I loved about cosplaying was that people recognized how much effort I put into my costume.  I'm not a particularly crafty person (though I enjoy cross-stitching from time to time), so this was a big deal for me.  Some people go all out and have four or five costumes they wear over the course of a weekend.  And, of course, there's this -

A Dalek cosplay made of cardboard and Styrofoam.
There's a twelve-year-old kid walking around in that thing.
And this -
Clockwork Droid cosplay - also had a kid inside it. And it moved  just like a clockwork droid
that I actually though it was a robot.
And these -

Not a Femme!Four - but a Fourth Doctor's Scarf Dress. Completely knitted.  I have nothing more to say.
Cat Nun with a Gun. Very realistic makeup.
Snowman cosplay. It was cool to see costumes of characters from  a Doctor Who
episode that only came out two months ago

Impossible Astronaut with River inside. I wish I got a better picture of this, though.
These were on display with the Eighth Doctor's console, but they were costumes in the Masquerade - I'd actually seen the Adipose roaming around during the con.
While I was in my cosplay, I wanted to find some of the Fifth Doctor's companions.  Sadly, I didn't find many (I found more on Sunday when I wasn't in costume), but I did run into a Peri and a Tegan in the Cosplay Hall (and Tegan was actually from Australia, which I thought was fabulous!)

Sadly, my regeneration showed up and took Peri away :(

But really, anyone who can make a Sixth Doctor coat has my eternal respect.  I was surprised to find so many people with that coat, really.

And, really, if you're going to be photographed as Six, what other pose are you going to do?
Also - my friend Lizz cosplayed as Femme!Ten (and she did a fantastic job!). So, of course, a Time Crash picture must be taken (I love our faces in this) -

"You mostly went hands-free, didn't you?"
No Fifth Doctor tribute would be complete without an appearance from the Master.  There were quite a few  different incarnations of the Master wandering around the Marriott, but I found a particularly good Ainley!Master.

I'm smiling like a dope and the Master looks ready to cause trouble.
The Fifth Doctor's era summed up in one cosplay photo.
Just to round out my gallery of cosplayers -

As well as being a fantastic Eight, John was a top-notch panelist on the "Trial of a Time Lord" discussion panel.
These two were behind me in line for Sylvester McCoy's autograph. This was not an opportunity to pass up!

Anyone who can pull off a Leela costume deserves heaps of praise.

The plushie was a nice touch and I told her as much.

I loved finding fellow Fives!

There were so many kids dressed up at Gally, but I was a little hesitant to take pictures of them because I know parents are iffy about pictures displayed of their kids on the internet. But I figure this one was okay since you can't see their faces.  There was an absolute adorable nurse!Rory and a little Amelia in her nightgown and red Wellies that I didn't get.
This was a nice behind-the-scenes snapshot of the Cosplay Hall. It was organized chaos back there, but so worth it.

There weren't many Threes. I suspect there will be more next year since Katy Manning has been confirmed.

This one made my inner twelve-year-old go nuts! I was a huge Sailor Moon fan back in the day and I'm super-excited that there will be a new reboot this summer. There was a time I would not admit to this, but I've since grown up.
So there.
I'm always amazed at the amount of detail that goes into these things.  But no more surprised at the amount of hooped skirts and corsets that made an appearance. Holy cow. (I liked my sweater, thank you very much).
I think that was the extent of my cosplay pictures, but it is by no means a complete sampling (that's a strange phrase, but there you go).  Keep an eye out for other pictures on Twitter and Facebook and blogs because there were so, so, SO many great cosplays.  I don't know if I'll make another one, but it was so much fun to be stopped in the hallway for pictures and to get compliments for my handiwork - and to compliment other people on their creativity as well.  If you can manage a cosplay, do it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Gallifrey One Postgame Show, Part One: Learning the Ropes

Cosplaying as Femme!Five and stepping out of the TARDIS. Gallifrey One - I have arrived.
I started a blog post an hour after I got home from the airport yesterday - and it just kept going and going and going and it was then I realized that I needed to split this up.

What can I honestly say about Gallifrey One?  Well, I started crying during the Traveling the Vortex "Say Goodbye to Gallifrey" update podcast.  Now, if you don't know, I'm a sentimental dope by nature and cry easily at various things.  And, apparently, I can now add the ending of a fantastic convention to the list of things that make me cry (it's a long list).  But, I'm going to save the sentimentality for my third (or fourth - depending on how long I go with this) Gallifrey One recap post.  For now, I want to hit some of the highlights of my weekend -

(I'm purposely not telling everything that happened because I talked about a lot of this on Traveling the Vortex.  To be sure, there will be some repetition.  But if you want to get a more complete picture, go listen to the TtV Gally Updates: LobbyCon, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

The Classic Companions Panel. I predict that this will be the most understated panel of The 24 Hours of Gallifrey One.
But no less powerful. And I need a better camera.
Gallifrey One is sheer joy packed into one weekend.  The best instance of this happened Saturday night during the panel with the Classic Who companions plus Michael Jayston (who played the Valeyard - but we love him anyway).  We talked about that panel on the podcast, but it was a powerful moment - several powerful moments, really.  But it was at the end when the audience gave the stars a standing ovation - for being there to be the companions and give us this show that we all love so very, very, very much.  But then, the stars all stood up as well and applauded us, the fans, for being loyal and coming to see them.  There was a lot of love and admiration and friendship in that room.  And it makes sense the more I think of it.  Doctor Who is the little show that could.  It came into some pretty heavy opposition back in the day - I can't imagine working on a show that you enjoyed doing, but the Powers That Be were bound and determined to get you off the air.  Even the public seemed to write you off at the time and the fans more or less had to go underground (so to speak).  But here it is in 2013 and there is a room full of people who've been coming to see you, ask for your autograph, shake your hand - and are even dressing up as your character - how amazing is that?  As a fan, I was humbled by these stars' attitudes towards us.  We all have a deep love for this show - even while we're being silly with Paradox Apples and Tiki Daleks and Sylvester McCoy popping the bubble-wrap on a Zoe cosplay (I didn't see that firsthand for myself, but I heard about it and from what I did see of Sylvester over the course of the weekend, I am not surprised).

- The live director's commentary of "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" with Saul Metzstein - This was an episode that I didn't really like at first, but I think I have some new perspective on it since then and this commentary certainly helped.  He even acknowledged that some fans were upset about the Doctor seeming to kill someone  What was funny was when Metzstein was talking about CGI vs. puppets and he dared us to find the puppet pterodon chasing the Doctor, Rory and Brian in the hydro-engines (the whole sequence went like this: "That's pretend... that's pretend... pretend... pretend... pretend... PUPPET!" We all laughed).

- Freema Agyeman on Sunday morning - So wonderful, so happy to be there, so amazed that so many people showed up for her second panel. And props to the audience for asking smart questions. I can't remember exactly what they asked, but I just remembered thinking that Doctor Who fans ask some really great questions of the guests (unlike some of the cringeworthy stuff that makes it into the Comic Con YouTube videos - guys, you're making us look bad!)

- The North American premiere of "Galaxy 4: Airlock" - I mentioned this on Twitter, but I loved watching an actual episode of Doctor Who with a huge room full of Whovians.  There was a smaller viewing room showing Doctor Who throughout the weekend, but it seemed silly to sit in a room watching TV while the convention was going on (sort of a strange thought, but there you are).  But the Galaxy 4 showing was different. It was in the main ballroom immediately after Opening Ceremonies, first of all.  Plus, this was one of the lost episodes that was found last... April, I want to say (nope, sorry - it was a year ago last November), so that makes it an even bigger deal.  I had seen a reconstruction of Galaxy 4 once. I liked it well-enough (for a recon, anyway) but seeing it as an actual episode was great! In this one short part, Vicki kicks ass, the Doctor snarks and Steven gets captured by a bunch of Amazon-type warrior women (oh, I feel so sorry for Steven). Maybe now that an episode exists, someone will make a better recon of it.  But if not, it was still cool to be part of the audience that got to see it at Gallifrey.

This was the line for Gallifrey 101, which is a panel for newcomers to the con. It went out the door and wound around the driveway of the hotel. Just to give you an idea of how many people were there (LineCon - I'm telling you!)
- I got in the autograph line for Sylvester McCoy pretty early on Saturday, so I was one of the first to see him.  But before the line officially opened, I met a lady who was at the convention with her 10- or 11-year-old nephew.  I was so impressed with this kid (and his aunt, let's be honest) - his favorite Doctor is McCoy and he was pleased as punch to meet him.  I talked with his aunt for a little bit, just that I was impressed that her nephew liked one of the Classic Doctors so much.  The kid had started with the new series, but he'd branched out into Classic Who and latched onto Seven.  And Sylvester was so cool with this kid  Really, I enjoyed talking to a lot of people when I was in line for various things.  Over and over, the Gallifrey One organizers kept asking for patience with the lines and whatnot, but I did not mind waiting at all.  Mostly because I could talk to people about Doctor Who and we were all on the same page.  We could talk about our favorites, our not-so-favorites and just have some wonderful conversation.  It's was like LobbyCon, but with less booze (maybe we should call it LineCon or something).

My First Photo Bomb - Nicholas Briggs was such a great guy
- Speaking of LobbyCon - THAT was a new experience.  It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but I was content to sit in the lobby and just watch everyone else interact for a little while.  I wore my Fifth Doctor hat on the plane because I didn't want it to get smashed in my luggage and I ended up keeping it on through LobbyCon and that became probably the best idea I had the entire weekend.  People came up to compliment me on it and ask where I got it/how I made it (bought a light straw Panama hat at Wal-Mart and made a new hatband with fabric from Spoonflower, if you're curious).  It was a great icebreaker!  I got to talk with so many people - and I got a picture with Nicholas Briggs while he was eating dinner more or less on a dare.  I met Sara and Sarah from Texas earlier and told them I wanted to get pictures with the guests, but I was still a bit too chicken to do it on my own.  Later when they were in the bar, they got me to come over and helped me get the picture. Nick was a great guy to do it too. He didn't act like I was bugging him at all - plus, I wanted to tell him how much I loved Big Finish as well as his work as the voice of the Daleks and he seemed genuinely touched that I would say something so nice (even though I'm sure he'd heard it before - but it's good to hear that people love you for your work, no matter how many times you hear it).

Sara and Sarah from Texas. I met them at LobbyCon and they were so great!
I need to find them on Facebook or something.
- I've got to talk about the time I spent with Shaun and Glenn and Mel.  First off, I met up with Shaun and Mel at LobbyCon and it was seriously like meeting friends I'd known for years, even though this was the first time we'd ever met in person.  Plus, they had the Traveling the Vortex ribbons and I directly credit them with helping me get a ton of ribbons that first night (it helps to have friends who make ribbons ^_^ - I'll make my own next year, don't worry).  Then I snagged Glenn before the opening Radio Free Skaro panel.  Really, it was great of them to let me tag along (and even record podcasts with them - THAT was fun!) and we all just ran around photo-bombing people and taking each other's pictures and having a grand old time (and came thisclose to getting an interview for the podcast with... somebody and I don't want to say who in case something else works out. But I was really bummed that we couldn't get it to work out because I was over the moon when Shaun and Mel came back saying they wanted me in the interview too).  I said that Gallifrey One is like a big family reunion, but I feel like the Vortex Boys (and the Vortex Girls, as we now seem to be shaping up to become) are like my immediate family within the larger, crazier Whovian clan.  Now we just need Keith and Sarah to come next year!

Farewell to Mel and Shaun. Glenn left before we could get a group photo - but NEXT YEAR!

I have a very packed week with work and stuff and while I have so much more to talk about, it will have to wait until tomorrow (or the next day). Stay tuned for further Gally recaps! (including autographs and cosplaying and the Dealer's Room and whatever else I can dig up in my brain)

91 Ribbons! Not bad for a newbie.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gallifrey One, Baby!

Tomorrow, I leave for Gallifrey One.  I'm pretty stoked about this. I've wanted to go since I caught all the antics of the convention two years ago on the internet (helped that Peter Davison was there that year and there was TONS of stuff posted online - not the least of which was this awesome video).  I've written about how I felt that I was part of the event, even from the comfort of home - yet I still wanted to go someday.

I am not a traveler by nature.  I would actually be a horrible traveling companion for the Doctor.  In my entire life, I have only been on four trips that required me to board an airplane.  It's not a fear or anxiety or anything - I'm just a homebody.  And I like to drive myself places (but I wouldn't be caught dead driving in California. Actually, if I ever drove in California, I would end up dead).  So, even a simple direct flight from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles is a big deal for me.  And I'm going by myself, which makes this an even bigger deal.

But I think it's going to be worth it.  I have heard nothing but positive things about Gallifrey One - everyone there is your best friend, they get awesome guests and panels for the convention, you're all there for the same reason, the hotel is fantastic, etc.  Yes, there are going to be hiccups (an event this big - I would be surprised if there weren't), but I'm hoping for a good experience (I don't have many needs or expectations, really).

I have every good intention of keeping notes of what goes on so I can come back and regale you all with my tales of adventure and whimsy.  Barring that, I can guarantee there will be pictures on Twitter and Instagram.  Keep an eye out for the #Gally1 hashtag - there will definitely be posts from others as well.

I hope I can help bring people from home into the experience as well.  That's how I got all gung-ho for attending Gallifrey One myself.  I saw how much fun people had and how amazing it was and I wanted to see it in person.  Which I will in about 19 hours, more or less (registration starts at 6:00 tomorrow - and then there's Lobby Con, which is going to be a strange new experience - sort of like the Doctor and his companions landing on an alien planet).  I'm sure once I get there and get all settled in, I won't want to leave!

It remains to be seen if I'll make it to Gallifrey One 2014.  Funds and time and other considerations have to be taken into account.  But for this year at least, I'm off to Gallifrey, baby!

(And it's going to be wonderful to get out of this sub-freezing weather. Ugh. Winter has certainly outstayed it's welcome).