A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Gathering Report Part I--the abridged, somewhat more relevant version
Gore navigated through the back alleys of the Bronx to pick up me and my friend Sean. It's in fact thanks to Gore's car (and his offer of floor space) that I was even going to the con, as I was otherwise still suffering from jetlag, work-guilt, indecisiveness, and a general nervousness of being filmed. But when your transportation, lodging and company is taken care of, how can you say no, especially when you really wanted to go in the first place?
So we take off on the I-87 with the general awareness that it's going to be a long drive, and that the direction will be North. Somewhere along the way, we realize that we are no longer on the I-87, nor heading exactly North. I guess that's what happens when you get distracted by long discussions about Greg Weisman's ideas for the show. So after passing the twentieth or so cornfield, Gore proceeds to make a daring U-turn right in front of the toll booth. We throw repeated glances over our shoulders as we listen to what Gore dubbed "running from the cops music". It turns out no one was following us, and we saved ourselves from paying the toll for our detour. The detour did cost us time, however, and we only made it to the border at 10 (though this did mean a shorter line at customs). I made use of my French-skills in translating a few signs, and we managed to find the hotel. There were some fans waiting in the lobby when we arrived, but all we could think about was sleep. Luckily we were shepherded upstairs by Seth/IRC Goliath and Dave/Wingless, who told us registration had been pushed back a few hours the next day. That suited us just fine. Through the elevator glass, we gaped at the view of the pool on the gym floor. Then we reached our room and crashed.
Not knowing where else to go, we decide to eat at the hotel. We fill up on omelets and buffet food to give us the energy to explore the city (by foot. Gore had his car, but due to a miraculous feat of squeezing it into a tiny parking space, he was very reluctant to take the car out again). We dash over to registration real quick to get our packets and, most importantly, the schedule of events. I begin a hunt for a laptop for a certain video project I was hoping to complete (I was almost positive either Gore or Seth would have brought one, but no luck). Seth does mention that Chris Rogers, with help from Lynati, managed to hook up a VCR to the hotel tv's (which were somehow modded to stop guests from doing that sort of thing). That gave us hope for Sean's PS2. So we go to the Staples-like store next door, but don't manage to find the remote that would let us switch the video input (this of course, assumed that we would manage to hook up the PS2 to the tv). As we're looking at the map in the con booklet, we set what may be a Multimedia City towards the top of the map. After fifteen minutes of walking what we thought was north, we see the word "ouest" on the *left* side of the map, which meant we had actually been going south the whole time. D'oh! On the walk back, Gore starts asking me to translate signs, and gets a real kick out of the "Je me souviens" on the Quebec license plates. I then teach him the opposite phrase, "J'oublies", and he amuses himself saying it throughout the con. For his impertinence, a Quebecan pigeon makes his shoulder its new roost. We only have time to explore 'North' a short distance, but we do manage to spot a "International Pasta" restaurant that I insist we go to for dinner. Sadly, the Asian-style building we'd been hoping was also a restaurant, turned out to be a Holiday Inn.
So we make it back in time for Greg's voice-acting panel. Normally I wouldn't have gone to this one, as I've heard it in the past. I was actually planning on going to the tour of Karine/Kanthara's animation studio, but that was unfortunately dropped out of the new schedule. Still, the fact that Keith David would be there made this one a bit more special. Only…it turned out Keith was delayed filming a scene for "Transporter 2". We were still treated to a unique twist when the DVD video crew turned up in the middle of the panel. [I will omit my detailed notes here and save them for my site, which if you're curious, can be found here: http://crossroads.dragonmists.org/fantasy/avalon/gathering/g2k4.html]. Afterwards, the room cleared for Radio Play auditions. Sean was as reticent as ever, which only made me less eager to try out. Gore had no problem putting himself near the front of the line. I stood back and hesitated, and then had my single personal encounter with the DVD crew, when they asked if I was auditioning. Then when I saw the crew going inside to film the tryouts (yikes!), and saw that Siryn (who I'd be embarrassed to act in front of) was going to help judge, I made a quick escape. My reasoning to everyone afterwards was that it'd be better to try out the following day, when Greg might be more desperate and forgiving.
As a consolation prize to having no PS2, Sean urges us to upgrade to a room with internet access. We go up to our new room on the 22nd floor and chat with Seth, as Sean tries to get his old laptop to boot for over an hour. I decide to give up on my project (guess it'll have to wait for 2005). Just as it activates, it's time to head to Opening Ceremonies. We manage to snag the front row right in front of Greg. I embolden myself to go up there and have a quick word with him (I really wish at some con, I'll have a chance to have an actual conversation with the guy). Then the con staff begin to speak one by one, until Maui and Abram hijack the mic to announce that the Clan Olympics' first event is starting right then and there. Greg looks bewildered and slightly annoyed (or perhaps worried about the chaos and how it would look on film), and I wonder if he had been warned of this ahead of time. I was relieved that enough people showed interest to fill ten teams. The goal was apparently to do a plastic-ball relay to fill a teammate's shirt (which had holes in it, though whether this was to allow balls to go in or to make it harder to keep them in, I wasn't sure). The team in front of us had so many balls, they had filled the sleeves and had to use their teeth to keep them up. Yet despite this, they were the losing team, which leads me to think that the goal was not the number of balls, but rather the kind of balls, as some apparently had points written on them (I really hope the rules were explained at the beginning to these people, or I consider this event to be horribly unfair). Balls kept falling to the floor, and Gore amused himself juggling them (until he was outstaged by Siryn).
Opening ceremonies then resumed with more con staff announcements. Gore ends up winning the Fandom Guest of Honor award, which was well deserved after all the hard work he put into making (and still upgrading) Station 8. The G2005 staff (Chris, Lanny, Aaron and Mara) show off their mascot and announce plans to tentatively hold the con July 21-Auguest 1 at the Las Vegas Plaza Hotel. They also want to organize a celebrity charity poker game to try to draw more guests, along with plans for a Grand Canyon trip and acquiring show tickets. Then Greg takes the mic and asks the con virgins to raise their hands (I'd say a good thirty people did-I wonder how many of them are Canadians who weren't able to make it before?). There were five people who had been to all 8 conventions. We then watched the spinoff pitches for Dark Ages, New Olympians and Bad Guys, as well as the original series pitch, and a video with interviews I don't think I've seen before (my memory is fuzzy, but Greg did mention he'd just received a new tape from Buena Vista). We also listened to the Team Atlantis crossover-episode audio tape. And as a surprise bonus, we got to listen to members of old Gargoyles cast and crew wish us well at the con. Included in the tape were Frank Paur, Keith David, Bob Kline, David Schwartz, Troy Miters, Vic Cook, Ed Asner, and Cripsin Freeman. Carol Wagner had collected the voices, but didn't have time to get any more before the con. And then of course, Greg announced the big news - that the DVD will be out on Dec 7th for $29.99, and that there would be an audio commentary for the "Awakening" 5-parter. He reminded us that he's done all he can, and that it's up to us now to get the word out and get as many people to buy it as we can if we hope to have a season 2 DVD, or even a continuation of the series. He also asked us to go to the DVD film crew and tell them how Gargoyles changed our lives (relationships, fan-writing/art, reading Shakespeare, getting tattoos, etc).
After Opening Ceremonies, we rushed to the con suite where they were showing the music videos. Apparently there was no system in place to project them, so we had to watch them on Liz's laptop. By the time we got there, they were already playing the and last one, so we forced them to play them all over again. My favorite was one to the music of Linkin' Park, mostly because the images were sometimes appropriate to the song, and because it didn't seem to drag on too long. Then I reminded my roommates about the pasta place we saw earlier (I'm a pasta-freak), and we invited Seth, Dave/Wingless, and Dan/Titanic/Gaburos to come with us. It was better than I could have imagined. It was only a small fast-food-like chain, but this place put professional Italian restaurants with pasta-combo deals to shame. You could pick from a dozen kinds of fresh pasta and 30-or-so sauces, and they would put the ingredients together and sauté them right in front of you. After skipping lunch, I needed a hearty meal, so I went with the linguini and stroganoff, though I salivated over everyone else's dishes as well (not literally, thankfully).
We were exhausted when we got back to the room, and I tried to decide whether it would be worth torturing myself trying to stay awake for the Blue-Mug-A-Guest. After assurances from Seth and Gore that they would take good notes, I finally allowed sleep to overtake me. So ends Day 2.
As some of you now know, Vash has been sheperding (sheperdessing?) the creation of the Team Atlantis animatic for "The Last". Anyone interested in helping out, by storyboarding a section or two should contact Vashkoda!
I posted this first in the Comment Room, but realized I should post them here:
Gathering of Gargoyles
August 6th - 8th
Delta Hotel, Montreal
First I have to point out: in terms of my attendance experience, this was a small convention. All conventions seem small after WorldCon, but at approximately 180 attendees, this one was a little larger than Primedia in 1999.
The big difference is: I had fun at this one.
I think it helped that this had a much more specific focus: PriMedia was for fans of all television media; this convention was solely for fans of Gargoyles, the most rich and fascinating animated show to come from Disney. As a result, we all had something in common.
It also helped that the convention was kept to 6 rooms spread over 3 small floors; PriMedia was all over a few long, empty floors of a hotel, helping it to feel like a ghost town.
I started the convention with a chuckle: when I filled out my registration form, I put my BBS alias (Thoth) in the nickname section.
When I got my registration badge, I learned it was the ONLY name listed! I don't think many there would recognize me from the name alone, but it still made for a funny thing.
I was amazed at how young most of the fans were: folks in their late teens or early 20s. The show really touched fans all over the age spectrum.
The 1st panel Friday I attended was called Perspective at 1 PM. I thought it might actually be about the show. At first I wondered if I was in the wrong room, as I was the only person there. Turned out the con chair who was hosting it was just running a little behind.
The panel was actually about drawing in perspective, something I learned in school. I stayed in case the panel speaker (the con chair Karine) needed some help. That was a bit of arrogance on my part: she's actually a working animator; I'm not.
This was the only drawing panel I attended during the con... since I can no longer draw that would just seem pointless.
We began learning just how quickly the hotel staff worked to please us: first, the a/c made the hotel feel chilly. That was fixed up quickly. Also: the speakers were blasting 'muzak' in all the rooms, making it hard to hear panelists. That too was fixed immediately.
I visited the con suite next. They didn't have snacks out yet, but the room was quite nice, and I got to enjoy some of the classic shows on tape. I'd forgotten about some of the episodes, like the one that introduced the Golem of Prague!
3 PM: RPG panel
The speakers were longtime gamers, owned a store in Seattle, and the wife was a published author. They relayed some fun "war stories" of their past games. This is something I never grow tired of.
Bringing the panel back to the reason for the con I asked what game they thought best to play Gargoyles. They mentioned how Steve Jackson has the write-ups (they were massive GURPS gamers), but can't publish them. Disney won't let anyone make money off their IP (even if they don't try) so I suspect legal reasons.
5 PM: Opening Ceremonies
This was attended by the most people I'd seen to date at the convention. Not surprising, since it was attended by one of the guests Greg Weisman (series creator and producer). ?
The Ceremonies were 'interrupted' by the first event of the Clan Olympics, a Gargoyles-themed version of the Color Wars we'd held in summer camp. The difference was again that these were fun. I got to hold one end of a dividing line rope for the first event.
Greg played an audio tape of some actors from the show expressing their apologies that they couldn't attend. The audience got very lively when Ed Asner spoke!
The Con Chair for next year had a speech. The con holds an Olympics-style city choice every year; Las Vegas won for next year. That's not a con I can afford along with Westercon. Two trips in less than a month would be too much.
Because of the Clan Olympics I had to leave before the end for Transport, so I missed some of Greg's speech. At least I was there for the most important part: the first 5 episodes (season one they call it) will be released on DVD on December 7th. Mark your calendar and get many folks to buy it, so that we can send the message to Disney that the series can be profitable. DVD sales are the reason Family Guy will be coming back next season. Maybe this could do the same thing for Gargoyles!
I grabbed some eats at a hotel snack shop. The hotel restaurant was too pricey, and breakfast was a buffet. Without someone else to carry my plate, I wouldn't be able to carry it.
10 AM Thrill of the Chase
This was my "Writer Panel" of the weekend. :) The panelists mostly were awake. One of them showed the effects of too much partying Friday night, not enough sleep.
The topic was, as the name implies, chase scenes. They spoke of the challenges to write a good one, of how a chase may have nothing to do with action, and how even Gargoyles had a show-long chase (Eliza Maza and Goliath). It was a very interesting panel.
Next was a convention lunch break. I spent it in the dealer's room. I haven't outgrown my D-R Liaison roots... the room had many more dealers, as often happens at smaller cons; dealers will save money by only being there for the longest day.
I had a neat surprise there: Emru & Tamu Townsend were both there for fps! I hung with them for most of the rest of the convention to talk shop, to share memories of my University days with Emru, etc (I just realized: he makes another APA link too!). They had past issues of the print magazine for sale and display. I was actually in more of them than I remembered: counting my online review, I actually have 5 to my credit, not 3 (two were in one issue that I own but haven't seen in many years). Counting my mini report for this con, I'll be up to 6 pieces so far.
12:30 PM Mug-a-guest : Greg Weisman
Several of us asked about a lot of things. I asked about Greg's dealings with voice actress Brigit Bako (I explain in the sidebar) and the seeming non-finish of the Avalon storyline (actually it was the World Tour. I had the wrong name). Others asked about different story points, Greg's opinion on current Disney 'toons (opinions cut to avoid hurting Greg if they come out wrong). It was an interesting panel.
Emru went aside with Greg to interview him for the magazine, and I spent the time chatting with Tamu. Afterward I had lunch w/Em. We went a short enough walk into downtown, but it was enough to leave me wiped out. We took a small cab ride back to the convention; I wanted to pay for it, but Emru did - it was his chance to expense something to the magazine. :) We came back to:
3:30'ish PM Radio play
This was Greg's final episode of the show, read by attendees. There were differences from how the show originally aired; not a surprise, since Greg wasn't the series editor by then. Unfortunately Keith David was delayed due to a film shoot, otherwise he intended to be there to read the Goliath part. Rob St-Martin, the convention Vice Chair, read it instead. It was a fun piece. Emru made a joke about the Auditorium we sat in; it was as if we were back in school!
Rob St-Martin added to the NaNoWriMo reunion of the weekend: he, Karine and the smaller Mark all ran things, while the taller Mark (I don't know his last name. Mike might) was there, and Chris Taras (who ran our NaNo-group) ran the Auction. It was very successful from what I hear.
I couldn't afford the Banquet too, and I missed both it and the Masquerade - but I still reserved my evening Transport after those events. I ended up eating supper at hotel restaurant. I tried the con suite after, but it was closed for those events as well. Fortunately I only had a 30-minute wait for Transportation after though. That's far better than a 2-hour wait!
I almost forgot: I saw our friend Kriquor at the Radio play. I saw his name on the pre-reg list, and guessed he'd be there as David Xanathos, but this was my first chance to see him. He's another friend now living in Toronto, sadly. :(
I did see one of the folks in hall costume (or for the Masquerade) outside of the Radio Play too. I wish I'd had my camera ready, because it was breathtaking.
I spent most of the day in the Dealer's Room with Emru & Tamu. The only panel I wanted to attend the most for the day would be there anyway.
10 AM'ish Mug-a guest w/ Keith David
There were a lot of people seated to wait for him... I told him how he was one degree of separation from Brigit for me. He said he may say hi to her for me, but I won't hold him to it. Unless he recalls my name, I don't expect him to remember me.
His speech turned into a long diatribe on how soldiers can't easily adjust to regular life after war, but once he began talking about his career, it was gold.
One thing that stood out: he listed Gargoyles as an animated series, not a cartoon. As he said, cartoons are now things aimed at kids (in North America, granted), whereas the series was far more sophisticated. This was very apt to many of us.
Before he arrived I passed through the art show, as it would be taken down soon after. There were some very talented artists shown... of course the primary subjects were characters from the show.
After Keith's speech, Emru had a prize drawing. He'd got folks on an fps mailing list for a chance at a prize. I won one of them: a CD of music inspired by anime. I didn't win the grand prize (a season 3 DVD set for Family Guy), but I may get it anyway... Em will try to get me all 3 seasons to do a series overview.
2 PM Closing Ceremonies
This started with another speech from the 2005 Con Chair (Vegas: I can dream...) then a long string of awards for folks in the art show. Then we got the winners of the Clan Olympics. They spotlighted the lady who had the first pre-registration to this convention. She came from Australia - wow!
I unfortunately had to miss Keith David's final words as I had to get my Transport home.
I had fun at this convention. It had a smaller set of panels, only two guests - but the fact that it was on a focused theme, that I knew quite a few folks there, that everyone was friendly... it was definitely worth the time and effort.
I'm counting the days now until the DVD comes out, and I'm hoping to get to the 2006 Gathering - the 10th anniversary!
Did you make it? Are you still around?