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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?
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