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Unfortunately, with school and family madness, I've not had time to write up an actual con journal (yet). But, I did want to say a few things about it.
The 8th Gathering Of The Gargoyles, was actually my 4th Gathering. It was a wonderful experience, as always. The staff did a great job, and I thank them for all their hard work.
Traveling to Canada was a new and exciting experience for me. I'm glad I got the chance.
The Gathering itself is always fun for me, and this year was no exception. But here's some of my personal highlights.
The banquet was delicious. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it, as I'm a very picky eater, but I'm glad I tried it.
The art show was amazing. So many talented artists! Seeing all the great pieces and the work put into them really encourages me to improve my own art.
Lots of interesting panels, as usual. I only wish I had the time to attend more of them. Radio Play, and Blue Mug were a couple of my favorite events.
The Masquerade and Ball!
The best part, however, is just hanging out, and seeing all the fans that attend; my friends, and all the new people I meet.
The Gathering is just that.. a gathering. A gathering of lots of great people from all over the world, just hanging out and having fun. All in the name of Gargoyles.
It's something I look forward to every year.
I can't wait to see everyone in Las Vegas for 2006! Come hang out with us!
(If anyone's interested: When I do finish my more detailed con report, I'll post it here: http://www.y2hecate.com/Gathering2004/ )
As many of you know, Nikki loves the Gathering so much that she's now conchair for the 2007 Gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN.
2006 SAN DIEGO COMICCON JOURNAL
Just a quick and dirty rundown of how I spent this year's record-SMASHING attendance ComicCon.
WEDNESDAY JULY 19, 2006
8:30am - Wake up at home.
10:30am - Chiropractic appointment and Physical Therapy. (Always good to get worked on before a long drive and a long weekend in an unfamiliar bed.)
11am - Massage. (I know. I live the hard life.)
12pm - Home again to pack.
12:30pm - Hit the road in the not-that-old PT Cruiser.
3:30pm - Arrived in San Diego. Drove down to the Convention Center, but even on Wednesday, parking was impossible. Wound up parking all the way up at Ash & First and walked the many, many blocks to the Con. But I like walking, so frankly that worked fine for me. Stood in the Exhibitor line to pick up badges for myself and my family. (Thanks to SLG and Dan Vado.)
4:30pm - Called my old boss Gary Krisel to tell him I was on my way. I was staying with him and his wonderful wife Jane. They live about twenty minutes north of San Diego.
6:30pm - TWO HOURS later I arrived at their house. Now that's some traffic! Gary and I went to Chilis for a Build-My-Own-Burger. Then it was back to the Krisels. Gary and I talked for a bit. Then I retreated to my room to read Faulkner's Light in August.
1:30am - Lights out.
THURSDAY JULY 20, 2006
8am - Wake up.
9am - Grabbed some fresh OJ and hit the road.
10am - Not wanting to HUNT for a parking space, I just parked at First & Ash again. Walked to the con and found my way to the SLG Booth. Discovered I was scheduled to sign for FOUR HOURS a day for four straight days. That seemed excessive at first, but in the end I found I was GRATEFUL for (a) having someplace to sit and (b) something to do. The convention was completely overwhelming to me. Better to keep busy. Ran into a few people: Perrin Klumpp (of CONvergence) and Tad Stones (of Hellboy).
11am - Started signing GARGOYLES comic books with penciller David Hedgecock. Saw a few familiar faces, including Will H., Howard Bliss and Brian Dumlao.
1pm - Dave treats me to lunch from Café Express. Just a hot dog. (I know how little this guy makes on the comic.) But it was nice to just sit and talk. I really spent some quality time this weekend with Dave and with color artist Will Terrell. Both are great guys.
1:45pm - Headed up to the Panel rooms and caught the end of Tommy Kovac's spotlight panel. He's the creative mind behind SLG's WONDERLAND comic. Dan Vado and Tommy had some funny schtick going.
2:15pm - Had my own spotlight panel moderated by Dan. Talked about my background. Introduced Dave and Stephanie Lostimolo (our cover colorist). Talked about my hopes, plans and fears for the GARGOYLES comic. Answered some questions. It was a brief panel, but a lot of fun. I saw a bunch of familiar faces including Shan & Kevin, Shara (in costume), Seth, Scott, Brian, Jerry (taking pictures of course) and Michael. Met up with Sam Bernstein who was shooting B-Roll for a project we're working on together.
3pm - Sam, Seth, Michael McAdams, Scott, Brian, Tom and I went to Horton Plaza for my SECOND lunch of the day. Had Sushi at the food court. And Ben & Jerry's.
4pm - Started my very deliberate tour of the Exhibit Floor, covering aisles 0-500.
5pm - Second signing of the day - this time with Dave and Will, who had shown up (I'm told) during my panel. First time I had met Will in person. Good guy.
7pm - Went to dinner with the CONvergence gang: Pat & Tim, Perrin & Jenni, Chris & Melissa, plus Len Wein and his wife and Bob Skir. First of course, Pat and I had to walk all dem blocks to my car. Then we drove to a restaurant called Embers. It was a fun evening. But by 10pm we had closed down the place!
10:40pm - Back to the Krisels'. Read some of the Ape Entertainment Comics that Dave had given me (that's his company), including Athena Voltaire, Teddy Scares and The Black Coat. It was all fun stuff.
2am - Lights out.
FRIDAY JULY 21, 2006
8:30am - Wake up. More OJ and then off to the con, again parking at Ash & First.
10:30am - Walked the floor from 600-1000.
11am - Signing with Dave & Will.
12:30pm - Left the signing a half-hour early to attend the Gotham Group party at Rama. Saw a ton of people - most of whom live in L.A. as I do, though we never get together here - including, Bob, Bill, Steve, Bob, Andrew, Grace, Bob, Tramm, Michael, Dean, Nicole, Duane, Michael, Megan, Ellen, Peter, Eddie, Dmitri, etc.
2:30pm - Ted Murphy of Adult Swim interviewed me on camera. Not too sure whether that's going to get used. Have the feeling I wasn't quite on my game. But it was great to meet Ted. When the interview was done, I toured 1100-2000, and was definitely on the verge of burnout. But I ran into more old friends, including Kim, Kevin, Parker and Richard & Wendy Pini. We arranged to have dinner that night.
4pm - I went to the BET Animation Panel with Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Sydney. They're in the very early stages… but this white Jewish boy would love to get on that network. Honestly.
5pm - Back to the SLG Booth for another two hours of signing with Dave & Will.
7pm - Crispin Freeman and I hiked to my car, and then we met Richard, Wendy and Izzy for dinner at Todai.
10pm - Back at the Krisels'. Beth and the kids were already there, having driven down that afternoon from L.A.
1am - Lights out.
SATURDAY JULY 22, 2006
8am - Wake up.
9:30am - Depart with Benny for the Con. This time we parked near the Baseball Stadium and for Benny's sake we took a pedi-cab to the con.
10:30am - Stopped by the Animation Writers Caucus panel for a bit. But Benny was bored. So we went back to the floor and toured 2000-2500. None of my family had ever been to ComicCon before. It was - shall we say - eye opening.
11am - Back to SLG for our morning signing. Will had bugged out to hit the beach, so it was me, Dave and BENNY, who would have happily signed anything you put in front of him. He was actually a pretty good sport. Eventually, Erin and Beth showed up. Benny and Beth went exploring, and Erin sat with Dave and I for awhile.
1pm - Grabbed some Pizza from Café Express, but there was literally NOWHERE to sit. Wound up sitting single-file on a staircase. After lunch we toured 2500-3000. And then Beth had had enough. She left with the kids to go swimming at the Krisels' (where Benny got stung by a bee - which is one of his major nightmares, but it wound up not being too bad). After they left, I toured 3000-4500. Then I ran into Dave Schwartz, his wife Nanci and their daughter Kara (who I'm fairly certain was named after Supergirl). I was glad to get off the floor and we went to see Frank Miller's panel on THE SPIRIT movie that he plans to write and direct after he's done with SIN CITY II.
4pm - Caught the end of the TV Guide Panel, mostly cause I wanted to sit down and relax and wait for the NEXT panel in that room.
4:30pm - Veronica Mars panel with the creator and a whole bunch of the cast. I'm a HUGE VM fan. Love the show. (Oh, speaking of being a fanboy, I also stopped by Phil Foglio's booth/table. Wanted to introduce myself, but chickened out - and only bought his stuff. Wound up sending him a letter and a copy of GARGOYLES after I got back to L.A. We've since had a really nice e-mail exchange. Guess I was silly to be such a chicken.)
5pm - Back to SLG for more signings with Dave. Since at that point, we didn't know Will had gone to the beach, we were starting to worry about him.
7pm - Went to THE BATMAN panel. Wanted to know what THEY were giving away about the episodes I had written, so that I'd know what was fair game for me to talk about. I think there really taking some interesting chances with their fourth season, and I'm very proud of the episode "Artifacts" that I wrote for them. Also, I can now say that Brendan Routh (SUPERMAN) is appearing in another of my episodes: "The Everywhere Man". But he's NOT playing Superman.
7:30pm - Went to the Animation Writers Caucus party at a nearby hotel. Talked with Kevin, Kevin, Nicole, Jymn and others. (Yeah, I'm name dropping, but I'm only giving first names mostly, so you can try and make a game out of who's who.)
9pm - Dean, Brian, Andy, Erika, Andrew, Ian, Nicole and I headed out to attend the Jetix Party at a way-too-hip-for-me bar named Thin.
9:30pm - We arrived at Thin. But by this time, I had a headache, so I said hi to Jermaine and Tracy and then took off.
11:15pm - Returned to the Krisels'. Beth and the kids and the Krisels were already asleep.
2am - Went to bed.
3am - Fell asleep.
SUNDAY JULY 23, 2006
8am - Wake up.
8:30am - OJ and Rye toast. Said goodbye to the Krisels and my family. (The latter were going to swim some more and then head home.)
10:30am - Parked on the street up near Ash & First. Hit the floor to finish off the 4600-5300.
11am - Signing with Dave & Will.
1pm - Had Thai food with Joey Cavalieri of DC Comics. Pitched a few ideas to him. One of 'em may go. We'll see. But mostly Joey and I caught up. It'd been something like twenty years since we last saw each other.
3pm - Our last signing. All through the con, I think we had a nice steady flow of people coming up to buy books and get signatures and sketches. Felt good.
5pm - Departed the con.
8pm - Made it as far as Irvine and stopped off at Nicole's house for dinner.
10pm - Finally made it home. That's it!
Got to the hotel the day before the convention absolutely exhausted. That airport really ain't so great. Just collapsed into bed.
The first day I attended a extremely interesting panel with John Clemens about combat. Hudson showed he was scarily familiar with weaponry of all types. :) The opening ceremonies were cool, learning the next con was to be in Las Vegas was a pleasant surprise and I definitely plain on attending. Watch the Clan Olympics take over the ceremonies was a highlight and I only wish I could have managed to see more of it during the con. Afterwards I was participated in Mystery Gargoyles Theater 3000, which was a blast. After dinner and going to my room for a while, I attended the Blue Mug-a-Guest with Greg. Am I the only one who thinks we really get a bigger room for this? The past two have each seemed far too small, this time especially. I still enjoyed the conversation and got to trade a few before hand with Whitbourne about Tim Hourtins. Got my question answered, but again forgot to ask the question I put off asking in New York.
The next day I was at I the auction and managed to buy some things I really don't need. The Radio Play was wonderful. Whoever did the voice of Vinnie really hit the nail on the head, it sounded perfect. The banquet was probably the highlight of the con (Despite the subpar food, but I was expecting that. I am SO looking forward to those Las Vegas buffets!). Listening to Keith speak was a treat, despite having to strain to hear him over the caterwauling next-door (Who the heck were those people anyway?).
The last day was sad, but it really great to get my photo with Keith and a autograph. I had planned to go the amusement park, but a mix-up of my fault prevented me. Still, it was all in all a great con and am already checking airfares for next year. See you'all there!
Short and too the point.
Note to readers; I was writing actual hard copy in a notebook while I was at the con. I've
transcribed it pretty much word-for-word, so when it's written in the present tense, that's
because I wrote about it while it was happening. Where it's in past tense, that's because I
was writing about it later on.
Airline travel was airline travel. I'll invest in a jetpack.
8-ish: Got to hotel. Ate. Talked with other gathering-goers. T-Shirts from precious
Gathering and trench coats are good indicators.
1: Finally got to bed. On the floor. Still better than the "mattress" in my dorm last year.
9:45: Awake. Went to Eat with Sarah the Great. Found out I don't like Swiss Almond Mocha
We went and registered in. Gotta buy a Shirt. Signed up for Blue Q+A and Clan Oylmpics.
12:00: Went to Sapcebabie's General Round Robin. We talked about UCF (she just graduated
from the university I'm attending).
Waited for more people to come.
Seri Wavelength, Whitbourne, Allaine showed up. We waited more. Lord Sloth showed up.
We started. Allaine taped the whole thing.
"Macbeth and Demona in the Grand Canyon whitewater rafting. Using the words "Bitch, Ropes,
Rocks, Flirtatious, Salamander, Moss, and Whisky"
1:15: Dingy! Out of Round Robin.
1:50: Went to fill out a ballot for the art show. Must take some illegal pictures. Then get
Bought a Gathering T-Shirt and Phoenix Gate anthology.
T-Shirt was too small, so I exchanged it for another one.
Got lunch with Sara the Great.
3:15: Saw a little bit of Greg's voice acting talk. He was talking about picturing the
characters in his head before making the show.
3:30: Went to costume seminar.
4:15: Wrote on the hard copy of this journal. Waited for opening ceremony at 5:00.
4:45: Made a sign for our Clan Olympics team. We purposely spelled it wrong. -> For those of
you who don't know (re: everybody), I was on Clan Chalangd, Part Duex.
5:00: Sat with my team (Me, Sarah the Great, ChynaRose, and Allaine) at opening ceremonies.
I stuffed the most balls down my shirt! So proud.
Vegas sounded great. Decided I had to find money to attend.
Enjoyed the pitch presentations. Liked the evolutions of the character designs.
Great story about 'This is meant for kids?!"
Wasn't impressed by the New Olympians presentation. Thought the design for Sphinx was
interesting. Very Gargish. I wonder why no one on AskGreg has asked if she has some ancestry
in the New Olympian Clan.
My advice (not that I'm qualified to give it) to Greg on this one is it needs to have some
plot rather than just premise.
Bad Guys ROcked!
Disappointed we didn't get to do Mystery Gargoyles Theater 3000.
Dinner: Ate a bagel at Tim Horton's.
10:00: Shot in the dark. We came in last but made 3 tic-tact-toe. Must get someone to
exorcise the "spirits".
12:00-2:00: 'Blue' (why is it called Blue?) Mug-a-Guest. Not a lot of 'Blue' questions. Was
I the only one who asked adult questions (I asked using the tail to pleasure one's self and
where little Oberon's Children came from) or is my memory bad? Probably both.
9:50: Dragged myself out of bed (re:the floor). Roomates need to wash their feet. Damn!
10:00 Torture trivia. Lots of fun. I'm surprised the other teams didn't try to get us out
But never fear! I am the holder of the magic 1up ball!
11:15: Out of torture trivia. We were down to 2nd from last. Saved the 1up ball.
I went upstairs and cleaned up. Had some bad donuts and awlful coffee (mostly water) at Tim
12:00: Sat around talking about commercials with some of the English con-goers at the
McDonald's by the Tim Horton's.
12:30: Came to the auction. Bought some stuff.
I'll see about scanning the coloring book up onto the internet.
1:37: Still at the auction. Going to buy a dangly and stick it to my forehead like White.
Damn! The Brooklyn went up to $26!
Bought the last Broadway one for $6. Probably too much. But I must suction cup it to my head
so I can take a photo and put it on the internet. Which means I need a website.
They auctioned of "The Cell". You feel the tension in the air. If someone had lit a match
I'm afraid the room would have exploded.
$41 for the "Darkfighter" backpack.
Gotta email Rita M. and congratulate her on how well her artwork sold.
2:30: Played really hard pictionary. It was really hard.
We got last and had to allow another team to die. But we still had the Hunter's Moon Dash to
make it up.
3:15: Payed for my auction stuff. Attached the Broadway sucker to head. It rocked.
Played pictionary some more just for fun. Robert was really good at it. we got all the
phrases when he was drawing.
3:30: Put in the minimum $20 bid on the Gargoyle-alien-armor-dune-worm painting. It's sort
of alot and not's Netzumi's best piece, but it's picture I stumbled upon that got me into
the fandom, so it's worth buying.
3:40: Put stuff down up in the room. The I went to attend the radio play. Was wondering what
it was going to be. I know it needs lots of people and there's about 30 sitting upfront.
3:50: We started the radio play. Had to wait for the film crew.
4:21: They did "The Journey". Going to see the music videos next.
4:30: Seen the videoes. Disappointed there was only 3. Apparently the mail-ins didn't work
or some such. Poor Siren. Trying to remember if Nickerous said he sent some in.
Think mine was the best, but I'm partial. Didn't because of it.
Went to A fan's room. Ate his pizza and watched a few episode tapes.
8:30: Banquest is over. Keith David is doing Q+A. Annoying music from next door drifting
over. But don't worry, "Our hearts will go on."
9:30: Kicked us out to prep for the Masquerade.
Gotta do something for it next year. Severius or Owen?
9:50: Masquerade's getting going. Lots of people in costumes who don't seem to be in the
contest. I wonder if the full body gargoyle guy scared them off.
Costumes were great. Ran out of pictures on my camera. Started taking them with the digital
in my cell phone.
My hands are sore and bleeding from all the clapping! And I'm finding I write with too many
11:45: Went up to Sarah's room and we made "The ONE BOX."
Came back down and took Allaine's pciture with my camera phone. I know he saw us. Wonder
what he was thinking. Will find out the hard way.
But it'll be worth it. Our characture of him is great!
11:55: Came down to karoke to see what's going on down here.
1:05: Lyric-less "YMCA" (we didn't know any of the words so we insert 'something-something'
every 5 seconds).
My hands are still sore from earlier.
1:35: My "I Will Survive" is a hit.
10:05: Sarah had Scott drag me out of bed for the scavenger hunt. Lot of fun. Bought the
knick-knacks we didn't have.
Sarah ran upstreet(and I mean literally mean up and in up-hill) to a convience store and
nearly passed out.
12:30: Saw the Keith David Mug-A-Guest.
1:15-ish: Bought the "Midori' piece I had bid on in the art show.
Bought another T-shirt too. (Later I got home to realize that the gargoyle is on the back of
the shirt, not the front like I thought.)
3:00: Closing. Looking forward to 2005. Registered for next year. Got a free T-shirt.
5:30: Swam in the indoor pool. Feel much better.
6:30: Showered. Smell much better.
7:00: Laser Tag!
KICKED @%#^& ASS!
Glad I wore all black.
9:30: Went to eat at a restaurant called Rueben's. Lousy sandwich. Fires were good. It was
decided that we will do laser tag next year in Vegas.
10:45: Siryn is a mean drunk. Enough said.
11:00: Talked with Lynati & others about TGS stuff. Aaron, Marge, & Greg Bishanky(?) showed
1:40: Went to bed.
7:30: Sarah dragged me out of bed. We walked around and saw the architecture.
Got breakfast. Good food.
9:50: We got back. Ran to the bathrooms.
10:10: Out of room. Sat in lobby and talked.
11:30: Outta there. Cuaght bus to the airport.
12:55: Finishing Gathering Journal in airport. Missing everybody already. Dang.
That was punchy! It had verve!
Thursday, August 5th: "Pre" Gathering.
We arrived at the Delta Centrville a little after 6PM. Kelly and I went with the porter and our bags to our room on the 28th floor (the highest "guest" floor in the hotel). After tipping the porter we relaxed in the room for about a half hour, checking out what channels the TV had to offer. Alex only had time to glance around the room and make a couple calls home before he had to go play "Taxi Driver" between the hotel and the airport. Lord Sloth then stopped by after checking in at his youth hostle and we let him keep his stuff in or room while he was at the con.
We arrived at the Delta Centrville a little after 6PM. Kelly and I went with the porter and our bags to our room on the 28th floor (the highest "guest" floor in the hotel). After tipping the porter we relaxed in the room for about a half hour, checking out what channels the TV had to offer. Alex only had time to glance around the room and make a couple calls home before he had to go play "Taxi Driver" between the hotel and the airport. Lord Sloth then stopped by after checking in at his youth hostle and we let him keep his stuff in or room while he was at the con.
We spent most of what was left of the evening lounging in the room or taking exciting elevator rides down to the lobby, either for Kelly to have a smoke or to see if we could catch any other con-goers as they were checking in. By about 10:00 most of the "con veterans" had arrived and we hung out in the lobby (A Fan, Mara, Aaron, Spacebabie, Revel, Liz - who is also from Virginia - Wingless, and many others) Alex Garg had arrived with Kathy, but they had to leave again to go pick up Kathy's room mate as well as Denis - the 4th person in our room. This caused some confusion when Denis arrived about an hour and a half after Alex Left.
I was under the impression that Denis had arrived with Alex. So Kelly and I brought him up to the room. We watched TV for a while and waited for Alex to come back from "parking the car". About half an hour later when Denis asked us where Alex was, I said he probably stayed down in the lobby to chat. THEN.. we find out that Denis actually didn't get picked up by Alex, he took a taxi when he couldn't find he, at the airport.
At about 1:AM, Alex comes in looking exhausted. He looks at the bed he had planned on sleeping in, sees Denis asleep in it, then looks at me and Kelly. After briefly explaining the misunderstanding we finally called it a night, with Alex sleeping on an exercise mat on the floor.
Friday, August 6th: Gathering, Day 1
The four of us (Alex, Kelly, Denis, and I) had breakfast at Chez Antoine, the "bistro" in the hotel lobby. With us were Ellen Stolfa, Kathy Pogge, and a couple other fans. Most of us ordered the buffet, which was pretty good but a little on the expensive side. After breakfast, we went up to the mezzanine and hung out until registration started. I saw many familiar faces and many new ones as well, including the "famous" Christine Morgan.
A little while later, registration opened and I picked up my package - con badge, T-shirt, Phoenix Gate Anthology, and schedule (or rather "program" - 26 pages and center stapled - kudos to Syrin for the awesome job). After our little group had registered, Ellen invited us on a walking tour of downtown Montreal. We all went back upstairs, dropped off our packets gathered our "tourist" gear. Unfortunately my digital camera needed a recharge so I had to take my bulky SLR film camera instead. On the way back down I stopped at the con suite and dropped of a couple movie contributions for the video room: "They Live" and "Men at Work" - both featured Keith David. Soon we were all assembled and ready to go.
We first stopped at the Notre-Dame Basilica. I had seen videos of this building, and I knew the interior was even more spectacular, so I really wanted to go inside. I was particularly interested in seeing the famous organ which has been there since 1891. Unfortunately we didn't have much time, and we were hoping to stop for food before getting back to the con. So I took some photos of the exterior and a couple shots of the horse-drawn carriages that were lining the street. I hoped I would be able to come back later and see the inside. We then visited China Town where we browsed a few of the shops. We then made our way back towards the hotel. On the way back, Ellen took us by McGill University, one of her Alma-matters. We briefly stopped at a bistro on University Street. Its small atrium featured a sculpture of a cow. This provided for some amusement as one of Kelly's online personas is "The Sadistic Cow." Ellen and Kathy decided to stay and eat, while the four of us from room 2816 rushed back to the hotel so we could catch the beginning of the second block of panels since we were already missing the first block.
I went to Flanker's "Understanding Combat" panel. I don't think he'll be able to do this panel in Vegas, much less set foot in an airport with his "visual aids" - which he let us play with. :-D. I then auditioned for the radio play. I never bothered to audition at the last to cons. I was hoping Keith David would be there, but he hadn't arrived yet. So Greg had brought in "Crazy Demona" Jen to assist him. I read for Xanatos and did my "angry cat" impression. The DVD crew was waiting outside the room. Being a multi-media enthusiast I had to get a close look at that camera. After that I went up to the room and relaxed a bit before Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies started out with the usual introduction by the con staff. Gorebash was awarded the title of "Fan Guest of Honor." Then Clan Olympics "took over" with their first event: "Get Stuffed" - where one team member stands at the front of the room, wearing a ripped oversized t-shirt, into which others try to stuff as many plastic balls as possible (I took pictures). After the silliness was over, the G2005 staff pimped next years con and unveiled the mascot, unofficially named "Blue Eyes." Then Greg (after pulling his sadistic "Ladies and gentlemen, Keith David" stunt) played a tape recording of several of the production crew and voice talent involved in the show, including Ed Asner (Huson) sans accent. Basically they all said the same thing - how they loved working on the show and that if they could they would try to make next year's convention. Next came the big announcement that the DVD was going to be on December 7th (the day after my birthday.) Greg then proceeded to elaborate by reading from a printed out PowerPoint presentation (which you can read more about in his own journal). The rest of Opening Ceremonies proceeded "normally" with the screening of the two promotion videos, the Bad Guys lica reel, and the audio recording of the never animated Team Atlantis episode, "The Last."
After Opening ceremonies we retreated back to the room - I think we watched "South Park"… in FRENCH - before heading down to the Blue Mug -A-Guest, where you can ask Greg anything that comes to your dirty little mind. At least that's how it was last year. This year, it wasn't so "blue." Some say it was because we didn't have Thom Adcox there to encourage us. I think it might have been because it was scheduled before the "regular" mug-a-guest since Greg couldn't stay Saturday night. Whatever the reason, it seems more people were interested in talking about the DVD than asking naughty questions. Although I didn't stay very long, I did work up the courage to show Greg the screen shots of frames that might have been "overlooked" but the animation supervisors, as well as a compilation of screen shots with accompanying text (courtesy of the "Sadistic Cow.") These were passed around and got some amusing reactions.
To be continued..... (hopefully)
I've come to the conclusion or at least the opinion that the reason that Blue Mugs are no longer as blue as they once were is because we've already covered most of the blue bases. At every blue mug, somebody pipes up and asks a silly or humorously obnoxious question that's so out there that I don't have an answer, but serious blue discussions that we might have seem old news.
That's my theory, anyway.
Maybe the comics will encourage more blueness -- since they won't be blue at all, but may inspire blue thoughts.
Two questions about Gargoyles' stone healing:
1.) If a Gargoyle had one of its wings cut off, would the wing grow back in stone sleep or would it be gone forever?
2.) If a Gargoyle had something cut off in its stone sleep (an arm or a finger), would it wake up with or without an arm or at all?
2. It depends how catastrophic the injury was, how close to sunset, etc. as to whether they'd survive the trauma at all. But limbs do not grow back.
Seth's Con journal! (and just in time)
My Gathering experience
Wednesday (Day -1)
Before I left from Fresno, California I was really nervous about the flight:
a) I've never been out of the country before
b) I didn't have my passport
There really wasn't any excuse for me not to have my passport, I had plenty of time between The Gathering 2003 and 2004 to get one but I didn't think I needed one since I had a state issued form of identification and a certified copy of my birth certificate. Well, approximately two to three weeks prior to my scheduled time to fly out I wanted to double check and make sure I had all my shit together. So I called the Office of Vital Records to make sure I had everything in order and they explained to me that the look of the Certified Birth Certificates and the embossed stamp that is used on them had been changed since September 11th and as a result there was the possibility that an airline might reject my request to travel. So I made a mad scramble to try and get an updated copy of my birth certificate but was unable to procure one in time for my flight. I assumed as long as they let me on the plane at Fresno that I would be okay the rest of the flight and it didn't even dawn on me until I left LAX that there was the possibility they could reject me at JFK or Canadian Customs!
But despite all my worrying, things went relatively smooth. The people at the X-RAY machines always gave me a knowing grin as I proceeded to remove my keys, loose change, phones, pager, wallet, belt, etc. just to get through the friggin metal detector.
Thursday (Day 0)
So I landed in JFK on Thursday morning and that's when something really cool happened! They needed to bump one person from the 9am flight into Montreal to a later flight and offered a travel voucher for the person who would exchange seats. Since I knew my roommates weren't going to show up until 1pm I decided to be the volunteer. I could wait 3 hours in JFK and get a travel voucher or I could wait 3 hours at the hotel. So, several rounds of Mario Golf later I boarded the plane to Montreal.
Customs was... interesting. It was fairly easy in the sense that all I had to do was show them my Birth Certificate, ID, and answer a few questions. The line was LONG and I thought I was going to be there for HOURS but it moved faster than expected. The only thing that worried me was my luggage was already off the plane and off the carousel, sitting off to the side. Upon exiting customs I was greeted by not less than a thousand people. It took me a little while to remember that just because we're not allowed to greet people at the gate in America, the same does not apply for other countries. I quickly spotted an ATM machine so I could get some local money and was soon off to the hotel via Taxi.
The hotel was quiet... too quiet! Where the hell was everybody?! It took a while for everybody to trickle in (including my roommates) but eventually I began to see some framilar faces from cons past: Gorebash, Vashkoda, Wingless, CrzyDemona, Kathy, GregX, Hudson, Chris Rogers, etc. Wingless, Gaberus, A Fan, and I went in search of food after dropping my stuff off in the room and getting settled in. We chatted the night away with fellow fans before retiring to our respective rooms to get ready for the big day.
Friday (Day 1)
We woke up around 9 so we would be up in plenty of time to get breakfast and stop by the registration desk before the first events started. Good old McDonalds located down in an underground complex. Beneath Montreal is their subway system which expands into a gigantic underground labyrinth of malls and stores connecting to the aboveground buildings all over downtown Montreal! It's really impressive! I wish I had more time to explore it but, unfortunately, 90% of it was shut down on the weekends so I only had the little experience on Friday. After breakfast and getting my registration in order, I loitered around the lobby for a while say hi to old friends and getting caught up. I ran into some more friends that I hadn't seen the night before, including Greg Weisman, Lanny, and Siryn. These are some of my favorite times during The Gathering because there are so many wonderful and diverse people who attend and some of them I only get to see once a year. I also spent a little bit of time checking out the Art Show & Dealer's Room. Sans the items Disney brought from the Archives to display last year, the turn out for both artists and dealers was much more impressive and diverse this year.
Wingless and Gaberus went off to attend Flanker's Understanding Combat session while I went to attend Greg's Voice Acting Seminar. I love the voice acting seminar's as I'm a little bit of an attention whore and love the chance to perform in front of an audience, even though my voice isn't very unique sounding. And it's always great to learn new lessons and tips from people in the industry. The panel was supposed to feature both Greg and Keith David but Keith hadn't arrived yet as he was held over a day in Miami (I think) where they were filming Transporter 2. Despite the absence of Keith, the seminar was really great and Greg did a fantastic job parting advice and wisdom onto us. It was also during this seminar that I was introduced to a Canadian friend of Lanny's named Michael, who has done real voice acting in his life. Michael is quite the character and a real interesting guy... but more on him later.
After the voice acting panel it was time for me to try out for this year's radio play! For those of you who have never attended The Gathering before, Greg brings a script from episodes of Gargoyles or scripts from other projects he's worked on for us to reenact before an audience. But first we have to have auditions to try out for the various parts. This year's radio play we were able to figure out was going to be "The Journey" based on the initials of the roles that needed assigning.
After the auditions were over I had a little bit of time to chill out before the opening ceremonies so I accompanied Gorebash, Vashkoda, and Sean as they moved into a different hotel room with highspeed internet access available. We decided to check out this create your own pasta place that Vash knew about after ceremonies. Opening ceremonies proceeded as usual. The con staff welcomed everybody and presented themselves, the announcement for next year's convention, and Greg presented his usual slew of videos and stories (which we NEVER get tired of watching). There were a few major announcements:
1) Next year's convention will be held in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada!
2) Gorebash received the equivalent of the Lifetime achievement award for all of his efforts on Satation 8 and helping to keep the fandom alive
3) The official release date and stats for the Gargoyles DVD which was originally announced in 2002:
A 2 disc set comprised of the complete first season, uncut
MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) of $29.99
Commentary on the first five episodes by Greg, Frank Paur, and Keith David
The original pitch Greg used to sell the show to Disney
And a documentary on The Gathering of the Gargoyles 2004 as filmed in Montreal, Canada
That's right, there was film crew at the con who had been running around and getting footage of anything and everything they could (the voice acting panel and radio play auditions were no exception and I hope I end up on the DVD :D). Very, very exciting news... It was a GREAT time to be a Gargoyles fan. Greg closed with some inspirational words stressing just how much it's now up to the fans to get the word out on the DVD and The Gathering.
After ceremonies we went to the pasta place (whose name escapes me at the moment) but I think is worth mentioning because it was absolutely fantastic and I wish we had a place like it in Fresno. We all came back to the hotel for the Blue Mug-a-Guest which wasn't very blue this year due to A LOT of questions and excitement around the DVD. I tried to do my own part to help keep in on track with a few questions about Lexington's sexuality but it was still a great experience, as usual.
Saturday (Day 2)
I woke up late. There weren't many events I was planning on going to in the morning but I wasn't planning on staying up until 2:30am at the Blue Mug-a-Guest either. After buying a few items at the Dealer's room and bidding on the Art Show items, my roommates and I went down to the underground malls to try and find some food (perhaps more McDonalds). But they were closed! Everything was closed!! We probably spent close to 2 hours running around all of Montreal looking for some food! I was hoping to make it back in time for this year's auction. One of the things I'm famous for (even though I've only done it three, maybe four times) is paying outlandish amounts of money for some of the rarer pieces. This year I went to way to many conventions and took way too many trips so I was flat broke but I was still hoping to make a guest appearance just to freak people out and make them wonder what I was going to bid on (can't disappoint the fans). Unfortunately, it was not meant to be... I made it back to the hotel JUST in time for the Radio Play Rehearsals.
I've done quite a few of the Radio Plays and I must say this year's cast was brilliant. Everybody did a fantastic job! As I said, we did the Gargoyles episode "The Journey" and I was assigned the role of Owen Burnett... I swear I was type-cast!! But at least I had lines this year, unlike when I played the mute character Claw at last year's con.
Zehra as Elisa Maza (I swear she SOUNDS like Salli sometimes)
Michael as Vinnie Grigori (he really has fantastic talent and he's cute too! :D)
The sexy Jen Anderson as Fleance
Liz and Stormy doing great jobs as baby Alexander Xanatos and Cagney the cat
Vashkoda and Gorebash played the roles of Maria Chavez and Matt Bluestone wonderfully
Lanny did a great Travis Marshall
But the people who stole the show with the last lines were Cindy and Chris Rogers as Margot Yale and Lennox Macduff.
Keith David finally arrived during the Banquet and I was the first person to shake his hand coming through the door. I believe he recognized me from past conventions as I've been to every convention he's been to and I thought I heard him say "It's good to see you again" as he shook my hand. Anyway, the banquet was a fantastic experience and many laughs were had by all... especially thanks to the party next door which featured some of the WORST off-key karaoke singing I have ever heard in my life!! To point that Keith said "Somebody shoot that horse" as somebody was hitting the high note on "I did it my way."
A couple of other highlights from the QA with Keither (for me anyway) was when he was telling us how seeing Harrison Ford's Motorcycle (they were in Hollywood Homicide together) would give him a boner and the out of context quote "I hope I can whip out Thailog when I need to." So THAT'S what he calls it (I know, I know. "My dick, my dick, my dick" ... or in this case Keith's).
After the banquet came the Masquerade and Cosplay. My personal favorites were:
John as the Renaissance Hunter (I'm a little biased because I played John Canmore in hunter garb in 97 and 98 but it was still a great costume!)
Becca Morgan as Bronx.
Sapphire, Chameleon Girl and Ethan's reenactment of the second season Gargoyles theme with props
All of the staff members costumes (Siryn was SO adorable as Tom!!)
And last but not least, Loopy at Korul. It's about time a fursuiter showed up with a Gargoyles costume (complete with retractable wings that were controlled by his arms)!! He did a great skit as well as The Gargoyle who's scared of heights to the tune of rubbery ducky. Lanny pointed out to me later that we've seen costumes done better and more complex at other furry conventions but it was still awesome to see. Lanny and I spent most of the night chatting away and getting caught up as friends often do but we occasionally peeked our head back into the ballroom for some of the better highlights including listening to Cindy, Jen, and Keith sing (all three are fantastic in their own rights!), a hilarious edition of YMCA (or YMCsomething) and the filk "Blame Gargoyles" based off of South Park's "Blame Canada" (incidentally, I found myself whistling that tune all through the airport on Monday! Thanks A LOT guys… I'm lucky they didn't kill me, eh!). I said my goodbyes to Greg before heading upstairs to retire as he was leaving that morning to meet up with his family for his daughter Erin's birthday.
Sunday (Day 3)
Most of Sunday I spent gathering up a few last goodies in the Dealer's room before chatting the evening away with Jen, Lanny, Siryn, and Vash. Closing Ceremonies was sad, as usual because it means that things are unfortunately coming to an end (as is this diary). I was happy to see that many of the pieces that I voted on in the art show won awards and Cindy did an amazing job handling the whole ordeal :) I was able to get Keith David to sign my Delux Wingblast Goliath action figure and he made a note of it because he had never seen one before and thought it looked awesome (I have to see if I can pick one up for him to give to him in Vegas).
Afterwards Vash, Gore, Sean, and I ran around all of Montreal to try a find an EB Games for a Playstation 2 RF unit so Sean could play Final Fantasy XI in his hotel... Nothing is open on the weekends in downtown Montreal and I mean NOTHING. Hell, I'm shocked the hotel we were STAYING at was even open after the experience we had on Saturday and Sunday. I spent the rest of the evening in the con suite with the staff talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly for both this year's con and next and a little bit of brainstorming on how to help promote it and the DVDs. I also got a little bit of cuddle time with Jen and Alan grabbed my ass! WOO!!!
Monday (the final day)
I picked up some souvenirs and memorabilia for the people back home before packing up my bags and heading to the airport. The flight out was as smooth and uneventful as the flights in and now I can say that I've officially been to a foreign country. I always wish The Gatherings could go on longer than they do because I always have such an amazing time at them but this year I was a little glad to be back in America. Between nothing being open on weekends and not speaking French, Montreal ran me a little weary at times (and I appreciate even more how little Spanish speaking California actually is now, despite our complaints that they're taking over :D). But despite that I'm eagerly looking forward to returning to Canada to explore more of the country itself (and not just from the view of a hotel room) as what little I WAS exposed to took my breath away with it's gorgeous blending of country, history, and modernization. And I can't wait to do it all over again in Las Vegas for The Gathering of the Gargoyles 2005!!
Seth went on to join the staff for G2006, this past month. I also had lunch with him, Michael McAdams, Sam Bernstein, Brian Dumlao, Sammy and Tom at San Diego ComicCon last week. That's right. We hang.
(Below you will find my Gathering diary, as it is. In its original version it is actually more or less integrated with a multiple page photo gallery, and part of a larger diary on my visit of Canada. This entire setup makes it very difficult to post the diary somewhere without the pictures or sub-pages. I have opted to copy and much of the relevant text into the submission form in order to post it here. Existing out of its original context, the result might be a bit confusing, so please bear with me.)
Friday was the first proper day of the Gathering. It began with sleeping in late for most of us, considering the time we had gone to bed the night before. The exception was MAui. She had to get up early to work on the Clan Olympics with Abram Wintersmith. As a result most of the morning had already disappeared by the time we were up and about. By that time Robert, also our roomie, had shown up as well, swelling our ranks further.
One of our first acts of the day was to get registered at the registration desk. Again, a lot of familiar faces, and some new ones, but I have to say, I liked all the new faces I met.
We registered ourselves as a team for the Clan Olympics under the name "Arcadia International" ("We don't suck!"). Our members represented Canada, the United States of America, Great Brittain and The Netherlands. It was a team with too many members so we needed to rotate, but that turned out to work just fine as there was always some other team in need of a spare player. The Clan Olympics was a major event this year, and ended up dominating our weekend. Good thing it was a lot of fun.
At some point we decided to go to have breakfast/lunch. As we walked out ('we' being Robert, Dubble, Countess and myself) we walked right into a huge group of Gathering-attendants who all were just leaving for breakfast/lunch. The group was far too large to remember, but random names would be Hudson, Chris Rogers, Kaelyan, Cat, Mandolin, a bunch of people I know by face, not by name, and a bunch of people I don't remember at all. Awash in the sudden current, the self-appointed "Dweeby section of the group", we followed them around to a corner restaurant who gladly wanted to feed us, but only outside, where there was still room. The personel was quite friendly. It seems that for some reason, wherever Gargoyles fans go, everyone seems to like them. What is it about us? ;)
After all this the Gathering started proper, starting with the opening ceremonies, and then through the MGT3K event to the second Clan Olympics event. The second event? Indeed. The first had already been sprung at us during the opening ceremonies. A very daring move indeed.
Unfortunately Countess and Beedoo! missed most of this. Countess had to pick up Beedoo! from the airport as the opening ceremonies started and returned very late due to a delay. But with Beedoo! there at least our room was now completely present.
I recall that at one point, we went too bed. Way too late, again.
--- The registration desk, manned and womaned by BrooklynX, Rob and Siryn, was a very active place at the start of the Gathering, so much so that people gathered there for the largest part of the day. Aside from regular registration there was the seperate registration for the Clan Olympics beside it. No one could register without at least hearing of the event.
(Actually, I think the man's name was Rob. I know what his online handle is, more or less, but I can't even begin to spell it. ;) )
--- At the registration desk we also met the camera team sent there by Disney to film the Gathering. I was very pleasantly actually surprised to find that they were very open, very enthusiastic people. In my cynicism I had assumed they would just show up, shoot some film, collect their wages and leave. Instead, they really seemed to be there to want to get into the thing.
The camera team asked us to register again, so they'd have footage of registration. So we handed in our badges, then, in front of the camera, walked up to the desk, told our name and got handed a random badge and envelope. It was nothing like proper registration, unfortunately ("Arno! Hey Arno! What's you're last name!?"), and I wish they'd been there to film that instead. But we dutifully did our bit. A great actor I shall never be though.
They certainly filmed a lot of stuff. As I was talking to the camera people, signing away either my soul or my right not to want to appear on the DVD (yeah, right!) on some piece of legal paper, and suddenly I realised that I'd lost my program! But when I turned it around I found it again, under this enormous camera, being filmed for the DVD. I am so proud. Sadly, though, I lost it for real later that day.
--- As always the Gathering officially kicked off withthe opening ceremonies. In random order: we watched the movies, we listened to the stories. We listened to what the staff had in store for us, there was a fun tape with recorded messages from about a dozen(?) people involved with Gargoyles on it (as with Ed Asner's letter at the Gathering in LA, 2001, I can't help but notice what a kind man he seems to be), Gorebash received a well-deserved fandom award and at some point the opening ceremonies even got hijacked by the Clan Olympics.
After the chaos caused by this died down the opening ceremonies continued as usual. Further notable parts included the release date and further information on the Gargoyles DVD and Chris Roger's plans for the future of the Gathering which were, to say the least, fascinating.
--- During the opening ceremonies the whole thing got hijacked by the Clan Olympics. MAui and Abram Wintersmith stepped to the front of the room, stoically dropping cue cards declaring the opening ceremonies to be taken over. Truthfully, It was a hillarious thing to happen, and I must say, a brave thing to do for both them as well as the Gathering staff, who no doubt had to OK this rather unconventional idea.
So there we were, participating in the first event already, Jess and Dubble grabbing balls from a box and Robert stuffing them down my shirt for all he was worth, all this in front of the entire assembly of fans as well as the camera crew.
Sadly, I have no pictures of the actual event itself. I was too busy getting balls stuffed down my shirt.
--- Beedoo! arrived hours later than she was supposed to, but fortunately just in time to do the traditional "hanging out in our room" thing with us again.
The second day of the Gathering was the only full day of Gathering planned. As such, it was filled with activities, most of which I did not have a chance to attend.
As stated earlier, the Clan Olympics dominated our weekend, and it continued doing so. One thing it did was force us to get up relatively early (once again, even earlier for MAui), allowing us to have much more day at our disposal as we would have had otherwise. The whole day consisted of walking around, looking at things, meeting up with people, voting on the artshow, voting on the art show again only properly this time, all that fitted around the two impressive Clan Olympics events: Trivia Torture and Really Hard Pictionary.
I did not manage to visit many (or any) panels that day, though I did go see the radio show. We also, as traditional, did not go to the banquet, since some of our group have finances that will not allow such an expenditure. On the other hand, most people seem to have missed the Karaoke singing following the masquerade, and that's certainly their loss.
--- Three years ago I met young Becca Morgan at the Gathering in LA, 2001. She threw a cat at me, numerous times. This seems to have left quite an impression on her as this year, when she finally showed up again, she had insisted on bringing a cat to throw at me. As the old toy was lost a new one had to be bought for the sole purpose of being thrown at me. Believe me, the money wasn't wasted.
--- The first Clan Olympics event of the day was Trivia Torture, possible the most professionally executed one of all. MAui had worked hard (and stayed up late) designing and printing professional cards for this game, while the way this conventionroom was set up could not be more perfect for this game.
The rules were complicated when explained but simple while playing: each team assigned a team member to sit on a chair below. This team member would not play, they would be the 'hostage'. Above each hostage three circular cards with entertaining text were stuck to the wall. These acted as a form of 'points'. If the 'points' of a team reached zero, ie, all the cards were removed, the hostage would be tortured either with spraypainted hair, or various disgusting combinations of food to eat. We put Robert down there (who bravely volunteered). Surplus Arcadia International member Dubble played for another team and promptly got sat down there as well, making sure we'd lose even if we won. ;)
The game centered around questions asked (from professionally designed cards, of course) by either Abram or MAui. The question would be either Gargoyles trivia or 'regular' trivia question. A member of the first team to hold up a piece of paper with a legible and correct answer would then get to step down and remove a 'point' from one of the teams.
Intermixed with all this were bonus cards which could do either good or harm, and the Spirits, members of teams which were previously eliminated from the game and who could interfere with the game at their apparent discretion.
Arcadia International eventually won the event through Spirit intervention at the expense of the Green Dragons. There's no saying for sure whether we would not have won otherwise, but I will say this though: the Green Dragons were good. Very good!
--- The second Clan Olympics event of the day was "Really Hard Pictionary", which lived up quite well to its rather presumptious name. Really Hard Pictionary was, well, really hard. Try drawing "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine". Try drawing "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". Believe me, it's even harder than it might seem.
By popular demand the game was continued even after all the scores were awarded, just for fun. I'll note that Robert and Flanker turned out to be very good at making people guess the right phrase. Absolute highlight was Flanker drawing a schetchy big fat gargoyle to indicate the word "Broadway". The Gathering was probably the only place in the world where this would work.
--- After the Really Hard Pictionary event of the Clan Olympics each team was given a box and provided with a source of markers of all sorts of colours. The box was to be used in the next and final event, the Scavenger Hunt, and we were to decorate it as we saw fit.
The decorating was taken care of by the two most artistic team members available, Countess and Beedoo!. Countess did some terrific lettering, while Beedoo! drew some cute pictures of the characters of our team. To them goes nearly all the credit for a fine box indeed. Myself, I went to the radio play as it was being decorated, and thus my only contribution was the addition of the Dutch flag among the three other flags of our respective countries.
--- As the box was being decorated and I was about to make my way to the radio play, this person here walked into the hotel. I don't know his proper name, I don't even know his face, I just know that he went by the name of 'Korul' and that this was the most amazing costume I had ever seen. Needless to say, he was there for the masquerade later that day.
--- I went to the radio play expecting to find Keith David there playing the role of Goliath. Unfortunately, he still had not arrived. The radio play was still pretty fun though, because the reworked 'original' script of 'The Journey' worked well and because there was some pretty good voice acting there. Clearly after all those years people have become quite good at this sort of thing.
The people who stood out the most, though, I thought, were Chris Rogers as MacBeth and Eden as Margot Yale. They were amazing, bickering with each other. "Madam, they burned witches like you in the middle ages!" "You, sir, live in a fantasy world!" If anything of the radio play ends up on the DVD that had better be in it.
--- As not all of us could afford the banquet, we ventured out to find some food of our own. This entailed my first trek through downtown Montreal. As it turned out, almost all I would see of Montreal on the days of the Gathering I would see that day. Everything we needed was conveniently placed in one single street.
--- We finally found food in a Hard Rock Cafe, situated in the middle of a Brazilian street party of all things. With all the bustle it took them rather a while to serve us, but we had fun entertaining ourselves.
--- This year's masquerade was the most spectacular I have seen. Granted, all other years, for one reason or another, I missed the grand entrances, but even then, the quality of costumes was very high, as was the quantity. It was a very nice touch that nearly the entire staff was in costume as well. I was quite impressed.
Overall winner was, of course, the man known as Korul. The detail on his gargoyle costume was amazing, particularly the moving wings and mouth. It was very impressive and a very well-deserved win.
--- After the masquerade came the Karaoke night. Sadly, due to some apparent technical difficulties taking up a bit of time, many people had already wandered off. Which is their loss.
Sunday was the wrap-up of the Gathering, but a very busy day nontheless. To begin with there was the final Clan Olympics event: the Scavenger Hunt, a fitting finale which had us exhausted and yet hyped up before 11 AM.
After this came the closing ceremonies, which I have to admit seemed a little of an anti-climax. Greg Weisman had already left, as had the camera team. And really, what else was there to say that "we're done"? Nevertheless, the Gathering staff put together an excelent con altogether, and they deserve to be praised for it.
In between the Scavenger Hunt and the CLosing Ceremonies I happened to stumble upon a Mug-A-Guest with Keith David. Now, I'm not really one to go listen to celebreties. I'm quite sure they are interesting, just no more so than my friends who I only see once a year if that. I decided to stay and listen, though. I found there that Keith David, whom I knew next to nothing from, was a very intelligent, very thoughtful and very kind man. I was very impressed and I hope the camera team got some of it all.
Also, nearly everyone at the Closing Ceremonies will remember Robert and Jess peddling a sign-up sheet for an impromptu game of laser-tag. To those that did not sign up, or show up: you missed out. Really. Definately.
--- Once again Clan Olympics had us get up at the crack of dawn (also known as about 8:15 AM) in order to take part in the one Clan Olympics event us Arcadians actually consistently do well: the Scavenger Hunt.
The Scavenger hunt involved finding items from a list and putting them in the box we prepared the day before. Some items were simple, others were difficult, and a few turned out to be impossible: A can of Lysol, a bird, any bird, three different flavors of lip gloss, diapers, any vehicle floormat, one standard #2 pencil, a non-hotel blanket, a MALE con-goer with a 2004 Gathering shirt not from our team (who was to strip off the shirt and toss it in the box), a hardcover book, a set of balls from the first Clan Olympics event, a shotglass, three rolls of packed toilet paper, a disposable camera with no photos left on it, a plunger and a note from any hotel staff member saying "I did this for the Clan Olympics".
And then there was a list of bonus items, held by MAui who had hidden herself somewhere in the hotel. These items were for extra points: some wooden thing called the "Official 2x4 of the 1998 Hock-Fest", some bonus bags, three squishy soccer balls, as many different business cards as we could find and a special guest or Gathering staff member to stand in our box for 15 seconds.
It was a very exciting and very exhausting game which had Gathering attendants running chaotically through the hotel. We got a cleaning staff member to give us toilet paper and write us a note, I stripped in my Gathering Shirt in exchange for a vehicle floor mat and a disposable camera for another team, and then I generally ran around with no list, no team member and half an idea of what to look for. The box filled marvelously nontheless. I am only disappointed not to have been there to see Kanthara stand in our box.
Fun fact: the Gathering Hotel had only one plunger in the entire building. And they'd lost it.
--- During the closing ceremonies the winners of the Clan Olympics were announced. Considering the scores and our results at the Scavenger hunt, it was not really a surprise anymore, but Arcadia International won! Mind, with some help from the spirits, but even then, I know my teammates certainly played quite well.
So, we came forward and accepted our prizes and the honour. Our prizes consisted of a circular piece of cardboard saying we won and four Clan Olympics T-shirts to split between the five of us. Look at us showing our Arcadian pride.
After closing ceremonies I got another shirt from Chris Rogers for pre-registering. Very kind of him. Withg the Gathering T-shirt, the Evil Makes Me Sad T-shirt and the Clan Olympics prize, it was my fourth new shirt that weekend. I'd started seriously regretting bringing shirts at all.
--- The other major event of the day: Lasertag!
Saturday evening we passed a lasertag place on our way back to the hotel. Now, Robert had, at earlier Gatherings, already expressed a desire for us to play Lasertag. So, he went inside for a moment, asked for information and came out with the knowledge that a group of exactly 30 people would get a good discount.
So, he set about organising a group of exactly 30 people. He and Jess went round the lines for Keith David and pre-registering after the closing ceremonies and collected names of people who wanted to come. It took some doing, but they actually managed to fill their list. Even Keith David signed up.
Of course, around the time people were to gather in the lobby things went all pearshaped. Some didn't show up, others wanted to join after all. Some would arrive late. Keith David was still eating with his wife. In the end we left in two groups, one of twenty-one and another group of straglers that would hopefully make thirty.
Robert became nervous.
The walk to the Lasertag place was sort of an event itself. Keeping a group that size together on the sidewalks of Montreal was no small matter, especially considering that we were late and needed to keep up a good pace. Being Robert's roomies more or less automatically assigned us the task of keeping the group together a bit. Now we know what sheep dogs feel like! It was an entertaining walk, though.
It took some time for the rest of us to arrive, but when they did we were with 33, though sadly without Keith David. It turned out they could fit 32 in their maze, so Jess kindly voluntered to sit the whole game out. She really missed out for the rest of us. She's too kind (but don't tell her that ;) ).
The game itself was brilliant, and I'm sure the massive amount of people we brought helped a lot. It was pandemonium and I think everyone had great fun. There were three rounds, one with everyone against everyone, one with two teams, and one with two teams protecting two members, a king and a queen. It turned out Robert was the Lasertag champion among us. No wonder he wanted to play.
I hope we'll do this again some time.
See the fun the rest of you are missing out on?
Check out www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com for information on the 2007 Gathering of the Gargoyles. We're in a different city every year, and this year we're heading to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!!!
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?
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