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The day of Thor:
Like last year, the Gathering is a family affair for me. My mom, sister, and two brothers all went to the con. ROAD TRIP!!!
My clan headed out at around 10:30, which was kinda surprising considering that usually when we say we're going to leave at a certain time, we leave 2 hours later, but this time we only left an hour late.
We knew we were on a tight budget from the get go. We could only stay at the hotel one night, but fortunately: I'm an Army Brat. We used to live near Chicago, and we were able to crash with an old friend. It was to her house we were headed.
Even though we were tight on money, we splurged at an Arby's on the trip down. Tris and Kathleen (or Phoenix-Talon as she prefers to call herself whenever she can find an excuse) slept part of the way, whilest my mom and I took turns driving. I expected the trip to take longer than it did, so did my mom. We arrived at Marty's (our friend)house after only about 4 hours, though the Yahoo map took us there through a lot of back-roads.
We got there and talked a little about the con with her, showed her my Grimorum Arcanorum Anthology from the '06 gathering, where I had a story as well. She'd set up the guest room for Kat and my mom, and the camper for me and my brothers. I tried to sleep in the camper, but the mosquitoes decided I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet and wanted to test the "all-you-can-eat" part.
I grabbed my pillow and the blanket I bought in Madagascar (hand-woven, high-quality, and very warm) and crashed on her couch. I couldn't get much sleep, so I spent most of the time watching TV, and thinking in full gargoyle-ish mode. I couldn't wait.
MORE TO COME:
The family that gathers together...
TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH.
Left the house with David A.K.A. VidTheKid at around noon. Got gas and then an oil change (also need to replace the air filter soon) at a local auto repair, followed by lunch. Then we finally hit the road. Arrived at Arlington Heights around 8 PM and checked into a La Quinta. Tried to call my cousin, who lives in Chicago, to make plans, but no go. She was going out of town for a friend of hers who was due to give birth within a day or so. Disappointing for me, but congrats to the new mother.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH
Bought some books at Border's and non-perishable food items (plus the new Futuama: Beast Of A Billion Backs) at Meijer's before
Did some basic exploration of downtown Chicago. VidTheKid tried to take me up to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower, but I disappointed him (and myself) when my fear got control of me, and I just couldn't do it. Dammit. I HATE that I am afraid of heights. Oh, well, at least we saved $13. Just gotta think positive. Anyhow, when he'd gone up without me, I kept myself busy (and quickly grew bored) at the gift shop in the basement, trying (and failing) constantly to work up the willpower to go join him up there.
THURSDAY, JUNE 26TH.
Visited Woodfield Mall. Bought a 7 inch screen portable DVD player at Radio Shack for $69 (plus a $30 rebate) and some cheap (4 for $12) DVDs at FYE. Found 2 video games (but I only bought 1 to save $$$) that I'd been looking for at a GameStop. Had a pepperoni Pizza lunch at Sbarro's. Eventually, VidTheKid and I drove to O'Hare airport to pick up A Fan, and the three of us headed out. Stopped at this 50's styled diner (the atmosphere and the employees were 1950's-like. The customers weren't.) and then drove around trying to find the Orrington (I guess even full fledged roadgeeks like VidTheKid can get lost, even if he would say the contrary). Having already checked out of the La Quinta, of course, we let A Fan check in (we paid him for our share via a check later) before going to our room for a night of relaxation.
Went downstairs for a beer, and made the bad mistake of trying to say hello to some of the guests at what I didn't KNOW had been a private party, which I would hear some about later. Damn. *sighs* I can be an idiot sometimes. A friendly idiot, but still a little naive at times. Oh, well, just something to learn from, right?
End transmission. Cobra out.
NEXT: The Con, Day 1
Saying hi is fine. Don't sweat it.
Thursday - I had school so I had to get a ride home from Kerry Boyd so we could go ahead and start packing her car for the drive from GA to Chicago. Shortly after 11pm Vox Mortuum got home and we headed out for the 11+ hour drive to the con. Getting there was pretty uneventful.
Friday - We made it to the hotel shortly before noon so we were able to go ahead and check in and get set up in the dealer's room. We gave Karine her commission and she literally bounced over to get her. It was so cute. =D
Hung out in the dealer's room helping my girl and schmoozing. After a bit we were able to give the con mascot dolls that were made to the con-chair (doing so has become a bit of a tradition and our way of thanking them for all their hard work). The best part though was that we were able to give the other guests theirs. Seeing Greg Weisman, Keith David, and Thom Adcox squeeing over the dolls that my girl created made me very proud. It was wonderful seeing everyone loving her work so much.
Eventually Opening Ceremonies started. They showed the entries for the music video contest which made me want to do one or two of my own but aside from one idea which I'm not divulging yet, I don't know what I'm going to do. The three of us were starving so we slipped out during Greg's presentation of pitches and such because we'd seen them last year. Went out for dinner then staggered back to the room and pretty much just fell out.
To be continued when I'm a bit more awake.
Take your time. I'm always here.
Saturday: After only sleeping a few hours I woke up and was still feeling the effects of the 6 hour liquid heart attack drink. In fact I would say I was feeling more so. I rarely bolt of bed all hyper. I tried to ad some finishing touches on my presentation (which was sloppily thrown together a few days before). I auditioned for the Radio Play. The play is one of those things that sort of don't want to do, but when I sit and watch it I regret not participating. I love the auditioning part, I get a weird thrill out of it. Even though I've only done it a couple of times, all the material was super familiar, so I did Al Pacino reading Brooklyn. The guys laughed and I got a part. Thankfully not as big as last years. I went to Josh Silver's panel on careers in entertainment. He was a really cool dude to talk to and I hope he keeps coming to more Gatherings. I had lunch with Sarah and Aaron, and I got nervous that I would be late for my own panel on weapons. I changed into some more formal attire, grabbed my laptop and at the last minute realized there was no way to hook it up to the large flat screen monitors in the room. So I would load up an image and pass my laptop around. Overall I was very dissappointed with my panel. I didn't have any firearms or other weapons to show people, my material felt very dry. The room was full and noboby left, which was great, but the energy wasn't there. Jenn sounds interested in having me run the panel again next year. If I can make it to LA it'll be much better. Fourth time's a charm...right?
I was talking with Ed and Phil after my panel and suddenly it was time for the Radio Play. I had two smaller parts this time around. I won't get into details but I really think I bombed out on my first part. Sorry Greg. Sitting behind Keith and hearing him read Goliath was definitely my fan nerd freak out moment of the weekend. So was finally getting caught up on the comics and seeing Karine's amazing work.
After the Play I had dinner. A bunch of us went to this fancy steak joint with an over energetic waiter. Being the luckiest nerdy fanboy in the world, I got to sit with not only Thom, but Karine AND Keith! Okay brainfart time: sitting across from me, we talking about Japan and stuff. I'll remember your name as soon as I turn this computer off...
I ate a giant steak and tried to act like an adult and ordered a vodka martini. There was a tiny dead fly in it when it arrived so I asked Thom 'where's Pupert these days? Look he's in my glass!' I guess child celebrities always turn out like that.
By the time of the Blue Mug I was super tired but managed to show everyone that Navy ad on youtube that compares a Japanese recruiting video with one of Keith's. Then I fell into a small coma.
Sunday: Another great breakfast in the hotel's diner then I took in some amazing art and panels. I want to get Greg a military dress uniform and those blue curtains with the Pentagon logo behind him and he can sit there and go 'I'm not answering that...I have no information at this time...I'm not answering that...a wizard did it...'
I thought the Iron Artist competition sounded like fun, only to learn I would be subjected to horrible cruelties under Karine's menacing gaze. Macaroni art? TABERNAC!!
I was too disgusted with my entry and fled for safety afterwards, but I found out that I got honorable mention for use of boobs. At some point I got some comics off Karine and had her and Greg sign them.
Much like Saturday, it was suddenly the evening which meant the banquet and masquerade. I skipped lunch and really enjoyed the food. Karine's modern and Aaron's medevil Hunter costumes were phenomenal. I didn't know I would be attending this year until the Wednesday before the Con, so I didn't prepare any kind of costume. I never really care until I see everyone in their get ups having an awesome time. There's always next year.
Monday: I pretty much got up, ate, packed and ran around trying to make sure I said bye to everyone. Which sucks. I always hate this part of the Con. I had a long drive ahead of me and I wasn't looking forward to it. My car made me nervous when it failed to start after fueling up in Evanston. I stopped at my friend's place in MI again. If wrestling with a hyper black lab puppy doesn't improve your mood nothing will. My trip was again longer than I expected but it was worth it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Overall (Cons are listed first because I'm not ending on a sad note):
Cons: Not much one on one with Greg. Next year there better be an air hockey table because that's a reliable way to get his attention.
I can't remember everyone's names and I feel stupid.
I was dissappointed with my panel, and my performance in Greg's Play.
All that driving was horrendous.
Pros: Got to spend more time with Karine, Susan, Jennifer and got to know them a bit better. Meeting Josh and Keith again is always a pleasure. Oh yeah and that Thom guy is kinda cool I guess ;)
My panel was pretty full and everyone seemed (mostly) awake. Got to meet Phil who had some insights as a Navy Corpsmen. Nobody's complained about my panel...yet.
Susan ran a f***ing great Con. The hotel was beautiful, the area was great (lots of food choices, easy to find everything). Good job Susan!
Lots of first and second timers. You guys are all super. Vicky flew from the UK! That is so awesome. I hope you guys make it out to LA next year!
I'm always up for a little air hockey.
Honorable Mentions and Corrections- (otherwise known as things I forgot to put in my con journal.)
BrooklynX was also with us at Chilli's on Friday afternoon.
I had a nice conversation with guest Josh Silver at the Masquerade and I really wish I had spent a little more time talking with him. Maybe he'll come back as a guest soon.
There were some AWESOME first-time Gathering con goers. Arazia, Ranmaru, Jillian, VickyUK, and I think she was a walk-in so I don't have her name written down, but she had short brown hair and I wanna mention her too even though her name is escaping me. I hope they had a good time. I really liked them.
After I said goodbyes on Monday, we waited just outside for Aaron. Now, in order to escape what we call in my family 'Puerto Rican goodbyes' (The phenomena of saying goodbye to everyone, giving them a kiss and then getting caught up in conversation so you have to say goodbye AGAIn, and that repeating three or four times- so really you never actually LEAVE. The PR part is by virtue of BEING Puerto Rican, but what have you... I guess other cultures have those sort of goodbyes too.)
But I got a wonderfully warm hug goodbye from Keith (so many hugs this convention!) AND he sang a song for me. It was fitting and lovely- and while it's obvious that Keith can sing/talk powerfully- it's the delicateness of his singing voice that really drives home how TALENTED he is. T'was blissful.
Also, Keith needs to learn 'The Old Man of the Mountain'- which was a song Cab Calloway did for a Betty Boop cartoon in the 1930's. I was a little surprised he didn't know it- but there's always stuff to learn.
Was REALLY spoiled this year.
Chicks are always falling for guys with... talent!
Friday: Friday was great in that I spent large chunks of Thursday preparing for it. Had the car ready, had all my travel paperwork completed. I planned on grabbing food on the road but had to wait for laundry to finish...by 1230 I had reached escape velocity and was on my way to Chicago from Meaford Ontario, (google map it, it's bloody far).
I stopped in Battle Creek MI to have dinner with a good friend I haven't seen in awhile. That ended up eating almost two hours! Once back on the road I drank one of those supicious 6 hour energy shots. They work. I got to the hotel around 1130 or midnight and couldn't find my roomie. So I talked a guy at the front desk into giving me a pass card to the room. I showered and met up with Susan, Jenn, Karine, Thom, Greg, Mara and all the usual suspects in Susan's room who seemed to be running their own Blue Mug.
Gotta run, post more in a bit...
That's Flanker for ya. He's there. He's gone. Like the wind...
Thursday- We left for the airport around twelvish- our flight got minorly delayed and then we got delayed in the air A LOT. Luckily, we had not anticipated Chicago traffic so Lyn and Erik were delayed too- which means we met somewhere in the middle.
Tangeant: From above, Chicago looks like Broccoli. The trees are plentiful and round and the land is mostly green. Like broccoli. Las Vegas looks like a Borg cube at night, from above, because of the strict square configuration of its streetlights. San Antonio is a patch work of earth colors and construction. New York from above looks like... well, home. But Chicago is pleasantly vegatable-like.
We stopped off at an Ihop before reaching our hotel- which was about three blocks away from the con hotel. We were tired, we were frustrated by traffic. We slept muchly.
Friday- Got in before reg desk was open. There was the minimal 'ice breaker' awkwardness that always is just before reg opens. But it melted REALLY fast. I stole lots of food from the con suite. (Well, just two apples one orange and two waters- but a LOT of the tea, and the tea is going to be my best friend for a while now as I am home.)
Set up in the art show.Hung with Hecate, Jenbob and her boi (Why is it I blank on his name? I can see his face clearly in my mind- and they both give the best hugs.) No one else had entered in the Adult art section- which was to my benifit later on.
I did a quick sketch freebie for Patrick (I like drawing for Patrick as he likes a lot of the same subject matter I like) and mainly relaxed in there before Opening Ceremonies.
Met and spoke with the camera crew- who were very nice people. Went to Chilli's with Ckayote, Harvester of Eyes, Jillian, Kimberly, Mandolin and Carmine (Carmine is a serious flirt, btw) as well as the people I usually hang out with, Spacebabie, Revel, Erik, Lynati and Aaron. I had Chicken Crispers (my standard at Chilli's) and a Mango margarita. All was yummy.
(The irony being that in regular every day life I don't drink since there's no cause to socially, so I imbibe a touch more casually at the con.)
I was REALLY congested the WHOLE convention and I think it's because I had not smoked the whole time I was there. It's healthier, sure- but not being able to smell sorta makes the transitional period not a happy. Saw and spent time with DTaina and Leo and A Fan, and (Drat, what is your name! You had the gargoyle ragatone music last year) and Chyna Rose and.. and... DrAT! I need a better memory. It's like a sieve.
We had Opening Ceremonies and, to my delight, the podium was set up so that you could see the people's side view through the mirror behind them. Visual fun. More visual fun with the Gargoyles Music Videos (YAYE LYN, we love our present! Demona would SO be a Joan Jett fan)
After opening I went to dinner with Karine, Jennifer and Greg to discuss Blue Mug Productions- we had pad thai and crab ragoon and other delicious things. Our waiter was ultra nice. After that we had ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. I don't know WHAT most meetings are like that Greg said we were very productive. Maybe my standards are higher than reality? There are benefits to not living the 'we have meetings' lifestyle.
Soon I found myself hanging out in Susan's room with Gorebash, Patrick, Susan, Karine, Greg, GxB, Jen, Flanker, Thom, Sammy, Seth, Rebecca.. and? I think I got everyone there? It was fun. And many hours passed and I nearly ended up bunking with Karine and Jen and Rebecca because I didn't feel comfortable walking the street at night by myself. (I do in NY because that's *my* city and , perversely, it's safe to walk at night if you know where. This was a college town with some unsavory elements thrown in.) But I called my Aaron and he is a supportive wonderful gentleman who knows the cardinal rule about walking a lady home. So I waited downstairs and had polite conversation with a very drunk and angry young man.
Now, on principle I believe in hearing people out. So I sat politely and kept my eye on the security guard who kept walking OUT OF LINE OF SIGHT. Way to keep a girl safe, bro! But it was alright as he was soon distracted by his drunken friends (as it became obvious he was a guest of the hotel drunk and not some random drunk) And not only did Aaron show, Erik and Lynati did as well and we had some great conversation on the walk back. We went to bed, and slept quite nicely.
I got up around six, even though I was asleep around three or four. (I can sleep eight hours, but it is normally in two hour increments.) I went back to sleep. Eight o'clock. So I took a shower and got dressed and did make up. (Another 'con special occassion thing') I didn't audition for Radio Play for two reasons- one, I had panels directly in conflict with it and, two, more importantly, I was talking funny THE WHOLE con. Seriously. Do I sound like that? Lyn and I walked to the hotel, and I bought a dragon puppet at the art fair next door. I got in I social butterflied. (Or social multitasking, whatever you like to call it.) Spent time in the 'lobby' area, the con suite and art show. I caught the end of Karine's panel and then it was time for mine.
Really, it's just an excuse to draw naked people. But I had fun and I hope people learned something or found it interesting, or just took something away from it like the idea that beauty is where you see it. (I kinda ranted a little about curvy girls and their under-ratedness and I got good reaction from that. For it is true.) Then there was radio play.
What can you say about radio play? Other than, you should go see it if you have never? Everyone was really good and Jen called up a storm as she told the story of the Stone of Destiny as Shari. I wasn't surprised, magical convergence or whatever Macbeth calls it in 'Pendragon'. Not gonna spoil it for you. You shoulda been there or you were.
Then.. time passed. Did I show Greg art then? I did a LOT that weekend but the time is fuzzy to me. Eventually dispanded to eat at a pub and I had a delicious pot pie and I also tried clams on the half shell for the first time. Not as bad as I had feared- perhaps sushi makes you ready for anything. At the table was the usual cast of characters, and two or three first-years. I can see you clearly in my head, but the names are elluding me. But I mean you! Eventually there was Blue Mug-a-Guest.
It started not so Blue got Blue, not so Blue- etc. Always a good time.
Directly bed and then sleep.
I dressed up for Sunday, after having debated it with myself, but in retrospect I am glad I did. I'm not always blue jeans and t-shirts. Greg got it right away- but it is those early imprints that affect later preferences so much. Lynati and Kimberly and Greg did an awesome Biology and Culture panel, and I am still really impressed with Lynati's essay on gargoyle eye glow. I hung out more, did more commission work in the art room. I was going to do the Iron Artist competition but it involved a weakness that I cannot overcome- pasta.
I have clear memories of sucking at pasta art as a child and I was a little intimidated.
Saw the tail end of the auction, and then went back to our hotel room to change for the banquet. I wish more people had- it was a GORGEOUS room and I really think there should be some taking advantage of the elegance availible. We had the trivia contest and we were lucky to be sitting with (among other really nice folk) Matt from Station Eight. The competition was fierce, but our table won. Yaye!
We went down to Rebel and Spacebabie and GxB's room and hung out and we changed into our Masquerade costumes. Lynati and I were cat girls and Aaron was The Cheetah Pimp. (Cheetah print is a thing in our household. Love it.)
I have two complaints of that costume- I have a third degree jawline, which means my bottom teeth are slightly ahead of my top teeth. Which means with artifical fangs I can't close my mouth. Which means I can't pronounce words like 'physisists at Caltek' or 'Foggy Bottom'. Which means I am asked to, because I can't. (It's a 'The West Wing' reference.) On top of the congested, I varied from sounding stupid to sounding baby doll stupid. Actually, that's my only complaint, but I'm counting it twice.
We got a LOT of attention. A lot of positive attention. And, I hate to admit it, but I ate it up. And boy did we DANCE. I don't remember the last time I danced like that, if ever. The hip shaking, sure. But the full on dance steps? Must have been the cat girl costume. Very liberating. I danced with Lynati and Jenbob, and Karine, and Jen and Vox-I will take the time out to declare here and now, Vox is INCREDIBLE on the dance floor. She's a beautiful woman to begin with, very delicate features, and she just let's GO dancing. I was happy. I told her boyfriend Ethan so.
I even danced, a teensy, with Keith. Yaye. Most of the guys sat in a corner playing video games- but that didn't mean some weren't watching the huge amount of sheer female beauty on display on the dance floor.
Eventually, again, I found myself in Susan's room. To which I will say Ben Affleck > Matt Damon. Spent a very pleasant time with most of the group from Friday night- though numbers dwindled as the siren song of sleep called to them. A lotta love in that room.
Saturday: Caught the end of the fanfic panel, which had really good discussion, I felt, especially from Merlin Missy who I don't know if she knows if she is a THE in this fandom- but she is. So there. Then we announced, talked about, etc, at the Blue Mug Productions panel. I was smart and sat on Edmund's (the write) right. Well, mostly smart. I'm not usually that bratty though, honestly. I just work here.
Closing ceremonies was bittersweet as it always is for me, but we got through goodbyes like a bandaid- quick.
Thank you all for a wonderful time and for all the nifty ribbons I won. You can win ribbon too if you enter the art show. Come to the con! They spoil you there. (At least I felt spoilt.)
Erik, Lynati, Aaron and I, before we parted at the train station, went to the Field Museum and saw the Ghost and the Darkness- the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo. They were beautiful and beneign and my heart went out to them. I don't see maliciousness in efficient predators. That's just nature. And I hear human is yummy.
We got home safe from a fast and uneventful flight.
Really- consider going to the Gathering next year and if you already know you can't afford to make it- start SAVING NOW for the next con after that! This is an experience that is worthwhile and even if you don't buy a coffee once a week that you normally would, you CAN afford it. You just have to commit to the idea and plan for it.
Now I sleep. Stay safe.
And the cake is a lie.
I like how you have a second Saturday after Sunday. I gotta try that.
Mr. Weisman, I am a journalist/reviewer for http://www.ComicMix.com and a big fan of your work. I will be attending the Gathering of the Gargoyles convention in Chicago and I wanted to ask if there would be anyway I could snag an interview with you for our readers. For your review, you can check out the kind of work we do at ComicMix.com and you can find previous interviews I've conducted at this link: http://alankistler.squarespace.com/journal/2007/11/20/alan-kistlers-interviews.html. My personal web-site is http://KistlerUniverse.com and my e-mail is KistlerAlan@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for your time.
Of course by now, the Gathering is passed-- but of course we did have that interview. Thanks!!
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Monday, July 7, 2009
12am - The Memorial Panel for those who have passed officially made the con a 5-day event. Chocolate Fish.
1am - A bunch of us hung out for hours. Chris, Ken, Lex, Tim, Windy and others.
5am - Back to the room.
5:30am - Sleep.
10:30am - Wake-up. Five hours. Not too bad for me.
11:30am - Packed up with some difficulty. All those extra t-shirts and the crochet'd Goliath made it tough to fit everything in. Lex and I headed to Axel and I had gumbo, an Onion Ring and an Axel burger.
4:20pm - My delayed flight finally took off.
6:20pm - Just barely made my connection to my L.A. flight.
9:30pm - Arrived at LAX.
10:00pm - Home.
And that's that. Finished just in time, because tomorrow I leave for Con-Odyssey II: San Diego ComicCon!! More when I return.
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Saturday, July 5, 2009
12am - Lex and I met up at COF2E2 and hung out chatting for hours, joined by James toward the end.
5am - I returned to my room and pretty much went right to sleep.
9:30am - Wake-up.
11am - I had a Buffy & Angel panel. Yeah, yeah, what am I doing on that panel? Just being a geeky fan.
2pm - Comic book panle w/Terry Beatty, Chris Jones, Mark Evanier, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein.
3:30pm - A panel on Continuity with Chris Jones and others.
4:30pm - Took a nap.
7:30pm - Dinner at Vantage with Lex. Coke, Bread, water, Tomato Soup, Edimame, Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans. Good food.
9:30pm - Comics as Movies Panel w/Terry.
11pm - Mature Comics Panel w/Hank, Damien and Eve. This was probably the one dud panel of the entire Con-odyssey. It should have been fun and raucous and raunchy like a blue mug. But we got off to a serious start and never quite found a rhythm, though Eve tried when she arrived. Felt strangely on the defensive -- for no particular reason. But I did pimp BlueMugProductions.com.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Friday, July 4, 2009
5am - Finally went to sleep.
9:30am - Wake up.
11am - An animation panel with Mark Evanier, Wally Wingert and Matt Waterhouse. We covered a lot of ground about the business. (Some of it pretty disheartening, I'd think.)
12pm - I toured the art show.
12:30pm - Dr. Jim Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes, gave a talk on the costumes and accessories of superheroes, including unstable molecules (although as I pointed out to him later, he really only dealt with how they worked for Mr. Fantastic, not for the Invisible Girl of the Human Torch) and Captain America's shield. It was great.
2pm - I had a Gargoyles panel. Always fun.
3pm - Lex and I went to Dairy Queen for "lunch". Had a cheeseburger, fries and an Orange Julius. Got a chance to talk with Ken Hite and his wife Sheila. Ken's the only guy doing more panels than me. I shrug it off... for now.
5pm - I have a signing alongside Marv Wolfman and Wally Wingert. I have nothing for people to sign. But I learned some lessons from Marv about this that may prove useful at CopperCon later this summer.
6:30pm - Matt Waterhouse, David Margosian, Jennifer Menken and I have ANOTHER animation panel ("Cell vs. Chip"). It starts out as a bit of a struggle to make sure it's not just a rehash of the panel earlier in the day, but it winds up being pretty fun and unique enough. It helps that I have an ENDLESS quantity of showbiz horror stories.
7:30pm - Went out to Olive Garden with Mark Temple, Mark Evanier, Jody, Chris Jones, Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. Had breadsticks, minestrone and angel hair with shrimp.
11pm - A panel on "The Rebirth of the Heroine" with Charlotte Nickerson and Jen Manna. This was a fun one too. But I missed Soylent Blue because of it, which was a bit of a bummer as I remember them being really, really funny the last time I was at CONvergence.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Thursday, July 3, 2009
4:30am - Finally went to sleep.
10am - Wake up.
11:30am - Went out to breakfast at the Edina Grill with Uncle Joe. (Joe is my wife's father's brother.) We mostly talked about the crazy industry I work in. I had Eggs, sausage, hash browns, sourdough toast.
2pm - All the con's special guests (over twenty of us) had a photo call. After that, I went to check out the Dealers' Room.
5pm - I had a panel on the Spectacular Spider-Man.
7pm - Opening Ceremony.
9pm - Lex took me for a comparison Juicy Lucy (this one w/Blue Cheese that didn't quite get liquid), Lemonade, Cheese Curds and Onion Straws.
10pm - We got back to the hotel in time to see a pretty good fireworks display in the distance. I toured all the cabana parties, but I wasn't into it, so...
11pm - I went back to my room.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Wednesday, July 2, 2009
3am - Went to sleep.
12:30pm - Wake up. Yep. I was pretty tired.
2pm - Lex and her husband James and I go to Matt's for Juicy Lucys and fries.
3pm - Lex and I go to a mall (not THE mall) and grab some Cherry Garcia before...
3:55pm - We saw Wall-E. Which I thought was just great. Really liked it.
7:10pm - Went to the Guest Reception at the hotel. They served cake. But "NO FORKS!"
10pm - I was back in my room and a bit restless. Just started watching television. See even when I catch up on sleep, I wind up blowing it the next night...
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Tuesday, July 1, 2009
4:30am - Finally went to sleep.
9:30am - Wake-up.
11:15am - Car took me to the airport. Grabbed some McDonalds: Quarter-Pounder w/cheese, fries, coke and an apple pie.
2:15pm - Flight departs for Minneapolis. Had some tomato juice on the plane.
3:45pm - Arrived in Minneapolis.
4pm - Lex Larson, my CONvergence guest liason picked me up and took me to the Sheraton in Bloomington to check in.
5:30pm - We arrive at the amazing new (to me) Guthrie Theater. We had dinner at Cue, the restaurant there. The food was amazing. Breadsticks and bread, Salad, Flatiron Steak, potatoes, green beans...
7:30pm - We saw THE SECRET FALL OF CONSTANCE WILDE, a play about Oscar Wilde, his lover Bosie and especially his wife Constance. It was a great production. Very creative. Amazing performances... and PUPPETS!
10:30pm - Back to the hotel.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Monday, June 30, 2009
12:30am - After the ballroom dancers went their separate ways, a few of us (Susan, Jennifer, Mara, Gore, GXB, Patrick, Karine and I) went up to Susan's room to hang out, talk, laugh, debate the virtues of Twizzlers vs. Red Vines, etc.
4am - Back to my room. Had another apple.
4:30am - Bed.
8:30am - Wake up call.
10am - Had breakfast with my cousin Alex and her friend Tobin. Orange Juice, Begniets, toast, potatos, eggs, bacon.
11:30am - Took a break, but as I understand it that one-eyed pig Edmund Tsabard had a panel with Jennifer, Karine and Mara to talk about Blue Mug Productions and show some samples. For more info, stop by BlueMugProductions.com.
1pm - Closing ceremonies. Always bittersweet.
3pm - Goodbyes. Pretty much everyone took off, except myself, Patrick and Susan and her family. Susan took Patrick and I to her house, where we met her many, many, many, many dogs and saw her many, many, many cells. Very cool.
5pm - Susan, Rob, Carly and Chloe took us to yet another great dinner. Had shrimp, clam chowder, coke, steak, lobster tail, rice, slaw. Then Rob and Chloe took Patrick and I back to the hotel.
7pm - I was back in my room. And pretty darn tired.
9pm - Sleep.
11:30pm - Knew it was too good to be true. Woke up. Had another apple. Watched some television and read some Ross Macdonald.
The end of another FANTASTIC Gathering... and yet my trip is only half over!
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Sunday, June 29, 2009
1am - Returned to my room and ate an apple.
2am - Went to sleep, which for me is early.
8:30am - Wake up call.
10am - Had the Gargoyles and Bad Guys panel with Karine. Fewer questions about Gargoyles #9 then I would have thought, but it was fun.
11:30am - Gargoyles Biology and Culture panel w/Lynati & Kimberly. A perrenial favorite of mine. Not sure anything quite as revelatory as last year in Tennessee, but it was fun.
1pm - Spidey panel w/Keith, Thom and Jennifer. Again, no major revelations, but I like talking Spidey. Next year we're probably going to do a series of Spidey panels at the L.A. Gathering 2009.
2:30pm - Went for stir fry lunch with Sammy, Jennifer, Thom, Adam and Laurean. Good stuff. Afterwards, a couple of us went to Jamba Juice.
4pm - Though we were told we didn't need to get back to judge the Iron Artist competition until 4pm, by the time we arrived it was all over. The medium was macaroni and the theme was the Ultra-Pack.
4:30pm - Sat down to watch the end of the auction, and then we had our signing.
6pm - Banquet: Salad, roll, Chicken, potatoes, carrots, asparagus, tart. I sat with constaff mostly: Nikki, Seth, Sammy, Susan, Jennifer, Karine, Patrick, Greg, Rebekkah. During the Trivia Contest, Matt led his table to victory.
9pm - Masquerade. Fewer entries every year. I hope we can reverse that trend. But what was there was pretty cherce:
1st: J.W./Jennifer Rynmoor
2nd: Gypsey/Noel Leas
Cutest Couple: Ranmaru & Arazia
Thom Adcox Memorial Award: Justin as Odin
No Gorelisa award this year.
Best in Show: Patrick Fisher as the Tourist Gargoyle
Also, Karine had a kick-ass Hunter costume.
There was dancing next. I even swing-danced Jenn-Bob right off a table.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Saturday, June 28, 2009
2:00am - Back to my hotel room.
4:00am - Finally went to sleep.
8:30am - Wake up call. I showered, etc., and went down to the ConSuite, where I had a Danish and OJ at the tail end of the staff meeting.
10:00am - We held our second set of auditions.
11:30am - Over a catered lunch of a French Dip Sandwich, Broccoli Soup and fruit, Keith, Thom, Jennifer and I cast the Radio Play.
2:00pm - I was interviewed for an article by Alan.
3:00pm - The Gathering Players had their one and only rehearsal.
5:00pm - The Radio Play. This year's script was a chronological retelling of Chapters VII, VIII & IX of Clan-Building (i.e. "The Rock", "Rock & Roll" and "Rock of Ages"). I think the performers were terrific, but I don't think the script worked chronologically. Oh, well... A highlight was the massive rainstorm that nearly overwhelmed Shari's storytelling. Here was the cast:
THE GATHERING PLAYERS - 2008 Edition
NARRATOR - Greg Weisman
MACBETH - Erik Mambu
SHARI - Jennifer L. Anderson
COLDSTEEL - Eric Tribou
LEXINGTON - Thom Adcox
STONE OF DESTINY - Justin Summerhill
HUDSON - Jordan Mann
DAVID XANATOS - Jaret Morlan
ARTHUR PENDRAGON - Patrick Fisher
CONSTANCE/COCO - Laurean Leigh
STAGHART/AMP - Seth Jackson
GRIFF - Chip
THAILOG - Keith David
COLDSTONE - Revel
COLDFIRE - Sarah the Great
GOLIATH - Keith David
COYOTE 5.0 - Jaret Morlan
PEREDUR - Seth Jackson
COLDSTREAM GUARD - Chip
ELISA MAZA - Phoenix Talon
JAY SATO - John/Flanker
BLANCHEFLEUR - Laurean Leigh
CUSTOMS OFFICIAL - Patrick Fisher
BROOKLYN - Jae
DUVAL - John/Flanker
FOX - Phoenix Talon
BROADWAY - Lucas McClain
HOLY GRAIL - Lucas McClain
LUNETTE - Phoenix Talon
VINNIE GRIGORI - Jae
AIRPORT INTERCOM - Lucas McClain
OWEN BURNETT - Jae
MAGGIE THE CAT - Sarah the Great
TALON - Revel
SCOTTISH PATRIOT - Jordan Mann
7:00pm - Dinner at Pete's, w/Josh, Susan, Nicole, Eric, Greg, Rebekkah, Patrick, Laurean, Keith, Thom, John, Sammy, Seth, Jennifer, Nikki, Karine and me. Fantastic meal: Iceberg wedge salad, amazing bread, NY Strip Steak, Garlic Mash Potatos, Creamed Spinach, mushrooms, Berries. Raced back to be on time for...
10:00pm - The Blue Mug. Fairly raunchy this year. (Though not with every single question.) Teased Blue Mug Productions a bit. At some point, I took a bathroom break. Discovered that the self-flushing urinals in the hotel SCREAMED like the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs! Freaked me out! Later Nikki gave me a colored sketch of a Green Goblin screaming urinal.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Friday, June 27, 2009
10:30am - Wake-up call gets me up. I slept for nearly twelve hours. Guess I was tired.
11:30am - I head up to the con to collect my box of RadioPlay scripts. Say hi to some people. Tour the dealer's/art room, which is a work in progress at this point.
12:00pm - My first panel of the con(s). Thom and I hold the Voice Acting Seminar that we've done in previous years. Phoenix gets up to play Demona and does a great job. We also do the Griff, Leo, Una, Goliath scene and a couple different runs at a Peter Parker, Spider-Man, Symbiote, Uncle Ben scene. Everyone does pretty darn well.
1:30pm - First round of auditions for the Radio Play, w/Keith, Thom, Josh and Jennifer helping with the casting and Sammy manning the door. Vox stops by to give me the crochet'd Goliath she made for me. It's pretty amazing, as is the Hunter she's made for Karine and all the rest. Tthe one that makes me laugh the most is the Owen... which was the last to sell. No accounting for taste.
3:00pm - Mug-A-Guest. I remember having fun, though none of the questions stand out in my memory at the moment.
5:00pm - Opening Ceremony. (It's been pointed out to me that it's a Ceremony not multiple Ceremonies.) We opened with a full hour plus of music videos. Susan then stepped up to offer opening remarks and intros. Jen pitched G2009 in Los Angeles (check out gatheringofthegargoyles.com). Susan thanked her staff, including Nikki, Jennifer, Greg and Patrick (who am I forgetting?). Then I went up to do my schpiel and show the now-familiar pieces: the pitch, the promo, the New Olympian and Dark Ages pitches, the Bad Guys reel (much of which is now canon thanks to the comic) and "The Last". The fans have made great progress on "The Last" - but there's still more work to be done. If you're interested in helping, contact Vashkoda.
After opening ceremony, it was time for a Blue Mug Productions Dinner. Edmund Tsabard, was out whoring, so I sat in with Jennifer, Mara and Karine (who has since had to bow out of the project, much to our sorrow). We got a lot done/decided in preparation for the Monday panel. Plus the food was great: Edimame, Rangoon, Dumplings, Miso soup, Shrimp Pad Thai. Then a stop at Ben & Jerry's after dinner for a Banana/fudge/Cherry Garcia sundae.
I stopped by my room to call home, then came back downstairs to the bar (Indigo... I think the restaurant I mentioned yesterday was called Blue or something). Later a small group of us (Susan, Jen, Mara, Karine, Seth, Sammy, Rebecca, Gore, BrooklynX, Patrick, Thom & John) went up to Susan's room to hang out and laugh.
MORE TO COME...
CON-ODYSSEY: GATHERING & CONvergence - Thursday, June 26, 2009
5:00am - I stop watching Dexter with three episodes left to finish the season. (Still have one left as I write this.) Time to start my day and take a shower.
6:20am - Jennifer, Rebecca and Thom Adcox arrive to pick me up. They're early and I'm not quite packed. But I hussle and we head to the airport. In the parking lot we meet up with Seth and Sammy and take a shuttle to the airport, where we meet up with Josh Silver... and my kids Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Leakley (how weird is that?). I buy a water and a Snickers and a can of Pringles, saving the latter for the plane.
10:00am - The plane leaves for Chicago a mere half hour late. I have tomato juice and Pringles on the plane. I read the L.A. Times, and then continue reading THE ARCHER FILES - The complete short Lew Archer stories by Ross Macdonald, edited by Tom Nolan. Good stuff. I'm sitting with Jennifer and Thom and across from Rebecca and Mrs. Leakley. Josh, Seth and Sammy are further back. Thom sleeps through most of the plane ride.
4:00pm - We land... but are kept aboard waiting for a gate for an hour.
5:00pm - We finally disembark, meeting up with Keith David (who was flying in from New York) in baggage claim.
5:45pm - I didn't check any bags, but others did, and it takes 45 minutes for the bags to come out. We meet up with Patrick, Susan and Rob outside and pile into three cars. I think Josh and Keith went with Susan. Jennifer, Sammy and Seth went with Rob. Thom, Rebecca and I went with Patrick. Traffic was a nightmare.
7:30pm - We finally arrive at the lovely Hotel Orrington in Evanston, Illinois, just outside Chicago. This is a great area for a con, with lots of walking distance food nearby. I go up to my very nice room, where cheese and grapes are waiting for me. Then it's back downstairs for Dinner at the hotel's restaurant (Indigo?). I'll probably forget someone, but I think it was me, Karine, Jen, Greg Bishansky, Thom, Keith, Maelee, Josh, Dionne, Ruby, Susan, Rebecca, Patrick, Seth and Sammy. Also saw Ellen, Fan, Nikki, Jenn-Bob, etc. I had Sushi, Tempura, pork dumplings, Beef asparagus rolls and a couple cokes.
10:00pm - I went back to my room, leaving dinner early, exhausted. I called home, did just a bit of channel flipping, and...
11:00pm - Crashed.
MORE TO COME...
And so begins my conjournal, which I'll serialize over the next few days...
I was gone for nearly two weeks to attend two terrific conventions. I had a great time at both, and really the best aspect of both was just hanging out with people, fellow pros and fans. I'll try to be complete, but I'm bound to make mistakes, skip over some people, etc. So I beg your forgiveness and indulgence in advance.
Wednesday, June 25, 2009
Still a work day for me... as I tried to frantically get everything done and ready for my trip.
10:30am - I had an Attended Edit of Spectacular Spider-Man episodes 125 and 126 with our editor Terry over at Studiopolis. This is the point where we take our voice recordings and edit it into a natural pause tape that the board artists and timers can use to get the feel of the flow of dialogue. Last two episodes of the second season are now completed on the writing and voice side before I leave. (Note: I find out today 7/9 that the board artists and directors never got these dialogue reels. GRRRRRR.)
12:00pm - I arrive at my office at Sony's Apple Building, i.e. the grim warehouse where we produce Spidey. I'm trying to clear the decks, since I don't plan on bringing my computer on the trip and/or checking e-mail.
7:00pm - I stop by Golden Apple to pick up a few comics before I go. Some Amazing Spider-Man (Brand New Day) and Justice League, which I buy for work-related reasons and Angel, which I buy for Whedon geek-out reasons.
8:00pm - I get home and sleep for a couple of hours.
10:00pm - I say good night to the kids and Beth. Then I do some more prep work for the conventions. Printing out my itinerary, etc. Then I watch a bunch of episodes of Season Two of Dexter (even better than Season One). No point in going to sleep tonight - I have to get up too early...
MORE TO COME...
I posted this in the comment room, but Todd suggested I repost it here...
Sometimes I just don't have anything Gargoyles for us to do. And I'm not sure if just doing old episodes is all that interesting. And the other things have been fun... at least it seemed that way to me.
Here's a history of the works of the GATHERING PLAYERS...
1998 - RAIN OF THE GHOSTS (an unproduced pilot I wrote)
1999 - THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACIES (a rejected pilot I wrote)
2000 - ROUGHNECKS: THE STARSHIP TROOPERS CHRONICLES (the last arc of the series, which I story edited, half of which was unproduced. Written by me, Jon Weisman Lydia Marano, Cary Bates and Michael Reaves.)
2001 - GARGOYLES: "Hunter's Moon, Part Three" (Note: this was the first time that we actually did something gargoyles related for the radio play. This included scenes that were cut for time from the original. Written by Michael Reaves.)
2002 - TEAM ATLANTIS: "The Last" (Unproduced episode featuring Demona and Fiona Canmore, written by me)
2003 - GARGOYLES: "The Reckoning" (Performed in honor of Gary Sperling, who co-wrote the script with Lydia.)
2004 - GARGOYLES: "The Journey" (my uncut version of the script)
2005 - DOC SHAKESPEARE (An unproduced pilot written by myself and Sam Bernstein)
2006 - GARGOYLES: "The Mirror" (written by Lydia Marano and Brynne Chandler Reaves)
2007 - GARGOYLES: "Clan Building, Chapters III, IV & V: Invitation Only, Masque & Bash" - (from the comic, premeiring chapter V before it was published. Written by me...)
2008 - Geez, I should probably figure this out soon...
Anyway, you can see that traditionally, we've only done something gargish about half the time. For me it's fun to get to see my unproduced work performed, and it does give the fans a little insight into the biz. In any case, I've never heard any complaints from the folks who attended.
OFF TO CHICAGO... ON A WING AND A PRAYER...
As many of you know, perhaps my favorite television series of all time is HILL STREET BLUES. A couple years ago, the first season was put out on DVD. There was no marketing that I noticed... but there was a bit of publicity. A year later the second season came out. This time no marketing and no publicity. Also, I'm GUESSING, not much in terms of sales -- as the third season isn't on the schedule. I've signed up at Amazon to be notified if-and-when it is released...
I bring this up, since it allows me to do a few things:
1. SPREAD THE WORD! I encourage you all to buy the first two seasons of Hill Street Blues. This was one of the truly seminal shows in television history, brilliantly written and acted and directed and a HUGE, HUGE influence on Gargoyles. Like Gargoyles it created a tapestry, a world of characters. Very much worth your time and disposable income.
2. CREATE A REALITY CHECK. For those of you who STILL seem to feel Disney is doing something unusual (let alone nefarious) in its treatment of Gargoyles, this is one of just many, many, many examples that demonstrates it's not. We can all sturm and drang about how business should be done, with marketing and publicity galore for every product, with a guarantee that once a company starts a project they must finish it (whether or not the economics justify it), etc. But the gnashing of teeth doesn't change the reality. Companies -- even companies as huge as Disney have LIMITED resources and must deal with the notion of OPPORTUNITY COST. So one company takes a flier on a Gargoyles DVD set, another takes one on Hill St. Both do fairly well in their first season releases, despite limited or no marketing and limited or no publicity. Both fair poorly in their second release. Both don't seem to rate a third release. It's sad. But it's life.
3. ENCOURAGE YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD! The best thing any one of you can do to help get the next release of ANY show you love -- short of spending your own money -- is to help us Spread the Word! About the DVDS, the comics, the Gathering. Oh, and about Hill Street Blues. (See, I practice what I preach!)
With that in mind, I depart in less than 48 hours for Chicago and my 12th Annual Gathering, followed immediately by a trip to Minneapolis for ConVergence (http://www.convergence-con.org/). I won't have internet access while I'm gone, but when I return I'll post my conjournalx2. I encourage all of you who are attending the Gathering to post/cut&paste their conjorunals, diaries etc. here to ASK GREG. It creates a central place where I can refer ignorant PTB-types. Also, if you see me at either con, please come up and say hello. I am notoriously bad with names, and I admit (with some embarrassment) that it often takes me two or three conventions to really nail a name down. But I do want to meet you, and I do want to get to know you. I'm not much at small talk, but I can talk about animation and comics and pop culture in general ad nauseum (just ask my wife).
Hey Greg, I Might not be able to Attend The Gathering Of The Gargoyles this year because I'm going to Israel, but if it's allright can i attend and meet you in the 2009 gathering of the gargoyles, and can it again, just for once, be in Chicago, i really, really do want to be there and see you. Can we come to an arrangement? Please?
I don't know what to tell you, Daniel. The Gathering IS in Chicago for once... THIS YEAR, THIS SUMMER, JUNE, 2008. In 2009, it's in L.A. But we'd love to see you at either or both.
Hey Greg, are you giong to be in The Gathering Of The Gargoyles in Chicago this year, I'm developing My own Gargoyles series for my school, also with Titania, Oberon, Puck, And Others (But it's not related to this series),I'm not giving you suggestions and i'm not asking for you to hire me, i just want to talk to you, and ask you for some suggestions for my series, and to pay you and Disney money for what I'm doing. Can I Talk to you there? can i meet you and have you help me?
I will be at the Gathering in Chicago. But...
You can't pay me for what you're suggesting, and I can't take money on Disney's behalf, and I CANNOT/WILL NOT listen to anything like an original idea relating to Gargoyles in ANY way. So I'm not sure HOW I could help you. But I'm happy to talk to you generally about being creative. But some advice: create something ORIGINAL. Don't crib off of a series you don't own.
I've got good news, i'm flying all the way from the UK to come to the Gathering in Chicago and I can't wait and i'm a little bit nervous. It's also my first time coming to America. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone so i'll see you there.
"I know where my copy of the Gargoyles Trade Paperback "Clan-Building" Volume one is, Do you?"
It's in the post (all 3 copies)should get it next week.
That's great!! I'll be sure to look for you there, uh... Anonymous...