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REFLECTIONS ON GATHERING 2001
By Shannon (Shan) Muir
The big morning, the one I'd been raising my courage for over the last two days. The panel. I'd been asked to be part of a panel on moving from Fan to Pro meeting at 10AM. So I wouldn't stress over being late, Kevin and I had the Sunday buffet breakfast at the Sheraton's restaurant. A wonderful selection, pretty decent. Unfortunately (for him) this meant Kevin having to arrive like 8:30AM this time. The other reason I wanted Sunday buffet was to eat very well, bypass lunch (but be sure to have water for medication), and then eat dinner at the banquet since that was a relatively early dinner. I cannot stress how much of a mistake that was.
People started arriving for our panel. I met Taleweaver (Rashaan Footman), a worthy last-minute addition. I think having someone well-known in fandom on the quest for a pro fiction sale was a much needed voice and I am glad for the opportunity to have met him. Karine (aka Kanthara) and Aimee showed up to voice the artists, and Christine arrived. Christine got things underway with Con announcements, even though I'd agreed to try to serve as moderator. In a way, we tried to stall for the still absent Meredith, but even after Christine finished Meredith still wasn't there. So starting with Aimee, everyone introduced themselves - and Meredith entered right on cue! We couldn't have planned that better. In the end, I didn't talk much on the panel, mainly because all the listeners were either artists or prose/poetry writers. There wasn't too much a scriptwriter/journalistic writer/animation production person could offer that crowd. Sometimes it goes like that. But I'm content with the knowledge if someone had been interested and showed up, I would have been there for them.
Afterwards, we headed for the Series Production panel. Again, the sheer amount of professionals available to listen to made this worthwhile! Some of those folks I'd met through Greg's class, and have even been to Advantage Audio where they do the effects and sound mixing, but other people were totally new to me. A few more of the faces were new to Kevin, but he'd come with me on the trip to Advantage Audio so we were both familiar with those guys. Names are starting to run together at the moment or I'd actually name them…
Then came the Voice Actors Q&A. I can't pin how far back my interest in voice acting goes, I think one of the most early and significant ones was when I saw Sue Blu guesting on a SIMON & SIMON rerun and realized "hey that's Stormer from JEM!" Or maybe it was Michael Bell's guest stint on MASH. Anyway, once I was conscious that on screen actors could also be behind the moving drawings, I've always wanted to identify who's who. Used to be very good, but I think I'm slipping, especially with talented people like Jeff Bennett who can sound like practically anyone. Thom Adcox was the only one I'd seen in person before, Cree I'd seen on TV in ATLANTIS interviews and in Lenny Kravitz's VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC (though I didn't know it was her, I wondered about the name similarity though. I don't think she talked on camera) because he produced her music CD. I really enjoyed hearing their anecdotes of working on GARGOYLES and in the business. I'm the one who finally mustered the courage to ask the question on dubbing, which gave Crispin Freeman - who I was NOT familiar with prior to the GATHERING - a chance to shine at what was pretty much a GARGOYLES-centric panel. I'm really, really impressed with him. I understand Izobel is to thank for hooking him up at the event? Whoever, a big round of thanks.
Then we decided to find out where the Roof Garden Ballroom was, because we didn't have anything for the actors to sign. We thought we might get dropped outside a set of doors and at least know we knew where the right place was. Kevin and I certainly didn't mean to actually be IN it that early. So, after trying not to be tempted by the incredible view, we went downstairs ASAP.
We went back and sat in the back of the big room, where the Charity Auction got underway on one side and crew signings on the other. Watched the first of the Carl Johnson CDs go for well over $100, the invite to a TEAM ATLANTIS voice record taken at over $200 (by one of my former classmates, it turned out), but really surprised at how low most of the other stuff went. Not that I know what it was all worth, but it just seemed strange. After a while, the crew signings wound down and then we decided to head out towards the dinner though the auction was running behind.
So we went back to the Ballroom and waited for over half an hour, since the banquet had been delayed. But we figured a lot of people wouldn't know and would show up early too, which they did. Now that "no lunch" mistake started catching up to me, I was just short of doubling over in pain. Dinner was fair for a hotel, I've had worse, though. A funny part was when I got up to go to the restroom, and came back to the pasta. Not remembering the full menu I asked Kevin, "This isn't the main course is it?" He said yes, I'm not sure if he meant it as a joke (I have a horrid time telling joke from serious, and I grew up with a Dad and Grandfather who loved to joke). And I believed him, shaking my head because I have seen hotels do worse. So I was pleasantly surprised when the main course did show up! The Sheraton did make good desserts though. I wonder how it stacked up to other banquets.
Myhr and the awards section proved OK but not terribly interesting. I had no familiarity with the fan fiction, but had at least seen the art show. No idea how I missed the World Map everyone's raving about though. Sounds like that one was a sight to see!
My biggest regret was not being in any shape to stay for the Masquerade/Cosplay/Dance. Several weeks before (not with pneumonia like Greg, something different) I'd had problems related to my medical condition and too worn out to stay. Despite the fact I'd chided Kevin for weeks about dragging him on the dance floor, that was not to be. I'd also wanted to encourage him to dress him up as Owen, which would NOT have been hard. The way he dressed at the Gathering (polo shirt and slacks) is casual for him; let's put it this way, even Kevin jokes of being "born in a suit." Unfortunately, that's all relegated to what might have been.
Sorry you missed the masq...