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Stormy writes...

Stormy's Gathering Journal

Well, this was it…the first time in 12 years that I wasn’t spending my summer on a military base. The first time that I was free to attend The Gathering. The week leading up to the Gathering was a frenzy of artwork as I strove to have everything I wanted to show at the art contest ready to go. In the previous months, since I knew Whitbourne had been making plans for us to go together, I had been checking in on the Gathering website where I found out about the Phoenix Gate Anthology project. I submitted an entry and to my great pleasure found myself (and Whitbourne) selected to be in the anthology. The pleasure of publication doubled the anticipation for the convention.
We flew to Montreal on Friday morning, after a frenzy of last minute art framing, packing, and preparation. The convention hotel was just beautiful and in an excellent location. We met up with Jen “Mercedes” DeSalme and her brother Andrew “Sombrero” DeSalme, and enjoyed a nice lunch in Chinatown before heading back to the hotel. I ended up missing the first set of panels because Mercedes and I were in the art room setting up our art pieces.
This is when I learned the first lesson of The Gatheringâ€"you can’t do everything. The sheer amount of events going on simultaneously meant that it was impossible to do it all. Maui had attempted to recruit me for the Clan Olympics and I’d intended to join in, but in the end I only made one event…the one held during opening ceremonies. The rest of the time I was distracted by art duties, writing duties, costume duties, voice acting duties…on the other hand, the pace guaranteed never a dull moment! Still, I wish I’d done more for Team Canadian Body Massage.
The only other con I’ve ever attended was Transformers BotCon in 2002. BotCon is a much larger show, with huge crowds and a real emphasis on buying/selling in the massive dealer room. It somewhat surprises me that Gargoyles fans aren’t, for the most part, rabid acquirers of Gargoyles merchandise. However, this did mean that I was able to acquire a set of Gargoyles pencils in the auction for a price that didn’t break my very small budget. It’s also just as well that my point in going to the con was primarily to meet friends, rather than to acquire stuff. To suppliment my souvenir budget, I sold a toy with the help of the Morgans and used the proceeds to purchase one of Christine Morgan’s books as well as a Brooklyn dangler.
Conversely, I was surprised at the amount of art in the art show that was for sale. I’m very new to the field of computer generated art, doing most of my work in Prismacolour pencils. That means most of my art is one-of-a-kind and I’m loath to part with it. Furthermore, I’ve occasionally experimented with colouring or accenting my art with glitter inks. The ink makes for a really neat sparkling effect; however, when I scan the artwork, the sparkle effect is entirely lost, leaving only the flat base colour. This means I love to show off my sparkling images in person, because trying to put them online doesn’t do them justice.
That being said, here’s what I chose to show:

1. A truly terrifying Ophelia and Angela drawn in “Bratz” style, with sparkling clothing
2. Original character Lady Bismarck of the Iron Clan of Bavaria
3. Original character Wagner of the Iron Clan of Bavaria
4. Demona, accompanied by a poem I had written
5. My sparkling Jetstorm jet that I showed at Botcon 2002 (and got on the Transformers DVD)
6. My sparkling Megatron and Tempest, also from Botcon 2002
7. Sonic Attack Jet, my first CGI piece
8. Sparkling Jhiaxus, also shown at Botcon 2004
9. Black and white Motormaster, also shown at OTFCC 2004 and Botcon 2004
10. Four My Little Ponies, each of which represented a different element
11. A Barbie doll dressed as Elisa, in the arms of Ultimate Goliath
12. A kitbash of Whitbourne
13. A kitbash of Wagner and Caligo
14. “Then and Now”: contrasting a truly hideous Wagner pic from 1996 with one I completed the day before the con
15. and finally, the long-to-be-remembered diorama “Caught in the Act”, in which a custom-made Fox figure and Hardwired Xanatos stumble upon Broadway, Lexington and Goliath in stoneâ€"wearing Barbie dresses, jewelry, and holding makeup.

I’d hoped I might win something for my kitbashes. I was more than surprised to win not one but five art show ribbons.

First place B&W Sci Fi for Motormaster, King of the Road
Second place 3-D Fanchar for Whitbourne
Third place Pencil Sci Fi for the Elemental Ponies
Third place CGI Sci Fi for the Sonic Attack Jet
and Third Place 3-D Canon for, you guessed it, “Caught in the Act”
(How will I ever top “Caught in the Act” next year???)

After finally setting up all our art, Mercedes and I dropped in on Eden’s costuming panel. Although I already had my costume set to go, I found Eden’s panel very entertaining! :) I don’t know much about costuming and this gave me great ideas for years to come.
Next came the biggest challenge of the Gathering: finding supper within walking distance from the hotel. For some reason all the restaurants we found in walking distance were either expensive, or else lunch-only, or else McDonald’s. We finally found a sandwich shop, since we wanted something we could grab and go in order to be back in time for the opening ceremonies.
My favourite part of this was getting a chance to see and hear the Gathering-exclusive goodies: the original pitches for Gargoyles, Dark Ages and The New Olympians; the taped voice acting for the Atlantis ep featuring Demona, and the Bad Guys demo reel. After hearing about these things, believe me, there is nothing to compare to actually seeing and hearing them in person. I like Sphinx :) Greg’s involvement with the fandom is wonderful; unlike Hasbro, whose greatest interest at Transformers conventions is all about pimping their latest toyline rather than discussing the mythology that they created with the original Transformers, you can tell that Greg truly loves Gargoyles.
At this point, medical demands sent me to bed at 8 pm. I needed a long rest so I could stay up for the masquerade the next night. So Saturday morning dawned with a refreshed Stormy getting up in time to eat a good breakfast at Deli Planet in the train station before the day’s events began.
The first thing I did was hit the radio play auditions, since I’d missed the ones on Friday. Greg asked me to meow like a cat, and my first thought was “a cat saying what?” Having four cats makes me rather fluent in their language, which varies surprisingly depending on what they’re attempting to communicate. So I started with a feline question (brrrrr?) followed by attempts for attention (mow? MOW!!) and concluding with the SmokeyDance (well, minus the dancing, I guess it was just the Smokey Song, that horrible cry I’ve awoken to for the past two years from a former feral who remains obsessed with the idea that he may someday wake up and discover that the past two years of life on our couch has been some kind of kitty dream. Every morning Smokey greets us with a cry of “Feedmefeedmefeedme OH MY GOD THE BOWL IS EMPTY Mom Dad Feedme OH MY GOD WHAT IF THERE’S NO FOOD LIKE EVER AGAIN, OH GOD OH GOD!!!”) And it goes something like meowrOWrowROWrOWrowrOW….
Greg started laughing and I had this feeling I was going to be cast as Cagney, though I did get to read Demona and be evil for a while. After my evilness, I dropped in on the auction. I had my eye on a Brooklyn dangler, but when a pack of Gargoyles pencils had trouble getting a bidder, I offered a dollar and won. The dangler ended up going higher than $20, way out of my price range; I bought one from the Morgans on Sunday. Still, I was happy to contribute my dollar to the auction for the Gathering fundraising. Next came our rehearsal for the radio play, and finally the play itself. I sat beside a girl who played Bronx and we discussed our relative animal experience; she works at a kennel, so has had as much exposure to dog language as I have to cat.
After the radio play, Whit and I headed to Old Montreal with Jen and Andrew for a wonderful dinner and some shopping. Jen and Dylan/Whit bought masks; Andrew got a necklace. My indulgence was completely non-costume related: I purchased a Spirit Feather with a leather thong handle. I burn sweetgrass and sage at home, and have never had a proper feather for smudging the smoke. The leather thong enables me to hang the large feather far out of reach of aforementioned four cats. We got back just in time for me to finish sewing the big Q on my Quarryman outfit and it was costume time!
The Quarryman costume was pretty easy to put together. I already had urban combat pants, army boots, a studded belt, some belt chains, and some wide black leather studded bracelets. The hood was made of an old T-shirt’s back sewn into a hood, with eye holes and a tiny nose hole; it didn’t need a mouth, it was thin enough to breathe through easily, and it was stretchy enough to accommodate my glasses easily. The shirt was another black T-shirt with a white circle sewn on it; I’d used black and yellow markers to draw the Q insignia.
The masquerade was lots of fun. There were some truly amazing costumes, and I’m neither surprised nor disappointed not to have won in this categoryâ€"my entire goal was to dress up and have fun despite my limited budget. The fact that I put together a good-looking Quarryman costume using only what I had on hand means I succeeded. In fact, I was told that no one has ever done a Quarryman before, and I’m glad to have done something original.
I now turn to my only down note for the conventionâ€"the advertised reading contest. The contest got cancelled due to lack of interest; yet I know of at least two other people besides myself who had written stories for the contest. The only instruction on the web page was to be ready to read at the Gathering, and we were; yet the convention organizers, having not received emails, presumed no one was interested. Had there been a request on the Gathering website to email the staff about our reading contest entries, we certainly would have done so. It was a bit of a downer to have worked hard on an entry and not have had a chance to share it. The staff offered that we could arrange our own reading; however, I found that I simply didn’t have time. I really hope that in future years, the reading contest is continued so I can use my entry then; I also hope that communication about how to enter is a little clearer.
Sunday morning. Sleeping in meant the only breakfast option was McDogfood’s if I wanted to eat something before the panels began. Flanker and I debated the relative merits of Rotten Ronnies vs Canadian Forces field rations while we waited. I grabbed some chow and arrived to watch Whitbourne’s Gargoyle Biology panel. After that, it was time for the PGA signing to begin…what a kick! I have decided that doing book signings is something I could get used to :) I took the time to buy my Brooklyn dangler from the Morgans before the dealer room closed and Keith David arrived. After his presentation, it was time for closing ceremonies. This was when I got the good news about my art contest wins, scared Keith David with the sight of a Quick Strike Goliath in drag, and got him to sign my anthology.
Unfortunately, after that we had to go catch our plane. There was a little time to say goodbye to everyoneâ€"Wingless, Dan, Rustbot, Lynati, Princess Alex, Spacebabie, Ethan, the Morgans, Flanker, and all the other people I either knew or had metâ€"and it was homeward bound. I really hope I’ll get to see myself, and my friends, on the Gargoyles DVD this Decemberâ€"that was a really great kick, knowing that features of the con will make it onto the DVD. It was a great convention, a great time. The Gargoyles fandom is really “cozy”â€"this is one convention that hasn’t been corrupted by emphasis on pushing products or corporate glitz. It’s by the fans, for the fans. And that is something special. Kudos go to all the organizers for the work they did, particularly Eden who dealt with all my art questions from an art show newbie who didn’t know how the panel/table system worked. Also kudos from a fandom that is based around the audience /participating/ rather than simply sitting back and watching. I felt so involved with everything all weekend, and that was a great feeling. All in all, I hope I can go to The Gathering again, if it’s half as good as this one it’ll be more than worth it.

Greg responds...

And see... you DID make it onto the DVD!!

I hope to see you and Whit again at G2006!

Response recorded on March 07, 2006