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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.