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Wednesday - Thursday
For all intents, the Gathering started on Wednesday, when my mom and I began the first half of the drive up to Tennessee. We thought it best to split the six hour drive into two parts, and ovenight somewhere halfway up. Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we arrived at the hotel Thursday afternoon without any problems. Upon check-in, I found out that the hotel was pratically booked solid, with only a handful of rooms left. Turns out that the Gathering was one of five or six other groups staying or using the hotel that weekend. Whoa.
This was the first official day of the Gathering, and I split from mom that morning so she could do what she wanted while I was occupied with the events. I got my badge and got a one-day pass for my mom to use that night at the opening ceremonies. I looked at the available dealers and the art that was up so far in Artists' Alley (I got a Metal Man comic from the comics dealer there, a plus for me). The first panel I went to was the basic arts panel, to which Karine eventually managed to make. It was fun, a review in part for me, but still great to attend. The next panel I attended was Grimorum-making, taught by the wonderful Jenn-Bob, who also modeled for the life-drawing session we had afterwards. Finally came the opening ceremonies, and I was rather nervous about this particular event. I was one of the volunteers who provided animatics for the reel for "The Last", for which I dragged my mom to see. I listened and cheered through Greg's remarks and news, enjoying the promo reels and the little bonuses that have happened over the last year. It was with a lot of butterflies that I watched "The Last" animatic, but once I saw my part up on the TV, I was relieved. It had turned out rather well, and I was glad to have added my part to it. Unfortunately, my mom couldn't stay through the whole ceremonies and had to miss it. Ah, well. I stayed for the music video contest (sorry, guys, not one of the ones who did the mini-golf). And that was it for me that night.
Went to the life-drawing panel first thing in the morning, which provided a lot of nice gestures and drawings. Next was Karine's Fan to Pro panel. Samuel liked to squirm during it. He's so cute! Back to the panel: Karine gave a lot of information about her work in the past, how things went in the industry, and what she was enjoying about working on issue 5 of Gargoyles and so far for Bad Guys. After that, I hung out for a while in Artists' Alley and got to talk with Mara while she drew, then caught the last part of the Worldbuilding panel. Mom and I went to have a late lunch / early dinner before the radio play.
Okay, for me, and I'm sure a lot of others, the radio play this year was a highlight. For one, it's possibly the largest one so far, with the cast -- even with a few doubling roles -- that was about equal to the audience. Second, it was a performance of issues three to five, and we had to promise to keep our mouths shut about what gets revealed until the final issue comes out. Needless to say, it rocked. So much gets answered in issue five, and so much more. Let's me say this much: there were a lot of laughs, a lot of "Ooohhs" and "Ahhs" and at least one "Squeee!". When it comes out, I am so buying it.
After that, I checked out the MGT3K for the first time, which was fun, though I don't think I contributed much. Lastly for the night was the Blue Mug. It was rather tame this time around, which isn't to say we didn't have our dirty moments. Greg got to show off his custom shirt. Thom pulled his pants down to show his tattoo, which was cool. At least two animated gifs were shown to them, and Mara's own oh so wrong but oh so funny pic got passed around, which prompted another revelation that drew a collective "Ooohh."
I opted to attend the costuming panel, which became an open discussion and tip trading. I followed this up with the Garg physiology and culture panel. Because it was mentioned in the weeks prior to the Gathering, I decided to ask the question whether Katherine's excuse towards Constantine had any validity. We came to the consensus that yeah, the eggs needed to be turned, and various reasons why. Taxonomy was discussed, genetics, as was the interesting, to me anyway, topic of the "castle" as a concept of home and duty to Gargoyles, and to Goliath specifically. After that came the Bad Guys panel, that was part discussion of the upcoming comic and part brainstorming session about what we as fans can do to help get more notice for the comics, DVDs, and next year's con. All very cool ideas, and a few I plan to follow up as well as I can. We also got to see the posters for the upcoming trade of issues 1-6 and for Bad Guys #1. I disappeared for while to eat until the Masquerade, as well as watch the really strong summer storm that went through that afternoon. It was fun to see all the costumes, and at least one dance perfomance (whoever you are, I'm sorry I don't remember your name). Prizes were handed out, and then we partied. I enjoyed dancing and talking with everyone. Especially the performances to songs from Rent and Rocky Horror.
Monday was a short day. I attended the re-scheduled marker panel while listening to the live auction in the next room. I came over to say goodbye to Karine and Jen. After that, I went to help my mom with her stuff, and we were off.
Overall, it was a rather fun con. I signed up for next year's in Chicago, and plan to get to Vashkoda a better version of the animatic I contributed, as well as participate in the art show. Hope everyone else had fun, and I hope to see you guys next year.
I really appreciated your contribution to the Garg Phys&Cust panel. Thanks!