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Friday, June 22nd, 2001

[Assume the usual caveats. I'm bound to forget someone or many. I apologize in advance. Also, I'd love to see other peoples Gathering diaries. Feel free to post them here.]

Well, I got up Friday morning at home. Packed a small duffle and my box of Gathering crap and headed to Universal City.

I checked in, but my room wasn't ready. An obvious question is why was I staying at the hotel when I live about twenty minutes away.

The answer begins with the Gathering Staff's generosity. But I hope they got their money's worth. By staying at the hotel, it allowed me to be at the con both earlier in the morning and later (much, much later) at night. My kids missed me. But my family's very understanding, thankfully.

Anyway, after checking in, I dropped my Gathering box off at the con suite and then went back downstairs to look around and see if I could help in any way. All day Friday and Saturday I wore the Shrinky-Dink Brooklyn necklace that I made with my kids. It seemed like wearing it around the con might just up its price at the auction. You'll have to ask Aaron if that ploy worked.

I gave Cindy and Jules the two pieces of artwork that my daughter Erin drew. One was "Gargoyle Babe", which she did herself. The other was "Daddy and Daughter's Night Out". A picture of Goliath and Angela disco dancing which she and I drew together. Erin eventually decided to put both pictures up for sale for charity. I think Dreamie bought "Babe". And Jules bought "Night Out". In turn, Erin wound up buying a piece from Dreamie and a bunch of stuff from David Wong. My son Ben bought a piece from Kelly and a Goliath yoyo. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I gave Kenna some Roughneck video tapes that Sony had donated. Over the last couple months, I had already loaned Jen all my Gargoyles episode tapes for her to copy. (She still has all of season two and "The Journey".) So we had plenty to keep the video room busy.

I put some things in for the auction. Some more Sony donations. A signed copy of my original script for "The Journey". And a signed copy of my original pilot script for "Roswell Conspiracies". (You know, the one we did as a Radio Play in Dallas.)

And speaking of Radio Plays, it was time for auditions. I met up with Thom Adcox and Jordan Mann and we began the process. As usual it was a lot of fun. Because I knew we were going to be doing "Hunter's Moon, Part Three", but the auditioners didn't, I got to here a lot of Scottish accents, and I got to ask everyone to bark like a dog (for Bronx).

We got a fairly good turnout. Better than last year in Orlando, when we had to beg people to participate. Still not as good as in Dallas or New York, when we were so overwhelmed by the numbers of those auditioning that the whole rest of the day ran late. It helped, I think to hold auditions Friday when the show was Saturday.

We powered through the auditions, taking a few breaks. Seth, who's easily distracted, was in line to audition. Took off while we were on break, and came back too late to audition. He tried to wheedle his way into the show later. And it was tempting, since he's been a member in good standing of the Gathering Players (he was our male lead in New York and Orlando). But the show was cast. Too late, Seth. Sorry. ;P

Most everyone who auditioned was pretty good. Casting was difficult, because we hated to leave anyone out. But I think we came up with a good mix of the old guard, new blood and RINGERS.

We had Lanny back. As usual, in the auditions, I offer people a choice of reading whichever original Gargoyle "side" they feel like reading. Lanny chose Goliath, and I told him I was hoping he'd pick that. He didn't know what I meant until that night when he found out he'd actually be playing Goliath. And we had Jen and Jordan and Alex and Sara and Heather back in the show again. It's great to have some continuity.

Plus we had Thom playing Lex of course. With Morgan Sheppard (the voice of Petros Xanatos) playing Hudson and Crispin Freeman doing his dead-on Broadway imitation. (It SO cracked us up in our auditions, Jordan, Thom and I KNEW we had to cast him as Broadway.) Elisa Gabrielli was supposed to play Maria Chavez (as she had in "Revelations"). But there was a miscommunication and she didn't make it Saturday. (Fortunately, she came Sunday, which is when we really needed her.) The good news is we had three understudies this year. Last year, we lost a cast member at the last minute. Jesse was forced to play two rolls. This year we were ready, and Jennifer Mallon jumped in to take Elisa's place.

And we had some great new finds. Zehra just blew us away with her Elisa audition. She was great. And Nicole was a fine Scottish Canmore. Actually, everyone did great.

Here's the full cast:

ELISA MAZA... Zehra Q. Fazal
GOLIATH... Lanny Fields
LEXINGTON... Thom Adcox
BROADWAY... Crispin Freeman
BROOKLYN... Sara Hutchinson
ANGELA... Batya Wittenberg
HUDSON... W. Morgan Sheppard
BRONX... Rebecca Gold
JASON CANMORE... Jordan Mann
JON CANMORE... T.J. Ferraro
ROBYN CANMORE... Nicole Dubuc
DEMONA... Jennifer Anderson
DAVID XANATOS... Johnney Muije
FOX... Kelly Creighton
OWEN BURNETT... Kevin de Caccia
MATT BLUESTONE... Joshua Poole
MARIA CHAVEZ... Jennifer Mallon
MORGAN... Loren G. McLaughlin
PILOT... Alisa Christopher
MARGOT YALE... Heather E. Rice
BRENDAN... Rahsaan Footman
VINNIE... Alex Wittenberg
TRAVIS MARSHALL... Kristen de Caccia

UNDERSTUDIES... Sean Camanyag and Gabriel Guerrero

I'd like to give a special thank you to both Thom and Jordan for being my partners in crime on the auditions.

Anyway, casting done, we got back downstairs just as various guests began to arrive. I saw Michael Reaves for about a second before he took off. But I got to spend a bit of time with Dennis Woodyard, Bob Birchard, Frank Paur, Tuppence Macintyre, Brynne Chandler, etc.

I'd like to extend another special thank you, this time to Carol Wagner, who did such an amazing job at guest wrangling both in the weeks before the con and during. Also to Patrick for making registration for the guests such a smooth and generally painless process.

I checked into my room. Just down the hall from the Con Suite and the staff room. I saw a bunch of familiar faces. Leva. Greg Bishansky. Aaron and Mara. Hudson. Kythera (who also helped out at Auditions with Johnney). Saw Vash in here somewhere. Demona May. Noel. Ah, I know I'm forgetting people. Sorry. Or mentioning them on the wrong day. I ran into Ashley at one point. It was great to see her again.

Bill Faggerbakke arrived, and folks almost literally lined up around the block for his autograph. It delayed opening ceremonies a bit. But not too badly -- not relative to the Gathering's track record, anyway. Jamie Murray got things rolling, introducing the staff, etc. I won't repeat the con virgin joke. Other people have mentioned it, and the truth is I didn't hear it at the time. I was antsy. Getting up and sitting down and getting up again.

As you all may have gathered, I rather like speaking in public. (I'm lousy at small talk and shy in social situations with people I don't know VERY well, but I'm a decent public speaker. Go figure.) But I generally get pretty wired just before I'm about to go "on".

Anyway, Jamie intro'd me. I intro'd our guests. Ending with Thom. (I just want to say that Thom and I always got along well during production of the show. But it's during the last few years since he came to the Dallas Gathering that he and I have really become close friends. He's such a great guy. I'm not sure how we made it through the first two NYC Gatherings without him.) Thom intro'd Lexy and gave her her FAN GUEST OF HONOR AWARD. This was a complete surprise to her. Something the staff agreed on secretly to thank Lexy for her amazing recruitment work. She seemed genuinely touched. It was pretty cool.

Then I began my schpiel. Considering you have heard and I have told ALL these stories about a THOUSAND times, I thought that this time I was amazingly scatter-brained. You'd think I'd have them down to memory. But I kept forgetting things. Remembering them later. Telling things out of order, etc. I belatedly remembered that I had a letter from Ed Asner to read to all attending, and then couldn't find the letter. It must have taken me forever to realize I was holding the letter in my hand. I had folded it up and had written a note to myself on it. D'Oh.

Anyway, it was fun to tell the "Better than Barney" story in the Hotel where it originally took place, with Bill F. there. I'm not sure whether he remembers saying that. Perhaps I made the whole thing up. (And my garage band will be playing at the Whiskey this week-end.)

I showed the pitch, the promo. The New Olympian and Dark Ages development. The Bad Guys reel. It was terrific to have that video projector. Finally people could get a decent look at what I was showing them.

I rambled forever. Then finally relinquished the floor.

Afterwards, a bunch of us went up to CityWalk for Sushi and a staff dinner. Crzy's husband Alan Anderson was there (with Kathy Pogge as his date). My date was Jen. *Yes we're a strange bunch, and I'm happy to include myself in that assessment.*

Meredith was there. Patrick. Crispin and Izobel. Cindy? Kenna? The Morgans? Carol? I can't remember, I'm sorry. Dinner was the typical "Hey, it's CityWalk, expect to wait forever!" marathon. But the food was good. And so was the company.

We headed back to the con suite, where Aimee and Steph (Hi, Pickles!) began decorating me with post-it notes depicting various characters from the show. I've kept them all. Except for that nasty one of me. [Wait, did this happen Friday night or Saturday? My memory is just a blur.]

I called it a night relatively early (for me). I was still a bit nervous about a pneumonia relapse. Walked down the hall to my hotel room. Watched some TV and then crashed.

Stay tuned for Part Three...