Repacked. Again. Got a bit worried that my baggage allowance was too much and took the extra pair of jeans out of the case to lighten it enough to take it on as carry-on luggage – and then began the epic journey of planes, trains and automobiles (if you count buses as automobiles that is!) Left my house at around mid-day and was at Heathrow airport at around half four. The hotel is pretty close to the airport and there’s meant to be a bus service running every ten-fifteen minutes between the airport and the hotel. Forty Five minutes I waited…
Eventually got the hotel where acrazywench and thedothatgirl were ensconced in the room already (nice room, busted air con…) and found that the girls had registered me already so that I didn’t have to flap about like a lunatic! Thanks girls! We headed out to take a look around the hotel and head into the opening ceremony that was already an hour behind schedule. Did I mention we pretty much had to swim to the opening ceremony? The rain was (in the words of my mum) ‘coming down in stair rods!’ – soaked to the skin, dye running out of the only pair of jeans I had with me and straight into the only pair of shoes I had with me… *g*
Anyway, opening ceremony (the delay gave us a chance to dry off a little anyway!) The guest list was J August Richards, Christian Kane, Amy Acker, Andy Hallet, Dayne Johnson and Adrienne Wilkinson. We kinda figured that Steve Carlson would also be there since Kane were doing some gigs but he hadn’t been officially confirmed at that point.
Got into the ceremony eventually and are told that the reason for the delay is that J’s filming had overrun and he was literally on a plane at that point which was due any minute but they decided not to hold up the ceremony any longer. So first guest is announced and it’s a Starfury regular who is a lot of fun but who has absolutely nothing to do with Angel at all. Clare Cramer (Glory) was to be the celebrity MC for the event (despite… Prime I think it was being the ‘last’ event she was going to MC) and she then began to announce the other guests. I forget the exact order they were announced in so forgive me if I screw the list up!
I think Dayne was first – make-up artist on Angel, really nice guy, very fun. Then Adrienne Wilkinson who actually has been in Angel for something like three seconds. Wasn’t sure what to think of her at first, but she came across as being really nice and sweet – and funny! Then Steve comes out – yay! (I love Steve – he’s such a lovely guy!)
And then Clare starts introducing the next guest and talking about their long career and I was thinking huh? And then out walks Keith Sarabajka. Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned before – in the 80’s I was a big fan of The Equalizer and will admit to having a bit of a crush on Mickey Kostmayer… So Keith comes out and gets this huge round of applause and extended cheer because not one of us were expecting him (Clare apparently didn’t know he was a ‘surprise’ guest when she introduced him).
Then I think it was Andy that was introduced (bit of a mainstay at Starfury cons but this was actually the first one I’d seen him at). Like him a lot, kinda random, very funny. The next guest is announced and the whole place goes kinda insane. Vincent Kartheiser. Looks freakishly young and I was completely surprised by how *nice* he was! (I developed a new appreciation for Connor after _end_of_days and I have seen him in other films and know he’s actually not as irritating as I initially labelled him… After this weekend, I really like him now. (Kartheiser that is, not Connor!))
So crowd’s gone nuts and out comes Chris who confirms that there will indeed be a Kane acoustic set on the Saturday (yay!) and then finally Amy Acker comes out looking slimmer than ever which is just sickening when you find out she’s six months pregnant with her second child…
So two surprise guests and a surprise MC. Very cool and very much appreciated for the last Angel convention (even if the guests themselves were casting doubts on whether it really would be the last one!)
There was some autograph sessions going on but none of us had our things with us (sessions don’t usually start ‘till the Saturday) so we stuck around the bar a little and flitted in and out of the disco in the main hall. Met up with the lovely fresleyforever and friends whose LJ names I didn’t catch – sorry guys!) and imbibed a fair amount of ‘special water’ right next to the sign saying “the drinking of alcohol not purchased on the premises is forbidden”. Heh!
Up early on Saturday morning to make sure we got decent seats and ended up being head of the queue which pretty much guaranteed us good seats (not front row ‘cause they’re reserved for the stewards) and we got in to see Dayne do a make-up demonstration which was pretty damn cool - I have pictures, lots of them, but they’re not digital (they’re being developed and put on disk as I type) then after the demonstration out comes Clare and Adrienne to do their talk. Adrienne is really funny and obviously a bit of a pro when it comes to conventions. I never really watched Xena much but I do remember seeing the Eve/Livia arc and once I got that that’s who she was I was actually quite geekily excited about it all… Why yes, I am sadness personified…
Next up was Keith and Vincent. thedothatgirl and acrazywench had both seen Keith before - although apparently acrazywench’s memory isn’t quite what it should be… *g*) and had said that he was a little intimidating during the Q&As. I have to say I was very much impressed, he has a wicked sense of humour and he and Vincent were riffing off each other constantly. Really funny. Oh, and Vincent needs socks. I’m just sayin’, he’s gonna get blisters otherwise…
After they left the stage there was a few video clips shown including a “30 second” ‘sorry I can’t be there’ from Jonathon Woodward – the quotes around the 30 seconds are deliberate because the guy just rambled on and on… they had to stop the tape to make way for the auction before he was finished! The auction had some pretty cool things for sale (crew jackets, prosthetic make up pieces from the show etc). Only thing is, Sean Harry is perhaps not the best auctioneer in the world.
After that was J and Chris, who are clearly very good mates and spent a fair bit of time catching up with each other, which was really sweet. Chris had been in the bar already and had beer with him on stage – and if I remember right there was more brought out to him during the talk – damn him, he had Bud. By the time I went to get beer they were all out of Bud and I ended up drinking Stella instead… reassuringly expensive my ass. :)
I am unfortunately getting notoriously bad at remembering *anything* from the Q&A’s so forgive me – acrazywench, thedothatgirl, fresleyforever et all can no doubt give more detail if you ask ‘em nicely!
Steve came out eventually (he was scheduled to be there all along but wasn’t there at the start of the J and Chris show) and the three of them were just having a ball on that stage! One thing I do remember is that just after Steve came on stage, Chris nipped offstage (for a pee, he was being very honest that afternoon…) and a girl was waiting to ask him a question. J and Steve got her to ask them saying they’d make up an answer for him and her question was something about “if you could do anything and blame it on an evil hand, what would you do?” J and Steve were having a laugh coming up with an answer full of innuendo and Chris comes back onstage at this point, hears them talking about hands and says “what, you want to know which hand I jack off with?”. Everyone’s pretty much on the floor by this point, J’s jaw is down there too. And it just kept on getting worse (and funnier!) the answer, if you’re interested, would seem to be the right hand… *g*
Next up was Amy, Andy and Dayne. Two of whom I hadn’t seen before but I actually have very little memory of their talk to be honest. I have a feeling I may have actually left the hall for some reason - didn’t have a photo session or anything, was it an autograph session? Should I worry that my memory really is that bad?!
Anyway, the autograph session that day - whether it was during that last talk or after it) – J, Adrienne, Clare, Steve and Chris. This was the first time I’ve been in line behind thedothatgirl when she’s been getting her artwork signed. J’s reaction was wonderful – and well deserved, both it and the Lindsey picture are astounding Andrea! – and he was really sweet to everyone he spoke to.
I kinda lost my ability to think on my feet (not that I’ve ever been all that great at doing that, ever.) and I just about managed to say “thank you” to everyone. I am lame.
Except Steve. I told him I had to both thank him and berate him at the same time since he was the reason I picked up a guitar again and because of that I have no nails left and callouses are forming on my fingers… He was very sweet and humble. I think I kinda love him.
And because I spent a fair bit of time talking to Steve, I didn’t get to see Chris’s reaction to AC’s picture but I got a huge smile from him so I was happy. And yes, I chickened out of showing him my tattoo – next time, I swear!
After that, most of the day’s events were winding down in preparation for the evening so we bought our photo tickets for the next day - was tempted by the entire group photo but at seventy quid it was just a little more than I could justify spending on a picture (especially with my hair being awful right now – growing out layers, not a good look…) and we headed off for dinner (actual real food!) and then headed back to the hotel to change for the evening (side note – the top I was wearing on Saturday (the black one with the floaty sleeves) used to be huge on me. Not so much now, I need to get back onto that diet methinks!)
Got back to the main hall and found space on the floor to watch the fancy dress/costume parade. It was good, but seemed a little lacking this year. ‘The End’ was just inspired though (the guy dressed up as the Mutant Enemy monster and had a sheet with the logo on it held up on poles behind him). All of the entries were good, just not really… outstanding.
Final entry in the parade is announced and Clare’s looking pissed off that she doesn’t have the entrant's name to read out. Out comes this guy with the Numero Cinco wrestler’s mask on and drops into a fighting stance squaring off with Sean Harry (the organiser of the convention). I’m thinking at this point that the guy’s clothes are too ‘good’ for the costume when all of a sudden Sean’s in there wrestling the guy for the mask which he whips off to reveal….
Now that’s how to make an entrance!
Much excitement, much surprise – turns out that most of the guests and staff didn’t even know he was coming either!
After the room had calmed down a little they got us all sorted out for the Kane gig. Gotta say, I’m not a fan of sitting down at a gig, but sitting on the floor? Really hate it.
The gig was wonderful – those boys are just so damn good – and they shared some great news with us “The ink’s not even dry yet so you guys are some of the first to know. We’ve just signed a recording deal with R.C.A.” Such great news and so well deserved.
Since it was an acoustic set they didn’t do songs like House Rules, but they did play a few new songs (and I have to say, I know it’s cheesy to link Kane songs with Lindsey, but othercat? There’s a song in the new stuff that would make a perfect opening montage for Walking With Heroes!)
Fantastic gig, loved every moment of it, and at the end J convinced them to do a cover of a Prince song (which they do a lot at their gigs) as an encore and when Chris didn’t know the next line J joined in – and at the end the mike was thrust into Andy Hallet’s hands (he didn’t know the song but that high note? Wow. And J’s impersonation of Andy’s reaction – priceless!)
After the gig the disco started and after we’d been to the bar we headed back in to find a celebrity DJ set going on. A billion times better than the regular Starfury DJs it has to be said (I will not apologise for that, they suck). J was Djing with a little help from a particularly ‘merry’ Chris (by ‘merry’ I mean rat-arsed, wasted, very, very drunk…)
The set didn’t last nearly long enough but not long after that I was dancing near the front of the floor – close to the table where acrazywench and thedothatgirl were – and Jonathon Woodward walks across the floor, he stops as he gets to where I am and starts dancing with me for a while… *g*
The room was still really warm (the a/c really wasn’t playing along) so we were all a little sleep-deprived on Sunday… we managed to get decent seats again – or actually acrazywench and thedothatgirl did while I was off buying coffee and then not being allowed to take it into the hall by a particularly bitchy steward… but I digress, after the coffee I went in and we were treated to a screening of Summer Glau’s SciFi channel movie “Mammoth”. It’s truly awful. Sorry!
And then came the first of the day’s talks – Jonathon Woodward and Adrienne Wilkinson. No communion this time – that was put to bed on a high at Serenity Squared – but mass hypnosis ensued and Adrienne was naked for the rest of the day – or at least that’s what JMW tried to have us believe.
My programme says if was Clare, Dayne and Andy on next but I don’t actually remember Clare being there. Someone was, there were 3 people on that stage but the third person is hazy in my head. I had a photo shoot then anyway so I missed some of that talk (typical, Andy – one of the two people I hadn’t seen before – and I managed to miss most of both his talks…)
Now’s the point where I’m thinking my programme’s really screwy with the photo timings ‘cause it aint matching up. I *think* the first shoot was Vincent and Keith – got huge cuddles from Vincent (plus much stroking of my back as I was walking away), but I was a little too intimidated to ask Keith…
Back to the hall for the start of the auction (Andy was on stage for that one and it seemed to go better than the Saturday one did), then I was off to another photo shoot – the mammoth session where I just kept on circling that room and going back for more. First with Chris and Steve, then with Steve, then with Chris. Huge cuddles from them both – especially since the photographer kinda screwed up and had to take an extra shot of me and Chris. Was I complaining? What do you think?
Back to the main hall and there was a short break then (where I managed to hastily eat a packet of crisps) and the next talk started – Keith, Chris and Steve. Kinda funny that whenever Chris was stumped for an answer he would just turn round and say “Keith?” (I know, it doesn’t sound all that funny but trust me – it was!). Steve was asked if he would ever act and he mentioned the film he was in with Chris in which he plays a guitarist - as he said himself, not exactly acting really! - and then went on to say that he was happy to leave the acting to his friends. He mentioned his roommate Jensen Ackles is in a show called Supernatural and loving it, I should probably get around to watching that some time!
And then the last talk, J. Amy and Vincent. (And the McDonalds apple pies that J kept eating – at least two of them I think!) Again, we missed out on some of that one for our final photo shoot – acrazywench, thedothatgirl and me with JMW. *g*
The final autograph session was next, Amy (sweetheart!) Keith (who was singing through most of it – Ruby Tuesday was the song of choice when I was there – he’s got a really good singing voice!), Andy (who had a framed picture of Dayne on his table), Dayne and Vincent. Vincent had his iPod with him and hadone earphone in. Me being me I automatically said “So what are you listening to?” He says the name of the band which immediately slips my mind and says “D’you want to listen?” and hands me the earphones. Beautiful music, completely the opposite of what I thought he would listen to in a million years and we had a bit of a chat about it. I don’t know how to spell the name of the band and I’m really, really hoping that someone out there knows of them. I think they’re called Mosbas. Very melodic, almost folky, possibly Native American. Beautiful music and I’d love to get hold of it. I think I kinda fell a little bit in love with him then, he’s such a sweetie!
So anyway, after the autograph session, the closing ceremony was arranged and it was pretty damn emotional it has to be said (even though it was held up because Woodward went AWOL). Every one of the guests talked about how they felt like we were their UK family (“if you like a broken family”), Keith did a wonderful parody of Holtz’s last letter to Connor, Chris was wiping away a tear, Amy was lost for words and J was choked up.
The last Starfury Angel convention is now over, all of the guests want to come back, we want them to come back. Let’s hope they can.
My photographs are in the shop right now, hopefully there’ll be some worth posting and if I ever get my computer to behave itself, I may well scan in the professionally done pictures as well.
So that’s it, Not Fade Away is over, the memories might be fading a little already, but the moments won’t.
ETA I took the professional photos in to work to try to scan them from here (scanner screen's marked though, need to try to do it at home...) and showed them to monkey_matt His reactions:
Photo of me, Chris and Steve: "He's got bad hair!" (meaning Chris - I like his hair...)
Photo of me and Vincent: "Why are you molesting that young boy?"
Photo of me and Keith: "Hmm, I dunno, he looks a bit like a creepy uncle doesn't he?"
Photo of me and Steve: "Why's he got his hand in his pocket?"
Photo of me and Chris: "And ten minutes later they called security, right?"