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30 April 2012 @ 03:38 pm
Excessively long Expo 2012 Ramble  
These past three days have been wickedly fun, and I met several people who have helped make things that mean a great deal to me… So I’m gonna gush.

These past three days have been wickedly fun, and I met several people who have helped make things that mean a great deal to me… So I’m gonna gush.

This is really long. And detailed. And probably incredibly boring to anyone who isn’t me. I’m just happy. And nerdy.

All three days of Expo were ridiculously busy, but that was to be expected since the entire original cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation reunited for this convention- the first time they’ve all been together in two decades. So obviously people went crazy for that.

More importantly for me, they announced James Marsters like half a year ago and I flailed because I have loved Buffy for most of my life, and I’ve always heard nothing but the nicest things about James and his interactions with fans.

They announced Tom Felton in January, which was what prompted me to get advanced tickets, but unfortunately he had to cancel his appearance a while ago due to scheduling conflicts. He intends to come to next years, so all is forgiven, though I was pretty bummed- and then holy jesus shit, a few weeks ago they announce a last minute replacement for Tom- THE PHELP TWINS. I just iusahsghsghsg. I was in class when my friend texted me with the news and I was dizzy with excitement.

Adam Baldwin was also there- the line up to get to his panel was batshit, but he was a funny guy. Someone naturally asked him to sing the Jayne song and he cheerfully declined, referring us to youtube hahahahah. I bought a Jayne hat and got a photo op with him =)

When I met James Marsters on the first day, it was really really important to me that I get to tell him how much Buffy means to me. I’m thankful that I got the chance to do that. I lined up at his signing booth the second the Expo doors opened on the first day, and I’m glad I did, since it took probably two hours of standing through it to meet him- though mind you, he, like many other special guests, arrived late. Apparently so many people flew in for this con that the airport was a total gong show and incoming flights to Calgary were delegated to Edmonton hahahahaha.

But anyway, I was really nervous and I was in line alone for James so my nerves were just dancing silently in my head, but he was just so gracious and talkative. The girl ahead of me was dead silent when she saw him, so he just rambled amicably about the poses of the photos he was signing and how he felt silly doing photo shoots. It made me smile. And he mentioned loving Joss’s Avengers and that made me squee internally too haha.

I was dying a bit when he proffered his hand to shake with a ‘Hi, I’m James’. I really wanted to not come off as a crazy person so I did the whole hi-how-are-you thing, and I told him how Buffy matters so much to me, and he looked touched and said that it meant a lot to him too and that he loves to hear that. I mentioned liking his music too and he aww’d and put his hand on his chest, so cute, and lit up talking about how he was rehearsing late last night in his hotel room and how his neighbours were probably really pissed at him hahaha. He shook my hand goodbye as well, sgsghsgh. His hands are so soft. Anyway, I was just overjoyed at how he made a point to really interact with everyone who went through the booth. His booth had a sign up that said no hugs/kisses :3. One of the security guys was joking with us while we were waiting and said that it was so we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves hahahahaha.

I did a big group shot for my photo op with him, 4 out of the 5 girls being people I had only met that day, mainly friends of friends, but we were all huge Buffy fans and all freaking out a bit in line. I dibs’d one of his arms and was in absolute heaven snuggling up to his side for the shot x) I could feel his chest moving up and down with his breathing, which was rather fast hahaha. He again took the time to shake all of our hands before the photo, which again I was really impressed by since the photo op guys really kind of push you to move through as quickly as possible.

We tried to get our Adam Baldwin photos that day as well, but they cut off the line for him :(. I had spent most of the day in lines so I didn’t have much of a chance to look at the booths, but I did find a TARDIS ice box that I simply had to have =).

Saturday was an interesting day… one of my friends was having a farewell BBQ  on Friday night to send him and another friend off on a summer spent working in another city, so I wanted to go and say hi and bye, expecting to leave early and with minimal liquor consumption. But these guys were absolutely my party friends back in the day and I love them to bits plus I never see them anymore, so I did get a bit drunk and I did get caught up in the good times and didn’t end up leaving til past 2AM heh. My friend was giving me some kind of toxic booze mix that he was rather proud of, so that probably contributed hahahaha. This meant that I only got like 4 hours of sleep for Saturday, but it was well worth it.

Dragged my ass to Expo a half hour before its opening on both Friday and Saturday, and on Saturday they ushered us into the Corral until the opening- which was just confusing, and the crowd turned vaguely mob-like. It was insanely packed on Saturday- during the photo ops for Sir Patrick Stewart there were double lines of people running all the way around and through the room. You could barely move in the photo op/autograph room. The photo op section itself was a giant wave of people milling around, most of whom had no idea what was going on. There were so so so many people who would just get into line without even asking what it was for, or if it was even a line. I seriously saw people form a line behind a group of a few folks who had just stopped to talk. So apparently because of the sheer volume of people trying to get photo ops with the Next Gen cast, thousands of people were unable to get what they paid for, and many claimed to have waited hours only to be turned away. Quite honestly, I think these people either have to be exaggerating on the waiting hours part or they have to be the same type of fool who waits in a line without finding out what the line is for. So many people were lining up in front of the general photo op area when you were supposed to bypass the general area and line up inside for your specific guest.

We saw Adam Baldwin’s panel on the Saturday, so yeah the line was stupidly long, congested into the hallway outside the Corral where an Adam West panel was happening so there were a shitton of people swarming the area, some entering and exiting the Corral, some trying to get into our venue, and many just trying to enter and exit the main exhibition area. There was a group of people in front of us in line who thought they were waiting to get into the panel that was currently in session. And then they got pissed when someone announced that it was for the Adam Baldwin panel in half an hour, not the panel that was half over. I’m baffled as to how these folks could’ve actually thought they were getting into the previous one. Seriously. Though to be fair a lot of the volunteers didn’t seem to know what was happening and were giving conflicting information. And the official voucher said that people weren’t allowed to line up for panels earlier than 15 minutes before they started and people figured they were actually enforcing that… whoops, I guess. My friend had scoffed at my insistence that we get to the Baldwin line a full hour before the panel, but he took that back really quickly once we saw the line :P Baldwin’s photo op session was scheduled 45 minutes after the panel ended, so we booked it out of there the moment he was done to get to his line- and it’s good that we did, and lucky that we were successful in avoiding another congestive line, since they cut off the photo op line for him only a handful of people after us. If we had been cut off of his photo ops two days in a row, I’d be pretty let down. But we made it through, Jayne hats firmly on our heads :)

We took 15 minutes after our Baldwin op to sit and fill our starving stomachs before we undertook the mission of staking out a spot for the Phelps twins’ photo op, an hour and a half before it was scheduled to begin. There was a giant mob, in keeping with the fashion of the day, and there were lots of people in there waiting for different guests. Again, a huge chunk of them were waiting outside the general area when they should have gone forward, and a lot of them only moved when told explicitly several times by the all mighty megaphone. After the current photo op sessions were successfully queued, there were still shittons of people around the general area, and someone finally asked the masses if we were there for the Phelps- a resounding yes echoed forward. To eliminate the crazy congestion we crazy Potterheads were creating, they made a seperate line-up area for us to congregate in. There were so many of us, even over an hour before the scheduled start, that they had to have two different line up areas. We were lucky and managed to be impressively close to the front in comparison to the crowd-of-hundreds behind us. Again, we were lucky, because even with our strategic positioning, the Expo was closing by the time we got to the front, and I’m sure they had to tell a whole lot of people to come back tomorrow.

With the Phelps, I pretty much lost my shit. I was in full Gryffindor garb, and delirious with fangirl irrationality. While we were still in the general photo op area, we realized the Phelps were doing signings in a booth almost directly beside us- and I caught my first glimpse of the twins in the flesh. They were fucking gorgeous. And somehow this surprised me. I’ve seen them with their natural hair colour before, I don’t know why I was so taken aback by the sexiness, but I was, and that kicked off an hour and a half of hyperventilating squeeing.

I was a total tool when I got to them at the photo op, not even seeing or thinking about the camera, not even paying any attention to posing for the shot. All I could think about was the fact that I was standing next to the Phelps, that I had James in one arm and Oliver in the other. I was totally mentally incapacitated by this, I’m embarrassed to admit. I had seen a few people ahead of me (successfully) ask for hugs, so I was determined too as well in line, but when I actually got up there my brain just went totally haywire and stupid and after the photo I kind of stood there awkwardly and stupidly and silently; I wanted a hug, but I didn’t want to be rude and just go for one obnoxiously, and for some reason it took me a beat to find the words to ask for one. They said yes, cos they’re not ass holes, but I was taking so long that the photo op guy was yelling NEXT impatiently at me, but I couldn’t go without hugging them both so yeah. I heard the photo op guy yell NO MORE HUGS to the line as I walked away and I felt so bad not just because I had ruined hug-giving for the whole crowd of waiting fans, but because I had specifically ruined the giving of hugs for my friends who had been waiting to go right behind me.

I look derpy as hell in my photo with the twins, which I expected since my mind was lost in a haze of hormones at that point and I felt like I was going to pass out haha, but they both look beautiful and that’s all that matters bahaha.

By this time, the Expo had been closed for nearly half an hour as they tried to wrap up the photo op, so I trudged home absolutely exhausted.

Got up at the crack of dawn today, determined to get there even earlier because I had heard that at around noon they had stopped letting people into the Expo at all on Saturday because of massive overcrowding. Thousands of angry people waited outside and were told to come back tomorrow. So I figured that today would be nuts as well. And it was. They thankfully let pass holders bypass the corral quarantine today and let us go straight for the photo op/autograph area, so we made a beeline for the Phelps signing booth, where a sizeable group had already gathered. This was at 9AM, an hour before the Expo even opened. The Phelps were scheduled to do a signing from 9:30-10:30, but they didn’t pop up at all during that time frame, showing up instead for their next scheduled appearance at 11. They were supposed to be doing photo ops from 10:30-11, but I don’t know if that happened at all. There was euphoria when they arrived at 11, and I stopped myself from taking creeper photos because I finally felt really bad about this whole chaotic hysteria surrounding them and the whole con. We were in a great position to get some photos, but they were like legit three feet in front of me and I felt like I would be disrespectful to take pics- I mean, they could see me. They could look me in the eye and see me taking pictures- in fact, Oliver did look up and made eye contact as I held my camera up indecisively. I thought about how that might make them feel like zoo animals. This was pretty much a total 180 from the photo op, when I proceeded to exclaim shrilly immediately after the shoot about how good they smelled and how good looking they were and other such drivel- to which I was reminded that dude, they were behind the thin curtain a few feet away from me and could fucking hear me so please calm yo tits.

So yes. A bit past noon (over 3 hours in the line), we reached the front. I was glad actually that it took that long and was so slow moving because that meant the twins, like James Marsters, were taking the time to talk to each person and weren’t rushing to be as efficient as possible. I’d much rather wait double the time if it meant actually getting a meaningful conversation out of the wait and not just a quick hi-bye-sorry-next thing.

And man was the wait ever worth it. They were so nice, and they really did take their sweet time signing. Both of them had long, deliberate autographs, and I was really glad for that because it definitely allowed for more time to talk. And they didn’t just give a quick glance, sign their name and send you on your way. They both made a deliberate effort to shake my hand and actually speak to me, not just see past me. I was determined to make up for my craziness from yesterday by being calm, normal, and totally sane this time around and I was super pleased with my ability to actually have a good conversation with them like you know, regular people. Because they are just people and it does no one any good to deify them. Anyway, I noticed a distinct difference between meeting them and meeting James Marsters because with James, it was seriously of the utmost importance to me that I get across how much Buffy has affected me. And Harry Potter has had a comparable level of influence in my life and definitely adoration for it too, but my main goal with the Phelps was to just talk to them- or rather, have them talk to me. I realized that there’s nothing I could ever say to them or to any big name that that person hasn’t already heard thousands of times already. There’s no shot in being unique with your fan proclamations. But for me, I know that I’d likely never see them again in my lifetime and I’ll only have this small window of time to hear whatever it is they wanna say to me. And just like nothing at all that I could say would stick with them, I knew that anything at all that they said would stay with me for a long time. So I stopped worrying about what I wanted to say to them and just accepted that any conversation with them that felt even halfway organic would be a total blessing.

I didn’t want to tell them how much Harry Potter means to me. The thing is, I love the movies dearly, but it’s the books I cultishly worship, and the only person I would want to tell that to is JKR. I realize that it’s not like James Marsters had any say in the plot developments of Buffy either, but there’s my logic for you.

I just wanted to talk to the twins and get across that I realize how nuts people were being and that we weren’t all crazy and that I did realize they were just people too. I was still nervous, and I talk quickly when I’m nervous on top of just being a fast talker in general, so both of them were like ‘what, what was that?’ a few times, but that’s okay. I asked James how he was holding up with the hysteria and he shrugged and said it was surreal more than anything. Oh jeez, I don’t know why but the why his accent sounded when he said surreal was just dead delicious. I asked him to sign Mischief Managed on the photo, and wryly said he must get that a lot, a sentiment he agreed to lolol oops. I told him that the reason why Calgary was so psyched for them was because we really don’t get people visiting this side of the country a lot for these types of things, and that we all were really appreciative that they came.

I love that with the way the signing is set up, James would be signing for someone and Oliver would be signing for someone else, and finish before James and just kind of sit there by himself haha. He interjected into the conversation with my other friends who went ahead of me and it was just cute to see. I wonder if they talk about the order they sit in ahead of time, since whoever is on the left has to be the one to sign the name and message :P. I asked Oliver how he’s finding Calgary and he mentioned having tried a great steak here last night. Yeahhh Alberta Beef! I was bummed cos I could see James finishing up with the person behind me, and I didn’t feel like I had much of a chance to talk to Oliver, but I did slip in a hug request and they really are great because he stood up and hugged over the table. I really love that they didn’t (seem to) mind giving fangirls hugs, line be damned!

I thanked them like 4 times haha.

But yeah. Beautiful moment was beautiful. I was really bummed later though because as we were leaving we decided to cruise by their booth one last time just to see them in person that one final time, and we realized that they did have a panel after all. Since they were a last minute addition, their panel time wasn’t mentioned in any of the written schedules or signs- apparently they announced the panel time and location over the PA, probably while we were in another panel. I was really upset to have missed it, but we also soon were told that the twins’ panels happened at the same time as Marsters and man, that was a great time and I really wouldn’t have wanted to choose so I’m glad the choice was made for me.

We went to the Winnie the Pooh voice actor panel after the signing, Jim Cummings, and that was delightful. I had seen him on Saturday too at the Cartoon Voices panel featuring several big names in voice acting including Tara Strong and Billy West :)

Stan Lee’s panel was after that, and again, man, what a great time. He was hilarious and irreverent and very very appreciative, it was lovely. He hit on Emily Expo, much to my amusement, and the Q&A was emceed by the actor who played Ensign Kim on Star Trek Voyager! So good! Shining moment- he said that he saw the Avengers and he thinks it’ll take superhero movies to a whole new level. Avengers has Stan Lee’s seal of approval. Mad freaking props! They gave him a huge card that had a bunch of fan contributions inside it- Emily Expo said that she had asked fans to send in the one thing they would say to him if they had the chance, and all those messages went into the card. It was touching.

And then came James Marsters’ panel- sgsekghsgh! He was looking damn fine today, wearing a sleeveless shirt and tight, tight pants. Total rockstar look, with the charismatic as fuck attitude to go right along with it. I loved that he didn’t sit at the stationed chair, but rather stood right up to the edge of the stage to really connect with the crowd. He made sure to say hi to every single person who asked a question, usually using a term of endearment like babe or brother, and I just found that really personable. Heart be still, several people brought up Torchwood and he told a story about how his fiancee (yeah, fiancee, what?!) directed the scene where he makes out with John Barrowman and how she was turned on by it hahahaahha. He praised Russel T Davies and said he’d work on Torchwood or Who in a total heartbeat. UGH WHEN FANDOMS COLLIDE.

He was also asked about Supernatural, and he said that the guys really do have as much fun as they look like they’re having on set haha and said that they were dirty miming during takes.

And bless them, someone asked him about the Spike/Dru relationship and he talked about Juliet Landau and how ballsy she was, about how they used to mime dirty things just under the frame and how delighted they’d be when that was the shot used for the scene. And he said OMWF was his favourite episode of either Buffy or Angel, yesss. I wistfully wished he would sing Rest in Peace for us, but I guess that’s my own fault for missing his gig on Friday.

I love that whenever someone went up to one of the mics to ask a question, he made it a point to make sure he knew who he was talking to- he’d look around to try to locate the speaker and would verbalize when he couldn’t find them. That’s just very decent of him.

I can’t believe he’s pushing 50. He looks damn foxy still. Really can’t believe he was in his late 30s during Buffy. Like, whatttt? Talk about forever young. Also, he mentioned Dangerous as being his favourite song off his discography, and I realize that’s the song the whole freaking fandom buzzes disapprovingly about because everyone says he’s talking about his attraction to Michelle Trachtenberg in it… well, I’m just gonna put this out there- he said Dangerous is his favourite song partly because his son wrote it and provided vocals for it. So… yeah. Just saying. *defendingJames’repyeah*

Anyways, after the fab panel with him, we went browsing through the merch areas and I found this epic mug with the image of the exploding TARDIS on it and it was a no brainer. Yay Who merch!!!

This weekend I ran into (and took pics with) one of many Elevens-with-a-fezz, Chewie, Edward Scissorhands, Spiderman, and an adorable little boy dressed as Eleven INSIDE A TARDIS. We saw a Captain Harkness in line with us for the Phelps, and Amy-and-Eleven. Saw a Hulk, Wonder Woman, a few Spikes (two with actual fang!face makeup! SO IMPRESSED. I wish I could’ve tracked them down for photos), many Jaynes, a Captain Mal, Belle, Leia, many Star fleet members, jedis, Hogwarts students, Zeldas, Links, Katniss, the Riddler, Batman, Batgirl, the Joker… an endless list of amazing pop culture references. It was just so wicked.

I really love Brits. Everytime the twins spoke I died a little. Love them. And Marsters was asked about his accent work and he pulled out the British and he SANG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A GIRL IN HIS BRITISH ACCENT. IT WAS DEAD SEXY. I melted into my seat. Jesus Christ.

This was one of the best weekends of my life. I’m not even exaggerating. I feel silly for being starstruck, but I met some people who were part of things that have honestly shaped the person I grew up to be. The panels were great, the guests were great, I just feel really satisfied.

I spent probably about 9 hours in line over the past three days, and you know what? I’m not complaining at all. It was worth it. Every second, every penny.

I met the Phelps twins, who played Fred and George. I just can't. And Spike. SPIKE.
Mood : shockedshocked
JaniceOcomlodge on April 30th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
What a totally brilliant report. Made me think back to my first ever attendance at one of these just last year. Went to see James of course but the whole weekend was the best. I will be going again this November cos James is coming. I love his singing.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Graceundefinedwishes on May 1st, 2012 03:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading :D I didn't think anyone would care haha. I am awed at how amazing James is with fans :) I hope you have when you see him in November!