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» Monday, September 01, 2003
Dragoncon Days 3 and 4
Yesterday we had another early morning: our first panel was Gil Gerard, the star of the Buck Rogers series. He's aged nicely if being a bit more stocky these days, and is very funny and personable. We learned about the way Universal Studios neglected the series and how he'd hoped for more character-driven scripts.
We returned to the dealer's room afterward for another look around, then returned in the middle of Anne McCaffrey's panel. There had been a contest to decorate "dragon's eggs" (really ostrich eggs) and she was just ending her chat and beginning to judge the entrants as we arrived.
We had come in the room early for James Marsters' panel and a good thing: the huge room was packed. Security had to request people to fill in seats and it took 20 minutes to accomplish. Marsters, the evil "Spike" from Buffy, worked up a crowd fevor I hadn't seen since I witnessed William Shatner's appearance at a Star Trek con over 20 years ago. He was quite an entertaining speaker--but the capper of the panel was caused by a woman who yelled "Take off your shirt!" from the audience. As can be expected with a good-looking actor, Marsters has become quite tired of these silly requests. He asked the woman to come up and remove her shirt instead--which she did. Well, he challenged, you're not finished...whereupon she removed her brassiere as well! It quite shocked him.
Not to mention all of us!
The next panel was "The Ambassador Will See You Now," featuring the ambassadorial cast from Babylon 5. Mira Furlan, however, had had to leave earlier due to an emergency, so we weren't graced with her presence. However, the rest of the group, Stephen Austen, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, and, for about half the panel, Julie Caitlin Brown, carried on in a lively manner. They had some stories about getting their roles--Furst's was particularly funny; he basically walked into the office acting like Vir due to a misunderstanding and won the role without audition--and being in extensive makeup.
We then attended a preview of the last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King, then James went back to the dealer's room to pick up a few things and I went downstairs to see Peter Woodward again...or at least I tried to. They had put him in a very small meeting room--the one we'd been in the previous night for the Gerry Anderson panel--and it was SRO. I went to most of the "Mythology and Babylon 5" panel, which was okay, but it rather gives me pause when fans of a show cannot remember the names of the main characters!
James and I met up again in the big Centennial room for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's Sunday night performance, The Island of Dr. Moreau. Usually ARTC is scheduled before the masquerade, but this year it was being held at the Atlanta Civic Center, some blocks away. There were also a couple of other panels scheduled at the same time. Predictably, given that they were usually the opener, the ARTC folks wondered if people were just there to hold good seats for the masquerade. This year they found out--the show was extremely well-attended and the audience was left breathless at the conclusion of the story...the few seconds of silence were then followed by thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
We then made our way home for the night.
Unfortunately James had to work today, so I was on my own. I went in early for the Babylon 5 cast reunion panel, which was a bit understaffed: Mira, of course, had had to leave, and Julie was absent as well, and Walter Koenig had "declined to participate," whatever that meant. However, Peter Woodward (who said he thought of himself as a Babylon 5 "cousin" since he was from its sister series, Crusade), Stephen Furst, and Brad Dourif kept us ably entertained for an hour. Peter continued to try to embarrass the translator for the deaf.
After this panel I purchased memberships for next year and then talked to some friends for a while. Then I attended the Buffy "cast reunion," which was not quite as crowded as the James Marsters' panel yesterday, but only because some folks had already left. It was packed in pretty well nevertheless. The other panelists were Andy Hallett ("Lorne" of Angel), James Leary ("Clem"), Imari Lymon ("Kennedy"), and Danny Strong ("Jonathan"). Most of the questions seemed to be directed at Marsters and occasionally I felt badly for the others. However, the panel was a lot of fun. All the panelists played very fast and loose and were downright hysterical at times.
Finally I attened what was supposed to be the Mighty Rassilon Art Players' production of "Sherlock Holmes and the Crime of the Century." MRAP is a fun little group composed of many of the same members of ARTC who have been putting on comedic parodies on SF subjects for over fifteen years (they started out with Doctor Who-based skits, hence the name). However, the DragonCon programmers did not understand that the play had to be performed on a weekend and had scheduled it for today instead, when three of its principal players were at work! So Bill Ritch and other members of the company did a retrospective of MRAP skits over the years. While some of the humor was topical, they are still very funny. I enjoyed it, but I did, sadly, notice that many people walked out when they found out the play wasn't to be presented. :-(
At this point I had to get ready for work tomorrow myself and left. It certainly had been a fun--and too short!--weekend, even if we were both pooped!