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» Sunday, August 31, 2008Dragoncon, Day 3
I was up a lot earlier than I expected, like at three. Let's say lots of PeptoBismol was involved, and when I dragged awake this morning after less than six hours sleep, I had James make me a grilled cheese sandwich which I had with yogurt to try to balance out the bacteria in my digestive tract. Phooey. Right now it's zombie time.
We drove downtown to very little traffic and again parted in front of the Hilton. This time I was headed for the Hilton itself, for a panel on telecommuting. This was very much the same as last year, although this time I was feeling a bit left out, as most of the people attending the panel seem to be system administrators or have something to do with IT.
From there I walked back to the Sheraton for what was billed as the final Torchwood panel. This one did not include James Marsters, who was actually a guest of the Buffy track rather than the Brit Track. Once again, it was a real corker despite all the hijinks of the previous two. And thankfully, there were no snogging requests.
Someone actually asked the question I was curious about: yes, the set is that large. (No real teradactyls, however!) The Hub set is actually right next to the TARDIS set, so they walk through the latter on the way to the former. And, yes, in answer to the usual question, they both want to direct, and to another inevitable question, Gareth David-Lloyd (which was, by the way, miswritten on his banner in the Hall of Fame; it says "David Gareth-Lloyd"good work, DragonCon!; of course posters are misspelled and miswritten all over the convention) started out wanting to act by watching Christopher Lee Dracula movies when he was a boy. His dream is to work with Gary Oldman. ::cough:: This was stated in a lot ruder fashion, though! ::cough::
They relieved our fears a bit about the new season of Torchwood. Sadly, it is only five episodes, although they will be longer in length than the previous ones, and in England will be shown all in one week, but on BBC1. However, the rumors that we heard about the series being made more suitable for young children appears to be still a rumor. [Whew!] The entire five-part sequence will be called "Children of the Earth."
Someone asked, "Is there something about Torchwood that no one has told us about before that you can tell us?" Gareth got wide eyed and breathless, and exclaimed, "Yes, John Barrowman is gay!" This got quite a laugh, but not as much as when a gentleman introduced himself as a recent Torchwood convert who had never seen Doctor Who, but who was a big Star Trek fan. He asked, "What's unique about Torchwood to keep me watching?" After the flip answer "It's not Star Trek," Gareth intoned, "For the sex," and did a spot-on imitation of William Shatner as Kirk uttering standard Trek phrases "sexed up" to Mr. Spock. By this time everyone was laughing uncontrollably.
"And now for something completely different," I left the Sheraton for the upper level in the Marriott (and I had to hunt around for the rooms as the map was rather unhelpful). These meeting rooms were toward the Hyatt side of the Marriott on the opposite side of a little atrium area with a clear ceiling, and I had not been in them before (they may be rooms that were part of the remodeling last year). This panel was "The Man With the Hat," about Indiana Jones, which put me at a little bit of a disadvantage because, of course, they were discussing the new film, which we never saw (but it's coming out on October 14; should look quite nice on our television).
There were dissenting opinions on the new film, which seemed to boil down that people appeared to like many aspects of the movie, but not the movie as a whole. Most of them did complain about a scene which I have heard about previously, in which Indy takes refuge in a refrigerator and therefore survives an atomic blast. According to one of the panelists, this was originally a sequence from the original script for Back to the Future, in which Marty had to go to a nuclear test site to be sent back to the future and he takes refuge in a refrigerator. Steven Spielberg just recycled it for Crystal Skull. Some folks thought it stayed close to the spirit of the original three films, others said it failed. Most said they liked Shia LaBoeuf (sp?) as the young man who turns out to be Indy's son, but they didn't want him inheriting "the Hat" as the lead.
It was a fun panel, and one of the attendees had a great item he showed everyone at the end of the panel: it was a reproduction of Henry Jones Sr's grail diary. It was reproduced from the prop in Last Crusade and in addition contains little inserts like tickets to his lectures, family photos, Indy's and his dad's diplomas, telegrams, and all sorts of clever little things. Too cool.
I took a bathroom break, then joined James in the room next door to where the Indy panel had been held. I had been really conflicted during this hour, since there were three panels I was really interested in, but I ended up here. The panel was quite crowded, all attendees with the same question: "What Happened to the Sci-Fi Channel?" The answer seemed to boil down to "They sold out to make money." First we got wrestling and now we have goofy horror movies andye gods! more freakin' reality series! One of the panelists read a list of upcoming and approved projects for the fall, which included reality series and some other things, all of which I have mercifully forgotten because they sound so insanely stupid as if they were created by Paris Hilton or Britney Spears.
Of course, we both remember before the Sci-Fi Channel began and some representatives came to one of the conventions hoping to get input from fans. They were really clueless about science fiction and SF fans. At one point, we asked them if they might air Quark and they told us they understood science-fiction fans didn't like humor! Uh...duh. Their idea of SF was monster movies.
Every day DragonCon publishes a little one-sheet, different-color-each-day update called "The Daily Dragon." It has short interviews with program participants on one side and program changes on the other. On Friday I had spied something scheduled for Sunday at 4 called "Why We Love (and Hate) Disney" on the Animation track. This sounded intriguing, so I went, not certain if it was just going to be a general bitch/praise session or something a little more structured. I can't say I was happy with it. The moderators were a young woman and a young man. The latter was nice and seemed to know a bit more, but the young woman was, frankly, dense and supercilious. The first thing she said was something to the effect of I know you probably all have opinions about what is good or bad about Disney, like we do, but nobody's really interested in hearing from you about that. She then said they were going to trace the history of Disney milestones from the past to the present, and looked like she had printed a couple of pages from the internet as her research and that was about it. She was talking about the milestones and didn't even know the correct dates of them, like the opening year of Disneyland, or what network Disney programming was first on, stated the name of films incorrectly, etc. Why say you are going to discuss these things and not know your material, or at least do your research?
Needless to say, I'm sorry I attended.
After that bad taste in my mouth, I decided I needed a laugh and joined the line of folks upstairs waiting for Dean Haglund's improv show. Haglund always puts on a hysterically funny show, and tonight was no exception. He was improvising an episode of The X-Files. A gentleman from the audience who worked as a bartender at the Macaroni Grill provided sound effects as Dean began his episode with the tale of a bartender at the Macaroni Grill who is attacked by a mysterious entity. The next scene took place in an autopsy room where two members of the audience provided words while Dean dissected the body of the bartender, which still had its heart, kidneys, and liver, but was missing its kitten, and then mutated into a cat with the appearance of Abraham Lincoln who spits earwax that kills. Next came the news conference, where Dean, as a Danish doctor of childcare (profession provided by an audience member) answered questions from the audience with the audience member providing his arms. Finally a couple from the audience played Mulder and Scully interrogating Dean as his X-Files/Lone Gunmen character, Langly. People in the audience had provided statements written on slips of paper, and every so often Dean, "Mulder" or "Scully" would have to stop and pick one of these slips of paper and read whatever was written on them.
Finally Dean said, "Scully, wait! There is something Mulder has to ask you," and "Mulder" got down on one knee and proposed to "Scully"! He had purposely picked these two out of the audience having been alerted that the gentleman wanted to do this, so it led to a big "awwwww" factor at the end.
Oh, yeah, she said "Yes"! :-)
We left, or at least I left, with a headache from laughing so hard. It was truly as crazy as it sounded.
I had only to walk to the room next door for the convention's second ARTC performance, these being five short, funny SF-oriented skits including a new installment of "Rory Rammer, Space Marshal"! "YAYYYYYYYYYY!" as we are instructed to yell before and after "Rory." This time Rory and his cadet sidekick Skip Sagan investigated a mystery involving an atomic graveyard. Also performed were "The National Endowment for Space Art" (a very snarky poke at our modern lack of space exploration), "The Time Board," "Haunter Hunters" (which sounds a whole lot like a Sci-Fi Channel reality program ::cough::), and an adaptation of a John Ringo short story set in David Weber's "Honor Harrington" universe, "A Ship Named Francis," with Daniel Taylor giving a marvelous performance as a gloomy chaplain on a spacecraft full of sad sacks. (As the line from 1776 goes: "That man would depress a hyena.")
This was the end of our day, but as we threaded our way upstairs we saw some delightful costumes which I snapped a couple of photos of, including a darling little toddler in a Batman outfit. And then it was off home, where we decided to have some "real food" (soup in my case) while we watched a little television before bed.