Yet Another Journal

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» Monday, September 03, 2018
DragonCon, Part 4 or "A Joyous Sound"

It was easier this morning: we got up, had breakfast, and went off downtown. I had reserved a space yet again in the America's Mart garage and then wish I hadn't done it, because a garage nearby was half the price.

We were very early, but since we wanted to see John Barrowman and Catherine Tate, we needed to get there early. We joined a queue of people already assembled outside the Marriott Atrium Ballroom. Now, they usually clear the big panels like this between each panel, so everyone gets out, and everyone waiting gets a good chance at a seat. But the word going around was that they were not going to clear the room after the Star Trek guests panel that was going on at ten.

The crowd for Barrowman and Tate was getting enormous, so the volunteers at the room just started letting everyone go in. Now, this worked out fine when they did it for Capaldi and Mackie yesterday; we got to move up. But, because they didn't clear the room, and were letting everyone in, not just DS services, we ended up being stuck in the middle of the room, with no chance to move up when the Trek panel ended. Granted, we had a good time, but it wasn't fair to the people who had shown up early. Not to mention that the Star Trek people thought people were coming in to see them, which was deceptive and was lying to them.

Putting that behind us, getting to see most of the Trek panel was fun. This was Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeil, and Garrett Wang from Voyager, Mary Chieffo and Ken Mitchell (who play Klingons) from the new Discovery, and of course Mr. Chekov himself, Walter Koenig. This was a very funny panel with everyone ribbing Phillips about his spontaneous remarks. Lots of commentary about Discovery, which we haven't seen, and praise for Kate Mulgrew's Captain Janeway. The one thing I remember best was that they were asked what was the strangest gift a fan has ever given them. Walter Koenig said someone gave him a Chekov doll, which was made with real hair and real fingernails. You should have seen the faces on the other panelists!

As I said, by the time the panel ended, the room was crammed, and then Disability Services had to stop everything to clear the front five center rows so that the line-of-sight people (deaf or hearing impaired, those with sight problems, etc) could use them. The people who had been allowed to sit there (and were assured they would not be moved) were given benches at the side. It was a major screw up. However, everyone was very nice and cooperative, everyone crowded in, and then the two crazies came in.

John "Scooter" Barrowman
If Barrowman and Tate are crazy on their own, as a team they are off the wall. The first thing that happened was that John Barrowman spotted someone in a scooter and said he always wanted to ride in one. The person in it let him borrow it happily, he got in, and took off, right down the left center aisle, yelping "Damn, this thing goes fast! Get out of the way!" He drove all the way to the back and then back up via the right center aisle, coming right by James and I. As he passed James he turned and shouted "Mine is better than yours!"

After that it just got crazy. Because Catherine Tate invites her questioners up on stage, they did their Q&A in that manner, alternating sides. The best part was when a young lady came up to ask a question and she was filming the experience with her phone. Barrowman grabbed it and cried, "For God's sake, don't film this, experience it!" However, about halfway through her question session, he got the camera, aimed it down the front of his pants, and took a photo! Several minutes later, during another person's question, sudden shrieking came from seats about fifteen rows ahead of us. Both actors stopped, because they thought something was wrong, like someone being sick. No, it was the young lady from a few minutes earlier showing her phone to her friends!

Seriously, even right after the panel I couldn't tell you everything they talked about. But it was hilarious. And the very best thing about this panel? James laughed for an entire hour. I don't know if he was still in pain or not, but for one hour, it didn't bother him anywhere near at much.

As far as I was concerned, it was the best part of the weekend.

We didn't have anything else planned so we trudged back to the America's Mart to see if we could get into the dealer's room. There was still a line, but handicapped can go right in. As usual, we were confused by the two sets of elevators (you take one set up to the main floor and then another to the exhibit floors; for some reason when you come down the elevators, you can never make it back to those elevators you came in the first time). We walked around the first floor and one of the others, and James bought a polo shirt (he can wear it to work) that has the NASA logo and says "It's not flat. We checked." (Someone had this at the Trek panel and we had just laughed.)

As far as I was concerned, I had enough junk and there weren't any books out I wanted. The one thing I did want to do was go up to Artists' Alley and see Andy Runton. Sadly, no new Owly books. He is redoing all the old books in color, and then the new one will come out. However, I had him autograph his new print, which is of Owly and Wormy walking in Muir Woods. I remember Muir Woods very fondly from one of the two cross-country trips we took in the 1970s. Such a lovely place!

Finally it was time to go back to the Hilton. As usual, the America's Mart elevators delivered us somewhere else: all the way to the back of the building! So we had to go an extra block, then up the hill, then past the Hyatt and the Marriott. The owners of the full-sized TARDIS that usually sits in the Hilton lobby had already dismantled it, and we passed the café to get to the elevator to take us back down to the BritTrack room. This is usually our last panel of the weekend; the track members are dead tired and slap-happy, usually eating a late lunch, and give out snacks. This year was no exception. It was also the second year in a few where another panel was mistaken for the DragonCon-as-a-whole wrapup panel, and a man stood up and went on for several minutes about how he couldn't get into the parade, and then was embarrassed when he was told this was the British track wrapup only. Another couple was confused as well. Rob said they were welcome to stay but to please go to the DragonCon closing ceremonies and let the con chairs know the problems they had. We had water and chips, and cooled off, and schmoozed and enjoyed the commentary until it was finally time to clear out, then go all the way back to the America's Mart (I got plenty of exercise this weekend!) to fetch the truck. However, this time we could get to the elevators, although we had to bellow into a very badly working intercom to get someone to come open the doors for us. (This is a very badly run garage. No wonder it's so cheap.)

Then we just came home. We usually stop at Longhorn on the way home from the last day of DragonCon, but we didn't have the money. Instead we had soup at home.

I'm still happy. James laughed, after all those weeks of pain. It was worth every minute.

Star Trek panelists Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeil, Garrett Wang, Mary Chieffo, Ken Mitchell, Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Catherine Tate and John Barrowman bantering.

John Barrowman like a silver fox.

"So long and thanks for all the fish..." BritTrack final panel.