As I said on my first post, my most recent fandom has been Doctor Who, but a degree of elitism, bullying and general ego issues among fans (certainly on the UK side) has put me off the scene. If it weren’t for the charity work I do under the banner of the show, I would have quit cosplay/cons as part of the DW fandom entirely.
Nonetheless I decided to attend the much hyped about ‘GallifreyOne’ convention in Los Angeles this year. Call it one last ditch effort to find some nicer people to talk to! It was their 25th time hosting this event, and just over 50 years since the start of the show so it should be a big one!
|Gally a few years ago. Photo by James Moran.|
Although, as I learned once I arrived on the Wednesday night, Gally is ALWAYS a big one. 3500 attendees, five halls, three photo studios, three full days, four evenings, and more guests than I could shake a sonic screwdriver at. The way they fill all these rooms is a method completely alien to most UK conventions and one which I really REALLY wish we could import. The main hall may be dedicated to the guest talks with the actors, but the other rooms are thrown open to regular con-goers who – with good notice, of course – are free to host panels to discuss whatever interests them. They can plug their latest fan project, debate their views, advise on their particular areas of expertise and most of all bond with like-minded people and feel included, rather than merely gazing up at a combination of celebs and a few hand-picked fans who are considered ‘worthy’ of the microphone (and time of day).
Having met most of these guests I kept my celebrity stalking to a minimum and hung out at the cosplay panels for a lot of the time – one of which it turned out I was speaking at! This was news to me as I had emailed the organisers many weeks beforehand and heard nothing, so had assumed the panels I volunteered for were full. But apparently I was on the schedule – and when I checked the Friday listings I could confirm: yes I was. I now found myself wishing I had prepared something in advance, but in the absence of a Powerpoint presentation and a pointy stick I just had to turn up, meet my fellow panellists and do some free-form gabbing. Fortunately gabbing is what I do best!
|I made a dress! Rose, 'Unquiet Dead'|
Saturday night was masquerade night, and it’s worth pointing out that Gally Masquerade is TOTALLY different to how Xenites have described the fancy dress parade at Burbank. It was also considerably more complex than I am used to, with a two page application form and two sides of A4 detailing different rules, times, meetings, inspections, categories, time limitations and safety requirements. Some of the entries were PHENOMENAL. I have always envied people who have the skill and imagination to come up with a build stuff that is large, original, or a combination of the two. There were some AWESOME entries – such as a life size Bertie Bassett creature, and a burlesque style TARDIS corset with light up panels and wig. I just had to make do with doing a lap of the stage in my dress I made to look like the one off the telly, but it was still a LOT of fun, and the other competitors were lovely: none of the competitiveness of the British circuit – just a lot of well wishing and encouragement.
Sunday saw my favourite panel of the weekend: a whole hour of instructional costuming genius courtesy of Steve Ricks – a man who is not only a tailoring genius but a genuinely lovely human being, as he shares his research, sources and techniques with the world via a series of blogs. His blogs inspired me to start my own, and getting the chance to chat with the man himself and learn so much was just fab. In a world where many people guard their findings jealously, Steve's openness and community attitude is a glimmer of hope in a savage world.
I now have an urge to go make myself a tailored vintage suit. What a shame Gabby doesn’t have any in her wardrobe! Hmm... I may have to go off-piste and make myself a Melissa Pappas costume from season 2.
|To sew or not to sew?|