Polaris 25 Post-mortem, Part 2
Part 1 of the Con post-mortem dealt with minor rants that had more to do with what got under my skin than the Con itself.
And now for the good!!!!
The absolute best part of the convention for me this year was getting to see Charlaine Harris. My fan-girling is going to be so extensive (and saccharine) that I will save it for a later post (possibly two if I can’t hold back the gushing) but how to get the rest of my thoughts about the highlights in one post?
I tend to focus on writer and science panels- which were more than adequate this year. No standouts like the Zombie panel from last year but I was not disappointed (beyond what I have outlined here). I went to the Fukushima: Scaremongering vs. Science (unfortunately also attended by Mr. Bombast) and it really struck me how all three panelists decried the media treatment of the tragedy. What happened at the nuclear plant was something anyone would have been hard-pressed to plan for but where the media failed was in their dismissal of the plight of the tens of thousands of wounded, missing and dead, never mind the even greater number of people displaced- many of whom are still homeless. To the media in the west, it seemed no more than a casual footnote to what was happening at the plant- if that. It almost seemed like the media was almost relishing the thought of a disaster being ratcheted up the extreme with a Chernobyl-like meltdown. Thought provoking to say the least.
As someone who still watches CSI and Nikita (the latest series incarnation) I had to see Melinda Clarke. She was great. Funny, beautiful, articulate, sexy and very graceful in her handling of some awkward questions. Much softer in person, she had the audience eating out of her hands.
The preternaturally gorgeous Ben Browder (how can he possibly be 49????) packed the house. Anyone remotely involved with Stargate engenders a massive and very loyal following. He was charmingly “aw shucks” and endearing from the word go. You want to like this guy and he gives you every reason to- sharing heartbreaking news about his family and close friends. So affable, you just want to hang with him at the local pub with pints in hand. Even when he is “defying” the Con by declaring that he would not leave the stage (he could easily have kept us on the edge of our seats for two hours) you just laughed and applauded encouragement. His time on stage was drawing to a close when he hit us with the fact that he coached high school pole vaulters, mostly girls. Ben was asked to talk about something embarrassing, probably about kissing Michael Shanks, and he said how it was already difficult just being the coach, with the language of the sport being somewhat suggestive but to have something on Youtube for his athletes to find? We fell out of our seats. Ben, you can come back to visit anytime!!!
I first saw Paul McGillion sneak into the question line- not knowing it was him per se but knowing he must have been “somebody” for one of the “radioed” volunteers to usher him in and smooth the way. He was there to heckle Ben. FANTASTIC! So entertaining- especially when he slips effortlessly into a Scottish accent to imitate his dad and (a Monty Pytonesque imitation of his) mom. He was so incredibly appreciative of the fans of Stargate, and science fiction in general, who were instrumental in getting him back on the show after his character was killed off unexpectedly.
Adam Baldwin was one of the people I was most excited to see (Firefly, Chuck– need I say more?). He was so chilled and unassuming. Very adorable in the way he would blush and smile at some of the questions. Regarding the very important boxers vs briefs conundrum, a moment of seemingly serious, quiet contemplation…. Thong- followed by a judicious tug of his jeans. Classic. I’d forgotten he had worked with Kubrick and he was the bodyguard in My Bodyguard!! I had intended to see him on Saturday and Sunday but went to see one of the panels where Charlaine Harris participated. He talked more about his experiences with Kubrick (damn!!!) that he did not have a chance in the second session. Unfortunately for us (and I am sure, much to his relief), we ran out of time and were not able to get him to sing.
Jewel Staite was next. I had seen her the last time she was at Polaris. She seemed much more comfortable being in the hot seat, funny, very engaging- especially in asking everyone to campaign on her behalf to get roles on her favourite shows. Before she came on, there was the request not to film or make any voice recordings of her talk. She explained that this allows her to talk sh!t about other people. That just made us howl and love her more. She talked about having just filmed an episode of Supernatural in the role of Sam’s high school sweetheart (as did Paul, though not as Sam’s high school sweetheart, that I know of) and how gorgeous Jensen is in person- I can just imagine. Someone came up to the mic and asked her if there was a resource for people looking for eatery recommendations in Vancouver or L.A.- not a leading question at all!!! This allowed for a shameless plug of her blog happyopu.net– which I guess I will have to follow now!
Last but not least was Armin Shimerman- who I missed the previous day because of Charlaine Harris. I caught the tail end of his first talk and knew he would be worth seeing the next day. I did not realize he had such a serious theatre background and he performed two monologues for us. He was amazing. I can’t do justice to how incredible he was, especially in his transformation as Richard III. The person who asked him to do something from Shakespeare (he is involved with community theatre) was practically in tears. He asked this of Armin because he too had missed his first talk and heard about the Shakespearean monologue he had performed. Armin made me want to go to the theatre- and I will- certainly if he is performing.
I have already gone on too long and I haven’t even mentioned the hysterical auction to raise money for Gilda’s Club. The goal was $10K but I had to leave to see Paul McGillion. One item took them more than one tenth of the way ($1175) so I hope they exceeded this benchmark. Or the drive to get the air conditioning at the local Tim Horton’s (store #702) fixed by flooding the Tim Horton’s main office line with irate calls- spearheaded by the unflappable Master of Ceremonies, Larry Stewart.
I have barely scratched the surface but I will put you out of your misery, for now.
I will continue the gushing in the next blog about who I spent most of my time with, the incomparable Charlaine Harris.