Hello Stargate convention fans,
Below is my memoir of the enjoyable time I experienced at the official Creation Entertainment Stargate Convention often referred to by the fans as “VanCon” in British Columbia, Canada. The trip to the beautiful city of Vancouver was a combination vacation and a planned day of fun at the Stargate convention.
We arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday April 13, 2011 at our hotel at 2:00 am local time. Later that day after getting some rest, my husband John and I went for a three hour walk to explore Vancouver. We visited Central Park in beautiful Burnaby British Columbia.
On Thursday April 14, 2011 we headed east for another 2 hour walk. Later we walked to Stanley Park for 5 hours. In case you have not noticed, my darling husband John loves to take walks! Well, it rained the whole time. We got soaked. Welcome to Vancouver!
We did do something else besides enjoy walking in the rain, we pre-registered at the convention, we bought some photo opportunity and autograph tickets. Then we explored outside the Crystal ballroom, the vendor tables and ticket buying areas.
April 15, 2011 Friday; I did not plan to attend the convention. Instead we took a four hour walk at Deer Lake Park. Have I mentioned yet my husband John likes to take walks? 😛
Saturday April 16, 2011 was the Big Day! I do not know which excited me more, getting to see the “Lanteans” of Stargate Atlantis, or resting my poor tortured feet!
Festivities took place in the Crystal Ballroom at the convention hotel. There was a sign posted outside the door ‘Positively no audio or video recording equipment beyond this point’.
At 12:05pm came the Creation Entertainment Stargate Music Video Contest; There were a lot of terrific videos shown on a big screen. The excitement was starting to build. At 12:25pm was the Creation Costume Contest with many great costumes. It was a lot of fun.
At 1:30pm I proceeded to the photo opportunity with David Hewlett. Long lineup. When it was my turn, he shook my hand and said, “Another one with cold hands.” “I’m freezing,” I said. I stood on his left and had a firm hold on his right waist. The photo was taken very quickly. John and I went back to the Con to catch the last of the Stargate and Scifi No Minimum Bid Auction. It was fast moving; a lot of Scifi photos and Stargate banners went, many for a lot of money.
Paul McGillion came out first and the crowd cheered. He’s very funny and warm and instantly likeable. It was weird to hear him talking like a Canadian. He said he had lost his Scottish accent by now. He based his Atlantis character loosely on his father, who is very much like Beckett, only not as weepy.
Married in September 2010, his wife Courtenay is in the hospitality industry. They honeymooned in Maui. What impressed him about Maui, he said, was that if you told them you just got married, they gave you free stuff. Just got married? They gave you free drinks. Just got married? They gave you free dessert. He said it was a very good time with wonderful people.
About twenty minutes later, David Hewlett peeked through the back curtains and came onstage. Bearing a basket of Timbits (small Canadian donut balls). We all cheered. He and Paul joked for awhile and told stories.
Then about twenty minutes later, Joe Flanigan parted the rear curtains and came onstage. The crowd gave him a huge welcome. Joe sat down and David got out the donuts. Joe said, “I love Tim’s,” and they all dug in. They were all relaxing and having a snack and Joe said, “I can’t believe I’m eating donuts onstage!”
What follows is a mix of the anecdotes, in no particular order. David told how they were driving back from a location shoot one time, he in one car and Joe and Jason in another. Joe’s car came up alongside David’s, and David looks out the window to see Jason mooning him and Joe looking out the window at him, a big grin on his face. And this wasn’t a little moon either.
This was a really big, medical grade moon, the kind your doctor might see once a year. And as he looked over, he could see this big black hole pressing so hard against the glass he thought the window was going to pop out, and right beside it, Joe’s grinning face. Here, Joe grinned like a maniac to demonstrate. And ever since, David said, the two sights, the big black hole and Joe’s grinning face have been inextricably linked in his mind. (there was a whole lot more to this story, but it is the kind of thing that only David Hewlett can tell properly).
At Q&A Cori (luvsheppy on twitter) apparently, asked them both the question; “Joe, you have Aiden, Truman and Fergus, and David, you have Baz. What would you do if you had a girl? (And I think her question then went on “How would you teach her how to pee?”) This got Joe and David started. David said that ever since he let Baz pee against a tree he’s been peeing all over the place. He demonstrated by assuming the stance! Turning back and forth like a lawn sprinkler, he showed how Baz was so pleased with himself one time that he looked up proudly at his Daddy while he was doing it, as if to say ‘look what I’m doing!’ and ended up peeing on David’s shoe!
Then Joe said that they sorta live in the country, and his boys “tend to go where they want. And the other day, I caught one of them peeing outside, from 4 feet inside the house!” While Paul sat in his chair looking bemused, Joe and David were running around the stage demonstrating their sons’ prowess. One of them said that if peeing were an Olympic sport, their boys were ready for it. Surreal moments, my friends.
Someone asked them if they could play any part, what would that be? Paul said, “Something without gills.” David seconded this immediately, and they got on the topic of prosthetic makeup, and how Chris Heyerdahl (who played Todd and Hallan, SGA and Bigfoot, Sanctuary) is the master of Zen when it comes to being hours in the makeup chair. David says, “He just goes someplace else.” David said he got a tip from Michael Shanks once when it comes to sitting there. Michael said, when it comes down to it, everything will be there when you’re finished, and when he realized that it made it easier for him to sit in makeup. Then Joe added that if he could play any role, it would be something with gills.
I don’t know if Cori asked another question or what happened. It was dark in the theatre, and she was standing at the Q&A mike at the front of stage right, but there was a pause and a bit of a kerfuffle and David yelled, “Security!” Security turned up, and took her away, and he said, “Be gentle with her.” Eight rows back, we couldn’t see what was happening, and thought he was joking.
Joe talked a little about SGU and said that any problems with the show were not due to the cast or crew, because they’d all worked very hard and were very good at what they did. He said it was just difficult going in a different direction from the original Stargate ventures which were action/adventure to something so different that was darker and in a different direction.
He also touched on Torri Higginson (Elizabeth Weir, Stargate Atlantis) and said how good and serious an actress she was and how she fought for every word she got and was concerned that she only worked two days out of five, but that she got quite a lot of screen time in spite of that.
Then Joe said that the writers were all aiming for the young adult male demographic and did not write a lot of strong women parts. That the writers did not come to the conventions and see the wide audience that Stargate was reaching. and that the writers were not very receptive to Torri’s concerns.
Eventually when you keep getting that kind of reception, you stop going upstairs to talk to them. He said it would probably have been better if there had been a few women writers writing it.
They mentioned that towards the end of Stargate SG-1, (Richard Dean Anderson, Colonel/General Jack O’Neill) only worked two days a week, which worked out to eight days a month, which they all agreed was pretty good. Joe said that even though they enjoy their work, it’s still work, and there’s sorta a conflict between working and having a good time, and wanting to be done with work, because it’s very intense and a lot harder than most people understand.
They talked about how cast members changed over time. They said that Jason was one of the sweetest people ever. Joe told how Jason was at first very shy, and took a lot of kidding from David. Finally, in Season four or five, after some incessant riffing from David, Jason Momoa (Ronan Dex) said,” Why is it the fat guys are funny?”
Then they started in on David, and said that when he first started, he used to whine and complain on location. Joe and Paul then both gave excellent imitations of David in the woods; “There’s bugs.” “I’ve got bug bites.” And David said that when he first started working on Atlantis, he used to get very irritable and very excited, very quickly, very much like McKay, and one time he screamed at Martin (Director Martin Wood) who had given him a hard time, “There is a very fine line, between directing, and bullying!” But he added that he had mellowed over time and didn’t get so upset anymore.
Joe said he was flying in to Vancouver with RDA to film Rising and hi-lighting the script, working on his lines on the flight. RDA looks over and sees what he’s doing. Takes out his script, runs his finger down the pages, puts it away, looks at him and says, “If you don’t know it, they won’t give it to you.”
Paul and David talked about the making of ‘A Dog’s Breakfast.’ Someone asked why Joe hadn’t been in it, and Joe said because he didn’t look good in drag. Paul had a part where he was dressed as a police woman. And David says, “You know, as a guy, you always figure you’d make a great looking woman. But the reality is… you don’t always.”
Paul said that when he got the prosthetics on, he thought he looked pretty good, but when he put the bra and the dress on, he looked like a linebacker, with the huge shoulders.
Paul; “So we were standing there, on the beach, shooting in the rain. David’s lying on the ground naked, and I’m standing over him, dressed like a police woman. And we’re all ready to go, when there’s a problem with the camera or the lighting, or something, so we have to wait a while. And I had to hold the umbrella over naked David, until the problem was fixed. And I said to David, ‘Are you sure this is going to be funny?’ And David said, ‘Yes, of course.’ So we finally started shooting again, and I started to sink down in the sand, in those high heels, and I knew right then, it was going to be funny!”
Joe was asked about his hair, and explained how he had cowlicks, that made his hair stand up like that, that none of his boys had them, but his sister did.
During panel, I was snapping pics until the battery in my camera died, but we were in Row H and the images were pretty small. After panel; Photo Ops with Joe Flanigan> I was on his left and asked him, “Which shoulder?” and he said, “The right.” Then I reminded him to tweet, and he said, “Oh yeah. I really should. I keep forgetting.” We posed for the camera, I had a death grip on his waist, and then that brief moment in time was over.
At 5:50pm we took a dinner break. John and I were standing in line for Photo Ops with Joe, Paul and David, when Joe and his very large body guard came walking down the line directly towards us. We were standing by the door they were going to go through for dinner. Joe walks very fast. Next came David and his body guard. David was high fiving everyone on his left so I held up my hand and got a high five, and my husband, who was standing behind me, did the same and got the last high five before dinner. Paul was next with his body guard. Paul has a beautiful smile.
At 6:20pm we finally got in for Photo Ops with all three of the guys. I stood on Joe’s left, with Paul on my right, then my husband John, and then David. After the photo, Joe looked me straight in the eye and said, “THANK YOU!” I just stared at him dumbfounded and smiled, wondering what on earth he thanking me for. But it made my day. And every time I replayed it afterward, I smiled. Later, I heard him thanking other fans and remembered that he tries to let people know how much he appreciates us.
At 6:30pm was the Photo Ops with Paul McGillion. The people running the show tried to speed things up as they were running late ‘People have flights to catch.’ is what was mentioned As we were standing in this long line, David Hewlett came from behind us on the way back from dinner, and said, “Is this the McGillion line? So not worth it folks.” What a kidder.
7:30 pm was autographs with Joe, Paul and David. Joe and Paul were sitting at tables behind stage left, and David was sitting behind stage right. You couldn’t see them for the curtains. The MC called us row by row to line up. We were in Row H, almost the last row, and waited about an hour before we were called to go to David’s line. By then, our photos with him were ready, so we had him sign those.
How were the autographs were done? A Security person near the head of the line checked your ticket and punched out your pass for that autograph, asked you your name, printed it on a yellow post-it and gave it to you. You stuck the post-it to the picture you wanted signed. Then, when you got to the autograph desk, you gave the picture to a Security person standing to the right of the celeb, he slid it under the celebrities nose as soon as the previous person left, and it was signed. This kept the lines moving efficiently. But the autographs were not hurried. The guys chatted and had a short exchange with each person which was nice.
When the Security person slid my pic under David’s nose, David looked at my name label, then looked up at me, in the eye and said, “Louise!” with a warm smile. What a charmer! I told him I follow him on Twitter and asked him if he ever checks up on us, or ever lurks. He said, “Sometimes. But it’s hard ‘cuz there’s so many.” And I said, “Yeah. 36,000 plus.” And he said, “Over 40,000 last time I checked, so I mostly answer only the angry ones.”
Then it was my husband’s turn. John, who does work out, asked him if he works out, because he looks very fit, and seems to have lost weight since the show. David said he’s been swimming. And he had a child. But that he still eats way too many donuts.
Next we got in a very long line for Joe’s autograph. Joe had a small brown bottle and a small green hardcover book on the table with him. When he was signing my picture I again reminded him to tweet, and he said, “Oh yeah. We’ve got something better than twitter- we’ve got a special audio video tweet I’m going to be using.” His voice is a little lower than Sheppard’s, with no drawl. Normally a fairly coherent person, I noticed that I seemed to be unable to say anything intelligent to him!
Next we got in line for Paul’s autograph. Paul was sitting at the table to the left of Joe. We were among the last to line up, mostly everyone had gone through, and this line was fairly short. I could see Joe on and off from where we were standing. His line was finished, so he got up. The MC was announcing last call for Joe Flanigan autographs. Joe picked up his book and walked behind Paul’s table, stage right and talked to a few of the hotel personnel and signed autographs and David Hewlett’s body guard’s album. Then a young lady dressed very manga in a short frilly blouse and skirt and fancy shoes came up to Joe’s desk for autographs, so he went back and sat down. She took about 5 minutes opening her album and pulling out the pic she wanted him to sign as he waited.
We got to Paul at that point, and he said, “Hi, how are you? Where are you from?” He knew our small Ontario town, and told us some of the sights in Vancouver we should see. John, who is objective and analytical, and not the besotted fan that I am, told him he was just amazed at how good they looked in person. “Even better than on TV!”
After that, John and I went back to the Crystal Ballroom, where the staff was moving chairs and tables around in preparation for the dessert party. It was getting very cool in there as they must have opened outside doors to bring in the food. John was wearing a thin cotton shirt and wanted to go back to the room to get a sweater. We had a good half hour before the food was available so we headed for the elevators.
We were standing at the elevators with two women from the con, waiting for one going up. I was staring at the floor, pondering the day, and spotted something in my peripheral vision. I looked up and saw Joe. He was charging towards us and the elevators, followed by his body guard. He is incredibly athletic and walks extremely fast. He locked eyes with me and was bearing down on me like a runaway locomotive.
My jaw dropped and I said, “Oh my god!” Out loud. Very uncool, I know. But if I ever look up some day and find myself in the path of an oncoming train, I think that is exactly what I will say. One of the women waiting with us had the presence of mind to ask him how his shoulder was.“Not too bad,” he said as he got in the elevator, his body guard close behind, “I’ll be fine. All I need is an aspirin and a scotch.”
Now the button on the outside of the elevator was lighted for DOWN, but the arrow on the inside of it was lighted UP. The elevators had been a little wonky all week. I looked at the arrow on the side of the door and said to Joe, “That elevator’s going up.” He looked at me and said, “It’s going down.” I pointed to the lighted UP arrow on the inside of the door and said, “The arrow says it’s going up.” He looked up at the lighted arrow and charged out of the elevator saying, “You folks can take this elevator and go up, and we’ll take another one down.”
I was glad my higher brain had engaged for a few moments, as my lower brain was still reeling from the effect of his eyes. The man has laser eyes! When we got in the elevator, the other women and I practically lit up cigarettes! Just kidding!
John and I went up and got his sweater (for which I am forever grateful) and we went back down to the second floor to see if there were any more photos ready.
We had checked it out earlier so I told him, “It’s around here somewhere.”
Then John and I went to the photo table but there were not any more photos ready yet, so we went back upstairs again, just in time to see Corin disappearing into the exercise room. He is a very tall, lean but handsome fellow!
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