Armageddon Expo 2011: Memories Made Monumental in Melbourne!

Click to learn more about Armageddon Expo 2011!

Hello convention fans!

Click to learn about the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition CentreI have been to many conventions over the past 5 years, probably more than I really want to count. But every year, I go to the Armageddon Expo in Melbourne and have not missed one since their debut in our fine city back in 2007.

So of course this year was no exception as I obtained my Gold pass to the event and even splurged on a “Fan Pack” which allowed me to have dinner with two of the most gracious guests that attended the event this year.

Click to learn more about the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition CentreThe guest list was quite impressive. Top of the list, certainly from my perspective, was Amanda Tapping, star, executive producer & director of the hit Syfy show, Sanctuary. Also attending from Sanctuary was actor Robin Dunne and the beautiful Agam Darshi.

Alaina Huffman, the talented actress from Smallville, Stargate Universe and recently seen in Alphas also came to Melbourne along with her family. Ms. Huffman was proudly displaying her baby bump due in about five weeks.

Callum Blue {Smallville and Sanctuary) was a hit with many, especially the ladies, though that did not surprise me once I had met the man. Introductions at the cocktail party on the Friday night, which I will touch on soon, had Callum greet all the women with a gentle hand shake and a kiss on the cheek. I was sold on him from that moment on.

The guest list went on to include Robert Picardo of Star Trek Voyager and Stargate SG1 fame, Adrian Paul from Highlander, who also met up with Amanda Tapping for the first time since they filmed the movie “The Void” together, Mark Sheppard, (Doctor Who, Supernatural, Chuck) Morgan Sheppard, Sylvester McCoy (1980’s Dr. Who), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Kelly Donovan , The Lone Gunman from the X-Files and many anime & comic book guests.

So with my Gold pass purchased, my Fan Pack dinner ticket tucked away in my photo case, my bags packed with clothes to accommodate all kinds of weather (because this is Melbourne after all, the city with all four seasons possible in one day), I headed into town for the start of 3 crazy days of fun, madness, and utter mayhem. And yes, I Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Interiorwas pretty damn nervous even though I had been there and done that, many times.

First stop was Southern Cross train station to pick up a good friend who was also coming along to the event. We then checked into our hotel before meeting up with another fellow attendee at the museum. After visiting the King Tut expo, we made our way back to Crown Plaza, situated opposite the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre where Armageddon was being held.

Meeting up with over a dozen Armageddon attendees there, most if not all whom I met through Twitter, we had pre Armageddon celebration drinks while trying to remember who each of us were…not so easy.

Unfortunately for a few of us, we could not stay for long as we had to get ready for the cocktail party which started at 7 o’clock. And so the nerves were once again on high alert.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping

Catching a taxi, we made our way to the cocktail party just in time. Well, technically we were almost late but the queue of attendees hadn’t even begun to move into the room yet. Before we could go inside, we had to collect our Gold passes which had been lost in the mail otherwise we would have had them on us before we got there.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Robin Dunne
Straight through the door, I headed for the bar and got myself a drink… non-alcoholic, surprisingly. I didn’t want my head to be spinning more than it already was.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Agam Darshi

Settling down in a corner with a group of friends, we did not have to wait long before guests started arriving. I only noticed four people who walked in the door – Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne, Agam Darshi and super mama Alaina Huffman. If I had to use one word to describe them, I would say “stunning”.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Alaina Huffman

Through the course of the night, I was able to chat with the guests and even got my picture taken with some of them. Having met Amanda and Robin once before at an event almost one year ago, I was quite chuffed to finally say hello to some new people. Agam was just sweet…absolutely sweet.

I introduced myself to her and I think someone told her that I was the “chocolate pusher” which she had not forgotten. As a group of us stood around, we chatted with Agam for a while before moving on to Alaina whose group of people had dwindled down a bit allowing some of us to move in. Wow, that made us sound like sharks circling our prey. My goal at this point was more to bring in another friend who was holding back a bit.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Alaina Huffman

Somewhere either before and or after chatting with Agam and Alaina, I had said a brief hello to Amanda and Robin who by now were surrounded by a sea of people. Moving into that sea was pretty tight. Robin however was able to move through it quite easily as he made his way to the microphone a few times and called out “Get ready to RUMBLE”…the men cheered, the women fainted, and the children waved multi-coloured flags!

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Agam Darshi

Well okay, there were no children present but the crowd was entertained. Robin, as we had noticed, appeared to be attempting to grow a beard. I made a note of that when I saw him, pointing to his chin. He pushed it forward which only prompted me to tickle his chin. He said “It’s real” to which I said “I know”. I should point out that I was not trying to push myself into his private space, Robin instigated the move and I simply obliged him.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Robin Dunne

Towards the end of the evening, I had seen Callum Blue standing in the corner we had initially claimed as our dumping ground for purses, bags and coats. Being the crazy woman I am, I had left my purse with all my spending money in that corner, totally unprotected, so I squeezed back into the corner to grab my phone and purse. That is when I got introduced to Callum. Such a charmer is he. Grabbing my hand, he leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I was floored. Sucked in by his charms. Yep, this night was gonna leave me smiling for a long time.Click to learn more about Callum Blue

The one thing that sticks in my mind about this night and the night of the dinner which I will touch on later was that pretty much most of the chat was un related to the guests work. It was a much more intimate and personal chat from both sides.

Callum talked about going out to see the stars which then lead to a conversation about camping and the perils of camping. I told him about my family’s recent trip to The Little Desert and showed him a picture of our Little Red which is our four wheel drive.

He laughed when he saw the size of our car and said “That’s little?” I explained that we also had a red truck which we called Big Red and that I actually drive a Mitsubishi Magna which I had named Magnus…another laugh from Callum. He thought that was funny and pretty cool. I kinda thought it was cool too. Isn’t it?

The night ended with the guests bidding us adieu, and then the long, aching, line up for pre purchase of photo and autograph tokens for the next day’s fun, began. By the time we got half way down the line, my feet were so sore from standing in my heeled boots that I just had to take them off. I wasn’t the only one taking off my shoes which was a blessing.

We left the hotel quite late, full of energy despite the day having being filled with one activity after the other. Needless to say, getting to sleep that night was not as hard as I had thought it would be. Getting up at 6.30 the next morning was not so easy.

Saturday morning we, as in my fellow roomies, Beth and Maryanne and I, headed to Crown Plaza once again for breakfast. Feeling the nerves tickling inside, I decide to stick to something simple and sweet.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping

Making our way across the road to the convention centre, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the queue for Amanda coming out the door and heading down the street. I had never seen a queue this long at this venue for any event – ever! I knew this was gonna be a busy weekend but never guessed it would be this busy.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Agam Darshi

Having a Gold pass meant that we could skip the queues and get in the door first. Thank god for Gold passes, never leave home without one. First stop when we entered the venue was the token booth to purchase more tokens that I had not purchased the night before.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

After that it became a bit of a blur with meeting a gazillion people and figuring out where to go first. That ended up being Agam’s Q&A panel. You know I can’t remember much of what was said but I do know that we laughed a lot.

Of course the questions centered around Agam’s role on Sanctuary and she talked about how she wouldn’t be present much during season 4 as she had another project that she was working on in LA that conflicted with the Sanctuary schedule, which in the end, that project fell through but Agam was looking forward to coming back full force next season. She also talked about this being not her first time in Australia and how she once travelled from Perth in WA to Sydney in NSW. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Australia, my suggestion is to Google map it and see just how HUGE this country is and get an idea of the distance Agam had traveled.

Before heading off to Alaina’s panel, I had a few things I wanted to get signed by the Sanctuary guests and thought it prudent to get it done as soon as I had a spare second to do so. The photo and autograph lines were insanely long. But again, being a Gold pass holder, I was able to skip to the front of the queue, much the chagrin of some attendees who had being queuing for some time. Though I understood their frustration, this is why we paid a lot for the Gold pass. I made sure I was as quick as I could be, squeezing in some more chat before moving on but trying hard to not keep the crowds waiting.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Alaina Huffman

I only got to stay for half of Alaina’s panel as I wanted to have my picture taken with Callum Blue which overlapped the panel. Having a tight schedule to stick to, I didn’t have any choice but to leave in the middle of her Q&A.

Alaina talked about her kids and the impending arrival of baby number 4. She also talked about her character on Stargate Universe and another attendee asked her, as I had done the night before, how she felt about the way they dealt with the whole baby situation on the show, the baby having not survived the season one cliffhanger. Alaina said she was happy about how it was done and that the producers were very considerate of her situation with being pregnant in real life and said that they waited for her baby to be born happy and healthy before telling her what they had in store for TJ’s baby.

The day was a flurry of activity. I thought my “to do” list was rather short but the reality of it was, the scheduled events synchronized into each other perfectly. So much so, I forgot to have lunch and forgot to drink anything until I noticed I was hungry and thirsty while standing in the queue for photo ops with the Sanctuary guests.

Pulling out my muesli bar and bottle of water, I had lunch sometime after 2 that afternoon. I did not make it to the Robert Picardo panel as I had planned, but I did get a front row seat for the Sanctuary panel. Being a panel with Sanctuary guests meant you were sure to be on the floor laughing your ass off. Amanda, Robin and Agam did not disappoint.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

I asked Amanda a question but forgive me for not remembering it word for word as I took it off the top of my head. I was not prepared to ask question this year as I thought I would have plenty of opportunities to chat with them at the cocktail and dinner parties.

So, I asked Amanda if Helen and John’s relationship had changed after her trip back in time given how she reacted to him when she went back to the past. Amanda said that she thought it would still be a relationship much like the one we have been used to seeing.

There was mention of Helen being in a relationship in season 4 but Amanda wouldn’t divulge any more information on that. A resolute and emphatic “No’ was the answer when asked if she could reveal if it was male or female.

Amanda introduced us to a new book being produced to raise funds for Sanctuary For Kids. Amanda said they would be selling them at the Click to learn more abot the incredible Sanctuary For Kids!autograph table over the weekend and an audience member asked if she could bring them to the dinner. She obliged.

The book is called “Rubber Rocks and Apple Boxes” and is written by Terry Murray and illustrated by Jenn Brisson. Amanda gave us a sneak peak to the book, holding it up as though she was the teacher reading to her students in class.

Agam was taking pictures of the audience as well as Amanda. I still not completely sure who was having a bigger fan girl moment at that point. Our first day of Armageddon finished just after 6pm. It was then a mad dash back to the hotel to get ready for the dinner. Back into a taxi again, we headed to the hotel where the dinner was being held. It took us nearly half an hour to get through the city. The traffic was ridiculous.

My dinner ticket saw me having dinner with Amanda and Robin. I wasn’t sure what to expect so expected the worse. I was stunned to find our table had only 7 people seated at it. Only 7!! Our first dinner guest was Amanda. Totally floored me.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

When Amanda walked in, the crowd cheered rather loudly to put it delicately. The Lone Gunman who came in right behind Amanda did not receive such an ovation so stepped out only to come in to receive one. Amanda didn’t know what was going on at first so when we told her, she stood up raised her arms and we cheered again very loudly. We won. We were the loudest table.

We had an amazing waiter who bought us bottles of wine throughout the night, another Amanda Tapping fan. So awesome. We talked over dinner about family, children, husbands and all things other than Sanctuary or Stargate.

We talked about cars and I asked when she would be getting her new Tesla. She told us about her current car, an Audi A4, or was it A5? Anyway, she talked about her test drive with the Tesla roadster and that she was getting the family version next year. I asked her if she wanted to go on TopGear. Well, an emphatic yes was the answer.

Amanda and I had a few things in common, like our first dates with our perspective husbands. We talked about the GABIT events and how a few of us on our table would be attending the next event in London in 2012. Amanda bought the books with her to the dinner. We all purchased one each and even put some money together for S4K, though she didn’t know that until later.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne
Somehow the conversation ended up on the 2009 bushfires and I told her about my husband and brothers fighting the fires and how bad it was. She saw a picture of our house, or rather what you could see of our house that wasn’t surrounded by trees. The conversation was so natural and flowing, it was like chatting with a group of friends over dinner. I guess it was.

One bottle of wine down and the waiter bought more. After dinner Amanda swapped with Robin and then more fun and loud laughter ensued. Robin was a barrel of laughs to put it mildly. He poured wine for us, making mine a rose as I had red wine first then the white on top. When he first picked up the bottle I asked if he knew how to correctly hold and pour the wine. He didn’t. So we showed him how and he obliged by filling my glass. We talked about cars with Robin too. He’s new beast is a BMW.

He spoke to my daughter on the phone, asking her why she stood him up. Apparently the guests on either side of him could hear her laughing. As the night went on, we all started to mingle more. We had an opportunity to chat with Agam and other attendees.

At this point I went to Amanda and gave her the last of the books that didn’t sell that night along with the money we collected for S4K. She was so floored. She got up and hugged and thanked us. Really, it was our pleasure. Then Robin, Agam and Amanda started signing the books. Most of the other guests had already left leaving just a handful of people in the room. It was funny actually.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

Amanda was the first to sign my book. Now this was the most standout moment for me that entire weekend. Amanda couldn’t remember my name but she knew who I was. So I told her I wasn’t going to tell her my name. She said, “Don’t tell me” and then it got kinda goofy fun from thereon. I was just standing there and she was holding my arm looking at me trying to figure out what my name was. I tried to jog her memory but she insisted I not tell her. Some funny words came out that I won’t repeat here but needless to say, Amanda has got to be one of the most sincere, genuine, graciously, funny guest I have ever had the privilege to meet.

Eventually with me whispering in her ear, she got my name, apologizing for not remembering it, not that I ever expected her to, and she berated herself for it. I kept telling her that she need not apologize. I think I got a year’s supply of hugs and kisses from Amanda that night.

Agam signed my book next. She blew me away with how quiet and delicate she seemed to be. She’s just sweet as pie. I would love to see her on the set of Sanctuary just to see the more wild side of the woman. She’s amazing I adore her.

Robin was the third one to sign my book. When he asked who to make it out to, he asked do I write Michelle or Chelle, and I said whatever. He looked at me and I said just don’t write whatever. Well you can only guess what he did. He wrote to Ms Whatever. I said he still got it wrong because I’m Mrs Whatever!

It’s at this point that I had gained an ally. The daughter of one of the organizers took my side in a discussion with Robin. He asked her “who’s side are you on?” She said, pointing at me, “hers, ‘cause she’s a girl!” I said we girls have to stick together. We gave each other a high five then the little sweetheart gave me a big hug. Absolutely adorable.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

Slowly making our way to the exit I hear my name being shouted out. I turn to find Amanda coming up to me, grabbing my hand and pulling me into another Amanda-hug, once again berating herself for forgetting my name. She declared that she had a bit too much wine but I thought that she was just amazing. And when I say she berates herself, Amanda does it with style.

Wow! Condensing this is so hard. Trying not to laugh recalling the night is even harder!

So back to our hotel we go, exhausted but smiling from ear to ear. I stayed up late that night giving one of my roomies the run-down of what happened. I couldn’t talk properly the next day. Such as it is when you use your vocal chords too much.

Day two or three of Armageddon, depending on when your fun started, began with breakfast once again at Crown. I just wasn’t hungry to eat much and eager to get to the venue. My kids would be joining me today and that was something I was looking forward to.

Nothing really much was scheduled in for day two other than more photo ops and more auto ops and the Robin Dunne and Amanda Tapping panels. I was hoping for a much more relaxed day, especially with the kids. They arrived at the event around 10am and I met them outside with their entry passes already in hand. We went in and made our way to the autograph queue first. Then it was just a matter of walking around the venue to peruse the stalls and all the wonderfully geeky things on display.

At noon, we made our way to the Robin Dunne panel. The beauty of this panel was that though they had to clear everyone out at the end, except for Gold pass holders, the event organizers knew they wouldn’t be able to get everyone back in so instead of one whole hour of Robin Dunne we had a half hour with Robin the Amanda joined him on stage for the second half so that everyone got a chance to see them both at a panel session.

For the first hour I was sat in the third row on the very far right hand side. Not the best seat but I wasn’t complaining as my heart & mind were just not in it at the time.

I got up again to ask Robin about his directing experience and Amanda said that he did a “fine job at directing”, which amused Robin somewhat. The two of them on stage together just saw them goofing around be it about how Robin did it only once that year and Robin added that he planned to do it many more times. Now the theme that weekend for Robin was “Is that code?” So we’re laughing so hard because we know they aren’t just talking about directing anymore. Oh and Amanda did her wonderful chipmunk giggle that just sent me off into giggles…it’s contagious.

Whenever children got up to ask questions, they were so sweet. They had so much time for everyone but even more time, and rightfully so, for the children.

I now know why Amanda and Robin do conventions together. There’s something super special about these two when they get on stage together. They corrupt each other and play off each other’s words and it all comes out in such a natural order, I swear that life on set must be pretty close to what we see on stage at these panels.

Two hours of watching and listening to Amanda and Robin play off against one another was an overload of laughter and amusement. To capture every moment was impossible unless you had a video camera. Finding some clips on YouTube and watching these videos sadly shows me how much I didn’t take in that weekend. Best intentions of taking notes never eventuated.

After the panel finished, I took the kids for a walk around Armageddon, a shopping trip if you will, for them. More photos with the guests and kids and then we headed out for a break just before they were to go home at 4.30. The day was beautiful out and we missed most of it being stuck inside the venue. But it was worth missing out on a daily dose of vitamin D just to experience the madness of Armageddon.

Armageddon Expo Melbourne - Amanda Robin and Agam

With the kids gone, I headed back inside to find my friends and to begin queuing again for more autographs, the last for this year. I also needed to pick up the one of a kind Amanda Tapping Armageddon poster that I was lucky enough to purchase in the hopes of donating it to the Gabit team to auction off at AT6 next year to raise money for S4K.

One last goodbye to Agam, Robin and Amanda and we were out the door and headed to the hotel room before getting ready for the Armageddon Aftermath party. It just never seemed to end.

We arrived at the Aftermath party to a rowdy crowd. Callum Blue was our only guest for the night but that was just as well as we were all pretty much zonked out. A few drinks later, some more pictures with Callum and we walked back to the hotel room where we gathered our thoughts and recapped the events that just took place over the last 3 days.

Sorting through photos and autographs and letting out weary feet rest was just what we needed. And so on Monday morning, our Armageddon weekend was finally over. It was kinda sad that the big build up to such a wonderful fun filled weekend, was over so quickly. But on the upside of the sadness, is knowing that next year, we will be doing it all again. And who knows what amazing guests we will get to meet then. My dream would be to have Amanda Tapping and at least one other Stargate or Sanctuary guests attend every year. Knowing the Armageddon folks though, I’m sure we will not be disappointed with whomever they bring out.

Huge thank you to all my friends both old and new whom I had the absolute pleasure in being with over the weekend, be it for just a few minutes or for the whole shebang. It’s the friends you get to meet at these events which make coming all the more worthwhile.

Huge huggable thank you to my husband and 2 beautiful children who didn’t protest when I left home for a 3 day spell away from the family. And for coming along on the Sunday and for always being my rocks in life. xo

Also huge thanks to the event organizers and all those who volunteered at Armageddon to make this year one of the biggest and best yet. And finally, huge thanks to the guests who flew in from afar, just to come down to Melbourne to entertain us.

Thank you Amanda Tapping for making me laugh and love life, and for inspiring me to take it with both hands. xo! Thank you Robin Dunne and Agam Darshi for your natural exuberance and for making everyone at Armageddon have the most fabulous time. Finally a huge thank you to all the other guests for taking time away from your home and loved ones to spend with us all at Armageddon Melbourne 2011. Cheers. The End

Click to visit and follow WormholeRiders News Agency on Twitter!Thank to Kenn for staging the post and thank you for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency.

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Thank you

Michelle (Chelle) Aka OrientalLilly

OrientalLilly

2 thoughts on “Armageddon Expo 2011: Memories Made Monumental in Melbourne!

  1. Dear Chelle,

    I cannot express my thanks enough for your outstanding contribution about the recent festivities at Armageddon Expo in Melbourne Australia!

    Your detailed account was so wonderful, I read it several times! The pictures you captured for Ms. Tapping, Ms. Darsi, Mr. Dunne and Ms. Huffman are superb!

    Thank you for sharing your experience here at WHR!

    Best Regards,

    Kenn

  2. I was only able to attend one day at this years Armageddon, but it was by far the best day that I have had. Thank you for the lovely recap Chelle. I couldn’t help but smile and giggle at all of it. It was amazing to see Agam Darshi’s Q&A panel. She was so sweet.

    Love Pauline

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