Gatecon 2001

Valerie's Con Report, Part 2

Friday was covered better by the quote list than by anything I could say here, thanks to the wit of JR Bourne, Colin Cunningham, and Erick Avari (Kasuf--Sha're's father-- in both the movie and the series, and also the curator in The Mummy). What didn't make the quote list, of course, is the visuals, such as Colin creeping up behind JR when "crashing" his talk, and then threading his arms under JR's to hold the mic and gesture for him for a few seconds. I think that might be the longest I saw JR keep a straight face all weekend, come to think of it...

Someone really did suggest that JR and Colin do a production of The Odd Couple, mostly due to the disparity in their personal style that day--Colin was neat-as-a-pin preppy guy, while JR was more trendy-cazh and still sporting slightly shaggy hair from the film he just finished. He made several comments before that about needing a haircut (jokingly inviting attendees to cut it for him at one point), actually, and looked quite surprised when the audience reaction indicated he should leave it. (He didn't, BTW -- must have gotten it trimmed Friday afternoon or evening. It did look good on him, but it was also pretty obviously driving him nuts. Mind you, with his penchant for hats/bandanas/whatever, I'm amazed we saw his hair enough to notice that he got it cut. Gum in his mouth and something on his head, that's JR.) They discussed the possibility fairly extensively, and with every appearance of seriousness (not that it's gonna happen, but hey), and after polling the audience and determining that the vast majority of the people in the room would in fact be happy to attend every performance while they were in town, decided that, hey, if they did a run just while Gatecon people were around, and ran it just through the evenings before the con ("Because I'm booked on the weekend, man"), they'd sell out, so why not?

The best, of course, was calling up JR's sister on his cellphone so she could thank the fans for their generosity to CCFF, and especially our own lovely and talented Becky Preen for the quilt she had made for his niece and presented to him at Sekh's Party. Holding up the mic to the earpiece of the phone turned out to work very well, and Kim went on for a couple minutes about how wonderful we all were while Madison was apparently doing something untoward to the floor she had just mopped. :-) Meanwhile, JR was grinning and laughing as she kept talking, at one point mouthing "She always does this" -- as if he should talk!! ;-) They tried to get Madison to talk to us, but she just said "Hi, uncle JR!" and then gave the phone back to her mom. If we needed a reminder about where our money, time and energy for the charities really go, that was about the happiest one we could have had.

Oh, and JR keeps insisting he can't think on his feet. Is he deluded or what?

I stayed for pretty much all of Erick Avari's talk -- he being one of the people I most wanted to see -- and that was also when I was most scrupulous about quoteage, so again, you got most of it on the quote list. Too long for the quote list was the story about auditioning for a particular role (I remember the character was a real person, filmmaker Erich von Stroheim, but I don't remember what the project was... he mentioned Young Indiana Jones at one point, but I can't recall whether that was this or something else). He really, really wanted this role, but he knew -- with the way that Hollywood operates -- that if they knew his actual ethnic background (he's from India -- Bengal, IIRC) he wouldn't get it. So the casting director asked him several times where he was from, and he came up with increasingly convoluted ways to hedge the question before the guy finally called him on it. I wish I could convey this in text--it wasn't so much what he said, but the whole demeanor and way of telling the story. We got a mini-performance right then and there. I love this guy to bits. He also made a point throughout the weekend of strolling through the dealer's room several times and having real conversations with everyone -- on Saturday, he started out asking about my costuming business and ended up spending ten or fifteen minutes chatting about theatre. (He asked what Shakespeare roles I've done. Possibly a mistake. I generally can't remember the whole list at one sitting, especially when my brain is con-fried. Don't think he necessarily realized I'm 8-10 years older than people typically guess...) Very nice, thoughtful, down-to-earth guy. He also sent someone earlier in the day to get a unity ribbon for him after he saw other folks wearing them -- wow, am I glad my dealer's-room partner Dawn was able to find some more ribbon earlier that morning, because I had given the last one to Don the day before!

Friday afternoon was also when I caught a few minutes of Peter Williams and Alexis Cruz. Alexis was explaining about Skaara's hair issues -- he had weave extensions for the movie, but for CotG there wasn't time to do that, so it was a wig, and apparently rather hot and uncomfortable. Then for Klorel, it was all done up on top, and Alexis did a very funny little pantomime about being this nasty powerful Goa'uld while top-heavy. Also, Peter mentioned that there was some hair debate while prepping for CotG, because he had dreadlocks at the time, and the producers waffled for a while about whether he should keep them. They ended up settling on cutting them off, because they wanted his look to be completely different from Skaara's. At which point Alexis piped up, completely deadpan, "Because of course we look exactly alike." Occupational hazard...they cut off the poor guy's dreads, and then put that skullcap on him so you couldn't see his hair anyway!

Being Linguistics GeekGirl, I was also very happy to catch them talking about accents and made-up languages. Alexis got quite in-depth about his own process of figuring out Skaara's accent (he got quite in-depth about most things he talked about, actually, which rocked) when it came time for him to speak English on the series, and how he studied his Middle Eastern friends to gather elements for it, and then just worked to keep it consistent. His work in that regard has always impressed me the most out of everyone's, so it was great to hear his take on it. Interestingly enough, he took some elements of his pronunciation from Hebrew, which sort of surprised Peter, because he said he's been directed on several occasions to change the way he said something as Apophis because it sounded too much like Hebrew. Go fig. Peter's own Carribbean accent came as a surprise to me, so I wish I'd had time to ask him if that added another layer of challenge to the whole thing.

Friday night...banquet, and skit time! Hey, Roxie? Did I remember to thank you for the great material? :-) Author, author!!!! *clappityclappityclap*

We went up over an hour later than planned, due to the Great Food Mixup (which is also why we had to draft a last-minute understudy for poor Allan, who was going to play the Croc Hunter but who was way too frazzled and deserved to sit back and breathe for a while!), so the energy buzz at our table reached truly frightening proportions. If it weren't so hard on the nerves, I'd say we should do that every time. *g* (Hey, guys, we never came up with a name... Not Ready For Showtime Players?) There was about half an hour of rampant silliness in the format of an old-time radio show, complete with commercials, and we had a great time. I hope the audience did too. Apparently at least several of the guests did. One image I'll carry with me forever is Alexis, front and center, straddling his chair and leaning forward with this huge delighted grin the entire time. Erick and Peter both made a point of telling us we were great. More than once. The high point was definitely Peter's reaction to Apophis' introductory line in the Dating Game sketch, about how when he's not maiming, killing, etc., "I do needlepoint." The delivery was DEAD on (and Apophis-guy, I'm sorry, I've completely spaced your name, or I'd give you your due), and Peter lost it laughing for a second, then called out "Yes, I made the costume myself!" The room roared. It was hard to keep an eye on the house while juggling a script and a mic, but it looked like everyone was having fun, and there never seemed to be any draggy bits. Whew! I missed the panel the next day where Alexis explained that it was nice to have us entertain them for a while... I'm just glad it was entertaining! And several people came up to me to tell me that "the one who played Janet" had been singled out as a favorite. Gleep??!!?? Again, credit to Roxie, 'cause I had the "Medical Report Blues" monologue all to myself, and it would have been my favorite even if she hadn't assigned it to me.

BTW, Erick very sweetly posed with the whole cast for about a dozen cameras, but mine didn't come out. Help?

On to Gatecon 2001 Report, Part 3

Back to Gatecon 2001 Photo Album

Back to Me Stuff

Back to WiliQueen's Woods