Hi, F List!!! It's great to be back home and on LJ again. I attended the con on Sunday and thought I'd post my thoughts/impressions/memories in case anyone is interested.
It was very awesome to see friends again I'd met last summer when I traveled back East to see Randy in Silence and QWAN (narbeleth88, wirthwoman, Kim predec2, and Rory galeandrandy) as well as room with my good friends toto_too514 and rockie2010.
I met a lot of LJ friends in person for the first time, which was absolutely thrilling: Pam pam81 and Steffi soulmatejunkee, my fellow Evil Kinney Girls, q_dicted, techieturnover, wrstlgirl, jule2009, bigj52, and sabina1956, who worked her butt off as a volunteer at the con and who also made the beautiful banner for me on my page at Moonshadow Tribe last year. It's uncanny how the QAF bond makes instant friends! I hope to meet up with all of you again someday.
And now . . .
I pretty much bought my ticket to the con for 2 main reasons: so I could witness firsthand the wonder of Gale and Randy in the same room together all these years later and to sit at Randy's table at the VIP dinner Sunday night (which I'd bid on during the 3rd auction and won after raising my bid 3 times when someone jumped in and tried to outbid me in the last 15 minutes before it closed). I wasn't disappointed in either case. Gale and Randy are definitely still very good friends, and it shows. While Randy wasn't exactly a chatterbox during the dinner, he did converse with each of us personally when we engaged him. Of course, I took the opportunity to talk to him about dancing (ballet specifically), and it turned into one of the best moments of the day for me. More on that later.
Although Gale made his entrance onto the stage with Scott on his back piggyback style and got a great reception from the fans in the form of applause and cheers, he was weirdly withdrawn into himself for almost half the morning, keeping his head down, hunching over, and giving the impression that he just wanted to hide from the public. He was holding a little red apple and kept nervously turning it around in his hand, but he started to come out of his shell as the time went on and looked up more and started to speak louder. It looked to me as if he was wearing the same things he had on in the pictures I'd seen from Bilbao - even the same hat. His beard was very thick and very dark with two tiny streaks of silver running through it down his chin. Randy wore the same brown shirt he wore on the opening day of the Cologne con with jeans and black high-top Nikes.
After the brief introductions and opening remarks, we went into the room where the autographs were signed. Gale still wasn't very animated when I got his autograph, only looking up at me once when I said, "Hi, Gale." I remarked that he still had the bandage on his finger, and he just said, "Yup, still got it." Standing right in front of him, that's when I noticed the tiny streaks of silver in his beard. Randy was all business, too, while giving me his autograph. Only when I asked him for a favor did he crack a smile, and that was because he knew the friend of mine who'd made something for him that I hand delivered to him. When I asked if he could please sign a pic for our mutual friend, he said, "Of course," and wrote a few sentences along with his signature. When I told him that the friend wanted to attend the con but couldn't get away from work, he said, "I understand." Scott, on the other hand, was funny, sweet, and talkative, revealing his awesome self-portrait skills when I got up to his table without his pic to sign. I was going to have him sign the back of the con schedule because that was the only paper in my hand, but he took it and drew an amazing likeness of himself, (upside down no less, as if the paper were facing me, not him!) and then he signed it!
The rest of the day was filled with the Meet and Greets and Q and A's. I've already jelled them together in my head and can't remember which of these next things were said in which session. But these are the things that stand out in my memory - in no particular order:
By this time, Gale had loosened up a bit and was much more open and comfortable. I got the distinct impression that sitting together with Randy in front of a much smaller group of us fangirls was more to his liking. Still, he was content to let Randy answer questions that were directed to both of them, so much so that at one point Randy looked at him and said, "What do you think, Gale?" LOL But when he actually started to talk, I was mesmerized.
When asked which scenes stood out in their memories as they were being shot, Gale said the scene where Brian and Debbie get high together was one of his favorites because he and Sharon knew each other so well by then it was as if they were relating to each other in RL, and then he added, "How often does someone get high with his best friend's mother?" He also said he liked playing the scene where he punches his father because that type of scene was so rare in the show. Randy said one scene that stood out in his memory was in the parking garage when he turns his head as Brian calls his name and tries to warn him about Hobbs. He said they'd already wrapped filming Season One, but he was told at the wrap party (after drinking lots of champagne) that they needed more footage of him. He said, "It was late at night, and I'd been drinking, and I had to put the tux back on and shoot take after take of turning my head sharply at the sound of my name being called until they had enough footage."
One question for Randy had to do with Justin's bashing and brain injury, and Gale spoke up and divulged that he'd sustained a traumatic brain injury. He said that people came to visit him in the hospital that he has no recollection of whatsoever, but that he'll dream of them coming to visit him and what they talked about.
Randy was asked if he liked the story line of Justin's romance with the young classical artist, and he shook his head up and down and said, "uh huh." That reminded him of the cat. He said he had fun and really enjoyed the scene where he plays with and pets the cat. Then he said, "Poor Fab! He was so allergic to the cat. He had to be completely off set when I did the scene with the cat."
Randy decided to take off his shoes at one point during all of this to adjust his sock. He didn't stop speaking, just nonchalantly took off his shoes and pulled up his sock while answering a question. Gale looked over at his foot and said, "That stinks." All of us fangirls laughed, but neither of them did. Gale kept a straight face, and Randy totally ignored him, as if he was used to his corny jokes.
They were asked whether or not they thought that Justin ever found out Brian had been at the hospital every night after the bashing. Gale and Randy looked at each other for awhile before answering, as if they were deciding together what to say. Then, without talking to each other, both of them agreed that Brian and Justin's relationship had changed so much by the end of the show that Justin would have definitely known. I can't remember the exact words they used, but both of them conveyed that Brian and Justin were deeply in love at the end of the show and so close to each other that it wouldn't have been a secret any longer.
I think it was during the time allotted for the lunch break that I was hanging out in the hallway with rockie2010, toto_too514, and narbeleth88 when I spotted Gale leaning up against the wall about 20 feet away from us, talking on his phone. His 2 P.A.s were standing guard, making sure no one came up to him, but we had a perfect view with no need to get any closer.
During and after the lunch break, toto_too514 and I waited in a very, very, extremely LONG photo line, which was made considerably more pleasant by my talking with and getting to know q_dicted.
Peter looked to me as if he's lost a lot of weight since he'd been in Cologne, judging by the pics and vids I've seen of that con. I know the camera adds 10 pounds to the viewer, but it looked to be a lot more than that to me. His speech is peppered with liberal doses of the f bomb, naturally rolling off his tongue in almost every other sentence. He spoke a lot about his new series, The Fosters. Randy also lets loose with the "fucks" in conversation every so often, but not nearly as frequently as Peter. I'm glad they didn't try to censor themselves or think before they spoke.
Randy was asked if he's ever been to a Pride celebration, and he said the first one he went to was right after he came out when he was fifteen. And then he said, "No, wait. I could drive. I was sixteen." He said he had such a creepy experience because some weird dude with a string of homeless gay boys he'd picked up kept following him, and Randy spent the whole day trying to get away from this creep. He said he looked about 12 when he was 16, so the guy probably thought he was a homeless young boy and was trying to pick him up, too. Randy said to us, "I finally said fuck this shit and I never went to another Pride until very recently."
There was a short closing where all of the actors were given the mic in turn to say a few words to the fans. Gale used his time to thank everyone for the beautiful gifts he'd received throughout the day. He was truly touched by the fans' love for him, and he stated it eloquently. I was struck by how well he articulated his heartfelt emotions. Randy's little speech reminded me of what he'd said at the closing of the Cologne con. He was grateful for everything - the show, the fans, how it's still such a big part of our lives this many years later.
The cocktail reception was right before the dinner. The actors rotated and sat at each of the tables for about 10 minutes. They were all very relaxed and having fun talking to us in small groups. Scott, Peter, Robert, Michelle, and Ryan chatted away and laughed and initiated all the conversations, answering any and all questions as if they were your next door neighbor. Gale had totally let his guard down by then and was personable and acted as if he were having a great time. He talked in detail about his finger injury - I heard the words 'jammed tendons.' He said it had been bandaged for 9 months. Randy was . . . Randy. He answered questions, but, of course, didn't start anything on his own. 'Such Good People' was brought up, and I took the opportunity to ask him if he enjoyed working with the dogs. (Sorry , Pet. I forgot to tell you this. LOL) He said he liked them, but they weren't very efficient. He said the movie was on a tight shooting schedule, and since they weren't professional dogs, they wasted quite a bit of precious time.
The dinner was the last part of the con. Each actor sat at a table with 6 fans. I'd been waiting all day for it because I've had questions I wanted to ask Randy ever since last summer when I saw him dancing his little butt off (extremely well) doing musical comedy in 'Silence' and also channeling his inner classical ballerina (as well as he could) in the QWAN performance of 'Swan.' I waited until about halfway through the dinner, though, before I brought them up.
When we were served our salads, Randy buttered a roll for himself, but before he ate it, he picked up the salt shaker and sprinkled salt on it - more than once. I like a lot of salt on my food, too, but I've never thought of doing that. LOL Of course, I tried it as soon as I got home. It actually wasn't bad. Randy was one of the last people at our table to be served his entree. After he waited a long time, the waitress set a plate of pasta in front of him, and he looked at her and said, "No, I didn't order this. I had the filet mignon." So she took it away, and he waited even longer for her to come back with his correct food. I felt sorry for him because he must have been starving. I felt sorry for myself, too, because I didn't start on my dinner until he got served, and I was definitely starving.
Finally his steak and shrimp arrived. We each continued to talk to him about different things, and he was really sweet, giving us his undivided attention as he spoke to us. At one of the lulls in the conversation, I told him that I'm a ballet teacher and asked him how much classical ballet training he's had. I told him that I could tell from seeing Silence and Swan that he's had training. Just as he was about to answer, Gale had gotten up from his nearby table and come over to talk to Randy. He leaned down at his side and was showing him something in a book that he'd found and needed to talk to him about. So Randy said to me, "Just a minute," and looked at the book with Gale, and they spent about five minutes discussing the fact that a certain group that they like had a song used on the show. Gale had just discovered it in the book and brought it over and pointed it out to Randy, and they were talking about it amongst themselves as if no one else was around. Gale said he never knew it was used in the show and asked Randy if he knew. Randy told him, "Yeah, I knew that." It was endearing how Gale was leaning down at his side because Randy was sitting at the dinner table. And then after they were finished, Gale took the book back to his table and sat down again, and Randy said to me, "I'm sorry. What did you ask me?" I was like - no problem, you can can blow me off to talk to Gale any day of the week! LOL
So I asked him again how much ballet training he's had, and he replied, "Not much at all. Only 4 years at Cincinnati. I'm not good at all." I asked him if he was a lefty because I'd seen him execute an effortless double pirouette to the left when I saw him in Swan, and that was the first time I got a reaction out of him. He kind of laughed and his eyes lit up and he said very enthusiastically, "Yeah, that's my side!" I told him I could tell it was, from the way he turned, and that he looked great doing the ballet warm-ups before Swan, and he like rolled his eyes and said, "Yeah, but you should see my feet! I have no arches and my feet are sickled!" I laughed, too, and said, "I have." I knew from seeing his feet in the ballet shoes that he doesn't have the greatest feet in the world for ballet, but I'd never say that to him. I just nodded and agreed with him because he was right. I told him another reason I could tell he'd had some ballet training was the way he spotted perfectly when he did the eleven chaine turns around Gale in the prom dance, to which he quickly replied, "Well, anyone can chaine." (That word is pronounced 'sheh-NAY' and needs the little French accent thingy over the final e, but my keyboard doesn't have it. It means 'linking turns.') I nodded again because that's also very true, but I was thinking 'Geez, Randy, you just won't let me give you a compliment up, down, or sideways, will you?' LOL
He stayed at the table with us as long as he could, and then he was the first of the actors to get up to leave because he had a flight out of L.A. that he had to catch. So just as he was about to walk out of the room where the dinner was, Gale went up to him to say good-bye and they hugged right there in the doorway. Soooo adorable. I think about half of the fans sitting at the tables saw it and a low "Awww," could be heard. I was thankful that it wasn't too loud because I didn't want it to discourage them or anything. I'm not sure if they heard it because it was pretty soft and they were kind of far away at the door.
After the hug, Randy and his P.A. (Ana, Elke's daughter) went out of the room. He'd told us earlier that a friend of his was picking him up from the hotel and driving him to the airport. Gale and his P.A. lingered around the door for about 30 seconds, and then guess what? Yep, they went out, too. I don't know, but it sure seemed as if Gale wanted to still talk to him or maybe say good-bye one more time. I don't remember seeing Gale come back into the room, but he did at some point because then all the other actors started to get up and say that they had to leave, too, and then Gale followed suit and looked around the room (everyone had finished eating and was kind of standing around mingling talking to one another) and Gale, very loudly to get everyone's attention, said that he was going and gave a cute little wave to us. We all said bye to him and thanked him for coming to the con, and then he walked out the door.
At the end of the evening, a lot of fans gathered in the hotel bar to have a drink and extend the con experience as long as we could. Ryan Scott Greene was there and sat with a group of fans in one corner. I was so happy to talk with pam81 for quite a while when she and jule2009 came over and joined in with our little group.
I don't know if I'll ever make it to another QAF convention, so this wonderful day and evening will be etched in my mind forever as one of the best things I ever did for myself. Some of you are aware of my RL situation and how tough it is for me to get away because of my husband needing constant medical care and supervision. Fortunately, my father-in-law stayed in the house with him and enabled me to have this indulgent weekend. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or a good thing, but I don't feel guilty for taking it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6MolUwSdQSQ youtube vid
http://whenitisreal.tumblr.com/post/62833671220/risenshine-usa-coming-home-gale-randy-x I love this person's tumblr