© Copyright 2002 Leah Rosenthal, All Rights Reserved

Atlanta, GA
August 30 – September 2, 2002


“This isn’t a convention. It’s some kind of weird SciFi RAVE.” — Andrea Thompson, Dragoncon 2002

I have to agree with Andrea, although the night before, I had referred to the convention as some kind of bizarre SF mardis gras. The sentiments were the same. <g>

Anyway, here’s my wrap-up. We had a great time at the convention. Our flight didn’t leave Atlanta until late Monday night because Leah wanted to allow plenty of time to pick up any leftover art from the art show. Luckily, she only had three pieces out of twenty-five that didn’t sell. Our driver wasn’t picking us up until 8 pm that night, though, so we stayed to the con until the bittersweet end!

We were amazed at how busy the exhibit hall and art show and dealer’s rooms all were Monday morning and early afternoon. Lots of con-goers obviously stayed late, as well. We decided to attend a Babylon 5 “Reunion” Panel at the ungodly hour of 10 am because Tracy Scoggins was scheduled to be there. Alas, she never showed up! But the panel was great and we weren’t sorry we attended. (We missed Teryl Rothery’s panel since it was at the same time, but we knew we’d see Teryl at Gatecon this coming weekend so it was a trade-off). There was a beautiful music video of five years of Babylon 5 shown before the panel. I heard someone say it was professionally done. I would love to have a copy of it! The panel itself was interesting with the usual types of questions (how did you get cast? What are you doing now? Etc.) David Allen Brooks and Julie Caitlin Brown trailed in very late, looking the worse for wear after the Jefferson Starship concert the previous night. Andrea Thompson quipped that she had had a hard time keeping up with Brown the night before but that she was damned if she was going to be outdone by a 41 year old pregnant woman! Andreas Katsulas had the best comeback for a question when someone asked what they all liked to do in their “off” hours and he immediately said “We f**k.” Julie Brown stood up and pointed at her belly and shook her head up and down. Oh my. Risqué bunch!

We headed for the art auction next. Leah’s pieces did well and she was happy.

The only other panel we really wanted to see was the one for Joss Whedon’s upcoming “Firefly.” We got to see some great promo clips for it and the room was packed to capacity. The promotional materials for this show (written by Joss) describe in loving detail the characters of the show and how they are basically a bunch of mercenaries and the like who are bound together on a ship, trying to survive against very tough odds out in the universe. They are all very different and don't always get along...but they are bound together by a sense of "family" and will always be there for each other. Wow. I love the show already after having only seen a few promo clips and having heard the descriptions (premieres on my birthday, September 20th, on FOX at 8 pm, btw).

I was gratified to hear Richard Hatch talking about this very subject in his panel the day before. About what Battlestar Galactica had meant to him and what he thought the "core" of the story was. He said that industry executives have a hard time understanding how a show that was only on the air for one season could still have such a devoted following. Richard said that, to him, it was a no-brainer. Battlestar had been about a multi-generational family, having to come together with a huge extended family (their "ragtag fleet") to try to survive and fight a common enemy. The most important element of the story was the human factor. The emotional ties between them. He said he really didn't care who ultimately made a Battlestar Galactica remake as long as they understood that necessity for a human connection between the characters and the sense of "family" inherent in the concept. Sadly, I think that too many money people have ruined one show after another when they have decided that “action” must take precedence over character development and emotions. Why they think anyone will continue then to care about a show and its characters is beyond my capacity to understand. I love action/adventure…but I expect for character development to be there in equal measure.

Another thing that Hatch said really resonated with me, for many personal reasons. He said that the industry executives who run places like The SciFi Channel want you to think that you don’t count…but they still want you to love them. In essence, they look on us with contempt but when it comes right down to it, they need us. We don’t need them.

Peter Williams, also the day before, commented along similar lines that he thought many actors or those in the acting profession looked down on SciFi with contempt. He said that if they only realized the love and devotion of the fans they would know better. He was adamant that he loved his time on Stargate and that he would act in a SciFi show again in a heartbeat.

Well, enough reminiscing. Tomorrow, we leave for Vancouver and Gatecon. Stay tuned for photos, reports and, no doubt, convention inspired cartoons!

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