Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Barrowman-Con…or: The Convention Formerly Known As FedCon 2013. Part 1

While I am typing this, I am listening to John Barrowman’s album “Reflections from Broadway” album, and once again I am moved and amazed by the sheer range of talents of this man. There is no doubt about it: Barrowman came, saw and conquered us all, in what started out not too promising. All SciFi conventions have to deal with the inevitable cancellations of their Star Guests, but FedCon this year was particularly hit hard, when Alexander Siddig (ST:DS9’s Doctor Bashir), Roxann Dawson (ST: VOY’s B’Elanna Torres) and Tricia Helfer (BSG’s No 6) all cancelled at short notice due to various commitments. It happens, it is never nice, but this meant we had to shift our expectations a bit towards a rather quiet and more laid back con than usual. Boy, did we get this one wrong….

This FedCon has been a rather special ride, mainly due to two people: Ben Browder and the aforementioned John Barrowman, but more about them later on. Let me first give a general overview of this years FedCon, which was, in one word, relaxed! Compared with the rollercoaster ride that was FedCon 2012, this one felt like a calm river boat ride. Never before were the photo shoots with the stars as relaxed as this year, and even though these things go fast, faster, fastest, they were run very pleasantly and smoothly. Also the great autograph sessions were a wonderful experience, as we could focus on getting some of the not so busy actors’ autographs on the Saturday while doing the long lines on Sunday with the Special Needs group (as my husband cannot stand in lines for more than ten minutes or so). This was a very relaxed way of doing things, and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

There was not a lot to complain about this year: all the volunteers were doing their jobs magnificently and were pleasant and even the inevitable “Gold Seat Crashers” (those that sit there but don’t belong there and therefore have to leave when we arrive) were quite responsive to our new strategy of Direct Assertiveness: “OK, I need two seats, you, do you have a Gold Seat ticket? No? Well, You don’t belong here, you have to leave now, thank you, and yes, these seats are reserved!”. This approach works very well, we may not be found “very nice”, but neither is sitting in my seat that I paid good money for…

This year I focused more on other shows than Star Trek, most notably Farscape, Eureka, Torchwood and a fascinating phenomenon: Starship Troopers. There was some Trek for me, most notably Linda Park’s (ST ENT’s Hoshi Sato) fine panel and Richard Arnold’s interesting presentation celebrating 20 years of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The Farscape Universe was well-represented with Gigi Edgley (Chiana), Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) and leading man Ben Browder (John Crighton), the latter two actors doubling as representatives of the Stargate Universe as well. They all provided solid and very interesting panels, and as Farscape is such a goofy and experimental project, their stories were quite different from the usually well-oiled production machines that are Star Trek or Stargate.  More about Ben Browder later on.

Eureka was represented by Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter) and Matt Frewer (Taggart). I was especially looking forward to meet Matt, as he also is the face of 80’s star Max Headroom. Matt had a very fine panel, encompassing his vast career and later on, when we met him in the autograph lines, we actually sung a few lines together, from his big 80’s hit single “Paranoimia” which he did with the Art of Noise.  Kind of a surreal experience!

Starship Troopers is something that entered the FedCon stages when main actor Casper Van Dien was invited last year and immediately stole the hearts and minds of everyone present. I personally never realized that this Paul Verhoeven movie had such a large following, but apparently Casper has been ‘recruiting’ and this time he was back with two fellow actors from that movie: Dina Meyer, who plays Dizzy, and Patrick Muldoon, who plays Zander. This awesome threesome managed to put a great stamp onto the show and –I must admit- has rekindled an interest in watching the movie again. Incidentally, Patrick is a great rock singer, as he proved during the Saturday night party!
And then there’s Torchwood. Spin-off of the renowned Doctor Who, and more geared towards an adult audience. Two actors from this series graced our stage:  John Barrowman (who play Captain Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles who is Gwen Cooper. There is a lot more about Barrowman in the second part of this report, but I simply loved Eve Myles’s panels. She’s witty, she’s knows how to captivate an audience and she’s incredibly funny besides. Very lovely lady!
Before moving on to the main highlights of the FedCon, let me finish this general overview. As usual, our dealer friends brought a lot of tantalizing and tempting materials, and I think my signed Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen) picture tops it all, followed by a signed Eric McCormack (Will, from Will and Grace). It was also great to see Garrett Wang’s parents again who brought some incredible new T-shirts!
And then there were the various show elements, of which the FedCon musical really stands out:L incredibly well done, and capturing the essence of a first time FedCon so well! Also great and thoughtful to give the lyrics ‘karaoke-style’ so we could all sing along with the cast!

And now there is nothing else in general anymore, so in Part 2 I’ll talk about the two men who made this FedCon very special: Ben Browder and John Barrowman!  

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget Levar Burton and Katee Sackhoff. Almost every person I bought tickets for ended up canceling. John Barrowman and Eve Myles were able to salvage it somewhat, though.

    Refunds should have been offered. Not sure I will be back.