I escaped my work for a few days last week with a visit to the 23rd Annual Doctor Who convention hosted by Gallifrey One Network in Los Angeles. I was in my role as “minion” to my Wench Posse team members and boy, did we ever have fun! I got to meet two members of the Wench Posse, Alisa and Nell, who live far outside of California. And I also got to spend time with the lovely Glynnis, whom I met at Costume College in 2009, when I met the lovely Laura Ulak.
We all got along so very well it was our first time, ever, at this particular convention. We had a fabulous time. Alisa has written a nice summary of her Gallifrey experiences here.
I enjoyed meeting other Doctor Who fans from Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, the greater Los Angeles area and even a few from San Francisco to whom I gave my card. Hopefully we’ll connect through the Bay Area Browncoats (Joss Whedon fans.)
Some of my favorite times at Gallifrey were sitting with the Wench Posse in the audience at panels and feeling what actor Mark Sheppard described so well: the shared love of the creative process that makes Doctor Who. You can tell that it’s really a labor of love on the part of the production folks, actors/writers, etc. That they become like a family and have all these in-jokes. It’s fun to see them banter together and to share these moments. The shared love and gratitude for the show that brought us together was so much “in the air” during the last couple of panels, it was almost overwhelming. It was like going to a really good concert or a wedding, where the entire room was having fun. Even when the question was awkward or silly, it kept moving and somehow, some of the youngest questioners inspired some really great discussions on the part of the panels.
The gratitude — or whatever it was — was a third entity, apart from the speakers (actor/director on stage) and the fans in the audience. I could especially see it/feel it when the eldest cast members encouraged each other, with humor and kindness, during panel discussions. It was there when Mark and his father Morgan and Camille Coduri (who played the character of Jackie Tyler) talked about being recognized while walking down a street in London, and kidding each other about being tough. And when Louise Jameson (actress who played Leela in the 1970s Doctor Who series) shared about her near-death experience, it was really amazing. I got a little teary.
The journey home for me was pretty unremarkable except that a very generous convention-goer named Mike helped me out with the shuttle transfers from LAX to the “Fly Away” bus that goes to the downtown Central train station, and then helped me find my way to the Gray Hound bus station. We shared our experiences of conventions, Doctor Who episodes, the writing of PG Wodehouse and travel. Since I haven’t heard from him via e-mail, Thank You Mike for giving me a hand in a city that was strange to me and for being a friendly and generous non-stranger.