Cher’s main joy in life is a makeover. Our main joy in life is a convention. I know I can speak for Kim when I say that our lives have improved drastically since we came on that scene. Where else can you yell “nipple rings!” at Winston Churchill while wearing TARDIS everything and drinking wine out of sippy cups? Cons are a utopia, a friend farm, and an unparalleled opportunity to get close to the people who make the things that you love.
And we consider ourselves lucky that LI Who is our quote-unquote home con. Only in its third year, LI Who already feels like it’s up there with major players like Gallifrey One and Chicago TARDIS. From a hearty programming track to a starry guest list to its cozy, chilled-out feel, this convention will always get us on the LIRR from the city (with train beers, natch) and out to Ronkonkoma to play with our fellow Whovians. Here are the 15 things we loved most about LI Who 3. –Sage
1. Noel Clarke Was Born to Play the Match Game.
In our humble opinion, LI Who’s signature event is the Friday night Match Game, a PG-13 and up participatory panel. It’s based on the classic ’60s game show, though some of you may be more familiar with it as the “Snatch Game” on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Anyway, it involves the host giving the panel of celebrity guests and two civilian competitors some kind of prompt and then matching the answers. Because this is a Doctor Who con, all the prompts are Doctor Who related. Because the kids are all in bed and everyone in the room is at least three drinks in, all the prompts are very, very dirty. As in “the first thing the Doctor ate after his regeneration was Amy’s…..”
So, you can see why it’s our favorite.**
As we prepared ourselves for the weekend, we had an inkling that Noel Clarke aka Mickety Mick Mickey Smith would be the celebrity we’d be “McGanning” during LI Who. McGanning is verb of our own creation, which means “to fall desperately in love with through the course of a convention.” It’s a regular occurrence with a worthy namesake. We’d been in Noel’s first one-on-one panel earlier in the evening. And while he was endlessly charming (and wearing a Star Wars logo tee), that interview did nothing to prepare us for Noel’s showing during the Match Game. He came to play. And we were equal parts delighted and scandalized.
What happens in the Match Game ought to stay in the Match Game (and on Twitter), but suffice it to say that Noel Clarke believes in taking care of your woman. If you know what I mean. If Rose Tyler had stayed on Earth with Mickey Smith, she’d have missed some adventures, but she would have been one satisfied lady. –Sage
**Also 2015 marks the second consecutive time a member of our con-tourage won the LI Who Match Game, and we intend to keep it in the family.
2. Camille Coduri Is RTD AF.
“So he’s your favorite then, Dave?” Camille Coduri pronounced as we settled in to interview her on the first morning of LI Who. Sure, I was wearing my “Ten of Hearts” tee but I get the feeling that Camille knew right away that we bleed for the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who because she can sense a kindred spirit. This kinship with Camille got even stronger when the first words out of her mouth when I mentioned Peter Capaldi were “Oh he’s so hot, isn’t he?” ONE OF US. “Chris really paved the way for people like David and Peter and Matt. He was so fantastic…what a performance.” While Camille admitted that Chris’ exit was a shock the transition to David’s Doctor was quite smooth. “He was like a dream…a hero. THIS is what it’s about. The seriousness of Chris’s performance of the Doctor to David’s “COME ON” (she does a KILLER impersonation of David there.) puppy dog kind of energy. He was like that 24/7 really.”
As far as the relationship between Jackie and Rose, Camille views it as most mother/daughter relationships. “It’s a good foundation for feet on the ground, as it were, when so much weird stuff going on around her.” As for Billie, “I will always be her mum. As with all of us, the whole team, we see each other again and we slip right back into it. It’s a special relationship, there is no question about that.” In the middle of our interview my phone went off (WHOOPS) as the bar for my upcoming birthday party was calling to confirm my reservation. “Ah…a Sagittarius,” Camille chirped. “Always the last one to leave a party. I can tell that about you.” Yep…just sitting around talking astrology with Jackie Tyler. Invite us to your next ladies night with Bills, Camille, and I can prove to you just how right your assessment is.
It should surprise no one that Camille is fiercely protective of Jackie Tyler, from demanding Jackie’s right to companion status (“GOD YES she is a companion.”) to proudly defending slapping The Doctor across the face (“He deserved it.”). Her favorite Jackie moment, other than slapping The Doctor? “There’s a strange man in my bedroom.” All of her solo panels were a delight as she talked about things ranging from Theatre’s reliance on celebrity casting (“We need to be more brave.”) to commenting on television ratings (“So many good shows are slow burners and we need to be patient.”) to binge watching the entirety of Mad Men in a single weekend (“It was one of the most life defining times.”). She also outed herself as a Cumberbitch when Noel Clarke attempted to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is just a regular guy. “I don’t know if you know this,” Noel said. “He eats, he sleeps, he goes to the bathroom. He’s a normal person.” Camille: “No, he’s not.” Have I mentioned that Camille is just like us? She is. And she spent the entire weekend rocking pigtails and galaxy tunics because the woman knows her audience.
But perhaps my favorite thing about Camille is how she made her loyalty to the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who abundantly known, as she threw LOVING shade at Steven Moffat’s heady writing style the entire weekend. “He doesn’t have ANY feelings,” she joked. Girl, next time you are up for all the most emotional and heart wrenching Davies episodes, let us know. We’ll bring the ice cream. –Kim
3. The Classic Who Ladies Need to Adopt Us.
These women, though. Heroes all.
I’m not as well-versed in Classic Who as I’d like to be (but slowly getting there). Still, I never turn down a chance to sit in the audience for a classic companion panel. I may not get all the episode references, but I do get the humor, warmth, and sassiness every one of these ladies brings to the table. At LI Who 3, the girl squad included Janet Fielding (Tegan), Katy Manning (Jo), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), and Carole Ann Ford (Susan). Or, as we like to call them: Mom.
Doctor Who wasn’t exactly a beacon of feminism back in the day (and god, would I have loved to have been in a room with all of these alums to see their reaction to “Hell Bent”), but it fortuitously left a legacy of incredible women who love the show, love its fans, and luckily come to cons to dazzle us with their honesty and wit. Here are a few of our favorite Classic Who lady moments from LI Who 3:
- “I really don’t think so.” – Janet Fielding remembers her response to a stage direction that had Tegan fetching a cup of tea while the men solved the problem like it was yesterday.
- “You put on a miniskirt, and everyone goes, ‘Oh, that’s what she’s like.'” – Katy Manning on being underestimated.
- “I’d love to have been able to lie on a casting couch, but nobody asked me! I’m still waiting!” – Katy, on getting there on talent alone.
- “I’m never, ever nice to Peter Davison’s face. It’s for his own good.” – Janet, on keeping Five’s ego in check.
- “You’ve got to come meet David, he’s got pictures of you on our dressing room wall!” – When Janet was doing her agent thing, one of her clients introduced her to his co-star David Tennant in a way that was probably as embarrassing for him as it was a dream come true.
- Janet called American chocolate out for being disgusting and our gun laws for being “nut nut.” Both correct.
- “I was too young to know I had the right to say ‘no’ to that.” – Wendy, on doing a topless shot for a movie early in her career.
- Babies are Katy Manning bait. She can’t walk past one without lovin’ it up.
- “I think she’s remarkably well-preserved.” – Janet on Wendy. Friendship.
- “The saddest thing of all is that I never got to do a convention with Pat.” – Wendy on missing her Doctor.
- Wendy (“Padders” if you’re nasty) and Janet planned a girls weekend in Manhattan for after the con and it probably included a lot of exchanges just like this one:
Wendy: “You need to turn your hearing aid up.”
Janet: “My hearing aid is fine, it’s your diction.”
- Wendy is just like us in that she physically can’t resist “Uptown Funk.” Here she is, causing a ruckus at the dance party.
- Katy got choked up watching a montage of Jo Grant’s finest moments, because they were “joyous memories” with “my Jon.” Bye.
- Janet spoke very candidly about her recent battle with cancer and the loss of her best friend. When she told Peter Davison about her diagnosis, he immediately came to Australia with his wife to see about Janet. She also shouted out her Doctor Who family for being generous and supportive to her charity, Project Motorhouse. Once you’re in the squad, you’re never out.
- “I love the modern series, I really do. I have one problem: flying with the TARDIS door open.” – Janet must have lost her mind during “Face The Raven” then.
- Also of note: Katy Manning’s childhood best friend was LIZA MINELLI and Katy still does a spot-on impression of her.
- “Like any advanced alien civilization would be dumb enough to leave the men in charge.” – Janet, to us eating this up.
Aren’t our mothers fabulous? You can see where we get it. –Sage
4. Eric Roberts Sounds Like a Prize Dick.
One of the constants of our Long Island Who lives is Daphne Ashbrook. Daphne has been at every LI Who thus far and has always proved to be completely charming, not to mention a RIOT during The Match Game. We’re always game for Daphne and Paul McGann telling stories about filming the Doctor Who movie, even if we have heard the stories before. The fact that Eric Roberts played The Master has become quite the joke. Polite and polished as they are, it’s clear that both Paul and Daphne were like “Who the eff does this guy think he is?” during the shoot. “He arrived with an IMAGE CONSULTANT!” D-List celebs who think they are A-List, amirite? –Kim
5. If You Annoy the DJ Enough, He Will Play Boy Bands and Broadway. And Everyone Will Love It.
Our only complaint about the LI Who dance party is that it could have gone on for 3-4 more hours. It’s like being at the club with your best and weirdest friends. “Hey Mickey” came on and a Missy cosplayer mouth-kissed every Doctor on the dance floor. The mystery man dressed as Ghost Twelve creeped us all out through the full-length ballroom windows. As previously discussed, Wendy Padbury is too hot (hot damn). The DJ, a clear outsider, went with the flow and indulged us more than we expected. Con hero and admitted #Hamiltrash Cat Smith literally handed over her phone to the man in the name of starting a “Schuyler Sisters” group singalong. And our group physically refused to leave the dance floor until he played us a little 1D. And guess what? Everyone loved it, because “Best Song Ever” is irresistible. I think it went oh oh oh. I think it went yeah yeah yeah. –Sage
6. No, Camille and Noel Won’t Tell You Why Eccles Left
So stop asking them.
Seriously. No matter how many different ways you rephrase the question or how many times you ask it, Camille and Noel won’t divulge any information as to what made Christopher Eccleston decide to leave Doctor Who after one season. Maybe because they truly don’t know, as Camille claimed that she found out Chris was leaving from the papers, just like the rest of the world. Maybe they were only focused on how it affected the show rather than the drama of it all. (Noel: “The first thing I did was call to find out if I still had a job.”). Or MAYBE they are just two CLASSY BITCHES who know it’s not their story to tell. “We won’t spill. We won’t,” Camille said, after being asked the question one time too many. “Chris is a grown ass man who can do what he wants,” Noel declared. “I’m not going to speak for him.”
Lest you think that his former co-stars are bitter towards his abrupt exit, their panel with Annette Badland was nothing but a LOVE FEST for Chris, which makes their fierce protectiveness of him all the more endearing. “None of it would have existed without Chris,” Camille declared. To borrow the words of the Tenth Doctor, “quite right too.” –Kim
7. Annette Badland Gets A Kick Out Of Terrifying Children. She also knows what Sam Heughan smells like.
“We promise we’ll talk about Doctor Who eventually but we HAVE to talk about Outlander,” we declared as soon as we sat down with Annette Badland. Luckily, Annette was more than willing to gossip about all things Sam Heughan. “Sam’s disarming because he’s that huge hunk of a handsome man but he’s a NICE BOY. He takes my breath away.” (SAME GURL.) In her panel with Camille and Nina later that day, Deb Stanish called us out, saying “I know there are people in this room who want to know what Sam Heughan smells like.” (Me from the audience: “OH MY GOD DEB.”) I think I blacked out from laughing so hard because while Annette answered the question, I can’t remember what she said for the life of me.
This is why you should never tell Deb Stanish things.
“Aliens of London” and “World War Three” were in the first shooting block of Series 1 (along with “Rose”), so Annette had the experience of being with the reboot right from the start. “It was all very uncertain.” She described that first read through as being at Cardiff Stadium. “It was like a gladiatorial match, the actors on one side and all the producers and the technicians on the other. I kept waiting for them to hold up score cards.” She had nothing but praise for Chris (“Everything worked because of what he brought to the Doctor.”) and Russell T. Davies (“He’s a huge man, physically. He’s just a big person…naughty and funny and warm.”). She set the tone for JUST how much of lovefest for Series 1 the weekend was going to be.
When it came to playing Margaret the Slitheen, Annette stressed on her first panel that “You can’t just play a villain, you have to play WHY the villain is villainous.” Margaret was one of the first to truly CHALLENGE the Doctor’s moral code, which can be an easy thing to forget, considering that the Slitheen are mainly remembered for farting. All of that changed when Annette returned for “Boomtown” for a little “dinner and bondage” (her favorite memory of the show). “He (RTD) wrote it for ME, darling.” But as with anyone who has been on the show, it’s the impression that Doctor Who made on the FANS that has stayed with Annette. She told a story of two young boys and their mum following her around in the grocery store because they recognized her. Finally, they stopped her and she stood and talked to them for a few minutes. Towards the end of the encounter, Annette pretended to start unzipping her head and the boys ran screaming, absolutely terrified. “Scaring the kids was my favorite thing,” Annette said with a wicked grin. It would be ours too. –Kim
8. The Eighth Doctor Has A Talent Crush On River Song
“She’s a star!”
We talked a lot of Big Finish with Paul McGann during our interview, particularly teaming up with Alex Kingston in The Diary of River Song series. Since Who is nothing if not a worldwide family, we wanted to know what it was like to work with her, and if Paul had crossed paths with her before. “It was joyous,” he mused. “Always admired her. And what’s more, often would miss her. You know, you come to shows like this and she’d have been there the day before, and I thought, ‘no!'”
So a meeting between Eight and River had been written in the stars for a while. Unfortunately, continuity is a bitch, even in stories about time travel. “Of course, in the story, they can’t actually meet,” Paul said, mourning the fact that he and Alex didn’t exactly share scenes. “The world would have to end! So it’s nice…it’s tantalizing.” And I look forward to hearing that story in the year 2022, when I’m finally caught up with my Eighth Doctor Big Finish stories. (Paul: “You’ve got a long way to go!”) What can I say, Paul? I’m a completist in all things. –Sage
Also, it should be noted that when we sat down with Paul and asked him how he was, he replied “I’m happy as Larry.” I WISH someone had taken a picture of our faces because Sage and I naturally thought of the one and only Larry Stylinson in that moment. (Telepathic Wife Conversation: DOES HE KNOW? SHOULD WE ASK HIM?) Paul then mused “Who IS Larry?” If only he knew. But we only had seven minutes with him, so his indoctrination will have to wait. –Kim
9. L.I. Who Is All About Audience Participation.
One of my favorite things about Long Island Who is that it is SO participatory, between all the fan run discussion panels that often become open forums, late night programming like The Match Game, and fan Q&As with the talent. Cons are always what you make of them and we always like to think that we suck all the marrow out of every con by taking in as much of the programming we can. Our friend Adrienne (pictured above) took it to a whole new level for her FIRST EVER Doctor Who con by always being the first person to volunteer to participate or run up to the mic to ask a question. Did we mention she won the Match Game? We’re so proud of our little baby duck.
The ultimate audience participation panel is “In Defense of” which is run by the ladies (and our adopted sisters)(you have no choice in this matter ladies) of Verity Podcast. The concept is simple: the audience submits various issues they have with Doctor Who and they are all put into a hat. Two people are chosen from the audience and they must be prepared to defend whatever concept is drawn out of the hat for 60 seconds. They can’t repeat themselves and they must not stop talking for the entire time. Then, the audience chooses a winner, who then takes on a new opponent. Hilarity ensues. It’s Improv Theatre at it’s best. Our friend Caitlin Walsh defended Colin Baker’s coat as “the first queer character” on Doctor Who. Adrienne passionately defended Jo Grant’s choice to leave the Doctor because she got married. And then our dear friend Erik Stadnik (a ringer for certain) passionately defended the Sonic Sunglasses…which let’s face it, didn’t need much defending to begin with (haters to the left). All and all, it was one of the most delightful hours of the weekend. –Kim
10. Mels Is a Yogi
Our bodies take a lot of abuse during cons, what with the long periods of sitting, garbage food on site, lack of sunlight, and gallons of wine consumed. (That one’s on us.) So my joints cried out in relief when the organizers announced a special add-on event: a 90-minute guided yoga practice with actress Nina Toussaint-White.
Nina of course played Mels in the Eleven-era episode “Let’s Kill Hitler,” but she was much more zen than her secret identity of River Song when we met her for class on Saturday morning. I’m not the kind of person who bounds out of bed and into the gym every morning. I know when I’m really destroying my health when my body actually craves exercise. (“GIVE ME A VEGETABLE.” – me, crawling across floor to refrigerator on the day after a con weekend.) The group that gathered for the class varied in age and ability, and Nina was a patient and relaxed instructor. That mind and body break improved my attitude, posture, and focus for the rest of the weekend, and mid-con yoga should be a regular addition to the LI Who program forever and ever. Namaste, bitches. –Sage
11. Steer Clear Of The Dealers Room If You Want To Keep Your Money
I usually catch myself holding my breath on my first pass through a convention dealers room. I’m working out just how much money I’ll be parting ways with while I’m there. In only its third year, LI Who has (we’re calling it) the best dealers room out of any convention we attend. There’s a great mix of licensed merchandise, vintage goodies, and original fan art, plus the obligatory Big Finish table. Of course, you don’t have to wait for LI Who next year to pick up some new geeky wares. Shop a few of our favorites below! –Sage
12. Frazer Hines Can Do Whatever He Wants
Frazer Hines has been SUCH a staple in our Con Lives that this year’s Chicago TARDIS was the first con we went to where he WASN’T there. It was weird. At one point over that weekend, I definitely leaned over to Sage and said “I miss Frazer”. And how could we not? Frazer Hines is the naughty uncle of the Doctor Who fandom. The dude loves his life, from trying to get Wendy Padbury all flustered during the Match Game to holding court in the lobby to collecting all the ribbons he can.
Our encounter with Frazer was a memorable one. We were about to head downstairs to the convention when Frazer came UP the stairs, toting a GIANT red stop sign. (Why? Because Frazer can do whatever he wants.) He ordered us to stop, so we did. Dead in our tracks because what Frazer wants, Frazer gets. Frazer gave us a little grin and then asked us to follow him to his room. Only Frazer can get away with that kind of business. That’s why we love him. Had we not been our way to a Paul McGann panel… –Kim
13. We Want A Lady Doctor and We Have No Chill About It.
Should the Doctor ever be played by a female actor? It’s a question that’s made inconsequential by both the mythology of Doctor Who and the voices of its diverse fanbase. (Which, as of “Hell Bent,” we’re certain Steven Moffat is listening to. Regeneration gender change is now canon. Suck it, haters.) So, when we were invited to sit in on a panel unfortunately titled “The Doctor In A Dress?” (seethes), the plan was to breeze past that question and onto more interesting ones. What would change about the show? What would be the same? What effect would that casting have on the fandom? Our pal and gold medal moderator Graeme Burk was very clear in his opening comments that the panel and a standing room only crowd weren’t there to debate the admissibility of a story point that’s so decidedly a part of Doctor Who‘s future. Until a member of the panel disagreed.
Creating opportunities for enthusiastic discussion is the whole point of having a panel track at a con, and there are few more boring ways to spend one’s time than in a conversation where everyone agrees with each other on every point. But if you come to a Lady Doctor panel to spout nonsense like “another concession to women” or “the head of UNIT should be enough for you,” you’re gonna get faces like the ones above. (Me: “Beer me strength.” Kim: “I’m clenching every part of my body right now.”)
Fortunately, we both love to argue. (Could you tell?) And the panel, though not what we expected, was certainly full of passionate opinions and some miraculous takedowns. (Anti: “What would a Time Lord think if they woke up one day and their wife was a MAN?” Our friend Michelle, from the audience: “GALLIFREY. ISN’T. REAL.”) Graeme did the good lord’s work keeping everyone under control (and later tweeted that the experience was like “living through Billy Joel’s ‘Good Night Saigon.'”) Shout out to fellow panelists Andy Hicks and Shannon Dohar for pulling from their wealth of Classic canon knowledge, and for being generally witty and amazing. Shout out also to the young girls who approached Kim and I after the panel to talk about sexism in geek culture and what to do about it. If we’d been wondering why this trial was sent our way, they answered our question. –Sage
14. Noel Clarke Also Happens To Be A Feminist Hero.
Had we not already been in love with Noel Clarke after his masterful play of The Match Game, his solo panel on Sunday Morning would have done it. Noel waxed poetic about what it was like to work with J.J. Abrams (“He was ALWAYS in a good mood.”). He made a mighty fine pitch for what the next Star Trek spin-off should be about (starring him, natch). But what sent us into a frenzy was when Noel went on a rant about America’s prudish attitude towards sexuality, specifically geared towards women. WHAT? Who ARE you, sir? “I don’t get it, you have shows where people are blown up and you cheer but You see one penis and you’re like, ‘Get the bag, get the kids, we’re leaving!'” He then proceeded to rant for several minutes about the shaming of Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, which I haven’t thought about in 10 years, but clearly it still keeps Noel up at night. “God forbid a woman show her breast,” Noel declared, to wild cheers from us. Then he started talking about the need for equal pay for women and I am amazed we didn’t rush the stage at that point. Did I mention that he ate a lollipop throughout this entire thing? HE DID.
Noel proved to be just as charming during the fan Q&A, from finding the little girl he played hide and seek with the day before in the crowd (I think he did this just to make sure every ovary in the room would explode) to quipping “Thanks, Mom” when a fan gushed about his comic timing. This, my friends, is how you win the heart of every woman at the con. Later that day, we had our photo-op with him and Camille, and I thanked him for what he said (Camille: “You know, no one ever blames Justin for that?” Do all British people ponder Nipplegate at all times?). He thanked me for wearing a miniskirt as part of my Tenth Doctor Cosplay. ‘Sup, Noel? ‘Sup. –Kim
15. L.I. Who Feels Like Home.
As Sage said in the intro, LI Who is our local con and really…it’s the con that feels most like home to us. Sure, there are plenty of families that attend (as evidenced by those ADORABLE Ood Children), but for the most part the LI Who crowd feels mostly composed of people like us: “Adults” who love Doctor Who and who know how to have a good time. My first ever Who con was the first LI Who, and the main impression I walked away with, other than NEVER travel without my girls, is that these people know how to PARTY.
Gallifrey One will always be special because it’s a MASSIVE family reunion and people travel from all over the country (and the world) to attend. (Also, RIBBONS.) But LI Who? LI Who feels like a three and a half day house party with all our closest friends. It’s the con where we can most easily
force convince new friends to join us because it’s SO CLOSE to home. Our little con-tourage (Sage, this may be one of my favorite words you’ve ever created) grows every year. (Deb Stanish: “There is always MORE of you!”) We always see the same people in the press room. We know WHO (*nudge nudge*) we’re going to see at the con and what’s better, they know they are going to see US. It’s the con where everybody knows your name.
Tickets to LI Who 4 are available now, as are the rooms at the swanky Long Island Hyatt. It was the con’s first year in this hotel and it was a VAST improvement over the hotel where the first 2 cons was held (Other than the fact that I SUPER missed the McDonald’s and Applebee’s across the highway). I got into our room on Thursday night (after someone CARRIED OUR LUGGAGE FOR US) and promptly jumped on our bed, singing “If you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms…”. We’ve already got our two rooms booked for 2016 (and are looking for a couple of new roommates!). The con has already announced two major headliners in Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. Basically, we’re counting down the days till we go home already. –Kim