“It’s a mutual admiration society.” – Gallifrey One 2017

Posted by Kim and Sage

Sage: This isn’t a normal time — not to go to a con or to eat a sandwich or anything else. But Gallifrey One 2017 still happened. Not rain, not sleet, and apparently not the speedy death of democracy can keep Doctor Who fans from gathering yearly at the LAX Marriott over President’s Day Weekend (THE IRONY) to hug, drink, and talk shop. L.I. Who happened the weekend after the election, and the general mood of the con was utter shock and numbness. But a few months passed, and the next geeky fan get together we attended was basically Resistance Central. Gally1 was political af this year without the despair and depression that can come with that. There was camaraderie and joy and and a lot of “hell no, we won’t go.” The whole weekend felt like a declaration of who we are, what we stand for, and what we absolutely will not abide. Is that a fair characterization?

Kim: I feel like I stumbled through a lot of LI Who in a state of bewilderment. That’s not to say that it wasn’t an AMAZING experience (remember when we interviewed Paul McGann on the mainstage?) because it was. I just had never experienced a con where the main feeling was almost…”Is this the right thing to do at this moment? Is this whole experience silly when you look at what’s going on in the world?”  Gally felt like a giant bottle of Gatorade to my parched soul. It was revitalizing. It was a time where we could immerse ourselves in both our fandom AND our friendships. I left Los Angeles on Monday afternoon physically exhausted but emotionally? I was raring to go.

TL;DR, yes, that’s absolutely a fair characterization. And it’s a big reason why this con is so freaking special to every person who comes and why it’s the CANNOT MISS convention on my calendar every year.

The Resistance starts here.

What blows my mind the MOST about Gally is that the attendance is right up around 3000 people, and yet it feels like a family, especially the more times you go back. I know there are a TON of people there I don’t know yet every face at the con looks familiar. You can barely walk more than a few yards on that con floor without running into someone you know and having a chat or hugging that person you flailed in line for a photo-op the previous year. How special is that?

Sage: I can only speak confidently for myself, but I’d wager that I’m not the only person at this con who went through a period of my life where I felt invisible and socially inept. (Everyone: “Yeah, dummy, it’s called high school.”) My point is that Gally brings together a lot of scrappy folks who haven’t had it easy, and this is a place where they can strut confidently down the halls in whatever it is they want to wear, live their fandom out loud, and be surrounded by people ready and willing to embrace them. It feels like I’m reaching back in time to tap the friendless 13-year-old in the Han Solo t-shirt and tell her that someday she’ll find her tribe.

And what a tribe it is.

But enough teenage sob stories. Let’s talk about the important stuff: ribbons.

The Gally ribbon game is always strong, but this year it was TOO LIT. “Black Lives Matter.” “Don’t You Think He Looks Tired? (with clip art of Tr*mp)” “Bustin’ fascists makes me feel good.” Those practical pronoun declarations!

The 2017 ribbon game is TOO LEGIT. #levelup #blacklivesmatter #RESIST #Gally1

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Swapping ribbons has always been a big part of the fun for me, because it’s like I’m getting little pieces of everybody I meet to take home with me. And though there were the requisite Doctor Who quotes and podcast promo designs, I was so delighted to see that people were using those little scraps of fabric to make a real statement. And you can tell us in the comments if it happened to you, but I personally didn’t see anyone take any shit for a political ribbon. I really hope that’s representative of the whole weekend.

Kim: One of my favorite things in the build-up to Gally is the Ribbon Exchange group on Facebook, where everyone shares the designs they are planning to bring to the con. What’s super fun about that group is that it feels like people took inspiration from each other and one politically themed ribbon would spawn at least five more. I think it was a combination of the current state of the world and the fact that we only had “Doctor Mysterio” to provide inspiration for new ribbons that REALLY spurred people to up their creativity. There were so many Star Wars ribbons! My final ribbon count was 215 and there are STILL a few ribbons that I am SUPER upset that I didn’t get. Namely the “But when all is said and done, Saxon has beliefs, Tr*mp has none.” one. I will cry over not getting that one for a long time.

Stick it to the man.

Speaking of taking inspiration from each other, I have to bring up our Punk Companions Cosplay. What started as an idea inspired by some Punk!Bucky art we saw at San Diego Comic Con became so much more than that. We debuted the Punks at LI Who as just a fun chance for our girl group to get creative and have fun together because we aren’t screen accurate cosplayers, for the most part. And it’s a cosplay that works the best within a large group because individually we may not be recognizable but when we’re together, it’s like “Of course! There’s Clara, there’s Romana, etc.” The Punks got taken to the next level for Gally when Alyssa (@WhovianFeminism) suggested that we add protest signs themed to all our companions. It was perfect because we did our cosplay on the same day as the first General Strike, so it felt like we got to have the best of both worlds – Being massively creative Doctor Who nerds while making our own political statement. And the best thing about it? We didn’t get any sort of blow back from it. Other than a few trolls on the Nerdist Instagram post anyway.

Punk Modern Companions.

Group Selfie Time!

Another really important aspect of Gally is that it feels like a safe space for you to push yourself outside your comfort zone. While I didn’t do any formal panels this year, I definitely upped my participation level, which is always something I’ve been HORRIBLE about. I’ve sat on the front row of “In Defense Of” EVERY YEAR and judged the hell out of the BS coming out of the participant’s mouths (which is the fun of the whole thing) but I’ve never had the guts to put myself on the line. It’s silly, really, because if you can’t make a fool of yourself at Gally, where can you? After Michelle’s triumphant performance at LI Who, I promised myself that I would do it. That didn’t stop me from breaking out into a cold sweat the moment Deb Stanish called my name though. “In Defense Of” is like an out-of-body experience in the BEST way. You just have to give no fucks in regards to whatever comes out of your mouth (I actually tied Tegan getting the snacks to women throughout history being water-bearers?! I don’t even know where that came from.) or turn your OWN criticism on topics into sarcastic defenses (Shippers NEED to be told by old school fans how to think about Doctor Who, you guys). I was RELIEVED when I finally was dethroned but it was the MOST FUN and I’m so glad I did it.

Kim's team DOMINATED Paul Cornell's "Would I Lie To You?" because they are all compulsive liars who can't be trusted. #Gally1

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When you combine that experience with doing a live Comedy Sketch for Reality Bomb and participating in Paul Cornell’s “Would I Lie To You?” game show, so much of my panel experience was performance oriented and fly by the seat of your pants improv, which was a totally new thing for me. And it felt GOOD remembering that part of me that went kicking and screaming into my college improv troupe before I ended up loving it.

Paneling

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“Are You Drunk Already?” – NYCC 2014, Day 2

CHAMPIONS

CHAMPIONS

Posted by Kim and Sage

Sage:

We’re running on little to no sleep. We’re already planning the yoga/massages/full on spinal realignment we’ll be getting after this thing is over. And Kim clued me in yesterday to a handy little tip: preemptively pop the Advil. Your lower back will thank you. Those concrete Javits center floors are unforgiving.  (Kim checked her iPhone fitness tracker last night and it showed that we walked 6.8 miles yesterday.  No wonder our feet hurt.)

But I took the subway into the city in full Peter Quill cosplay yesterday morning while everyone else was commuting in for work, so who can complain? Comic Con is a marathon, not a sprint. And we’ll sleep when we’re dead. DAY TWO.

– Entry was considerably more organized on Friday morning, so points for improvement. Without a main stage panel on our must-list, we were spared the Queue Hall lines for a day. Instead, Kelly (the TV Mouse), Kim, and I walked the floor, pretending to look at merch but actually mentally preparing to be in the presence of Gillian Anderson, whose autograph session we were heading to later. We failed.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

– We’d all wracked our brains to come up with the perfect item for Gillian to sign. The price of the autograph usually includes a nice glossy photo for those who haven’t come with anything from home. And of course Gillian’s table had some gorgeous shots (including my personal favorite: Bedelia and her wine), but glossy 8×10’s are for amateurs. Kelly brought a “Mulder, It’s Me” print; Kim brought a gorgeous Mulder and Scully fan art; and I brought the “I Want To Believe” poster I’ve had since I was 14 years old. It was literally the first thing I ever ordered from the internet.

We are not ready/worthy.

We are not ready/worthy.

– She looked stunning, obviously, and was poised, relaxed, and friendly. Rules are strict about photos in the autograph line, but that’s alright. We each had our moment. Kim told Gillian about the X-Files license plate she had in college; I told her she was fabulous in Streetcar (AS IF SHE DOESN’T KNOW) and asked her if they were bringing it to New York (“We’re trying!”) But new X-Files convert Kelly maybe won this session. Because Gillian signed her “Mulder, it’s me.” print like so:

Mulder, it’s me.

-Scully.

aka

Gillian Anderson

By the way, if you haven’t checked out Kelly’s “Times Mulder and Scully Should Have Made Out This Week” posts, you must. I’ve been eagerly anticipating them every week, because I enjoy watching my friends fall apart in real time over the ship-of-all-ships.

– The temporary barricades in the Javits are the opposite of sturdy, so they hit the ground all the time. (And everyone cheers, like in high school when people dropped chairs in the cafeteria.) Anyway, a showboater tried to swoop under the barricade to join Gillian’s line. As soon as he grabbed the pole, it went down and so did he. Apparently Gillian’s response was “Are you drunk already?”, which Kelly and Kim failed to tell me until the end of the day. We are no longer speaking.

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– Then it was back to the floor. Thursday was busier than ever this year, but Friday felt like the real kick-off of the Con. The Exhibitors hall was packed with cosplayers, us among them. Kim got lots of love for her “Fires of Pompeii Donna Noble” (and should seriously consider going red for a while); Kelly was a screen-accurate River Song; and, going rogue and deviating from the Who theme, I went for a femme-y Star Lord. It’s ironic, because neither Donna nor River would stand for any of Peter’s nonsense. Imagine River and Star Lord in the same room though. The flirting. The galaxy can’t even handle them right now.

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– And now, a Day 2 cosplay photo dump!

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BABY IRON MAN

If you've failed this city, look out.

If you’ve failed this city, look out.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.

 

Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi's dragon and she said, "Yes. Because you asked." #cosplayisnotconsent

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi’s dragon and she said, “Yes. Because you asked.” #cosplayisnotconsent

BENDER

BENDER

An excellent Bob Belcher

An excellent Bob Belcher

– After a refuel in the food truck lot (yesterday, Greek), we went searching for The Mary Sue lounge. I’d gotten the scoop from a Mary Sue editor that the lounge was relatively chill and not at all busy, unlike the Press Lounge which is a little more frantic this year. It’s kind of a heavenly respite. There are bean bag chairs, charging stations, a reading nook, free wi-fi, and CRAFTS.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

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“Thank God I Still Love Doctor Who” – Graeme Burk and Robert Smith? at LI Who

Posted by Kim

While I was at Long Island Who (a general post about the weekend is coming, I promise) I also had the pleasure of spending a good amount of time with Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?, authors of Who is The Doctor and the new book Who’s 50 – The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die. Who is the Doctor is an analysis of the new series, episode by episode, through the end of Series 6 and Who’s 50…well that is self-explanatory, is it not? I think that these two books are must haves for any Whovian’s library, and I am not just saying that because I think the authors are delightful human beings.  The books are smart, they are chock-full of tidbits and history, and they are funny.  They read like the transcript of the impassioned debate over your favorite episodes that you have most definitely had with your friends at your local pub or on Twitter.

But what is the best about these books is that the overwhelming love that Graeme and Robert have for Doctor Who is evident in every word.  So often these “Unofficial Companion” books can feel dry and “facts only” but that is not the case here.  What’s one of the most engaging things about the books is that Graeme and Robert have very different opinions on how Doctor Who should be made.  As Graeme put it at the con, he tends to look at the episodes more in the context of the big picture of the series, while Robert gets analytical about the details of the episodes.  These differing opinions lead to some great and impassioned debates about the merits of episodes and their place in the Who canon.  I can’t recommend the books enough, so I’ll leave it at that and stop gushing.  For now.

Graeme and Robert hosted a panel at the Con where they talked about the process of whittling down all the Doctor Who episodes to their top 50 and they also read excerpts and took questions about their choices.  They came up with their list by individually making their own list and then comparing notes (which made me chuckle, as that was the exact way Sage and I came up with our lists for our top episodes of The Office and The X-Files!).  They actually matched on 33 out of 50 (wow!) and then broke up the remaining episodes between them and decided that neither one of them could object to the episodes that the other chose…which I LOVE.  That is how, as they put it, some unconventional episodes wound up in the book.  It wasn’t about picking the BEST or most IMPORTANT episodes (because there are tons of books that do that), it was about picking out the episodes that meant the most to THEM…which is why Who’s 50 stands out among the rest.

Whoops.  Gushing again.

To open the panel, Robert read an excerpt from their section of “The Green Death”, a Third Doctor story, and the first episode he ever watched.  To give you a taste of just how good this book is, I’m going to share some of what he read…

“I’ve seen amazing episodes of this TV show – including falling in love all over again with the New Series – that I continue to adore.  But no experience in my life has ever been or ever will be as profound or worldshaking as watching the thrilling finale of “The Green Death” at five years old and losing my Doctor Who virginity.  I went in as a boy and came out a fan.”

NO I DID NOT TEAR UP A LITTLE BIT WATCHING HIM READ THAT.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Since the New Series is my area of expertise, I thought I would take a look at the episodes that they chose to include in the book.  Several of them matched up with the list that Sage and I chose for people who wanted to get into Doctor Who, which again made me feel like we were doing things right here at Head Over Feels.

Ninth Doctor: “Rose” and “Dalek”

Graeme and Robert DID point out that the episodes they ended up choosing for the new series remained fluid right up until the very end.  They were originally going to spotlight “End of the World” and “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” from Eccleston’s run but finally settled on “Rose” and “Dalek”, which I wholeheartedly agree with.  The completist in me says you absolutely can NOT have a top 50 episodes of Doctor Who without including “Rose”, which was the jumping off point for SO MANY fans (including me).  It’s the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the Who Universe and had it NOT been good, the series probably would have flatlined.  Having rewatched “Dalek” recently, I also feel this episode is an excellent choice.  So much of Series One was about introducing a new generation of fans to the Doctor Who canon and “Dalek” introduced the storied battle between the Doctor and the Daleks in a wonderful way.  Eccleston really brings his A-Game in this episode, showing all sides of The Doctor, but especially tapping into the darkness that we all could tell was lurking just under the surface.  But what is also important about this episode is that it shows just how much Rose’s compassion and utter humanity is beginning to change the Doctor and heal him.  It’s a truly fantastic episode and I high recommend a rewatch of it if you haven’t visited it recently.

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