“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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15 Things We Loved About LI Who 3

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Posted by Kim and Sage

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.

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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.

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Kim and Shannon cannot even.

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.

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“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.

Rocking some pigtails.

Rocking some pigtails.

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.

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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.

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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.

Katy Manning greets her littlest fan. #LIWho

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  • “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.

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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.

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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

And we danced all night to the Best Song Ever...

And we danced all night to the Best Song Ever…

6. No, Camille and Noel Won’t Tell You Why Eccles Left 

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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. 

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“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

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