Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Polaris 23 - the definitive recap

Polaris is a Toronto held SF/Fantasy convention. While they tend to focus more on television and film, they do have a literary component, and this year I was invited to participate. I was on several panels (crashed two of them - I've never done that before, but it wasn't without the request of the other panelists), and got to meet some cool people (for a full list of guests go here). So, as ever, the usual recap must follow!

We begin our definitive recap on the first night of the con, it was a Friday night as I seem to recall. The charming Lesley Livingston and I were both guests for the event in an author-y capacity, and Jonathan Llyr (I work for his website HardcoreNerdity.com and we were also there as media) was a super special guest as well as presenter for the Constellation Awards. Screenwriter Joe O'Brien came along as our guest, though he really should have had a pass of his own, his video advertising our site (a parody of "The Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials - "The Most Interesting NERD in the World") was the star of the award ceremony and he was responsible for an awesome interview with Claudia Black which we will be featuring on the site soon.

Friday night was the meet and greet. It was quite lovely. It had free food. That makes Adrienne happy. We ran into several speculative fantasy author friends including (in no particular order): Julie Czerneda, Michelle Rowen (with whom we also had dinner), Violette Malan, Derwin Mak and Douglas Smith.

Of course there were actors a plenty as well, each doing a wonderful job at mingling and being utterly delightful, including: Claudia Black, Michelle Forbes, Matt Frewer and Michael Hogan - who was incredibly sweet and sociable the entire weekend. He played Colonel Tigh on the Battlestar Galactica series (even if you aren't into Sci-Fi, it doesn't matter, that show is quality - so much so it won a Peabody award. See it.). I had been commissioned by my friend Meghan to get an autograph from him. You see, she had sent along a photograph taken at another convention they had both attended of herself dressed as one of the major female characters (and she actually looks like the character, it's crazy) giving him a full kiss on the lips. Needless to say Hogan took one look at the picture and, grinning ear to ear, said, "I remember her!"

We got to chat with him for a while, got pictures taken with him (I act all cool and stuff, but I am pathetic when it comes to actors, I get star struck in a second - my little heart was going a mile a minute before asking him to sign Meghan's picture for her). We also chatted with Matt Frewer, who was utterly delightful as well. Though we learned even he is not entirely sure why his ears were pointy in Watchmen.

The evening was great fun, and we left at a decent hour, knowing we'd have to return in first thing in the morning (thanks Lesley).

Day 2

This was the day where we all had "stuff" to do. Lesley and I had several panels to sit on, I confess actually I wasn't meant to have quite as many as I wound up having, but since I was following Lesley around to hers, I wound up crashing two of them. We talked a great deal about YA fiction. A great great deal. Conclusion: It rocks, but doesn't get the respect it deserves. Also, YA isn't what you think it is (see last blog entry "The New YA" below). Lesley also signed books and did, as expected, a fantastic reading.

At the same time Jon and Joe were getting interviews in the media room with Michael Hogan and Claudia Black. They were also preparing for the Constellation Awards. Considering how many times they had to go off to rehearse with the Constellation Awards team, I was expecting to see a finely choreographed musical number to open the show.

There wasn't one. Constellation Awards people: get on that.

Mark Opausky (another founding member of our site) joined us for the award ceremony, which was highly entertaining (the ceremony, not Mark. I mean, not that Mark wasn't entertaining . . . I just mean . . . oh never mind . . . ). Of course Jon just totally rocked as a presenter, and, he'll be embarrassed for me to point this out, but he got huge cheers when his name was called and he stepped up on stage. We love you Mr. Llyr, we really do!

Our video was awesome. I say "our" because I like to take as much credit as possible for Joe's work.

I had to rush off early to be on another panel (which means I missed Hogan tossing Hewlett off stage, boo-urns!), the moderator of which decided not to show up so I took the job. It was called "It might be too scary for you, but your kids will love it". Oddly the panel was rated PG, which I found rather amusing as the whole point of the panel was that kids can handle way more dark than we think they can. If anything it should have been rated: "Awesome for kids, may offend some adults". At any rate. It was a very interesting panel, and I have to admit to rather enjoying my first time as moderator.

Then I returned to my friends to discover they were in the process of getting Michael Hogan rather intoxicated. And thus an evening none of us had expected to go past 10pm, went into the wee hours of the morning. Hogan was delightful, as a matter of fact, he seemed to be having a pretty darn fabulous time. But I have to say, I think us lot were also pretty delightful too, and, I at least can attest, had a fabulous time as well. In all it was just a really laid back fun time, hanging out, nothing fancy, just shooting the breeze.

Of course here's the thing . . . none of them had to be back at the con first thing the next morning.

I did.

Day 3

With around 2 hours of sleep I returned for the final day of the con to do a book signing and reading. To my great pleasure I had people show up to both (and just in case that gentleman from the signing is reading this, here is that link to the audio books I was telling you about: Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate). I have to admit a small hint of pleasure when after reading my first choice of chapter and about to move onto a later bit, my audience insisted that before doing that they needed to know what came next. Of course I indulged their fancy, how could I not?

And then I was done, and it was good.

Very very good.

In all, for a first time Polaris attendee/guest, I have to say the event was lovely. I enjoyed the hotel despite the long trek to the squash courts for that one panel, and everyone I met was just so friendly and supportive. Well done all!

And here's hoping Michael Hogan survived. Has anyone heard what became of him?

Me, Hogan and Lesley. We is all very happy.

Hogan and Jon. They is extra happy.

Frewer and Lesley. No really it is. Trust me. Beneath the shadow that is Matt Frewer. Who the dude in the background is standing all superhero like, I have no idea. But it's a good picture of him.

Proof, I tell ya, proof that Joe bought a copy of my book! See that smile? See? I'm not pointing a phaser at his head or anything . . .

. . . oh. Um. How did that picture get in there?

Boys and their toys. Yes these are the phasers Jon and Joe acquired at the con. They are, I must confess, super awesome. They are the latest Star Trek film version of the phasers so they spin from "stun" to "kill". They "charge" up. And of course, baby, they light up.

If only we could make Mark understand just how cool that is. As it is, or at least as is evidenced in this picture, he's not amused.

Me signing books! (these next three photos are courtesy of author Derwin Mak)

They had these really cool posters of all the guests up along one wall. Derwin called it "The National Portrait Gallery". And so we posed next to our portraits. A portrait of a portrait as it were. How post-modern of us.

Cute story. As we are taking pictures of each other and just chatting in the hall, a group came by and one girl stopped at my photo and, touching it, said, "So pretty!" Well I was standing right there, so I turned and said, "Thank you." She looked at me for a moment. "Um . . ." I said, "that's me." She continued to look at me. "Okay, I know I don't look quite as good in the photo as in person but I mean. . . I don't look that different do I?" I laughed (though inside I was crying . . . no, no, I wasn't - I joke I joke). Finally I think it all clicked for her and she put her hand over her mouth and started to laugh too.

She said that she thought the picture was so pretty she had been tempted to steal it, and so we took this picture of her attempting to steal it and me preventing it. Because I like taking pictures that amuse me.

1 comment:

Addie said...

Naomi wasn't kidding about wanting to steal that picture. A right klepto my sister is; she has Hogan and both Davids from this year and just about every guest from last year too. Don't know if she ever did manage to grab yours though...

A fantastic recap of the convention by the way. I am considering some kleptomania myself as I cannot remember much of the con clearly enough to recap it for the friends unable to attend ;)