Gallifrey One: First Landing – DAY ONE

I am, quite possibly, the least qualified person on the planet to give a real review of any convention, much less Gallifrey One. By now, the internet is rife with excellent breakdowns, impeccable evaluations, and more reviews than God of an experience that I can only begin to digest. With fifty-odd years of fandom to explore, eleven Doctors total to discover, and an endlessly fascinating array of subcultures to commune with, at best I can only offer an unfair and heavily imbalanced view of the entire thing through the glittering, rose-colored glasses of someone still experiencing the pangs of first love with Doctor Who and the convention experience as a whole.

So, if you’re still with me? Good for you…shall we begin?

This was my first full weekend at Gallifrey One, my first ever convention having been the previous year. I attended one day, took a picture in a TARDIS, and ran into the voice of K-9 in the hotel lobby. New to the fandom, new to the experience, I went mostly to meet Chris Hardwick of the Nerdist podcast…and stayed for the people, the activities, the community of fellow nerds and Doctor Who fans who welcomed me with open arms, people I was fortunate enough to meet again this year. I also discovered and later joined the Time Meddlers, a Los Angeles based Doctor Who fanclub heavily involved in the convention.

Having signed up to speak on two different panels over the course of the weekend, I attended Friday night despite the fact that I had to work and pretty much missed the first day of programming. It didn’t matter a lick, I had a panel to do, a panel I had been waiting weeks upon weeks to do. I had waited my whole life to sit with others and talk about this one thing in a room full of people who would, hopefully, want to hear what I had to say.

I Ship Everyone With Everyone Else In Every Fandom Ever. The name alone was enough to send me into fits of the best sort.

I arrived at the convention just before the dealer room closed, giving me a brief glimpse at what was for sale this year. I attended Opening Ceremonies, where my inner squeeing fangirl all but came apart as the guests of honor were paraded across the stage, from the man behind the Daleks to the Little Girl Who Waited (and, as was noted by convention head Shaun Lyon, was already putting latecomers like me to shame with her trail of badge ribbons.). Then the Eighth Doctor himself, Paul McGann, took the stage, and even though I have not yet seen the TV movie…yeah. My inner fangirl squeed. A lot.

Afterwards, broke and starving, I found my way to the Con Suite, and while there ran into fellow Meddler Kristine of the Five and Dime girls. Good times and good conversation were had over drinks and snack food. As with the year prior, I was flat out stunned by how at home I felt with people I’d never met before. Mothers with their children, older fans with many years and many Doctors under their belts, teenagers and preteens selling Girl Scout cookies…cosplayers, crafters, every walk of life on glorious display, and the ONE thing we all had in common was enough to bind us together as though we’d known each other all our lives.

I could have stayed in the Con Suite all night, eating and chatting. My feet kind of hurt from work, and I was tired. However, the friendly and exuberant Gallifreyans spread their good cheer and vigor to me like the Vashta Nerada spreading through a forest, and after an introduction to fellow panelist and Dime to Kristine’s Five, Kristen, I was carried off to a panel I hadn’t planned on attending: The Rise of the Remix Culture. The panel focused on the creative aspects of fandom in the world of fan videos, be they collections of clips or music vids. The panelists included Kristen herself, who had co-hosted a video presentation earlier in the day, Michelle, the young lady who conceived the panel, Nicole, a woman with fairly extensive knowledge of the copyright laws that are of concern to fan-creators the world over, and co-editor of CHICKS DIG TIME LORDS, Tara O’Shea, who was also going to be speaking on my panel later that night.

Now admittedly, I’m not a major consumer of Youtube fanart, but this little panel held my interest right to the end. Hearing about things I STILL need to go and check out, taking in a fascinating discussion about the history of remix culture and the legalities that crop up as a result of creating these works as well as soundtracking them…I left feeling almost ashamed that I hadn’t thought to attend the panel on my own, and I had a fantastic time taking the whole thing in.

After the panel, Tara elected to join Kristen and I for dinner at Champions in the hotel. We were short on time, with a panel impending, but over hastily eaten food we discussed some of our fandoms, and I discovered that Tara was not only published…but she was into dolls. And she wrote Jem & The Holograms fanfic.

The night was off to a fabulous start.

Well before the convention, I got to know the other three panelists a bit via Twitter: Stephanie, Jan, and Tammy, and as introductions were made around the table and a shipper pin was presented to me for my growing strand of convention ribbons, we watched the room slowly fill to capacity. Not only were we doing a cool panel, but it was a popular panel. My first panel.

Nervous? Why yes, I was, why do you ask?

My fears were unwarranted, however, as the ball got rolling and didn’t stop for a full hour. The discussion was delightfully disorganized, just enough to be interesting. There was laughter and shrieking as we discussed our OTPs, our genres, our crossovers and our squicks. We moved from Who to Marvel to Supernatural and back again as we paired characters who had never even met in canon and crossed over Sherlock with Doctor Who in the Mrs. Hudson/Wilf pairing. Afterwards, I even ran into Sarah, a delightful comic book fan who introduced me to IDW Who comics and pretty much introduced me to Tony Lee at last year’s convention. It was a brief but welcome encounter, and I regret not running into her again during the weekend to chat more…thank God for Twitter.

After the panel, real life and bed beckoned, and so I headed home. It was after midnight at that point, a new day dawning…but the adventure was just beginning.

NEXT TIME: The busy world of Day Two…Daleks roam the halls, better hair dye through acrylic paint, Badger blows the lid off of BSG, and the vampires of Gallifrey are NOT, in fact, Venetian! Stay tuned until next time!

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