Gallifrey One 2019; a weekend across ‘time and relative dimensions in space’ (and L.A)…

A TARDIS photo-op near Autograph Alley in the Dealer’s Hall.

The annual L.A.-based Doctor Who convention “Gallifrey One” (Feb. 15-17th) has come to a close, and my wife and I were in attendance (as we have done for the last five years). We arrived at our hotel (the Residence Inn, across from the convention) late Friday afternoon, and it was pouring rain (yes, this is in southern California, believe it or not). Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to do a whole lot of anything that first rainy night, beyond checking into our hotel room, grabbing our badges and taking a quick perfunctory look around the convention.

As my wife demonstrates, it ain’t easy being green…

The real fun began (in earnest) on Saturday when my wife decided to do a beta-test of her forthcoming WonderCon/ComicCon cosplay … as the character of “eBay Elayne” from “Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet” (2018).

My wife, channeling “eBay Elayne” (top right) from “Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet” (2018).

She painted her neck, face and ears a bright green (with sealer to prevent smearing), wore a matching green wig (also dyed) with green stockings, custom-made green gloves and hand painted/dyed clothing. To make her cosplay Doctor Who-relevant, she brought along an eBay board of a Dr. Who TARDIS lunchbox (along with the prop itself) to make it appear as if her character was selling it on eBay.

A Pixar mini-reunion, as my wife poses with “Mr. Frederickson” and “Russell” from 2009’s “Up.”

The costume got attention, with most of the comments being along the lines of “Wow! That takes real commitment!” She only wore it from about 11 am thru 4 pm before she had to wash it all off. The ‘test’ was a huge success.

Other Cosplayers.

Beyond my wife’s terrific “eBay Elayne”, Gallifrey One was (as usual) overflowing with creative cosplayers…

Doctor companion”Rose Tyler” (in her ’50s garb from “The Idiot’s Lantern”) meets the 13th Doctor.

“Captain Jack Harkness/Skellingon”; a brilliant “Nightmare Before Christmas”/Dr. Who/Torchwood cosplay mashup.

The 5th and 3rd Doctors surround his arch nemesis, “The Master”…!  Note the photobombing 10th Doctor with the “Vote Saxon” sign (as usual, the signs were plastered all over the L.A. Marriott hotel.

The 10th Doctor takes a closer look at one of the clockwork androids from “The Girl In The Fireplace”; the clockwork android was a small person, with the clockwork apparatus upon their shoulders (!).

The living inspiration for the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, from the heartbreaking episode, “Vincent.” I did (later) run into the actor who played Van Gogh in the episode, Tony Curran, and told him that he broke our hearts (esp. of my wife, the art teacher). He seemed to get a sincere kick out of that. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of him, as it was just a random encounter, but he was a lovely man.

Cosplayer with giant wasp from the episode, “The Unicorn And The Wasp.”

Doctor Who cosplay from “The Stones Of Blood.”

Cyberman hockey player, playing for the glory of the Tenth Planet, Mondas!

A Kerblam delivery robot; Kerblam will be the far-future’s Amazon…

A cross-play (gender-swapped) 13th Doctor holding a rapidly-spinning captured planet from “The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos.”

Two Doctors and a candyman; Doctors 10 and 11 flank Willie Wonka.

The Time-Lady Romana, in her first incarnation.

This guy is doing a perfect recreation of the SNL Star Wars sketch, Kylo Ren’s “UnderCover Boss: Starkiller Base Edition.” He actually looked (and even sounded a bit) like Adam Driver. Being in L.A, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he were Adam Driver…

The Events.

I only attended a handful of panels this year (my wife attended many more), but the few I attended were of personal interest to me. I didn’t really attend any of the ‘big ticket’ events, preferring to spend my time in the more intimate venues this time around. There’s always next year to catch the bigger stuff, right?

Author W.R. Miller and former Lucasfilm Public Relations guy Craig Miller (no relation) present a panel about the early days of publicizing “Star Wars”, including genuinely fascinating stories about George Lucas’ ‘little Flash Gordon movie’ that got surprisingly little advance publicity in an era when science fiction wasn’t anywhere near the entertainment behemoth it is today. Craig Miller told some great stories (backed with slides and audio) of an early 1-800 phone number (in the pre-digital, pre-cellphone era) where fans could call to hear actual taped messages from the actors in character (Mark Hamill’s Luke outtakes were priceless). My best friend in those days, James, was a member of the ‘official’ Star Wars fan club, and had the posters and other paraphernalia that were discussed in the presentation. 

The Star Wars souvenir booklet, which you got for between $2-3 at certain theaters that screened the original “Star Wars” back in 1977. I remember going to see Star Wars at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and buying that very program book, which I held onto for many years, until a maddening lack of foresight on my part saw it lost to the ages.

A lively, well-moderated discussion of the Fox TV series, “The Orville”, which is rapidly eclipsing Star Trek in the hearts of many fans.  Moderator Katrina Griffiths, Justin Daube, Jan Fennick, Lisa Deutch Harrigan and on the far right is Dan Peck; Peck is a writer on one of The Orville writer/producer/creator/star Seth MacFarlane’s ‘other’ series, “American Dad.” 

The “All For Who And Who For All” discussion panel. A fascinating series of recollections on how younger generations of Whovians have received their classic Doctor Who fixes (VHS, DVD, novels, etc), with whole stories and individual segments of the show either missing or only partly reconstructed. Twitch.TV online is now running the surviving episodes of the series (as many as possible) in chronological order. Lizbeth Myles (moderator), Bob Ritchie, Michael Nixon, Laura Gjovaag and Yasamin Jourabchi. 

A Deadpool-4th Doctor cosplay mashup in-between panels.

^ This was the only real ‘big’ event I poked my head into; actor John Barrowman (“Captain Jack Harkness,” of Doctor Who, Torchwood) giving another of his wonderfully lively, raunchy stage shows in the main auditorium (Auditorium A). It was standing room only at this point, so I only stayed a few minutes…long enough to catch a pic of him onstage in his flashy dress ensemble. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Hilarious guy! Gotta love ‘im.


The People.

One of my favorite things about attending a relatively smaller convention like Galley One (relative to San Diego Comic Con, anyway) is the less-fettered, generally easier access to some of the attendees, allowing for a bit more face time and casual conversation. And, of course, I swore I wasn’t going to get any autographs this year either, but, of course, I wound up getting two (but only two).

Here were my two autographs…

Actor William Russell, one of the original cast members of “Doctor Who”, from the show’s inception back in 1963. He played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton, who along with my colleague Barbara Wright (the late Jacqueline Hill), and their ‘unearthly’ student Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) were whisked away into adventures in space and time aboard the Doctor’s Tardis. Russell is nearly 95, but signed autographs for fans in two separate sessions during the weekend. Photos were not allowed (boo!) but I found a pic online that looks close to how I’d seen him. Wonderful man.

My wife and I had run into actor Rusty Goffe earlier in the convention, but when I saw him at an autograph table later on it dawned on me where I’d seen him before; he was the chief “Oompa Loompa” in “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971), as well as roles in the original 1977 “Star Wars” (as a Jawa, a power droid, and a rodent-like cantina patron), the “Harry Potter” films, and recently in “Doctor Who” (as “Little John” in “The Robots of Sherwood”). Goffe was a kindly fellow with a quick, ready smile.  His affable charm made me smile. 

And shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I also got a zoomed glimpse (from afar) of Catherine Tate (“The Catherine Tate Show” and ‘Donna Noble’ from “Doctor Who”). She looked almost exactly as she did a decade earlier in Doctor Who.  


And here were some of the other good people whom I’d met previously and caught with a bit over this weekend:

Chase Masterson (“Deep Space Nine”) flanked by her assistants, Raymond and Niki, after an intimate group talk about their organization, Pop Culture Hero Coalition. Won over by Chase’s passion for her cause, my wife bought a t-shirt and I bought one of their swag bags. This is a great example of what sci-fi fans can do when they turn their fandom into activism.

First, a BIG shoutout to Chase Masterson (best known as “Leeta,” from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), who founded the non-profit anti-bullying, kindness-affirming “Pop Culture Hero Coalition”, along with various partners, including the Yale School Of Psychology, back in 2013 when she heard of a young girl named Katie who was being bullied at school for liking Star Wars. Partnering with the girl’s mother, Carrie Goldman, Chase pulled a few strings with her connections to fandom and let young Katie know that actor Peter Mayhew (“Chewbacca”) was in her corner as well. The event got some media coverage, and the Coalition has grown slowly but steadily over the last few years, offering merchandise for sale towards the development of an eventual middle-school curriculum that hopes to teach empathy, inclusivity and compassion. I had the good fortune to interview Chase almost a year ago for Trekcore.com (http://trekcore.com/blog/2018/05/interview-chase-masterson-returns-in-star-trek-online/) and I’ve been inspired by her group’s work. Chase’s invaluable aides during the weekend, Raymond and Niki, are also instrumental in trying to get their group’s message out onto social media, including Instagram & Twitter. To learn more about the Coalition, or to donate, here’s the site link: https://www.popculturehero.org

Myself, author/writer/producer/director Marc Scott Zicree (“Mr. Sci-Fi” and creator of “Space Command”), along with “Space Command” costar Angelique Scott.

I also had the chance to catch up with author/screenwriter/producer/director Marc Scott Zicree (“The Twilight Zone Companion,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” “Deep Space Nine” and many other television credits) about his longtime project “Space Command”, which I got to see a half-hour preview of last year at San Diego Comic Con, and I’ve since watched the first full hour online. It’s an impressive, well-written, professional-looking crowdsourced film that aims to bring back some of the optimism of early Star Trek, which been sadly missing in a lot of sci-fi these days (in favor of more ‘edgy’ fare). One of the great themes of the first hour is altruism. Doing good whenever possible (or impossible). Helping one’s fellow creatures (or androids) because… well, why not?

Space Command poster, featuring some of the cast, including Billy Mumy (“Lost in Space”), James Hong (“Blade Runner”), Bruce Boxleitner (“Babylon 5”), Mira Furlan (“Babylon 5”) and Robert Picardo (“Star Trek: Voyager”).

I had the chance to interview Marc at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention last year and he was delightful (see: August 2018 archives of this site). He is a human dynamo who is literally willing a grand space epic into being with force of willpower and a lot of help from his friends/partners. “Space Command” is a true labor of love, with visual effects done by some high caliber industry professionals (Marvel & Star Wars veterans) and a cast that includes Doug Jones (“Shape Of Water” “Star Trek: Discovery”), Robert Picardo (“Star Trek: Voyager” “Innerspace”) and many other faces, both new and familiar. If you’re interested in aiding the further production of Space Command, check out Marc Zicree’s “Mr. Sci-Fi” channel on YouTube, and donate to the crowdsource effort here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-redemption?ref=home_popular

“One day, I shall come back…”

Time Lords and Amy Pond play nice with a dastardly Dalek…

That sums up another ‘adventure in time and space’, in this case, February 15th through the 17th, in the ‘space’ of Los Angeles, California.

Ah, that view from our hotel (the otherwise luxe Residence Inn)…tarmac and hangars, as far as the eye could see…did I mention the nonstop sounds of planes flying overhead? Adds to the ambience.

My complete Flickr album of Gallifrey One 2019 here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18703657@N03/albums/72157705355810351/with/47076412292/

So until next year, when my wife and I return to L.A.’s “Gallifrey One” for more timey-wimey adventures…

Allons-y!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Bowler says:

    What a brilliant event Gallifrey One looks, thanks for sharing these pictures of your time there. Your wifes cosplay looked great as well. Everyone certainly looked like they put loads of effort into their awesome costumes of Doctor Who characters. What a brilliant time you had and getting to meet those stars and get autographs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. My wife is a cosplay genius.
      So glad you enjoyed the article; I try to relate the experience as best I can to give readers a vicarious sense of being there. If I get within 40% of that, I’m good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paul Bowler says:

        Being in the UK, we don’t have many big conventions, certainly nothing like Gallifrey One, so its great to see posts like yours that cover the events. Your coverage gives a great idea of what the event was like, it looks great fun, and always nice to see so many brilliant cosplay 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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