Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yesterday's convention

I suppose everything went as well as could be expected. At least it was for me. I think other people might have had different feelings on the subject.

G picked me up at my place, on time, and drove me to a restaurant where he liked to have breakfast. I had never been there before. I liked the place, though what I ordered was not the best for a person trying to lose weight. Even after having breakfast, we were still a bit early, as I had been told that the general admission people would not be allowed in til 11:00, and they wouldn't even be sold tickets til 10:15. So we had time for G to run an errand, and we still arrived around 10:30. Not in any hurry, we spoke to a few people in the parking lot, and then a friend came to tell us that they were letting people in a bit early. So I told G that I would see him later, and I went off with my friend. By the time we found where to buy a ticket, there was no line at all.

At least, there was no line for buying a ticket. There was a long line for getting autographs. I wasn't sure that I wanted any because a.) getting an autograph costs a lot more than it used to, and b.) I wasn't sure if I wanted to stand in this line. So I went off in search of something else to do, thinking that the line would go down some and I might do it later.

My club had a table, somewhere. I looked around, but I didn't see it. I went in the dealer's room, not so much looking at the dealers, but looking around for my friends in case they had been moved to this room. I didn't see them. I ran into a few more friends and talked for a bit, then walked around looking again for the club table. I had walked back and forth the entire length of the place twice without seeing it. I found another friend, who pointed out the table for me. I hadn't seen it before because of all the people in the autograph line in front of it. Okay, mystery solved.

So after figuring out where most everything was, I went back to the dealer's room. I didn't see much that I wanted, which was good, cause I didn't want to spend much money. The main thing that I wanted was Nichelle Nichols' autograph. Getting Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) to autograph a picture would cost $30, and I wasn't even sure that included the picture.

There were other people there besides Nichelle Nichols. I had met Anne Lockhart (original Battlestar Galactica) before. Erin Gray from Buck Rogers was there. The girl who had played Batgirl in the 60s was there. The medtech from the now cancelled Stargate Universe was there. But I think most of us wanted to see Nichelle Nichols, Morena Baccarin (Firefly and the new V), and Trisha Helfer and Katee Sackhoff of the Battlestar Galactica remake.

Now, at about $30 each, getting all the autographs would have cost me over two hundred dollars. I already have autographed pictures of Anne and Erin, so that would bring it down to $180. Not much of a Batman fan, so I didn't really need that autograph either. And as much as everyone else loved the new Battlestar Galactica, by the end of it I was mainly still watching cause everyone else loved it so much I just wanted to keep up so I'd know what everyone else was talking about. So the remaining three autographs would have cost me $90. And even if I'd had $90, that's just too much. And really, while I'm still a fan of Stargate Universe, I don't really feel that I need that autograph either. If I spent all the money I had I could get two autographs, and it would have been really nice to have Morena Baccarin sign something, but no.

It did not used to be this way. When I first started going to conventions, the actors who did autographs did them for free (or at least, we did not pay them directly, it was included in the price of the ticket). So either the actors would autograph stuff for everybody, or they would autograph stuff for a limited amount of time they had been paid to do that, or they didn't autograph anything for anybody (I was shocked the first time I paid to see Leonard Nimoy and he didn't do autographs, and DeForest Kelley didn't do autographs at public appearances because he had arthritis), depending on how much the convention had paid them and how long they were scheduled, etc.... So if the actor was doing autographs, the only additional money you had to spend to get an autograph was maybe five dollars for a photo for them to sign, but if you didn't have that they might still sign your convention program.

Then came the VIP tickets and the Gold tickets and the preferred seating tickets, etc.... You had to pay to get autographs, and they probably weren't going to do autographs for everyone, so if you really wanted an autograph you should buy a special ticket that put you at the front of the line and such. I have never done that, but some of my friends always do that. The price of getting an autograph went from free to five dollars to ten dollars to twenty dollars.

I pretty much stopped getting autographs then, though I did still purchase a few, and I got five free for volunteering at a Stargate convention. But it's been about ten years since I've done much of this sort of thing. I miss it sometimes. (But I don't miss it enough to spend a lot of money and/or drive to the other side of Dallas.)

Someone from my club stood in that long line and spent $120 getting three autographs. He wanted two more autographs, but Trisha and Katee were late and he'd have to get them later. He ate lunch and then got back in line.

I talked to a few more people and then had another look at the autograph line. It was about half the size it had been, but it was still a line. And that was just the line to get into the room. You had to stand in line again for each autograph.

And the people with VIP tickets got to go to the front of the line, whenever they happened to arrive. So you could stand in line for a long time, nearly get to the front of the line, and then have dozens of people just walk in front of you. And the preferred seating group was also supposed to go before the general admission people, but there seemed to be some confusion about that. Anyway, I thought that maybe most of the VIP group had already gone through the line and there wouldn't be that many of them walking up to the front. But I still had to seriously think about standing in this line and spending $30.

While I was standing there thinking about it, one of the volunteers was trying to explain how the line was now being split into two separate lines, because Trisha and Katee still were not there. If you were waiting for either of them you stayed where you were, but if you just wanted one of the other autographs, you got to move forward quite a bit. You still had to stand in line again once you got into the autograph room, but still, if I got in line right then that cut the wait time by more than half. So I got in line.

Once I got inside the room and found out which line I was supposed to be in, it was okay. There were people waiting for Trisha and Katee. Nichelle and Morena both had long lines, but not near as long as the line outside. There was a very small line of people waiting to get Batgirl's autograph, and a few people talking to Anne and Erin. There was no one waiting for the Stargate Universe medtech. I felt sorry for her. If I wasn't so short on money I think I might have gotten out of line and gone to her table for a bit. It didn't stay that way forever, but she never quite had the line the the actors around her had.

When I was halfway through the line to get Nichelle's autograph, I saw Katee come in. Stuff happens. Planes are delayed, and there are accidents on the freeway, and people are late. It is annoying for them, and it is annoying for us.

I got Nichelle's autograph. I couldn't think of anything interesting to say. I had seen all of the other original cast members in person; she was the last.

Now that I had my signed photo, I went back to the dealer's room to buy a photo protector. I probably had several at home, but I forgot to bring any. It's been a long time since I've gone to a convention. I'm just not organized.

A bit later I see the guy from our group still in line in the hallway, waiting to get autographs from Trisha and Katee. That surprised me, as I had seen one of them come in and I thought the other one was just behind her. But just before he could get into the room, one of them was called away to do a photo op, and not only are photo ops scheduled for a very short time, they cost more than autographs, so the photo ops were not delayed anymore than necessary. He was still waiting in line when I went off to get a seat to hear Morena speak.

The schedule had been changed. There should have been someone else speaking in the main room when I arrived, but the room was nearly empty. There had been an announcement, but I had missed hearing it in the autograph room. But it was not important.

I went to look for G, and did not find him. This worried me a bit, that I would not find him before the other stuff started, and maybe he would want to leave as soon as Nichelle finished speaking but couldn't find me. I spent about twenty minutes looking for him, gave up, and went back to the main stage room. There were a few more people there now, so I did not have the perfect seat that I gave up, but I still had a good one. K came to join me, and I saved G a seat just in case.

Now there was confusion as to where the preferred seating people were supposed to sit. The VIP sections were clearly roped off, but I didn't see anything that said preferred seating. Someone sitting behind me had paid the extra ten dollars for the preferred seating, and she thought that she the general admission people would be asked to wait outside until all the VIP and preferred seating ticket holders were seated, and that this would be repeated again between speakers. I expected that since no one had asked me to wait that other than roped off areas it was first come first served, and I had a good seat and I would be there for the next three hours or so.

Morena spoke for almost an hour, and then Nichelle spoke. At that point I found G, who was not concerned one way or another when we left. We stayed to hear the last panel, which was Trisha and Katee. The other actresses did not speak that day, and most of them were not scheduled to speak on Sunday.

G and I left. I do not know when or if the other guy from our group (who paid a bit extra for the preferred seating ticket) got his autographs from Trisha and or Katee. Except for lunch the only time I saw the poor guy he was standing in line for something.

I was tired by then, and mostly glad that G was ready to leave. Others were going hang around for a bit and then head to a restaurant. It would have been nice, but I didn't need it, and I'm eating quite enough non-diet type food as it is.

I got home and thought how this wasn't my life anymore. I kind of miss it, but on the other hand I kind of don't. I wish I had something else entirely, but I haven't a clue what or how to get it.

But I am very glad that after all this time I have finally seen all of the original Star Trek actors.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Sounds cool. I hope to see something like that some day.