My Birthday Bash Day 6: Choose Your Celebrities Wisely or Baby’s First Convention

For complete context about why I’m not having a birthday party for my 27th birthday this year and how you can still celebrate with me, read You’re Invited to My 27th Birthday Bash.

James Leary and Erica
James Leary (Clem from Buffy) and myself at my first convention. You'd think I would've at least smiled for my photo?

I love going to geeky conventions. Heck, I’m helping put on a fan-run geeky convention. My favorite part of going to conventions is meeting other fans. I’d far perfer to go to a small, intimate fan-run convention than one headlined by celebrities. Even celebrities and creators I adore like LeVar Burton, Claudia Christian, Gail Simone, Jane Espenson, and Greg Rucka. I’d much rather sit in a room with 25 other fans and watch an episode of Stargate: Atlantis then discuss it to death like I did at WriterCon in 2006. (Although I do love the quarter comic bins at Emerald City Comic Con…)

Due to growing up in rural Oregon, I did not get to attend conventions when I was younger. My mom may have gotten me hook at many of my fannish obsessions, but we weren’t running around the state in our Star Trek uniforms. (No, instead, we were running around showing rabbits.) When I moved to Tacoma for college, I took the opportunity to attend more geeky conventions.

So my friends — Pearl, Katelyn, Jessica, and Jen — and I went to Bellevue’s Creation Con 2003 as a group outing because James Marsters (Spike from Buffy: the Vampire Slayer) was going to be there. Along with some villains from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and a couple of other Buffy and Angel people. But let’s face it, despite the other talent, we were there to see Spike, whom we all had a giant crush on. This was my first official convention.

For those of you who’ve never been to a Creation Con, I can tell you, they’re about one thing and that’s making money. You shell out for a ticket, then autographs (sometimes individually), and then photos (individually). I feel like this post should be littered with dollar signs at every fee I paid. Creation Cons were also pretty much set up to filter through Star Trek actors in various cities. I see their banking on Twilight now.

Rabid Buffy fans were not what this convention was prepared to deal with. The best way to talk with fans is in their language. The best MC’ing I ever saw at a convention was at Con Con (Leverage) where the host, he knew exactly what to say to keep the fans in line. Creation Con’s host, however, had no clue even what Buffy was about, beyond that a lot of women where there to see a skinny dude with bleached blond hair.

My friends and I even got a photo op with James Marsters himself. Though due to long complex drama, I never saw what the photo looked like. But I made a note in my journal that I got to put my arm around him and that he was super skinny and could probably wear my pants.

We missed the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine villains panel — Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat), Casey Biggs (Damar), and Jeffery Combs (Weyoun) — due to getting photographed. But we got our autographs. Biggs was the nicest of all three of them. Even if he totally stared at my boobs with the “what’s on your t-shirt?” question. (Which really, if you are going to stare at someone’s boobs, mine are nothing to write home about.) London was that answer.

Next we hit up the vendor rooms, which was mostly Star Trek stuff and thus, disappointing to the Buffy audience. But I got another Geordi LaForge action figure. And we ran into James Leary (Clem, Buffy), got autographs from him, and photos. He was very nice and indulgent to five giggling fangirls.

James Marsters
James Marsters: The king of inappropriate gives us sex ed. Wait, isn't he supposed to be talking about a little tv show called Buffy he was on at the time?

Then it was time for Andy Hallet (Lorne, Angel) and Leary’s talk. They were really funny. But Hallet refused to sing. Leary kept making references to hot women on the set of Buffy, particularly Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Andy kept trying to change the subject. A fan asked if Hallet had ever read fan fiction; he said that his friend sent him one that involved his character Lorne, Angel, a shower, a bar of soap, and three fingers. Hilarious, but really, question-asking fan, wildly inappropriate question to ask. (I am really glad that I got to see and meet Hallet before his untimely death, and he seemed like a very sweet guy. I only wish I’d gotten to see him sing live.) Sadly, I did not get any photos of this talk as my camera battery was dead.

Marsters had his talk. It was all Q&A, and there was a steady line of fangirls waiting to ask their questions. I even went up, and like a good English major, I asked him what his favorite book was and what he thought Spike’s favorite book was. He said that Spike’s would be pornography. A random woman in the audience tried to protest that Spike had a soul now, and Marsters pretty wittily responded that he had a soul too. (I’ll give him good points for that.) Marsters then went on and on about some book he was reading about plagues or something, but since he never gave the title or author, I’m not entirely convinced it was a book. But I was busy playing fangirl paparazzi with my camera anyway.

In more inappropriate fannish behavior, a woman asked him if he was single. Another asked about the sock he wore while filming naked scenes on Buffy. (You can guess where that sock lived.) And then Jessica went up and asked him to sing his solo song from “Once More With Feeling” Buffy‘s musical episode. Marsters didn’t remember the lyrics at all, but the entire audience did. To which they tried to help him out so he gave the song a shot. (Really, the guy has a “music” career. Ask him to sing one of his songs as he may remember the words.)

Of course, taking the cake for most inappropriate question I’ve ever heard asked at a convention, Marsters was asked how he lost his virginity. Now a good MC would’ve intervened and a trained celebrity would’ve avoided the question or called the fan out on her inappropriateness. But not at Creation Con and not from Marsters. (Unbeknown to me at the time, Marsters is pretty notorious for TMI and once compared his shaved package to a turkey in a radio interview.) Marsters went on about how he lost his virginity in a threesome.

I mean, really, what? How is that something you want to share with the public? Your best friends over a couple of beers, sure, but fangirls who are already wanting to have sex with you? Not to mention where the hell was the MC during this? What was Creation Con thinking or not thinking at this moment? My giant James Marsters’ crush died that day.

Andy Hallet
Andy Hallet, made of awesome, signs autographs. We fangirls miss you.

As we got in line for autographs from Marsters and Hallet, I started to get the bad taste of unprofessionalism in my mouth. It took me a while to process this and really appreciate professionals doing their jobs from convention staff through the celebrities themselves. I’ll always have fond memories of Hallet because he was so nice and professional. He even conversed with shy me when I went up for his autograph, asking me about the book I had him sign. Marsters was too busy chatting up the woman in front of me to even hear me say, “Thanks” to him.

I suppose we all that moment when we realize that our celebrities are human too. And this was my moment. Biggs stared at my boobs. Marsters talked about having a threesome. And Creation Con wanted to make money.

But hey, Marsters is coming to Emerald City Comic Con this year, and I just might go see him to hear the ridiculousness that comes out of his mouth.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider making a donation to GeekGirlCon, a fan-run convention celebrating geeky women. Just please don’t ask our guests how they lost their virginity.

0 Replies to “My Birthday Bash Day 6: Choose Your Celebrities Wisely or Baby’s First Convention”

  1. Reading this reminded me a lot of the first WriterCon. Not because of the events, but more because of the tales you’re telling. Really makes me want to go to another con with you and Lisa. And I had no idea Andy Hallet died! That’s really tragic 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *