[personal profile] rusty_halo
Okay, here's my Moonlight Rising con report.

(Apologies in advance for poor writing. I'm tired and I really want to get some fanfic archived tonight, so I rushed this and didn't proofread it as much as I should have. If you notice any big embarrassing errors, let me know so I can correct them.)

This was kind of a mother-daughter bonding weekend for me and my mom. I don't get to see her very often, so we decided to go to the con together and hang out. Also, she wanted to see Anthony Stewart Head, and I wanted free transportation. ;) So we drove up and got there around 3pm (after getting somewhat lost, and then deciding to keep driving because we were in the Catskill mountains and the view was really beautiful, with waterfalls and everything).

The hotel was in the middle of nowhere, and it kind of felt like we were in the Land that Time Forgot. The place was falling apart--doors were coming off the hinges, people's room doors wouldn't lock, etc. The whole place smelled musty. Our room, at least, was very shabby, with chipped paint and that kind of thing. We had a pool of water soaking our carpet for about three feet after you walked in the door, which was disgusting, especially since it had obviously been there a while; the carpet was growing mold. Also, we'd asked for two beds, but we ended up with one large bed. There was no coffee maker, clock, shampoo, iron, or hairdryer, the TV remote was broken, and the soap was several years old; it was turning brown at the edges, like it had been wet at some point. The water in the shower kept fluctuating from HOT to COLD so that it was almost impossible to take a decent shower. There were flies everywhere (apparently there's a farm down the road), I got bitten by mosquitos in my room, and one woman (Jade) told me that she found spiders in the shower with her two separate times. The hotel staff were terribly rude and harsh; I asked if I could get hot water since there was no coffee maker in our room, and they said no. "Can I get hot water?" "No." "Do you know who else I can ask?" "No." "Do you know where I could go to buy a coffee maker?" "No." I heard horror stories about people who called, lost and asking for directions, and were blown off by the hotel staff. And this hotel wasn't cheap! We were paying an 18% gratuity for this "service." There was no vegan food save the (iceberg lettuce and cherry tomato) salad, yet we were required to pay for meals (something like $25 for each night of dinner and something else for breakfast). Luckily I brought box mixes, which I had to take to dinner and then use the hot water they had for the tea. Also, the place was a *maze*; it was really difficult to find your way around anywhere. The point being, the hotel sucked, and I would *strongly* encourage the Moonlight Rising people to take the con somewhere else next year, because I'm not going back there.

Now I'll say something positive, which is that every member of the Moonlight Rising staff I interacted with was totally cool. For their first con, they did an *amazing* job. They made sure that the events ran as smoothly as possible, they genuinely cared about doing a good job, and best of all from my POV, they were friendly and polite to the con attendees. I was definitely impressed.

After we arrived on Friday, I chatted with a few people I knew -- Marlaine ([livejournal.com profile] soulmate815), Monduane, Lisa, Laura (the professor who is doing the Buffy survey), Melissa ([livejournal.com profile] dettiot), etc. I didn't have tickets to the Common Rotation concert, plus I was exhausted because I hadn't really slept the night before (the reason for this is another long stressful fandom disaster that I might post about later). So instead of hanging out, I ended up going to the jacuzzi (which was the one really nice thing about the hotel) and the sauna and relaxing for a while. Then I went to bed at something like 10pm, 'cause I really really needed to catch up on my sleep. It was soooo nice to get a good night's sleep for once.

So, Saturday I got up for Adam Busch's Q&A at 10am, which was quite entertaining. He was very funny and friendly, although I felt bad for the poor guy since he was in an audience of Kittens and got questions like "Do you feel bad for killing Tara?" He said he's gotten death threats from Tara fans, which is really disturbing. But still, he did a fine job with his Q&A. Then James Leary did a Q&A, where he talked about the usual stuff.

Then at noon there was a photo shoot with James Marsters, which I had a ticket for. I was wearing a ridiculous outfit--tight black shirt, black vinyl miniskirt, silver glitter tights with fishnets over them, big knee-high boots. He recognized me from Cleveland and said "It's good to see you again." I said the same, then (paraphrasing):

James: "You look really good."
Laura: "Thanks."
James: "I like your tights; those are really cool."
Laura: "Oh" *giggle* "Shiny."

Then I got so embarrassed (shiny?) that I thanked him without looking and ran away as soon as the photo was taken.

At 1pm the Q&As started. Amber was first; she had arrived late because she hit a deer on her way. She was wearing giant overalls and (I think) no makeup, and flip flops that she took off onstage. I loved that she was so relaxed and easy going, and adorably sweet. Her Q&A was very cute, and she just seemed like an amazingly cool person. She's definitely upset about what happened to Tara, though; she didn't come back this year because she didn't want Tara to come back in a hurtful way (she was going to appear as the First Evil), and she didn't watch S7 because it was too upsetting. It's pretty obvious that Tara was very close to Amber's heart.

Then James came on, and I got so upset I almost left. (But I paid lots of money to be there, so I didn't.) I explained this here. He did say a couple of cool things, though. One was about the movie he's doing with Sean Bean, which sounds awesome (and slashy, yum). Although he said it's filming in September, so I wonder how that's going to mesh with filming AtS. The other cool thing was his reaction to the idea of human Spike, which was absolute disgust and horror. Hehehehehe. James and I actually have an opinion in common! (Actually, I agree with most of his political views too--just not his views of Spike or of women). I loved hearing that; score one for the anti-shanshu crowd. (Not that JM has any influence over the character's direction, but it was still good to hear.)

After James, Anthony Stewart Head did a Q&A, in which he talked about being in Rocky Horror, stuff about Giles, etc. I didn't really find him all that interesting, to be honest. But it's cool how he's so very different from Giles; very goofy and silly and not at all repressed.

Then we did autographs. First I got James Leary's (he was sitting with his wife), then JM's. We just exchanged some flirty comments about how this is the middle of nowhere; he said he got flown and driven in and actually has absolutely no clue where this place is, and I said I don't think any of us do, or something like that. Just stupid stuff, because you only have a few seconds to talk. Oh, the thing I got signed is really cool though; I found a Spike/Xander card in the dealer's room, and had him sign that. I'll try scanning it, although it's shiny/silvery so I'm not sure it'll scan in properly.

I had ASH sign a card with a photo of Giles and Anya kissing in Tabula Rasa. He looked horrified by it, and said that his children made fun of him for that scene. I said that I thought Giles and Anya would have made a great couple, and he looked at me like I was insane. So I added that I thought Anya could've helped him loosen up and have more fun, and that Giles could have appreciated Anya's depths in a way that Xander never did. But, uh, he just looked at me funny some more. ;)

Then I got Amber's autograph (she was there with her mom), and I couldn't think of a thing to say, so I just said "Um, I loved Tara. She was so nice." And Amber (who was sweet but obviously very tired) said something like "Thank you so much. Yeah, she was nice--and then they had to go kill her." So I commiserated and said yeah, that sucked, or something to that effect.

Christopher Golden was also up there, so I had him sign a comic book for Marlaine. I was polite, of course, but I really had nothing nice to say to him. Apparently he had given a talk that morning, which luckily I missed, in which he went on about the difference between "obsession" and "love," and how for Spike it was only obsession, and more of the "female Spike fans are just stupid women who are too blinded by their hormones to see the EEEEVIL serial killer beneath the pretty cheekbones" crap.

After the autographs, I went to the fanfic panel that Marlaine was on. I'm so heavily into the Spike side of fandom, and not general BtVS, though, that I didn't really know any of the fic they were talking about. It was still interesting to listen to, though.

After that was dinner (again with the gross food), but it was cool to chat with Marlaine and Monduane and some other people. We ended up talking for a really long time, then we went to the "Once More, with Feeling" reinactment. (I didn't have tickets to the dance, which sucks because all the big guests were there; James and Tony stayed for hours). It was, uh, not the greatest thing I'd ever seen. Although their version of the end of Tara's song (the "spread beneath my willow tree" part) was pretty entertaining. I ended up chatting with Teep through the last half, and then later we stayed up and chatted for a very long time. She is AWESOME; I see her at cons all the time, and I can't believe I'd never sat down and talked to her before. She made me feel so much better about how upset I was about JM's comments, because she totally got it and understood. She was very articulate and interesting to talk to. We also talked about fanfic, which was really cool; I love talking about fic in real life.

I went to sleep around 2 or 3 in the morning, and didn't get up until around 11 the next morning. Apparently I missed James Leary and Christopher Golden auctioning off a 10-second grab of Anthony Stewart Head's ass. They raised something like $4500 for charity.

Amber's presentation on Sunday was fine, although James' had very little redeeming value. I was so upset after James that I couldn't sit still, so I left before ASH came on and wandered around the hotel wanting to break something. (Or vent to someone, but of course everyone was still in the auditorium.) Eventually I calmed down enough to go back inside, where I watched ASH and Amber sing their song from the musical. They had to read from the musical scriptbook, so they screwed up a few times, but still did a nice job; Amber has such an incredibly beautiful voice.

Afterwards, my mom and I drove up to a vegetarian restaurant that she had seen the day before. They did indeed have a vegan menu, so I actually got to have some real food. (It wasn't great; everything was soaked in vinegar, to the point where I started choking from vinegar overload, but at least it was real food.)

On the way to the restaurant, I was still upset about JM's comments. (Also, I should add that there were just as many Amber and ASH fans at this con as Spike fans--probably more Amber fans, in fact, because she's doing fewer cons than James this year. As a result, there was a very definite anti-Spike vibe going on that I hadn't felt at any other cons that mostly just featured James. All weekend I was hearing shit about how rotten Spike was and how foolish his fans are. It seemed to be the official voice of the weekend, from JM to Christopher Golden to the attempted rape trading card on prominent display in the dealer's room.) I started talking to my mom about it, and I ended up ranting to the point where I was crying. I haven't cried in MONTHS, and it really shocked me that I got *that* upset. It made me realize just how deeply I indentify with this character. (Yeah, I know it's not healthy, but I really don't care.) Also, I ended up with blue eye makeup smeared all over my face, which was a big pain to scrub off in the restaurant bathroom.

Then we came back because I wanted to see Marlaine's other panel, "Buffy and the real world" or something like that. But right after I walked in, the other people in the room started going on about Spike's "obsessive desire to possess Buffy" and how he never really loved her. And since I didn't want to get into a big argument and I didn't want to start crying again, I apologized to Marlaine and left. I hope she doesn't hold it against me. She seemed to be doing a fine job with the panel.

After that, we had a few hours to kill until the movies, but we'd already had to check out of our room, so Marlaine let my mom and I stay in her room while she went to dinner. We both took naps, then went to the "Ghosts of Albion" showing at 8pm.

"Ghosts of Albion" is a cartoon done by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden. Unfortunately it was almost unwatchably bad; all dialogue and exposition, with clich├ęd characters who did nothing but talk talk talk and spout irritating platitudes that didn't make much sense. Even the bisexual ghost of Byron making slashy comments couldn't redeem this.

Then they showed Amber's movie "Chance," which is absolutely wonderful. She wrote, directed, and starred in this movie, which also features James in a lead role (I was surprised to find that he gets as much screen time as Amber). It was dark and smart and absolutely hilarious. Amber does an amazing job in the lead role (a character who doesn't seem to be anything like her), and James is awesome as the dorky but nonetheless sexy love interest. It was filmed around BtVS season five, which is IMO when James looked his very best, so I was extremely pleased with his appearance. He was very very yummy in this film. Also, he spent a nice, long, drawn out scene in all-out drag, which ROCKED. Andy Hallett and David Fury also have nice little roles in this film. I can't emphasize enough how cool it was. The audience was laughing and cheering throughout the whole thing, and at the end James and Amber (who had been in the room watching it with us) got a standing ovation that went on for a very long time. Then they (standing onstage hugging each other and looking so adorable) answered some questions about the film as well.

After that, they screened James Leary's 8 1/2 minute film "Stunt Cocks," which is a parody about the adult film industry. It was absolutely hilarious and got quite a bit of applause, and James L. answered a bunch of questions about it as well.

After that, I said my goodbyes, and we headed home. Mom dropped me off at my apartment at about 3am, where the elevator was broken, so I got to lug my giant suitcase up six flights of stairs. (Maybe that's why I'm in such a bad mood today.)

So, in the end, I guess the weekend was pretty mixed. I had some really unpleasant experiences, but also some very wonderful experiences.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 08:07 pm (UTC)
ext_1973: (Default)
From: [identity profile] elz.livejournal.com
All weekend I was hearing shit about how rotten Spike was and how foolish his fans are. It seemed to be the official voice of the weekend, from JM to Christopher Golden to the attempted rape trading card on prominent display in the dealer's room.

Ugh, that sounds awful. But it must have been great to get to see Chance, at least. Anyway, thanks for the report! And sorry that you walked back into fandom angst after a less-than-perfect weekend. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
Thanks. "Chance" was really cool; I'm very glad I saw it.

Fandom is really sucking at the moment. This whole thing is so stupid. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drujan.livejournal.com
Yikes, this sounds awful... I don't know what I would have found worse, James' comments about Spike or a room full of anti-Spike Kittens.

Makes me not sorry I missed this.

It's such a trying experience sometimes, this fandom, for those who overidentify with Spike (like I do) - he's getting tortured one way or another non-stop on screen, the writers and now James join his detractors, some fanfactions routinely tear down the character and his fans...

But, oh, it's all worth it at the end of the day. Because *we* get Spike - we have him, and we get him. And it's such a joyous amazing experience. For me, long after BTVS is forgotten, Spike will live on.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
Honestly? I'm starting to think that it's really not worth it anymore.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klytaimnestra.livejournal.com
Sorry you're feeling so low! But fandom doesn't matter, honestly. What you saw on the series matters, if it matters to you, and I think it does. But fan factions don't matter, and the opinions of the actors (which seem to vary from one day to the next anyway) don't matter either.

What you saw on-screen, and how you felt about it, matters a lot. And that's all. don't let these people get you down.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
Thanks. You've been so nice throughout all this.

Spike's story meant a whole lot to me in seasons five and six, but after the soul I just lost interest. I know some people liked souled Spike, but for me, the doormat that he became just wasn't the Spike I loved or identified with.

I kept watching because I enjoyed participating in the fandom. But lately it's been so hurtful and cruel; what's the point?

At least there are still many people who are kind and thoughtful, and of course, there's still fanfic, which I continue to enjoy.


Date: 2003-06-10 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drujan.livejournal.com
But it was a good run, no?

Besides, we only have a month or so until we know how Spike's coming back. It's very possible (although I don't like to think about it) that soon we will find out Spike is truly dead, coming back as a ghost or whatever. For me, that would be the end of fandom. No more anguish, no more hope, and I'll be free. Wheeee!

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saava.livejournal.com
I found your journal because of the huge ado in fandom over your post about JM. While I don't agree with you entirely, I don't agree with him either, and your original post was certainly not disrespectful to him.

I'm commenting here to say it seems like your con experience was a lot different than mine! I mean, I'm SO with you on the suckage of the Friar Tuck but I had some pretty horrible experiences with the people who were running the con. There was total disarry in the lines for the Amber photo shoot and on the second day of James's photo shoot. Ingrid and Aria were pretty much outright bitchy to me on different occasions. The people I found were the most helpful were the volunteers.

I also didn't feel an anti-Spike vibe. Quite the opposite, in fact! At Christopher Golden's Q&A a good twenty minutes were spent with people asking Spike questions. Even as a Spike fan I was ready to bash my head against something if someone didn't change the subject - and STAT.

Anyway, I came away with great respect for all the celebrity guests, more than a little crush on Adam Busch and a certainty that no matter how bad some things are, if you're in the company of good friends it'll still be the best thing ever.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-09 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with the con organizers. I guess I assumed they were cool because I didn't have any bad interactions with them. I suppose I was also thinking more toward the volunteers also; they were the people who were really cool and nice.


Date: 2003-06-09 11:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saava.livejournal.com
I suppose I was a little predisposed to be annoyed with Aria simply because of the way she'd treated me in an email before, but I really do think that they could have been a hell of a lot nicer to people.

I was so happy in that mean part of myself when JM told them to be quiet because he couldn't hear the questions people where asking him with them talking to each other near him.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-10 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estepheia.livejournal.com
From what I've read JM does not 'get' that females actually identify with Spike, that the character's potential for screwing up and his sometimes clueless behaviour in the S/B relationship make him a template on which females project themselves. I am under the impression that he thinks ALL his female fans imagine themselves WITH Spike, when IMHO many female fans feel FOR the character. Spike is easily the most emotional character. In B/S the traditional gender roles are pretty much flipped. If ME do that kind of thing they have to live with the fallout, i.e. that people look past the actual gender and at the actual predicament. And Spike's predicament (his love is exploited by someone who doesn't love him back - although Buffy eventually realises this and leaves him) is something too many women can identify.
In a way, ME were TOO successful with the gender flipping.

Of course there are still plenty of fans who see JM's cheekbones and swoon, confuse Spike and ME and seem to see entirely different things in an episode than I do. *Shrug*

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-10 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
Yes. That is *exactly* it.

I don't love Spike because I fantasize about dating Spike. I love Spike because I relate to and identify with Spike, because I know exactly how it feels to give all your heart and soul to someone and to be trampled on and used in return, and because I know exactly how it feels to be an outsider who doesn't fit in ANYWHERE and who gets mocked and mistreated for being such a freak.

I just really wish that the people writing Spike's story would show some understanding or recognition of this fact, instead of mindlessly lecturing us about who we should date.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-10 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ozfan.livejournal.com
Man, this just gets worser and worser. I'm really sorry you had to deal with anti-Spike sentiment. It's kind of scary, actually, like you said, to be involved in a fandom with so much hate and bitterness. The more I find out about it, the less I want to be deeply involved in it. I'm kind of glad I've never gone to a con, to tell you the truth.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-10 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty_halo.livejournal.com
Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I thought this was supposed to be fun. I don't mind debate and disagreement, but personal attacks are really out of line.

(no subject)

Date: 2003-06-10 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaydk.livejournal.com
Sounds like the whole thing was a trip to bizarro-land. Frankly, I don't know how long I would have stuck around past the moldy carpet, James or no James ;-).

I'm sorry your con experience was so mixed, though, and definitely sorry that you were so upset. Fandom can suck sometimes, basically.


I blog about fannish things. Busy with work so don't update often. Mirrored at rusty-halo.com.

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