Stargate Creation Chicago Con – Part 2

PlayItGrand September 13, 2011 No Comments »

The Saturday night dessert party had five guests listed to appear! This is a record in my memory, so I was really looking forward to it. This time all the rounds started on my side of the room! Double bonus, the coveted empty seat was finally next to ME! However the evening was a freaking roller coaster. Chris Judge was supposed to be coming, but he and Paul McGillion were still signing autographs! We love them because they personalized, and they really take the time to give every fan that few seconds of recognition we all look for. The problem was that because of how long autographs took Chris’ hour-long meet and greet with a few very lucky fans ran really behind schedule. It was about twenty minutes into the dessert party, 10:20, when it was announce that Chris was on his way to his meet and greet! I knew it was going to be a late night right then and there, but I figured it was going to be totally worth it!

Kavan was the first to arrive. We could tell he was tired but he was still having fun! We had a wonderful little discussion, and I got a pat on the back! Oh the perks of being next to the guest seat! Next came David DeLuise. He acted like he’d come in fresh from a long nap! He shook everyone’s hand, which threw me a bit because that was a first, and I was first! He asked us where we came from and was just all around super friendly. I got another pat on the back as he left our table!

With three guests to go things went from “We have to wait an hour just for Chris but otherwise everything is fantastic!” to “You’re kidding me, right?” Paul McGillion had arrived, and I’m guessing he had a migraine because he asked that the lights be dimmed. Queue Creation not knowing how to do that! They tried to dim the lights in just our end of the room, but they went off completely, and it was much too dark! When none of the staff seemed to realize it, I got up and pointed it out. A couple guys started working on it and finally got the lights to a comfortable level for Paul, who was directing them, but it didn’t prevent the lights from going out at least once more before they got it right! In the end I was just glad that I could actually SEE Paul when he came to my table! He was in rough shape though, and joked about his writing hand hurting. He didn’t actually sit down either, opting to stand just behind and on the other side of me instead. He only stayed a minute, which was a further disappointment, but I didn’t really blame him.

As we continued our long wait for Chris, Alexis Cruz came in and started going around. He also didn’t sit down next to me, which was sad, but he stayed and chatted with us for a good minute before going on to the next table on his own accord. Someone asked how he was feeling after having led an acting workshop from 7:00 to 9:00 Sunday morning. It’s something that I would have liked to watch but not participated in, but since the chances of that were slim I chose not to go down. Alexis said he actually got several hours of sleep after the workshop, and I couldn’t help but joke that he probably got more than most attendees! He laughed along with the rest of the table as they agreed that was true!

At long last Chris Judge finally made it! As he started making rounds I realized that he was going awfully fast, and I soon found out why. He came to my table and didn’t sit down. He pretty much just leaned on the back of the empty chair and apologized profusely for being so late, but he said he hadn’t wanted to rush the latter group of autographs and cheat those fans. I totally understood and appreciated that, but it really ticked me off when he left the table immediately! He talked with us for less than thirty seconds, and we had been waiting hours for him to get there. His handler just wandered aimlessly behind him, oblivious to how little time Chris was giving his fans. I was really mad. I appreciated his apology but that didn’t make up for the lost time. Having an actual two minute chat with him sitting next to me would have totally made up for it. Later I heard that Chris may have been trying to go catch a flight, and that was understandable, but something that Joe Flannigan said the next day made it fairly clear that he and Chris had gone out that night. I was severely disappointed. I expected much better from Chris, but I don’t feel that Creation was blameless either. His handler should have made it clear that even if he didn’t sit down he needed to actually spend time at each table. I was disgusted by their hands off approach to the situation.

To add insult to injury, dessert party attendees are supposed to have an opportunity to take pictures of each of the guests as they arrive. We got the opportunity to take pictures of Kavan and Paul when they came in, but not any of the other guests. This is part of the ticket description for crying out loud! Never mind that sinse the lights were so low they weren’t very good pictures anyway. Creation completely dropped the ball on the Dessert Party.

After a rough Saturday I could only hope that Creation would be able to pull things together for Sunday. The schedule went smoothly enough with appearances by David DeLouise, JR Bourne, Joe Flannigan, and David Hewlett. David DeLouise was lots of fun. He joked about his character’s nickname, Stalker Pete, and how Amanda Tapping kept making them redo kissing scenes! He also fielded questions about his late and great dad, Dom, and his brothers Peter and Michael, along with questions about his work on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place.

It was wonderful to finally see JR after we’ve been requesting him for literally years. We got to ask him some questions about Martouf and Lantash, as well as his more recent roles on shows like Teen Wolf. One of his co-stars, Tyler Hoechlin, actually tagged along for the convention and spent a few minutes on stage with JR talking about their show.

Creation finally avoided the problem I have with putting two guests on stage at once by putting David Hewlett by himself for half an hour before Joe joined him. Joe was then supposed to have a half an hour alone, but David wanted to stick around and nobody wanted him to leave, so he stayed! This was perfectly fine by me because Joe has been to Chicago a couple times before, but this was only David’s second visit and it was great to get to spend so much time with him both alone and with Joe. Although the schedule worked well the sound system did not! There was a whole lot of crackling going on for JR’s Q&A, and it continued to David Hewlett’s panel before Creation finally managed to put a stop to it. I can’t recall a time when they’ve had so much trouble with their audio!

At the end of the day Creation played segments from a DVD of a Creation convention back in 2004. They started with a segment with Don Davis, which immediately made me teary eyed because of how much I miss that man. I now have it on my to do list to find a copy of that DVD!

Creation’s final flub was soon to follow. It turned out that a wedding had been booked for the ballroom and Creation had to pack up and get
out before programming was completely finished. It seemed to me that this was not an anticipated complication because we still had autographs from JR to get, and seat upgrades to do, and both events were listed to be held in the ballroom like always. Instead they stuck JR at a table in the hallway and held seat upgrades nearby. I actually got dragged to the front of JR’s line because I wanted to try for a better seat for next year. Other fans weren’t so fortunate. In all the hubbub Creation didn’t do a good job of getting the word out that upgrades were going on, and if you weren’t there you wouldn’t get to move to a potentially better seat. I was lucky enough to get to move two seats closer to the middle of the stage for next year, which will hopefully prevent the couple in front of me from blocking my view when they decide to lean on each other!

All in all, the guests were great and I wouldn’t have missed them for the world, but Creation was super sloppy when it came to their sound system and handling schedule issues. I was really disappointed that a company that has been doing this for 40 years could be so seemingly careless about the quality of the experience they provide. I have never EVER seen Creation so sloppy. I honestly can’t remember an instance where I was this disappointed with them. The only instance that comes anywhere close is the karaoke party from last year. The music was painfully loud, the crowd was small and unenergized, and the guests who came to watch and just have fun were unfairly bombarded with requests for photos. This year the karaoke party improved immensely, but other events were very poorly managed. It won’t prevent me from going next year, and I don’t regret reserving my seats, but if next year’s convention has a similar theme I may have to think twice before reserving for 2013.

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