The main headquarters for the festival was the Stephen F. Austin Hotel where the QAF guests stayed and where weekend passholders could gather between events at the Passholder’s Lounge. We went to the SFA Hotel to sign in and receive the schedule of events and our fast passes on Thursday evening. Jule, Dena and Judith went to a Damnwells concert and Arta and I planned to go to a viewing of a new series called Complications but by the time we got through the evening traffic from our hotel we were all ready for dinner so we didn’t make the viewing. While the others were at the concert, Arta and I hung out at the lounge and met some other passholders.
On Friday morning, we went to the SFA Hotel after breakfast since our first panel was the QAF one at the State Theatre at 2 p.m. To our surprise when we entered the lounge, Ron, Dan, Gale, Peter, Randy and Bobby were being interviewed for Sirius radio in one corner of the lounge and we were able to observe though it was hard to hear much of what was being said. Michelle was supposed to attend but she posted that her new son Dashiell was teething and she didn’t want to put him or a plane full of people through a long flight. Instead we were happy to have Randy turn up unannounced.
A few interesting tidbits:
Showtime’s motto was “No limits” except when they had them like how many thrusts. There was no limit to the thrusts for the gals. Are we surprised?
Gale watched the first two seasons recently and was very proud of it, a little shocked by what he saw and he cracked up a lot.
Randy and Gale were doing their first sex scene on the Randy’s second day of shooting.
When asked about fan encounters, Gale mentioned meeting a fan at the gym that morning and that she was very cool and very sweet and they had a little chat.
Randy said a fan sent hypodermic needles to his apartment.
Peter said someone tried to take a picture of him peeing.
One highlight for me from the interview was to have each of the guys declare that they would definitely be interested in revisiting the show for a season or a movie.
Peter said he would love to put on those orange leather pants again and know where Emmett would be today and explore the next chapter of an aging queen.
Randy said, “I’d be happy to do it. I’d love to. I have no idea where Justin would be today ten years later”.
Gale said “I’m down. Absolutely”.
Bobby said “Absolutely. It would be freakin’ amazing”.
I find this very interesting because I think it has taken all these many years for them to be in the frame of mind to consider continuing the show. I don’t think they would have been this enthusiastic a few years ago. Gale said they’ve talked about it and Peter added it was usually at bull sessions over cocktails like at a fan convention in Spain.
Randy’s favorite memory was the first season and rehearsing the dance number. They all mentioned the camaraderie and sense of community of being in Toronto together and hanging out and getting to know each other.
Robert mentioned the feeling of family and that they stayed in touch after the show.
Gale mentioned the relationships that are still a very important part of his life and that he is still friends with many of the crew and creatives that he met working there. Back then he really didn’t know how to understand it but now he does. He was welcomed into a community he wasn’t really a part of but now is fundamentally a part of and maybe by default is accepted. He hoped he wasn’t embarrassing himself or a community he didn’t really understand completely but was welcomed into and is now a comrade in arms.
They talked about sharing 911 together and that they voted to stop working that day.
When the radio interview ended, they walked past us and Randy gave us a big smile and a “Hi, guys”. Ron and Dan stayed around for a few minutes so I took the opportunity to tell them that I came to the festival mainly to hear what they had to say since I had met all the cast members and attended the Cons. They said they don’t get invited to the Cons because they are not actors but were very happy with the attention the show and the cast were still getting after all these years and thanked us for our support. I think they would like to come to a Con. They were both very impressed with all the support and love that the fans give the show even after 15 years. While I was talking to Ron, he adjusted the collar of my jacket which he thought should be down instead of up. It tickled me that he noticed and took care of it. I told them that we all wanted to attend the panel called The Final Finale that they and some other writers were having at 12:30 there but we would have to be lining up for our seats at the QAF panel at 2:00 p.m. at one of the other venues. They assured us that they would talk about the finale there too. There was a ATX fellow in the lounge taking pictures of anyone who wanted one so Ron and Dan obliged us by taking a couple with our group.
The QAF panel with Ron, Dan, Gale, Randy, Peter and Bobby began with a clip reel of wonderful scenes throughout the series and then they were introduced and brought on stage. Scott sent a very funny hello video from London which can be seen here:
https://vimeo.com/128644960?ref=tw-share and you can find a video of the whole panel here: http://tinyurl.com/onq4ntt I did grab my pen to take some notes as soon as I heard Gale say “Randy and I dove in so deep so soon”. I didn’t know they would put the video out right away so I will not go into any more detail though I will say that Peter was really a hoot popping in with comments and especially the hilarious tale of his stepmother and her hairdresser. It was just delightful to get insight from Ron and Dan about the casting most of which I had heard over the years and then to get their take on why the series ended the way it did. Their discourse on assimilation versus separatism regarding Mikey and Ben on one end of the spectrum and Brian and Justin on the other end made a lot of sense and comforted me. Neither Brian nor Justin wanted the other to make an unfair sacrifice in the name of love. Brian knew that Justin would be sacrificing a future as a successful artist in NY and Justin realized that he fell in love with a lion and not a housecat. They reiterated that in no way in their minds did that mean that they didn’t love each other or were never going to see each other. Of course they were going to see each other again. Their love transcended the ritual of needing a ceremony and rings because they knew they would always be together in their hearts. Even if they had other relationships this was the primary relationship in their lives. Ron even looked up the flight time from Pittsburgh to New York which is only 53 minutes, a fact I am well aware of as I have done it many many times to see Randy’s plays. Regarding Brian’s line “It’s only time” Ron read Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 and Peter ended with “Any of your other fucking panels end with a Shakespearean sonnet?? I am now happy and content with the ending. Thank you Cowlip.
One other thing that impressed me was what they said about their audience of mostly women as opposed to their targeted audience of the gay community. Ron said that he was happy that women were watching the show because they have or are going to have children and how very important for those children who are or are yet to be to have mothers who may have seen QAF and understand what it is like to be gay so they will be more sensitive and loving to their children and that QAF may have helped it along. What a lovely thought and insightful thought.
That afternoon Arta and I went to the panel for Power. The second season started Saturday and it began with a showing of that episode. The panel included the four main cast members, Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Lela Loren and Joseph Sikora. As we were leaving we got a copy of the first season.
I really wanted to see the panel for Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll which is Denis Leary’s new show but it was paired with two other comedies, Married and You’re the Worst for a FX Comedy Night and the lines for it were so long that we opted to go to dinner instead. I did get a glimpse of Denis on the red carpet.
On Saturday, we went to A Kiss is Just A Kiss presented by GLAAD. Ron, Dan and Peter represented QAF and though the creator of the L Word was scheduled, she was not there. There was another woman there who was responsible for the first same sex kiss on I think Dawson’s Creek. Wilson Cruz was the moderator and he and Peter had a great time kidding around with each other. It was a fun panel with more insights from Ron and Dan. Peter said that he got hate mail calling him a pedophile after he featured a very chaste kiss of two young teenage boys on The Fosters
My next panel that afternoon was Justified. The series has ended but they did a great montage of the final season before the discussion with the creator Graham Yost and several of the writers. I knew that Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins would not be there but a couple other cast members were scheduled and only one was there. They talked about Elmore Leonard on whose books the series was based and how they decided to end it which in my mind was perfect.
The big draw for the festival seemed to be Gilmore Girls. I had planned to wait in line with Jule who wanted to go but wasn’t able to secure a fast pass but the lines were unbelievably long and this was a couple hours before it was scheduled to begin. Judith had a fast pass and was able to get in but poor Jule lost out. I just couldn’t stand for that long in a line in the brutal Texas heat for a show I never watched so I opted out.
On Sunday, I went to the panel for Suits. It returns later this month to USA. They showed that first episode of this season and then 3 of the main cast, Patrick J. Adams, Rick Hoffman and Meghan Markle and the writer/creator discussed the show. Rick Hoffman was hilarious and he and Patrick did a little rap rift. They all seemed to have fun with each other.
That afternoon was The Fosters panel. It began with the new episode which aired on Monday so we got a sneak preview one day ahead of time and Peter swore us to secrecy. His two lesbian mothers, Teri Polo and Sherri Saum, were there and Peter had a great time teasing them. He said that when Teri first saw Sherri, she said, “I can be a lesbian for YOU!” Teri, who plays a cop and usually wears her hair up in a bun and looks very serious most of the time had her long hair down and curly and wore a very pretty and very short white dress. She was a hoot. The girls genuinely like each other and have fun together.
That was our final panel and ended the weekend’s festival festivities. There were many other shows that I could have gone to but the schedule didn’t permit due to overlaps, the different venues and just not enough time. I would have liked to go to the ones for Boomtown and Journeyman which I used to watch and to the ones for Wayward Pines and Rectify but I had to make choices and I was satisfied with mine.
This weekend I made some new friends, Deborah, Heather, Kim and Colleen who we hung out with when we had some free time and shared a few libations with each evening. I think Randy left the day after the QAF panel but Ron, Dan, Peter, Gale and Bobby were there for a couple more days as Gale was spotted here and there in the hotel. He slipped into the ending of the Justified panel. Gale looked better this time than the last three times I saw him at the Cons. His hair was lighter and the cut was good. His beard was trimmed neatly and though his hat of choice was a fedora he looked better in it than the usual cap he wears. He didn’t wear a hat or his glasses in the panel. He seemed to be much more relaxed. I do hope that he will be as comfortable with the fans at the fan meet in Bilbao later this year.
All in all it was a wonderful weekend for TV fans and especially for us QAF fans despite the very long lines queueing up for entrance to the panels in the very hot Texas sun.