|Galactica Three Convention Report|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Tuesday, 28 August 2007|
On August 10-12, 2007 Marcel Damen visited the Galactica Three Convention in the UK, which had Leah Cairns (Lt. Margaret "Ractrack" Edmondson ), Tahmoh Penikett (Capt. Karl C. "Helo" Agathon ), Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Felix Gaeta) and Rekha Sharma (Tory Foster ) as its guests. Fans attending will agree it was one of the best Battlestar Galactica Conventions ever. For those who didn't attend, read here what you missed out on.
For those of us that have attended your "average" sci-fi convention, you usually expect to find big hall filled with thousands of fans who are either crowded around browsing merchandise at the dealers stands, or else waiting in roped off lines for hours to have a ten seconds meeting with one of the celebrity guests, while they are signing your picture after first paying the assistant the asked amount. Often these events are so crowded that you're lucky to even get the opportunity to take a photograph of yourself with the celebrity (which often consists of leaning forward over the signing table) or ask him the question you always wanted to ask (and having them think about it and give you a complete answer, while there are many, many more fans waiting in line). Wolf Events do a lot of things differently, and end up making it a much more enjoyable event for both fans and celebrities alike.
Granted, you can complain about the entrance fee of 85 pounds / $160, (though this fee does include a free signature of each guest attending) or on the small number of guests appearing. But if you're only interested in seeing Battlestar Galactica guests, and are willing to spend extra for a relaxed, more personal environment to meet them, then this is the perfect convention for you. Since it's aimed at a specialized group, around 200 (mostly) Battlestar Galactica fans attend this hotel based convention. The guests are also treated differently, since the shorter signing sessions (less fans to sign for) are held at the end of each day, so most of their time is spent onstage for either longer, separate Q&A's, or participating in other group entertainment. Additionally, professional photo shoots give you the opportunity to get a photo taken with your favorite actor, or even with the entire attending cast. What better way to remember a convention that with photos of yourself with the actor/actors that you even get autographed. During the evenings both fans and guests come together to the parties, and you actually have a chance to see how your heroes manage themselves on the dance floor!
Rekha Sharma, Tahmoh Penikett, Alessandro Juliani and Leah Cairns at Galactica Three
While a lot of the Battlestar Galactica main cast are still asking way too much money to even be considered, there are luckily some who think it's more important to show their fans their appreciation by meeting with them, as well as a way to promote their work and the series. So for those who might complain that the organizers of Galactica Three didn't get any of the top five main cast, it has more to do with the actors (and even more their agents) than it has with the willingness of the organizers to get them to attend. At Galactica Three the guests were Leah Cairns (Lt. Margaret "Ractrack" Edmondson ), Tahmoh Penikett (Capt. Karl C. "Helo" Agathon ), Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Felix Gaeta) and Rekha Sharma (Tory Foster ). Aside from Tahmoh Penikett , the others had little convention experience, which was a refreshing experience. They enjoyed sharing stories on stage, and were surprised by the enormous amount of photos taken at the beginning of each Q&A while waiting for the first question to be asked.
Of all the guests, Alessandro Juliani (or AJ for friends) surprised me the most. His part on Battlestar Galactica is so completely different from the man himself. While Felix Gaeta is always serious and carefully managing every situation, AJ on the other hand is full of humor and a man of many talents. Next to that, Leah Cairns is also a lively and animated talker who definitely won the hearts of all fans by her constant interest, as well as chatting with the fans visiting this con. Whether it be talking to the guys behind the merchandise stands, dressing up as Jedi Chef, or dancing on the dance floor, she was always busy doing something with the fans.
Leah Cairns questioning Tahmoh Penikett at Galactica Three
The Q&A's were a dream. The long 45 minute talks with each actor certainly gave everybody in the audience a chance to ask them whatever they wanted. On the second day the Q&A's got out of hand when Leah Cairns , sitting in the audience, started asking Tahmoh Penikett cheeky questions about him ever doing any nudity and also got him talking about his most embarrassing screen test. It wasn't long until he decided to pull her on stage to talk about those subjects from her own experience. The party was complete when both Rekha Sharma and Alessandro Juliani, who happened to pass by, also joined on stage. AJ managed, now encouraged by his colleagues, to even sing some opera on the spot, which got him a loud applause from the audience and a marriage proposal from Leah Cairns .
Leah Cairns enjoying AJ's opera singing at Galactica Three
This out-of-hand Q&A was certainly one of the finest hours of the weekend, which even organiser Bryan Coney couldn't (and didn't want to) stop, though it certainly messed up the program schedule. It showed a group of people who certainly love their work, and liked sharing their enjoyment with the fans. Later that day they also showed their talent as actors during the improv for which a script of the season 3 final episode was used. Though familiar with the material, it turned out to be quite a challenge when they were asked to perform it as a 3 year old child, as a musical, bending over/lying down, as cowboys, and in Bollywood style. It was the perfect finish to a very entertaining weekend, and I can only hope Wolf Events will find the time to bring this material out on DVD, because I'll be the first buyer!
AJ and Rekha Sharma doing a Bollywood-style improv at Galactica Three
Tahmoh Penikett doing his best move at the improv at Galactica Three
The various parties at night literally brought the group of fans and actors together, namely on the dance floor. Dancing with the stars, the do-it-yourself version! The various game shows and raffles organized for the fans concluded a perfect weekend. The Wolf Events' version of "Deal or No Deal", renamed "Cylon or No Cylon" was messed up by someone from the staff mixing up the boxes of the first and second round, but at least we all had a good laugh. Organiser Bryan Coney showed he was a good sport by fixing the mess in favor of the Italian girl playing, who happily won a lot of money. He even threw in an extra future event ticket so another Italian girl from the same group (who was lucky enough to play the second round) could now invite her friend for the next event. Everybody in the organisation for that matter was very helpful and kind, and really helped to make this a perfect convention for all fans who attended.
From this point I'd also personally like to thank Bryan Coney for his kindness and help in granting me interviews with the guests, and for his wise words during the many talks we had over the weekend. I've helped organize conventions that had Battlestar Galactica guests, and I've visited even more conventions, so I speak from experience when I say that no Battlestar Galactica fan should miss Galactica 4 next year!
If you'd also like to visit a Wolf Events Battlestar Galactica Convention, please check out their website for future events: Wolf Events
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