First, I am writing this on the way back from the Highlander Clan Cruise III which I enjoyed tremendously. I am sitting on a plane and writing this before I lose too much of the details since there is not much else to do when they canceled my direct flight and ran me through Dallas instead (I live in NJ). I am very glad that I went and think we had a really good turnout.
All the pictures from the Highlander Clan Cruise II and III, SSW and Legacy are up at my website. Let me know what you think.
Let me start with Anthony's play the night before the cruise was to begin. Anthony makes an excellent vampire and we were all cracking up laughing at the play. We arrived just in time for the play to start and we partied afterwards with Anthony and the other actors and actresses. The gentleman playing the mad? scientist was excellent and really brought umph to his part, but so did all the people. I personally loved the young lady who played the teenager that was taking care of the apartment for Anthony's character. She knew what he was and was in love with him. I won't go into any more detail only because if this play does make it into a bigger arena, I want you (who may go see it) to be surprised.
For starters, let me say that the cruise line was much better than last year, while slightly smaller cabins, the food was much better and they gave you decent size portions. One of the best things about this cruise ship was the much smaller size so that you did not feel like you were doing the four minute mile to get from one place to another. Nearly everything was on one of three floors of the cruise ship, the dining room and then the two lounges which were big enough that almost everything was also to get in and have fun watching whatever was going on. Also having one event happen at a particular time (other than fan club meetings) permitted people to see the main event. But yes, there were videos being shown, just not all the time on the television (what happened to round the clock Highlander), but also in one conference room. The only group that I did miss seeing this year was the Clanranald but there was no way they could have had room to show off their sword battle and the rooms were way too small for some of the guys, they had enough problems last year with no room in their cabins.
Opening ceremonies were excellent and it was so much fun watching Jim Byrnes play again. He always does such a good concert that you cannot help being in love with his music. There was not a lot happening Friday night as it was a good night for the opening and good for seeing your old friends and meeting new ones. The only other thing besides dinner was the first receiving line. But the next two days had plenty to do.
The biggest thing here was that we actually had Bill Panzer and David Abromowitz at the cruise for the day, and they were in the first Q&A panel, with Peter Wingfield, Stan Kirsch, and Jim Byrnes and they answered many of our questions about the six seasons of Highlander, cannot remember all the details but they did bring out a lot of good points from their respective views. I missed the discussion of Highlander IV which they did. Maureen did an introduction with Bill and David and they discussed the episodes that were picked "Best of Highlander" and discussed the episodes from their points of view, producer and writer. They did a good panel, just too much to remember it all. At one point they opened it up to questions, and they answered a few and then David finish the Q&A with a very nice prayer (in Hebrew) that someone asked him to do.
Biggest thing is that they announced that they are looking into releasing the seasons on DVD. Yeah, no more broken tapes. I know I will be looking forward to that.............
Anthony DeLongis and Robert Chapin ("The Bob") did an excellent sword demo, including showing how you can choreograph a stunt, and again pulled a person out of the audience, but this time Bob got revenge from Sword Spectacular Weekend when he pulled the young lady who at SSW said "One More Time" and when she thought they were done, what does Bob say but "One More Time". We were all laughing at that. He is such a ham. Everyone was really having fun.
I went to Peter's fan club's party on this day, and who should happen to show up just as Cold Feet's shower scene was being shown but the man himself, Peter Wingfield. He walked into a group of woman whooping about that scene, which quickly cut into parts of Strange World. Man was he shocked that we got that.
Saturday night we had the whip demo and Anthony and Robert of course put on an excellent presentation for everyone. And again Robert was playing the bad guy but he looks so good doing it. They really showed a lot of the technique that Anthony learned on his own and how he accomplished it. We really had a good time watching that again. And it is never the same thing twice because like the sword demo, they improvise all the time. Especially with the slight wind that was in the air.
We did Best of Highlander episodes with the various stars who were in them. Maureen brought a lot of dailies so you got to see the takes from all the different angles and from the different viewpoints of the actors. This was one of the best parts because you also got to see how it looked before the final cut was done. First Stan discussed End of Innocence with Maureen and was so patient with the problems with the sound on the VCR player that they were using. Like five takes with just Adrian in the camera. But we kept getting to see a butt shot that was not in the one shown on television, and boy did it look good. Next came Stan and Joe discussing more of End of Innocence and then Jim and Maureen discussing Glory Days. Then suddenly Peter joins him for discussing Indiscretions, then Jim left and Peter discussed Methuselah's Gift with Maureen. Unfortunately I was not there for Peter's talk as we had the Anthony DeLongis Fan Club Meeting with Anthony and of course he brought the Chalice with him for another toast. But then we had fan club pictures being taken and did those photographs have a job and a half with Anthony's and Peter's Fan Clubs with Anthony's having something like 90 members there and Peter's with over a hundred members having shown up on the cruise. But they got us all in and you can actually see who is who. Thank you Royal Caribbean Cruise Photographers, I have two very special pictures with all my fellow club members.
When all the fan clubs photos were done, we had Anthony's discussion with Maureen about Duende and we got to see Anthony's kiss in the limo with the actress over and over which Maureen said she liked the last take, (out of about eight of them) but of course that is when they break out singing instead of doing the lines so we all cracked up on that one. But seriously it was really good seeing what happens behind the scenes with each of these particular episodes that everyone picked as the best.
Another good thing about this year's cruise over last year's was that you actually had time to eat lunch without missing anything as there were breaks in between things.
I will say that at one point over the course of the weekend I did tell Peter that not only was Carolyn glowing but he was also and to enjoy fatherhood. Over the course of the whole weekend, he constantly was smiling and looking very happy. Congratulations to you two on the pending newest Wingfield.
Closing ceremonies were enjoyable, with all the volunteers, staff and guests getting thank you's and rounds of applause from the whole contingency of fans who attended. Jim, of course, closed out the con with another concert and he did one of my personal favorites "Junior Burn the House Down". I still cannot get enough of his music. After dinner, many people just decided to hang out until the wee hours of the morning (with many of us having only about two or three hours sleep before the early wake-up for debarkation setups) so we partied it up. The next day of course many of us were feeling it but we had too much fun to miss anything. Each night if you got about four hours sleep you got a lot, when you consider most of us hung out with our friends at night.
Well that's it for now.
I arrived Friday by train to the Washington DC area for a very fun filled weekend. Again I was not at all disappointed, in fact, I was very pleased with everything.
Friday night we started out with the opening ceremonies and the concert by the Rogues, an American band playing mainly bagpipes and drums, but with an organist as accompaniment. Excellent Scottish music that they played. They got some people up dancing including doing some Scottish dancing. But before the band even got to play, the con organizers auctioned off a reserved seat of someone who could not make it. I was the highest bid so I ended up with a front row seat for the weekend. The first group of people started to get Peter's autograph since he was scheduled to leave Sunday afternoon, I think to go right back to Spain for continued filming of his new television series, Queen of Swords. I wish him all the luck, since if this takes off, it will be another American series that we will have him in and get to see some of our favorite actors. Wouldn't that be great, being able to see Peter and Valentine in another American series with Anthony DeLongis doing the choreography and even having a part in the show. Friday night late we had bedtime stories with Donna and Gillian and they read from "Stories from Joe's Bar" We were all laughing because they each wrote a POV from Methos and Alexa from the beginning of the trip that they took at the end of "Timeless".
Saturday, I only saw some of the stuff, but what I did see was so much fun and we really enjoyed ourselves. In the morning I took a Beginners Sword Class again which was in preparation for Sunday afternoon's Intermediate Sword Class. The next thing I really remember is the charity auction, especially how the Guest of Honors got the donated items to very high bids. Stan Kirsch and Elizabeth Gracen even kissed some of their stuff (with lipstick provided by Elizabeth) so that they really went for some really good prices. The Cabbage dolls that were auctioned of that were redone to look like, Joe Dawson, Bronze Age Methos, Richie, Duncan MacLeod, each brought in a really good bid. But nothing got as high as a limited edition t-shirt (staff and crew only received it from Adrian) that had the added words "Worn by Peter" which went for $1,400. In addition, some of the things were also rare, like one of the few stills taken of James Horan and Adrian Paul doing the scene in Band of Brothers near the end when Grayson thought he had Mac, but Mac pulled of the final moves. This was James Horan's own copy of the production still which not only did he donate but also custom autographed for me. There were many things donated by the stars, fans, and the production people which really helped to raise approximately $18,000 for the three charities. This was such a successful auction. That night the Jim Byrnes Band played for what was my sixth concert of his. (One was just him doing an acoustical concert). They again rocked the house, but what do you expect, this is Jim Byrnes that we are talking about. Such a good bluesman.
Sunday we had a lot of panels occurring. But my favorite thing was the Intermediate Sword Class with Robert Chapin. Unfortunately I missed his and F. Braun McAsh's sword demo but I have seen Anthony and Bob do theirs and also have seen F. Braun do some of his stuff when I was at Sword Spectacular Weekend. So this was not as much of a loss to me as to some people. But I did pick up on the tail end of some stuff while waiting for the next event to start. But back to the class, Bob had us immediately pair up with a partner and put together a five move fight. We practiced and practiced and changed it as the instructors gave us tips until we basically had it down pat, considering the time restraints and you usually practice at least an hour per second of fight sequence. But then each pair did it in front of the rest of the class and "The Bob" and his three assistants (Sword Fighters from the local area) made sure you did okay and even again offered tips as a group on what you could do differently. Then we were put into a big circle and you had to block a head cut without using the exact same move anyone else has used. Mine was a block, and then a roundhouse kick. Martial arts to the rescue since almost all the moves were already taken. Then we paired back up with our partner and added five more moves to the routine and from there you practiced some more until again we seemed to be fine, at which time you showed the whole class again the whole routine. Both times my partner and Iwere the first ones to show everyone. They showed us a different move for the end and what do I see in a panel of clips from the show, but the exact move they just showed me to use for the ending kill in my and my partner's sequence. But that just made me understand exactly why they said to use that one. It looked much, much more effective. Bob, I swear I will start taking classes once I am out in San Francisco. I loved the classes so much that I already am planning to take them on a regular basis and have talked to Bob on the weekend about where to go. Thanks Bob.
Sunday afternoon we of course had a small luncheon, with about ten people per table and it looked like there were fifteen tables. Bob started a food fight and either he was asked to leave or requested that he behave but all the rest of the room knew is that he and his table got up and walked out of the luncheon. But it was almost the end of the luncheon already so it really did not matter as we were basically done. But everyone seemed to have a good time and I know that my table had a lot of fun talking to the guest at our table, James Horan. Not all of the tables had a guest star at their table, but as a whole group we had a lot of fun, and even with the food fight it was enjoyable to have so many people having lunch together. Sunday night started out with Legacy: the Game, similar to Jeopardy but no answer question, but question answer. I have to say that this turned out really, really good and really tested Donna, Braun and Ginjer's knowledge of the show, history, quotes out of the show and other aspects of it from all six seasons. F. Braun McAsh won the final question since he knew that Bronze was made up of Copper and Tin. They awarded him with a donation being made in his name to his favorite charity. Very nice idea and I suspect Braun is happy with that. Next we had a Concert by James Horan. Man can he sing. He has a very beautiful voice and did the show tunes so well. He did not remember all of them but we helped him out on the few. Someone should get the man to make a CD of his voice. After Bob's concert, they then had more stories but I did not stay for this. A lot of people went all over the hotel at this point. Some stayed for the bedtime stories and some did not.
Monday morning was the final two things that were done. First was the outtakes from the series that Donna and Gillian brought and described for everyone. They even showed the readings for the character of Kronos which I did not stay for it the end since I did see it before and knew that when they pulled away from Valentine for a minute to show his name, that when you came back to him, no more Valentine, there was Kronos. It really did show how talented Valentine is. Second was a panel with Gillian and F. Braun McAsh which discussed sword work on the set and how it is placed into the script for Braun to know what type of stuff he has to do. For example Gillian said that they would put in the script Sword fight, Methos and Keane equally matched, some description of how the outcome should be, like the ending of Methos and Keane in Forgive us Our Trespass, Methos is about to take Keane's head when Duncan comes in. But you really did get to see what they did. Then onto closing ceremony. Like normal they thanked everyone including the fans who came, the volunteers who helped them out, the different staff groups.
One thing that I can compliment the staff on was making sure to try to get everyone who wanted an autograph one. I was able to get quite a few in my "Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide" which I am trying to get everyone to sign. This weekend gave me many of the people I needed, including Elizabeth who has not been to the last two cruises so I was finally able to get hers.
I am writing this now on the train going home on Tuesday. A lot of people stayed until today and some are even staying later and doing some sightseeing and other stuff. We had people from across the world, England, Australia, Canada, and the United States that I know of myself. Sorry if I missed any countries.
Let's start by saying that this weekend was a blast and everyone had a very good time. Peter and Jim were again in top form, giving the auction a good outcome, besides everything else coming out so good. I have to thank the con committee for such a thought out con, we actually had lunch and dinner breaks and even the autographs were done in such great fashion, no standing on line for an hour. The whole concept really was a good idea, not just getting to see Peter and Jim but friends getting to see each other and hang out, meeting new friends,
I understand that the scavenger hunt went really well and the people doing it had fun doing it. We had a good opening ceremony and then had a gathering were we played games to raise money for Project Edan and were able to just hang out together and got to see each other, old and new friends.
The road trip continued with movies in the morning and then questions and answers with Peter about what he is doing and what he has done.
Peter and Jim also talked about Peter's work and we got to see a tape of Peter's that was used to show to casting agents, producers and directors. It had a little bit of a few things Peter has done and gives a good overview of all the emotions, expressions and actions he is able to do.
We had an autograph session with both Jim and Peter and instead of having a line, they had the first 50 people sit in order and then brought up 5 at a time to Jim's table. When they were finished at Jim's table, they moved to Peter's table and the next five people went to Jim's table. It was much easier and we did not have the long lines to wait in. Not only did you get up to two items autographed but you were able to talk a few minutes to them.
After that Jim was on stage talking about his music and what he is doing with it, taking questions from the members about various aspects of his music, who his influences were and what he is planning to do now and what he is trying to put together. I think everyone really enjoyed getting to talk with Jim about the music.
We had an auction with stuff both donated by various members and a few things coming from the stars themselves and I believe the production company may have sent a few things. One of the big items was a hat from X-Men 2 with most of the main stars having signed and with a promise from Peter to have Halle Berry sign it also, which ended up going for over $6,000. Two bears were donated by Vbear which both went for very good money, one representing Jim, as it was done up as a blues man complete with guitar and the other one done up as Dr. Helm from Queen of Swords which I took home. There were many other items both in the regular auction and the silent auction that netted Project Edan a large amount of money from this weekend alone.
That night we had a concert with Jim playing. But he had a surprise for us, because who joined him in the second act, but the man himself, Peter Wingfield. He has a decent voice and really seemed to enjoy singing with Jim.
Again the morning started out with movies being shown, then a club meeting discussing the changes that are in the midst of occurring and the change over of President and Vice President but again Selkie and Sandy will still be very involved, just doing other jobs. Ree is the new President and Deb is the new Vice President. So of course in January we will also hopefully have a new Editor and Assistant Editor to the newsletter. We also now have a Treasurer to handle the books. Very good changes are going to occur.
Next we got together in regions so that we could actually meet not just our regional coordinator but also other members from our region. I think that went really well because now the members know who are near them.
Brunch, what can I say, a few lucky ones sat with Peter and Jim but even if you did not sit with them, we all had a really good time. Here the volunteers were thanked with not only being announced but with small tokens and big tokens of thanks. We had a group picture with the Dr. Helm Bear being held by Peter, then we had winners of the scavenger hunt get their photo taken with Peter and then the volunteers got their picture taken with him. It was really done very nicely and lunch was so good just being with friends and talking about anything and everything.
After a quick break to get back to our main room that we were using, we had the second group of members go for their autographs, again done exactly the same way and it again worked out well. Jim then showed his tape that is used for introducing himself to casting agents, producers and directors. He also included in his tape some of the video he did for That River, so it really gives them a true overview of the talents of Jim Byrnes. They discussed what he has done and what singing and acting means to Jim. I think it was a really good discussion. Something Peter said about Jim's work and Peter's work being therapeutic to others is very true, during my illness and recovery so far, I have listened to Jim's music and watched Peter's stuff on tape to help me just relax and deal with everything.
We ended the convention with a talk by Kelly, Peter's Assistant. She described what she does both for Peter and in her day job, working in an agent's office in England. She also told us how she became Peter's Personal Assistant but also how she ended up in the entertainment field in the first place. It was a very interesting discussion but also an interesting Q&A.
We ended the convention with the Dead Dog Party at one of the bars in the hotel. A very good party with a nice amount of members who had stayed that night.