L6 Convention in Blackpool – Day 2 and 3
L6 Convention in Blackpool – Day 2 and 3 (Photo shoots, autograph sessions, auctions and closing ceremony)
Day 2 and 3 always began pretty early in the morning with breakfast and the photo sessions. For the first time I decided to enjoy the traditional English breakfast and I actually did. There were no orange eggs this time and I purposely avoided mushy beans but the rest of the food wasn’t that bad.
I decided to do all my photo shoots on the first day so I won’t worry about them later because I didn’t know in what condition I will be on Sunday morning. During the previous Conventions we often went to bed quite late and lack of sleep always contributed to my already un-photogenic look.
I don’t know how the cast members do it. Either they know exactly how to pose or it’s all so natural to them but they always look beautiful perfect in their photos. I, on the other hand, look like a dwarf and always want to cut my face off the picture so I wouldn’t spoil the view.
The photo shoots are always fast because the guests have to accommodate hundreds of fans but they all found the time to say a few words and greetings to everyone. Pam was chatty, Rose laughed a lot, Mia was shy at first, Alex was very nice, Daniela was friendly and Anne gave me a big hug, which pretty much ended up in our photo.
On Saturday, Mia was taking photos of the fans that were standing in line, ready to take pictures with her. It was really cool, especially because at that time we didn’t know that she was doing it for her book. Mia was seated for all her photos on Saturday and Rose was planning to do the same but I guess she heard a combined sigh of disappointment from the lines of fans and Rose decided to stand up. That brought up a lot of cheering and ended up taking one regular and one “funny” (as the staff members called them) picture with her.
On Sunday I also decided to get another photo with Alexandra Hedison because I wanted to be sure that I’d get at least one decent photo with her, knowing that she night not come to another Convention. I had my water bottle with me and when it was my turn to be in the photo, I pretended that I’m going to do a scene from Flashdance for out photo…pouring water on top of our heads. I think I scared Alex because she stepped back and said, “No” as her eyes went big. I hope she knew I was just joking. I always use my humor as a defense mechanism when I’m nervous or shy and I’m still very nervous when I meet The L Word cast. I did tell Alex that I was joking so I hope she knew it.
Raffle for Mia’s Foundation and Alex’s photos
Throughout the weekend the organizers were selling raffle tickets for little meet&greets with the cast that were supposed to happen on Sunday during the Q&A sessions. All proceeds from the raffle tickets went to Mia’s Foundation and if I remember correctly, over 4,000 tickets were sold. I bought a few, of course, but I didn’t win. I never do, I always have to pay for the things I want.
I do know that those little chit-chats and tea parties with the guests went very well. Unfortunately for me, though, because the cast members were so busy with Q&A sessions, chit-chats, and auctions, I was only able to get an interview with Pam. It was a very exciting interview because Pam is such a vibrant and interesting person to talk to. She had so many fascinating stories to tell and it was such a pleasure to interview her. Keep checking the site for the interview that will be posted soon.
Alex was also raffling negative images of two of her photographs from “Ithaka”. The raffles were sold for 20 pounds and Alex chose two winners. The photos were pretty big and Alex offered to deliver the photos personally if any of the winners lived in London because she was heading there after the convention. Fortunately, both winners were local British girls who didn’t have any problems transporting the photographs home.
Raffle tickets were not the only way the guest were trying to raise money for a few charities. Mia was first on stage and in the beginning she was telling us about the book of photos and fans’ stories that she made during the Convention weekend. She was always taking pictures of the attendees during the photo shoots or in the main hall.
On Saturday, during the autograph session Mia asked all the fans who were there to write their stories because she’s genuinely interested in the lives of other people. Mia spent the rest of the Saturday to make the book and with the help of Starfury staff it was ready for the auction. It looked great and was made in “I Live Here” fashion. At first Mia began the bidding on the original book but after she realized that a lot of people would like to have it, she set the price so everyone who wanted it could get it. After the auction we paid the amount, gave our addresses and in a few months we’ll get the book. I’m very excited.
The next item that Mia offered to raise money for her Foundation was a dress she was wearing in one of the seasons. After a few bids Mia offered more stuff to add to this one, like a script for the original pilot when the show was called “Earthlings” and Jenny’s fishnet tights. Then Pam came up on the stage and offered a pair of red shoes that she wore as Kit. The list kept growing until the whole set was sold for over 3,000 pounds.
Then Mia also offered a skirt that Jenny was wearing in season six and that Mia was wearing right at that moment. Also she offered a shirt from Malawi and something else and the bids kept going up. Mia was walking along the stage and she kept pointing at the skirt when I asked, “Do you come with this outfit?” Mia replied, “Believe me, you don’t want to take me with you.” I said, “Believe me, I would.” We had a lot of fun. Needless to say, that whole set was sold for another big sum of money. After the TLW memorabilia auction and the fan books that people ordered, there was over 16,000 pounds raised for Mia’s Foundation. Wonderful!
Alexandra Hedison was next and she was raising money for her favorite charity, V-Day, a global non-profit organization to stop violence against women. At first Alex offered two sets of four photographs taken at the New York exhibition of her show. One photo was of Leisha Hailey and Jennifer Beals pretending to be lost in the forest as they stood with scared faces in front of the two of Alex’s photos. Alex explained that there was a sign right there that her show wasn’t about the forest but about the journey and Leisha and Jennifer were goofing around. The second photo was of Alex in front of another photograph. Another one was of Alex and Rachel Shelley, and the last one was of Leisha, Jennifer and Alex laughing. Alex said that there were only two sets of these photographs and the bidding began. Alex ended up raising 1,800 pounds for both sets.
Alex also offered a beautiful limited edition catalog of her “Ithaka” show with a small print included. I already had the catalog that I got on one of my trips to LA when I visited the gallery where Alex’s show was displayed. The catalog is great because it has some of the images and explanations for the photographs. I think Alex ended up selling a few of them for 100 pounds each.
Her next offer was an aluminum blue bottle she used in season six and a unique photo of Alex and Rachel Shelley outside of the trailer on the set of The L Word. I think Alex hinted that the photo was taken after one of their love scenes. The final bid was 700 pounds, if I remember correctly.
Then, finally, all the guests were on stage and they began to think what to offer to raise money for Daniela’s charity. At first they wanted to auction off a lunch with Daniela but it was already late afternoon on Sunday. I suggested a dinner with Daniela but they didn’t have time for that either.
Finally, Alexandra showed us a beautiful necklace that she was wearing and told us that it was made by a friend for her 40th birthday. It was a little book of some sorts with several engravings and a personal message to Alex. As much as I could see, it was very beautiful and Alex offered it for Daniela’s charity. This was really great.
While they were doing the bidding, Alex was walking on the stage and showing the necklace around. Then she kissed it and the price went way up. It was hilarious. Daniela put it on her neck and said that she can throw in some of her facial hair that Max was spotting in season 6. I tell you, those ladies had a lot of fun on that stage. In the end, the necklace was sold for another big amount and Alex personally put it on the high bidder’s neck and even gave her a kiss on a cheek, I think.
After the auction we went to the Sunday autograph session and it was very enjoyable. I was talking with the guests, joking and having fun. Pam was chatting away with everyone and she even kept talking when the person was already moving to another table. Anne was really nice and complemented on every photo that the fans took with her. Alexandra signed for me the set of photos that she auctioned (oh yeah, I forgot to mentioned that I got one of two sets). Mia thanked me for participating in the auction and for coming to her fundraiser in Los Angeles the month before. When I asked her to sign her photograph by Jennifer Beals that I won at L5 Convention, Mia happily obliged. I have this photo now signed by both Jennifer and Mia and it’s hanging on my wall where I can always see it.
Rose and I had a lot of fun at the autograph session. First, I gave her season six promo photo just for her signature but she said that she was going to write all over it…and she did. Then I produced our “funny” photo from the Saturday photo session. On this photo we are standing back to back with our arms folded and looking at the camera. Rose looked at it and said, “Oh man, this is my bad side.” I joked that I was showing my bad side as well. Rose replied, “You should’ve told me” and then she laughed and wrote on the photo, “To both of our bad sides”. Then she added that she meant it in many ways and they were all good.
As I was leaving, Rose suddenly asked, “Are you coming to Australian Convention?” I pretended to think and she just laughed, “I know I will see you there.” I hope she will.
The closing ceremonies are always bitter-sweet for me. Knowing that it’s the final event and in a few minutes it will be all over just feels…well, final. One by one the guests came on stage and said a few words. I could totally see a difference in them. At the opening ceremony they were a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. At the closing ceremony they all were more confident and excited, saying how much they enjoyed the Convention. Pam and Rose were also emotional at the greetings they got and it was obvious they would absolutely love to come back. And I hope they will because all the guests were such a delight to meet.
Funny thing happened at the Manchester airport on my way home. I was waiting at my gate for boarding when I heard the following announcement. “Following passengers, Dixon and Holloman, please come to the gate 214.” I had to laugh, thinking that Jennifer Beals (travelling under her married name) and Laurel were leaving Manchester after being at L6 incognito. I knew that Laurel was at Emmy Awards and neither could be in Manchester but it was such a coincidence with the names and it put me in a much better mood on my long way home.