L7 Convention in Birmingham, UK – Day 3 Sunday Report
I decided to get all my photo shoots done on Sunday morning. The staff and stewards were very efficient and I was able to get everything done in a short time. I got my habitual group photo and one with each guest.
The Q&A’s were next and here’re some of the Q&A’s summaries from the Sunday sessions. Same as before, I’m only posting the answers as much as I can remember.
Q&A with Mei Melançon
- Mei enjoys rock climbing but she hasn’t done it much lately. If she would have to pick out any building in the world to climb, it would be the highest building in Hong Kong that she thought was featured in one of the “Mission Impossible” movies.
- Mei didn’t really know what she was expecting when coming to her first convention because you never know how you’re going to feel when you walk up on stage. She was a little nervous when Sean told her there were about a thousand people present. She shared a story about her aunt who was running a pizza parlor when she was younger. The robbers came in to rob her and instead of crying she fell on the floor laughing. She laughed so hard, she couldn’t open the safe. These are kinds of feelings you experience when you’re nervous and don’t know how to react. Everyone was really down to earth and welcoming, and Mei said she really appreciated it.
- Mei’s favorite scene to play was a short scene at the end of the dance episode, when Alice asked Jamie if she was in love with Tasha. It was fun acting with Leisha, who played her role so emotionally that Mei felt that she really wronged her.
- Mei was growing up in Japan until the age of 12 and then they came to the States. She already mentioned before that she had a big family. Someone asked if there was a time when she wanted to tell her parents to stop having more children. Mei said that after there were five or six of them, each time her mom would come and tell them, “Guess what guys, you are going to have another brother or sister,” they all would start crying because they would have to help taking care of another baby, especially when everyone around them only had two or three children at the most. Everyone in her family has such a different personality and it teaches you how to get along with people.
- Mei played guitar until the age of 12. When she was a kid, she was in a band and thought she was going to be a musician.
- It always changes what she wants in life, but in her career she wants to play roles that break stereotypes and open people minds. She’d like to leave a thumbprint on the world in a positive way.
- Mei would love to direct one day, even if it’s going to be a challenge because a director, who’s also acted, gives a different direction than the one who hasn’t.
- Mei prefers honesty in a relationship even if it breaks her heart. As of now, her career is really important and she would like to find a balance between relationships and her career.
- Mei started her career as a model and then transitioned to acting. About eight or nine years ago she had an opportunity to read for the “Memoirs of the Geisha”. Mei really liked the book because she grew up in Japan and some of the experiences were familiar to her. She had never done any acting before. This is one of the experiences, way before she moved to Los Angeles, which helped her decide about acting. Mei didn’t have dramatic training and she started with some commercials before moving onto the movies and television. It’s easier to play a character than being yourself.
- A dream role for Mei is to play a mom again. In her latest movie “Shockwave Darkside”, she’s playing a mother who abandons two girls to be a soldier and it was very challenging to play. She also wants to play a historic figure, Tokyo Rose, whose real name was Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American who was convicted of treason but was innocent. There are a few scripts going around that she is interested in. Ultimately, Mei would love to play something biopic.
- “The L Word” had a great impact on Mei, just as any job does. From every job she comes out with completely different perspectives. On the set of “The L Word” she always saw the respect for each other and respect for women and it made Mei feel very proud of being a woman.
- Advice to those who want to do acting: study, work as hard as you can and don’t give up.
- If Mei would have dinner with famous people it would be: Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, Joan of Arc, Katharine Hepburn, and Iva Toguri.
- To add to her superpower of reading mind, Mei would also like to have the power of healing.
- Doing things for people makes Mei happy, also being outdoors.
- To enrich herself Mei likes to read and she reads a lot.
- Mei just got on Twitter; you can find her here @MeiMelancon
Q&A with Leisha and Kate
One thing has to be said about the cast members doing Q&A’s together – it’s always more fun and entertaining than the individual Q&A’s, especially if the guests are well paired, like Laurel and Jennifer at L5, Pam and Rose at L6, and now Kate and Leisha at L7. We laughed a lot during that session. Kate and Leisha did impressions of each other, made jokes when someone told them that she had two turtles named Kate and Leisha, and they themselves had a lot of fun.
- Kate’s second dog is a rescue dog and he’s a mutt. Leisha also has two dogs. She had lost her favorite little dog, Bandit, a couple of years ago. She has Hero (both of them are in Jennifer’s L Word Book) and about five months ago she got a new dog. According to Leisha, she’s a little white dog who looks like Bette Midler.
- Kate did a movie with Judi Dench (“The Shipping News”), and though they were not in the same scene together, she showed up on set when Kate was there and they had met. Kate’s words were, “They don’t call her Dame Judi Dench for no reason.”
- If they were reincarnated, in the next life Kate would be a gay man in Paris and a painter; Leisha would be a straight man in Spain and a painter.
- Things they like about each other: Leisha said that Kate is really, really loyal, she’s always there for her friends, she’s non-judgmental, she’s a great cook, Kate’s home is always cozy, and she’s funny; Kate said that Leisha is one of her best friends and she can tell her anything, she’s non-judgmental, they always laugh together, and Kate admires her talent as a painter, musician, actor and every time Kate sees something that Leisha created it’s mind-blowing.
- Kate is learning to play drums and Leisha would have her in her dream band, along with Axl Rose.
- One of Kate’s favorite episodes or the one that stood out was the brownies party when they danced to a Michael Jackson song. It was so much fun to film and it took 12 hours to do. Kate was really sore at the end of it and the brownies were really good. One of Leisha’s favorite was the Dinah Shore episode because it was still so new and this is when the show found its place with friendships.
- Kate and Paris Hilton sort of hung out at the Season 5 Premier party in L.A. a few years ago because Paris and she had mutual friends and Paris just showed up for the party. This is how they ended up hanging out together. Paris is nice but they are not actually friends who hang out all the time.
- Leisha has met Madonna a couple of times and said that Madonna is awesome. Leisha felt star struck and nervous around her.
- Advice for people who are starting their career as actors: keep going even if you think you make mistakes and screw up, don’t give up.
- They both think that accents are cute.
- In a lot of group scenes the audience might notice that the actors don’t look at each other. It was because they were just laughing moments before, and they tried not to make eye contact, so they could make it through the scene.
- Kate thinks that Shane had matured throughout the whole series to a certain extent but not entirely, because there was never enough time to explore everything.
- Both Kate and Leisha agree that thinking is not cheating (remember Season 5, episode 10, campfire discussion?) but it can get dangerous and could get you to cheating. It depends on how you think.
- Kate and Leisha didn’t know each other before “The L Word”. They all became good friends because they were “stuck” together in Vancouver for six months out of the year filming and hang out together. If they were filming in L.A. it would be different because at the end of the day they all would go home to live their lives and it would be more like a job.
- The cast’s favorite thing was wardrobe sales at the end of each season. They would have their little meetings and decided who wanted to take what clothes, and sometimes they would take some other character’s clothes because they liked it. Leisha also wanted to take The Chart but it was too big. Kate said that she didn’t take anything from Shane/Jenny’s house because they didn’t have anything. Bette and Tina had the best stuff.
- One of the scenes they couldn’t get through was when Shane was painting her house and Alice came to help. When Jenny was coming around the corner, Alice sat down on some kind of army bag full of stuff that Shane had and she fell backwards. They were laughing really hard and for the next hour, each time Mia would come around the corner, they began laughing and couldn’t get through the scene.
- If they would write their own ending to “The L Word” Kate would like to see the closure for the characters instead of the whole murder thing, something more realistic. Leisha would like to see an open ending so we could imagine for ourselves where the character would go. She’s not a fan of perfect package endings because life isn’t like that.
- Mia was the queen of pranks on the set.
- Leisha said that if she would meet Alice, she would be drawn to her because she’s such a social butterfly. She had learned from her character to be more open and not be so scared of things, to live in the moment. Kate thinks that Shane and she wouldn’t get along but the one thing she learned was to understand that everything happens for a reason and you just keep going.
The auction had begun right after the Q&A session with Kate and Leisha ended. They brought some things like clothes, records, photographs and other items to raise money for a few charities, one of them was Mia Kirshner’s “I Live Here Foundation”. Mia also sent some photos she took and each photo was accompanied by a letter, written personally by Mia and explaining what each photo represented.
I had participated in a few auctions during the years, beginning with L5 Convention and I didn’t feel like I should get anything but let others to participate. There were several very great items but all I tried to do was to help by starting the bidding on certain items when the things were going too slow.
I have to admit, this auction wasn’t as exciting as the one at L5 because there was no Janina Gavankar, who was a perfect and brilliant auctioneer or Rachel Shelley who walked around with the items in her hands like the girls during the boxing matches. Everyone at L5 made the auction very exciting and they ended up raising a lot of money.
It was still great because they were raising money for a good cause. Leisha brought her practice bass guitar, posters from the tour, Uh Huh Her first record, a very unique t-shirt and some other memorabilia. Kate brought a whole bunch of clothes, like jeans, shirts, glasses, and a hat from “The L Word” and also a watch and a hat from “Three Rivers”.
Except for the glasses, Kate put all the clothes together and offered it as a pile for one person. The hat was cute and I would totally bid on it, but I knew I won’t fit in any of her clothes. Even Leisha said she won’t be able to fit in any of her jeans because the size is negative 6.
Since I was trying to help by starting the bidding on some of the items, including Mia’s photos, I actually ended up getting one of them and it’s a really precious one. It had a letter attached to it and it said in Mia’s handwriting:
“Hi, this is Mia. Thank you. Thank you for buying this. This will help “I Live Here” run our programs next year. This page is the original page art hand-made art done for the “I Live Here” Anthology. This is deeply personal page for me – it was the first picture that I took for the book over nine years ago. This page also explains why I started this whole project. You have the only original copy of this and I hope that you care for it as myself and my partners have done over the years. If you need more information on the art, please contact me at email@example.com. Thank you deeply, Mia Kirshner.”
The closing ceremony was a little longer than the opening because Sean gave thanks the stuff members, the stewards, assistants, everyone in charge of the technical side of the event and then the guests said a few parting words. And the Convention was over.
My final impression of L7 Convention was that it was a very fast and very mellow convention. Apart from the auction that seemed to go on forever, everything was over pretty fast but like every good thing all conventions are over too soon. It always feels like I barely arrived and suddenly it’s already over, and L7 Convention felt like the fastest of them all.
Maybe it was because we only had three guests and the photo shoots and autographs sessions were done so quick that we had a lot of free time to spend with friends in the lobby, chatting, watching World Cup, drinking British drinks and eating British food, which is still a little strange to me.
It was my first time watching fans watching a soccer game between England and Germany that would determine which team will advance. It was amazing to see how devoted the fans are to their teams. I was told by a very good friend, who is English, that England and Germany are long-time rivals. If England wins, there’s always a possibility of a fight with German fans; if Germany wins, everyone just drinks beer.
Well, Sunday match ended with everyone drinking beer, English fans being disappointed by their own team, and a German flag left in the bushes after someone had urinated on it. The funny thing of it for me was the fact that the game began right in the middle of the Sunday auction and every time Germany made a goal, the big screen would show the current score and everyone in the audience would groan in frustration. Kate would run off stage to check out the big screen to see what was going on because they thought something was wrong with their auction items.
One would think that my return journey home would go more smoothly but alas, that was not the case again. My journey back home began on a beautiful Monday morning at 5:30 am that almost turned into a nightmare.
The shuttle we booked in advance to take us to the airport was filled pretty quickly and there was no seat for me, so I was left at the hotel alone, waiting for the shuttle to take everyone to the airport and come back for me. Did I mention that I hate waiting?
When I finally got to the airport I caught up with my friends and we arrived in Amsterdam around 9 am, when I found that my flight to Seattle was delayed until 6 pm. Not again, I thought desperately and went in search of a transfer desk to see if my flights can be re-arranged.
At first the KLM representative devastated with me with the news that all the flights to the US were fully booked. When I was about to assume the role of helpless damsel in distress, the KLM lady found a seat on a KLM flight to NYC but I could only have it if I had all my luggage with me. Luckily, I always travel light and have all my bags as a carryon. Of course, with the new flights I’d get home after 11 pm and I had to be at work early the next morning but it was still better than sitting and waiting eight hours at the airport, not even knowing when I would get home at all. What a day!!
I think my flight to New York turned out to be better than the original because I was flying KLM and the food and drinks had a better quality. The nightmare began again as we landed at JFK airport. The air was so hot and humid that I immediately drenched with sweet and it didn’t help me feel better after travelling for over ten hours.
After delaying the flight again, changing our gates at least three times (each time we had to walk to the opposite sides of the airport), we finally boarded the plane and I was home sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Another journey is over and I’m waiting with excitement for a new adventure.