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Flashback Weekend Angel/Buffy Event  report
Chicago, May 14-16, 2004

    After a quick plane ride and a long wait for the hotel courtesy shuttle, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Internation O'Hare. Which is not to be confused with the Holiday Inn O'Hare/Kennedy, or the Holiday Inn Select O'Hare... At the hotel there was hardly any sign of Buffy fans yet; there were, however, plenty of anime fans from the anime con across the street. The costumes were cool. In any case, we were early enough to go sight-seeing, which we did.
tourist pics
    The Friday night cocktail party lived up to its name by having an open bar with an imported beer and mixed drinks. This feature made the event well worth the price tag. The format was similar to Creation NY (see Creation photos here!), with staff responsible for moving the celebrities along to each table for a few minutes. I imagine this works quite well from the point of view of the celebrities - they get rescued from conversations quickly without ever seeming rude :). Stephanie Romanov, Christian Kane, Camden Toy, and Charles Cyphers were present. We weren't supposed to take pictures with them, but it could be done if you were assertive and fast. I was neither. Charles came by first - he played the swim coach in Go Fish, the famous Xander-in-a-Speedo episode. It was brief and awkward. Camden Toy was next. He is the actor responsible for bringing some of Joss's most interesting monsters to life - the lead Gentleman (Hush), Ubervamp, Gnarl (Same Time, Same Place), and the Prince of Lies (Why we fight). He was very funny and talkative, and not shy about giving us lines from his characters, and scary faces. I'm not joking about the scary faces.
    Next was the famous Stephanie Romanov ("Lilah"), who was as cool and down to earth as I remembered. She told me I looked familiar, had she met me before?, which is of course a sure-fire way to make a fan happy :). (Note the sketchy-looking bodyguard with the earpiece in the mugshot of Stephanie. Those guys were everywhere, and can be seen in the background of many photos.) I was really excited to meet Christian Kane (of bad-boy Lindsey fame), because I think Lindsey was one of the most interesting characters on Angel, not to mention cute... As usual, the fact that he looks just like Lindsey was crazy, and I was a little overwhelmed. He asked us if we were going to the Kane concert on Saturday.

Me and Puppet-Angel
I really appreciated the free beer. However, LeeAnn and I decided to hit the bar for one more... which really was expensive enough to make up for two of the free ones. But we weren't really considering that at the time... so off to the bar. But first, we happened across Puppet-Angel and his cast of cardboard flunkies in the dealers' room... And we saw Stephanie in the hallway and she asked us for directions to the elevator :)
    LeeAnn and I made an early-morning Walgreens trip on Saturday, to print out some pictures from Friday night, so we could get them autographed...
Parkridge IL
Saturday Morning - Photo Ops!

    I was happy to learn that you could combine your Stephanie and CK photo ops for one picture with both of them. Lilah and Lindsey together! How great is that. After deciding that my shirt with diagonal stripes maybe wasn't the best shirt to wear for photos, I headed downstairs and joined the confusion that was the photo-op 'not-line'. When I fianlly got up there, CK said "nice to see you again." Eeep ;)
    And then of course there's David Boreanaz. The star and title character of Angel... need I say more? Very surreal to see such a celebrity - he's certainly better looking in person than on the show, if you can believe that... I was a little nervous, but I'm getting better at this. (Nothing will compare to the first photo op I got with JM, at my first ever con...)

Saturday - Autographs!

    Kudos to Flashback Weekend for a really excellent nazi-free autograph line. And you could take pictures! And there weren't any staff to make sure you only got one autograph. So you could easily get two... Boreanaz first - he signed (and personalized:) my Angel s5 cast picture, and that great 100th ep photo that has Charisma in it, and Andy w/out makeup. The pictures are lacking, but DB is in the white shirt, and the guy leaning over his shoulder is CK.
    I had printed out a couple of pictures of Stephanie from the night before. I asked her how she felt about the photo of her and CK, and she said "god look how fat I look," and I said "Oh please!". She said it looked like she was saying "Shiiit"... Since she didn't seem too happy with that picture, I pulled out the mug shot. She said "my makeup was good, you can't tell how bad my skin is." Her sister, who was sitting there with her, agreed that it was a nice photo of Stephanie. Anyways, she offered to sign both of them.
    Elizabeth was nice. Her assistant made a crude joke about DB, and we laughed about that.
    CK signed the same picture that Stephanie signed. He looked at it for a minute before realizing when it was from, then he called out across the room "Steph!", and held up the picture to show her. I also had him sign a photo of Lindsey with the tattoos that I found in the dealers' room. Because, come on, the tattoos! Thanks to LeeAnn for taking the pictures of me at the CK autograph table.
    Camden was signing for money in the dealers room.

Saturday - Q&A's

    The Q&A's here were really short - 30 mins. I made it in time to catch Camden talking, which was funny and fun. He really is funny. Actually, when I got his autograph in the dealers room, I asked him if he ever did comedy, and he told me that he used to do standup in NY, but got tired of the club scene.

    Elizabeth Anne Allen made her first appearance at the Q&A on Saturday. Since I was never a big fan of her Buffy character Amy, I was hoping that she would be cool in person, which she was. She said that she enjoyed her role on Buffy because she liked to do a lot of different things, and Amy's character was "all over the map". She said that after Buffy, she took a hiatus, during which she got married, and did a lot of traveling. She said that she is currently developing arts-related enrichment programs for children. When asked if she ever visited fansites, etc, she said that her first introduction to fans on the internet was after she cut her hair - she said that Joss told her the fans didn't like her hair... Note the ever-present security guards, indicated by the yellow arrow (!).
   Stephanie Romanov - What can I say? Well-spoken, intelligent, *and* entertaining. Someone asked if Lilah would have killed Wesley had the senior partners asked her to - she said yes.
    And David Boreanaz!!! Talk about star power. Actually he seemed level-headed and frank, and funny too. I was mostly too star-struck to remember what he talked about. He denied knowing about the incident Spike referred to with the line "... Angel and I have never been intimate...except that one time..." He said something like: "Angel's not gay. Andrew's gay." He said that Angel ending was bittersweet for him. That he would consider doing an Angel feature film, but not a TV movie. That he would have liked to see more development of the relationship between Angel and Spike, had there been a sixth season. That seasons one and five had been his favorite.That he was looking forward to showing us some other sides of himself, by taking new roles. Transcript here! Considering some of David's published remarks about the cancellation of Angel, I was happy that he was very diplomatic, and didn't alienate the fans. Personally, I feel a little better now about the show ending, having heard DB talk about it. And I am certainly looking forward to seeing all of my favorite actors in new roles.

Saturday Night - Kane in Concert

    Saturday night, we took the free shuttle bus to the Pickwick Theater. CK's cousin and longtime friend, Branden Hart, opened. He had Christian sit in with him for a couple of songs. Then, the circulating rumors proved true and DB came on stage to introduce Kane. They played a fun set, with CK seeming to get drunker and drunker with each song. David and his wife Jamie, and Stephanie, were in the wings watching as well. Stephanie mentioned during her Q&A the next day that they had free beer backstage... The last song was Sweet Home Alabama, and David, Jamie, and Stephanie came out on stage, danced, and yes... sang. Fun times all around!

And it was still early so we went back to the bar. Room tabs are a dangerous thing.

Sunday Morning - Emergency trip for more memory! (And Surprise Photo-Op)

    I ran out of flash memory at the Kane concert, so I got up early to make an emergency trip to Walgreens. Where, of course they only had tiny 64M sticks, for the great price of 128M! I bought two. It was an emergency! And also, this gave me the opportunity to part with some more of my money... Since I was up early I noticed that they were selling new photo-ops, with DB and CK together. And for a mere $125! I called up to our room, where my roommates were still sleeping. They made an emergency get-ready effort, and joined me in the queue. I told my roommates that at a Buffy con, there are many ways to part one from one's money. And we all agreed that this was one of the easiest ways. I was wearing my photo-unfriendly diagonal stripes, but again, emergency! While we were waiting, I took the opportunity to get a picture with one of the security guards. Note the ear wire.

Sunday Afternoon - Q&A's

    More Q&A's on Sunday. I missed most of Camden Toy due to the photo line. Elizabeth Anne Allen went next, then Stephanie Romanov, then Christian Kane and Branden Hart together. They were drinking beer. CK can be a real quiet talker. And a loud talker too. I forget what prompted this, but at one point, he said something like, "You take the cast of One Tree Hill, and Smallville, [and some other show I can't remember], and put them in a room together, and me and Boreanaz and James will whup their asses." Everyone laughed, and he said "You think I'm joking, I'm not even joking." CK introduced David Boreanaz, who joined them in the panel, and a little bit later, David introduced Stephanie again. CK and DB are apparently great friends, and this was evident. There was a lot of comedy and rowdiness, as expected - that's the great thing about panel talks. On the serious side, CK praised David for setting the pace on the Angel set, and taking the lead in keeping it ego-free. Transcript here!

I got one more autograph from David (my photo-op from the day before), and it was time to go home. It's hard to get back to work after having so much fun!

Other links:
Nice report from City of Angel
David Q&A transcript at TDBUK
Group Q&A transcript at TDBUK

Thanks for reading! As usual, if I got something wrong, or misquoted someone, let me know.

Text and photos © Melina at (except the photos with me in them, and most of the autographs.
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