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Vulkon Tampa 2004!

I know this is nowhere near news anymore. Sorry... Maybe I should say that it is purposefully timed to tide you over during the con slow-season. In any case, here's a picture of the cool Song plane that took me to Tampa.
Friday night cocktail party
There were many familiar faces here, and Vulkon fed us free food and drink. Lovely...

The first thing I did was get in the drink line. Glancing around a few minutes later, while waiting in line, I did a very literal double take to confirm the identity of Emma Caulfield behind us in the drink line. Someone offered to let her cut the line, but she declined. She was wearing some kind of skirt and tank top, and was a lot smaller than I imagined.

I talked to Mark Lutz, who was friendly and cute, and Canadian! That was when I met his biggest fan (hi Kristina!). We talked to George Hertzberg (handsome, and tall), and James Leary (cute and funny). There was some technical camera difficulty getting a picture with Leary, resulting, on the third try, in this funny picture.

There was a large crowd waiting to talk to Emma, and lots of people were flashing pictures of her while she was talking. Which, by the way, I thought was kind of rude and unusual. She seemed a bit put off/overwhelmed by all the pictures, and I asked her if she was this famous everywhere she went. She said that LA was different - that nobody cared, and there are celebrities everywhere; her example was standing next to Keanu Reeves at Starbucks. Plus, she told me, she usually has on warmups and tied-back hair and no makeup, and didn't think people would recognize her. She seemed really tired, and not so much friendly as candid. Shortly thereafter, she excused herself to use the restroom, saying she would come back (she didn't). We learned later that she was sick with the flu.
Christian Kane, also looking pretty tired, made a late appearance with his bandmate Steve Carlson. His plane had been delayed, but he was kind enough to show up anyways, and Vulkon was kind enough to extend the event so we could wait for him. He was really nice, taking pictures with a few people (until his assistant put a stop to it), but didn't stay long. I shook his hand - told him that I had seen him in Chicago, and was really excited to see him again. He held my hand for a minute, and said something like "I love that."

Saturday a.m. photo ops - Emma & CK
Craig took the photos, doing a great professional job, as usual. The lines were really long, forming along both walls of a narrow, poorly air-conditioned hallway. The front of the line went through a much cooler, spacious room, before being admitted to the photo room proper. (like purgatory?) We did the Emma photo first. She looked really sick, and I felt sorry for her having to stand up and smile with everyone. Back out to the hallway to re-queue for the CK photo. ...I'm pretty sure that of all the verse celebs I've met, he wins for most honest good-looks. :)

Emma, Christian, and J. August signed in the main room, where they called us up by row, and flash photography and personalization were not allowed. I was surprised and impressed to see that the assistants were wearing white gloves to pass our pictures (unlike the MR people, who felt the need to put their paws all over the pictures - sorry).

All the other guests sat in a separate room, where you could come and go as you please, harass the talent :), and get unlimited autographs (which you had to pay for). I guess this is the distinction of the Vulkon 'bonus guest'.

Emma did her autos quickly, clearly not feeling well.
Christian Kane has a little of that James Marsters patented make-you-feel-special thing. He signed my photo-op with him and Stephanie Romanov from Flashback Weekend in Chicago. Stephanie already signed this one for me at MR, and CK quietly copied her personalization for me :). J. August was fast, but friendly.

In the bonus guest room, I got autographs from Mark Lutz and George Hertzberg, who were both super-friendly. Kristina and I (well, mostly Kristina!) harassed Mark at great length :) I already have several James Leary autographs, but he was selling a picture that was pre-autograhed by Ron Jeremy...

Q&A: Leary, Lutz, Hertzberg, Toy
This panel was characterized, as you might predict, by a lot of comedy. I don't remember much of it. Someone asked what superpowers they would like to have. Hertzberg said flying, and Lutz said that he would like to be able to shoot soup from his fingertips. A different kind of soup for each finger. Some of the questions were pretty silly, and one of the panelists rebutted with "If you had to be a floor tile, what kind of floor tile would you be?" The soup theme returned from time to time throughout the hour.

Q&A: Christian Kane
In Saturday and Sunday sessions, CK fielded questions about Angel, film, and music, speaking with a blunt candour that was both endearing and intimidating. Although he is best known to us as Lindsey from Angel, he said that he prefers film to television, because you can finish a project and let a character go. He's been in several films (filmography), although if he could remake any film, it would be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids.

He talked about doing his own stunts, and even said that for Crossfire Trail, a condition of his signing on was an unwritten agreement that he would be able to do his own stunts. He said "I run a certain way - I don't know if it's cool or not," and that he hates having people "running for him." A fan complimented the fight scene in You're Welcome, and CK, sounding really proud of his work, explained how he had trained with the sword for a month, and that the shots were mostly him.

Saying that he had come back for s5 on the condition that he wouldn't have to wear any more suits, or get beaten up by "any more girls," he revealed that in s2 he had hated wearing the suits (and the wooden hand), and when either Lindsey or Lilah was slated to die, he told Joss to kill Lindsey. He even said that him and Joss had never "seen eye to eye" about his character, although he was otherwise extremely complimentary of Joss.

Someone asked who the "hottest chick" on Angel was, and without hesitation he said Julie Benz. He said that she has a way of breathing as she says her lines, so you can feel her breath on your face, calling it "so sexy." Someone else asked what female co-star he would like to work with, and he replied Natalie Portman, although he didn't sound so sure about that.

Drinking from his ever-present beer (and on Sunday, spitting into a cup at the same time), CK also answered questions about music and his band Kane. He reserved some answers for the Q&A with Steve after their performance later that night, saying he didn't want to "steal Steve's thunder." He said that it was hard to tour, because his bandmates also have other gigs. He also said he doesn't "have the means" to take the band on the road.

Although he didn't so much like doing Love Song (with Monica), which he said turned into more of a "rap movie" than a "blues movie", he did say that he would like to combine music and acting. He said that Steve had songs in almost every movie he's done, including Just Married. Notably, the guitar part for the song that Lindsey played in the s2 episode Dead End was actually performed by Steve.
If he had to take a job besides music or acting? Waiting tables. He said that he used to do it (he worked at Chili's), and liked it. He's usually a shy and private person, he explained, but waiting was like acting - he would sometimes even put on characters and accents just to mess with people.

He has tattoos of Cherokee art on both legs, that he drew himself. He said that he wanted to keep his upper body clean for roles. He wouldn't show us his tattoos because he didn't want to take his boots off.

Christian has a new movie with Queen Latifah, called Taxi, due in theaters this October.

Q&A: Emma Caulfield
Emma did a great Q&A, despite being sick. She was frank, well-spoken, and entertaining. Questions about the boys came up almost immediately. About her sex scene with James Marsters, she said "he's very adept at what he does." When asked who the best kisser was, she answered James, saying that he "gave it his all", and reiterating that "he's very adept." She said that it was very hard to kiss Tony Head, because although he's not that much older, he's such a paternal figure. She went on about Tony, saying that "he is the glue," and that when he was gone in season 6, they definitely felt a "void." She explained her reasons for not wanting to come back for an 8th season. She was quick to say right away that it had nothing to do with Sarah. Rather, she said, it was because she stopped feeling challenged after a while. She called working on Buffy a "cushy life," saying that they were there for fourteen hours a day, but only worked for maybe two hours, spread over the day. She said that she wanted to try writing or directing, and that there had been no opportunity to do that on Buffy.

Her favorite episode is Restless, which she said was "beautiful." Did she think that Anya and Xander should have gotten married? No, she said, it's "more realistic that way", and also, people lose interest once characters get together, and it's "more fun" to keep them apart. Emma told us that she liked the way Anya died "abruptly, with no fanfare," calling it "poetic."

Emma talked about her mockumentary film Bandwagon, which is currently making the festival circuit (and getting good reviews). It's an unscripted film, in which she plays, as she says, an "asshole version" of herself. She was disparaging of reality TV, but she said that in order for scripted shows to make a comeback, they will have to improve. She said that 98% of the scripts she reads are "formulaic crap."

Someone asked if she would like to play a young Lady Macbeth for James Marsters, since he had reported at MR that he had gotten $50M for a Macbeth project. Her response was basically "What?? 50 million dollars?! You're kidding, right?" She seemed incredulous, but said that if anyone could re-do Shakespeare successfully, it would be James.

Taking care of some business...

Saturday night banquet
They gave us actual food, but the drinks weren't free this time around. I was assigned a seat at James Leary's table, which was fun. J. August, Emma, Mark, George, and Camden had tables, but I didn't really get to talk to them. Emma came over to our table at one point to talk to Leary - she was carrying chocolate cake, and told him that was all she could eat.

They had us sit on the floor in front of the stage. Kristina and I got a great spot right up front. J. August, smoking a cigar, came onstage to introduce Kane. Who rocked hard, incidentally, demonstrating unmistakable talent on the part of both Christian and Steve. I liked this acoustic format better than the full band show they did in Chicago.

Sunday a.m. photo ops - JAR and Kane
Saturday night they announced that they were going to sell extra photos with Christian and Steve together, and since by now I was smitten with the both of them, I forked over the $$. They told us 9am, but after diligently waking up early, Craig told me to come back at 10. So I queued up again at 9:30, and CK arrived around 10:30. He walked right through the hallway where we had repeated the double-sided line-up sans air-conditioning, and when he got to the front, he apologized for being late, and said something like "This is bullshit. I'm gonna get water for all of you". I thought that was a nice sentiment, but surely impossible. But as I got near the front of the line, someone came by with a case of water for us. Witness the star-power in action. When I took my picture, I told CK something like "You guys were great last night. I saw you in Chicago, and I wasn't sure if you could sing or not, but now I know it." I think he wasn't sure whether to feel complimented or insulted... But really I just meant that in Chicago, you couldn't make out the voice parts very well. :)

The J. August picture came and went in the blink of an eye.

Q&A: Mark Lutz
It was father's day, and Mark called his dad on speakerphone, holding the phone next to the mic so we could hear. He had us all yell happy fathers day for him. He said his first acting job was an internal motivational video for Ford, and his next job was a scripted "Jerry Springer type" show in Canada called The Marriage Counselor. He said they taped five shows a day, with 50 pages of script to memorize.

Q&A: CK and JAR
CK started this panel by himself (see CK section above), followed by a group session with J. August. When J came on stage, he tried to sit on the back of a chair, but of course, tipped the chair over and almost fell. Christian grabbed him, in an inadvertently umm, compromising manner, resulting a compromising picture obtained by my friend in the front row. Someone else pointed out that he got the compromising picture, and JAR came down, took the camera, and took it to show CK. They both seemed to think it was really funny. I have a great clip of the action (click thumbnail below), but I don't have the compromising picture :) J asked that when we posted those pictures on the internet, to at least tell the whole story, and he made some comment about fan fiction...

Partway through, CK was scheduled to leave, giving J a solo Q&A. When he was about to leave, J said to him "You don't really have to go, do you?" They looked to the organizers, and to the fans, who cheered for CK to stay, so he stayed. They seemed to be good friends, and did a great a group Q&A.

Someone asked them to talk about interesting fan encounters. J told a really funny story about one time when he was coming out in a magazine, so he went to a bookstore to get a copy. A woman came up to him, and asked him if he was in a magazine, because he looked familiar. She told him that she was in a magazine as well, and would he like to see it? He's thinking Essence, or Ebony... it's Big Black Asses. She pulled one off the shelf, and proceeded to show him her pictures, which J called "craaaaazy poses." Then she asked for his phone number! And J says that he was so thrown off by the whole thing, that he gave it to her!
CK told us a story too... Him and J were riding in a limo together from London to Scotland, going to a convention. They stopped at a "chipper" in the middle of nowhere to go to the bathroom (CK explained that there was liquor in the limo...). CK said he was "three sheets to the wind," and ready to get in trouble showing up at this place in a limo... They went inside.. and it was full of old women, whos' "draws dropped" - they were angel fans! He said that going to "another country, another lifestyle," and finding that people know you, is "crazy."

Charisma's Playboy shoot came up, and the guys were asked if either of them would consider doing something like that? They both said no. The audienced pressed on: did they buy Charisma's issue? CK said "I've been a subscriber for 10 years." Someone in the front row said "Like the holy bible?" and CK said "It's like a catalog to me." He continued with "I've dated many..." - then he stopped talking about it. J said that he had tried to hook Christian up with Amy Acker, but then she got married :)

Christian said that he really admired J as an actor. He said that he never did a bad line... except one, which he parodied, making fun of J. (I can't remember the line.) They both seemed to greatly admire each other. CK said that he really thought he was going to get a series regular role, but J got it instead. He said he thought he would get it because he was white. They had joked earlier about how black characters on Buffy were lucky to last a season.

J said that although he was one of a short list of african american actors in prominent roles on TV, he hadn't felt much of a burden to portray his character in a certain way. The reason for that, he said, is because it was a fantasy show, and also because he trusted the writers and other people he worked with.
Ok! that's it! As usual, let me know if you think I've misquoted or misrepresented someone.
Cheers and thanks for reading,
Melina :)

Text and photos © Melina at
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Motorcity 2005  |  Moonlight Rising 2004  |  Flashback 2004  |  Creation NY Buffy Salute 2004
DragonCon 2003  |  Moonlight Rising 2003