OK. I know, I know. I didn’t get this blog post done yesterday as promised but give a girl a break! It took me a full day to catch up on all the other Tweets, blogs, pics etc. that were posted by other returning Outlanders. I also had this little thing called work that kept interfering. But, hey, that IS what funds my Outlander habit (among others). Today, though, I’m trapped in a car dealer getting my car serviced, so what better way to kill the time?
Starting at the top…
The top of the JW Marriott that is. I had an awesome room on the 20th floor of the JW Marriott that had a great city view. Unfortunately, I had to wait a while to appreciate the view since I woke up at 5 am. A combination, I think, of Eastern time zone and excitement meant I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I passed the time with a blog post and scouring the internet for Tweets and Videos from the Television Critics Association panels and interviews the day before. But eventually, I was able to capture the following:
Still trying to kill time (It was only 9 am), I headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I felt very special because my waitress called me “My Lady” when she brought me my pot of English Breakfast Tea along with my omelet. I felt very secure in my knowledge that Starz said there would be NO lining up before noon. Finished with breakfast, I headed back up to my room prepared to waste a little more time on Twitter and Facebook. However, to my shock and horror, I saw that people were already posting pictures from IN FRONT of the Orpheum. I quickly decided it might be in my best interest to go and check out the situation.
A mile and 20 minutes later….
I arrived in front of the Orpheum…to find many, many people. I immediately met one nice lady from Canada. I noticed at once that she was wearing a very lovely scarf made of Nova Scotia tartan. I asked her about it and she said she lives in Alberta now, but had someone from back home send it to her just for this occasion. I looked but never saw any Cape Breton tartan but did see an Alberta tartan that was very similar. After a few minutes talking and milling around, we discovered that there actually was a line already forming…about a block away. We hurried to get our places… So, despite a no line until noon policy, we took our places in a petty long line about 10:45 am.
Who knew a line could be so much fun?
Taking my place in line, I settled in for the next few hours with my soon to be new friends. It is always fun to gather with others who are in love with the same thing you are. Although I have to admit, most of the group I was in line with was female, there was also one husband there who was lovely. He would go get things his wife needed and even brought the rest of us water as well. Most of the people around me were local California people but I did meet people in line from Canada, Texas, Connecticut and even, get this, Peachtree City, GA. PTC is very close to where I grew up.
I will also say that despite the trouble around the line up time, the Starz PR dept was very well prepared. There was lots of security and the event staff were very good at answering the questions we had about what the process would be. It turns out that they did start handing out everything we would need for entry at noon. These items turned out to be:
and a Number:
As I stated in my earlier post, I got number 157 and instructions to return to line at 1:45. So, precious items in hand, my new friend Shawnette and I set out in search of lunch. Unfortunately, it turns out, there aren’t that many restaurants in that particular part of LA. Even more unfortunately, the ones there were there had not heard of the impending invasion of Outlander fans and were woefully understaffed. Luckily, Shawnette and I were able to get a table at Umami Burger. A little nervous about getting through with lunch in time to get back in line at 1:45, we opted for salads instead of burgers. I’m really glad we did because we just managed to finish and get back in line on time.
The Main Event
Back in line, the excitement was definitely starting to build. Event staff came through the line looking for people with gold stars on their lanyards. We all looked at each other and wondered what gold stars would get you. None of us had them and we hoped we weren’t missing something really good. Turns out the gold stars were those fans chosen to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the event.
At long last, they started escorting groups into the theater in groups of about 50. For a minute I thought I was going to be told to find a partner and hold hands. Felt a lot like lining up for recess in Kindergarten.
So I would like to say that I was very orderly and consulted my line companions about where we should sit as we entered the theater, but I have to be honest and say that I really just sprinted for the best seat I could find. I very happily found a seat just left of center in about the 8th row.
The Orpheum Theater is a beautiful venue. For those with Atlanta connections, it reminds me very much of the Fabulous Fox Theater on a smaller scale. Here are a couple of pics of the theater and the required “selfie” to prove I was really there!
Eventually, the main event started with 2 pipers. I’m sure the pipers were very good by California standards, but I have to admit I have been used to Cape Breton standards for a while and there was no comparison. After the pipers, we were very kindly welcomed to the event by one of the Starz executives who then introduced the host, Alicia Quarles. Alicia professed to be a fan of the books and it was obvious she had some familiarity with them. However, you know I would rather walk on my lips than criticize somebody, but…. let’s just say she was no Outlander superfan. She kept getting Caitriona’s name wrong, bless her heart. (And everyone in the south knows what that means!)
I won’t do a detailed blow by blow account of the actual Q&A. There are too many other excellent blogs that do that and for that matter, you can watch it yourself here:
I will say I was just a little disappointed that some of the same questions were asked that have been asked many times before. I keep trying to remind myself that not all fans have been on this bandwagon as long as I have. I, and many other dedicated fans, know most of DG’s stories by heart but I would listen to Ron Moore talk about anything, whether I’ve heard it before or not, for as long as he wanted. He’s just that interesting to listen to.
The pictures from the set were some repeats from ComicCon in NY but the trailer we got to see sure wasn’t. We had the inaugural viewing of it right..there…in the Orpheum.
The trailer…O..M..G… , the trailer. Literally, every hair on my arms stood up when they played that trailer the first time. I’ve read the book a gazillion times and even I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next after watching that trailer. I can only imagine the effect it will have on Outlander Virgins. Please, do yourself a favor and watch the First Look trailer:
The true stars of the event though were Sam and Caitriona. It was really great to see and hear them in person and be able to judge first hand the chemistry they have between each other and the enthusiasm they have for their characters. Caitriona was a lovely person, in spirit as well looks. I don’t think she has had quite as much experience as Sam with fans and interviews but she did an awesome job. I especially loved the story about going to buy Outlander before the screen test. She also can keep Sam in line with just a cut of her eyes.
As for Sam…..I don’t really know what to say that won’t make me sound like a goofy teenybopper fan. I will say I think there is a lot more to him than just a beautifully put together man. (And oh lord is that man put together well. AND in a kilt? Excuse me while I fan myself). He knows very well what to say and how to cut a look to make the female fans melt. I’m really sorry I wasn’t in the first row to be able to definitively say whether or not he flashed the front row fans as he sat down the first time in the kilt. I think he forgot the tuck and sit lessons that Terry, the show’s costume designer, gave him for sitting in a kilt on a high director’s chair. I remain more convinced that ever that he has humor and self-awareness to play Jamie, as well as the damn good looks.
After the Q&A
After the Q&A panel, there was a very nice tea service. I wish I had thought to take pictures of more of the food but I did get a picture of the menu with a few of the sweets in the background. There were cute little tea sandwiches too.
I also took this opportunity to have my picture taken with Jamie and Claire (wink, wink)
I hung around for quite a while after a lot of people had left hoping to meet Sam, Cait, Diana or Ron but I found out later I didn’t hang out quite long enough. I’m still kicking myself but here is a video to share the experience vicariously of those fans who did wait outside the back of the Orpheum long enough. It’s another example of just how nice these two actors are. You can bet your bottom dollar that if I go to another fan event, I will stay behind until they kick me out!
Anyway, that’s my wrap-up of the event. I thought Starz did a first rate job in organizing an event for the fans. I was a little disappointed it was 2000 people instead of the 250 I thought I was signing up for, but I don’t regret going a bit. I’ve loved these books and characters for a very long time (going on 15 years). I am very comfortable with the fact that this material couldn’t be in more respectful or talented hands. I feel that this time next year that I, and the rest of the dedicated Outlander fandom, will be very self-satisfied in knowing that we were a part of this journey long before most people even knew there was a bandwagon.