Gallifrey One: 28 Years Later - Day One

It's Gally time again, and the con has officially been in full swing since Thursday night. Unofficially, though, there have been folks around since at least Monday. I arrived Wednesday afternoon, but only made my way over to the Marriott Lobby (I'm staying elsewhere this year) on Thursday morning. Every year, it seems, things ramp up earlier and earlier as folks make the most of opportunities to play tourist while in town.

On Friday, the non-con story of the day was rain. The local news seemed to be making it out to be fairly apocalyptic—and to be fair, in some parts of the region there have been several inches since the storm broke—but near LAX, and for a Midwesterner, the rain seemed steady but light. I was fortunate enough to make it to the Marriott before the rain started, and I was extremely glad not to be out in it once the wind picked up.

I thus spent a couple of hours in the Lobby chatting with random folks until the con's opening salvo: the Radio Free Skaro live episode. I sat through the first two sections (interviews with Paul McGann and with Philip Hinchcliffe and Roger Murray-Leach, respectively) before making a couple of passes around the Dealers' Room to ogle swag and grab some autographs.

The afternoon involved several panels. Two were in Program A, and the rest in some of the smaller venues. Although I enjoyed what the guests had to say on those interview panels on the main stage, I had more fun at the more fan-driven panels and meet-ups. In particular, "You Just Got 'Holtzmanned': Gender-Swapping Sci-Fi" was full of thoughtful dialog among the panelists, who had a fairly broad range of opinions on the topic. For the most part, audience questions and comments were also a welcome addition.

Although the timing of the "Would I Lie To You?" gameshow panel (based on the BBC show by the same name) ended up being quite different than listed in the schedule, it nevertheless proved to be an absolute hoot. Two teams of three contestants each would take turns reading out statements hand-written by moderator Paul Cornell. In each round, one of these statements was a rewriting of a true anecdote provided by contestants ahead of time, and the other two were lies. No contestant could look at the cards ahead of time, so at least the phrasing of the event in question was a surprise to them. After all three cards were read, the opposing team could ask questions to try to probe the veracity of each statement, and determine which of the three opponents was telling the truth.

Aside from the entire premise being great fun, the combination of Nicholas Pegg, Nicholas Briggs, and Gary Russell on a single team made for a wonderfully silly experience. Among the highlights were the round in which Nick Briggs claimed to be a "fully qualified blacksmith"—and then got hammered (pun intended) by audience questions into his background—and the one in which the opposing team all made claims about encounters with David Bowie. This latter round was made the more hilarious by the facts that Nick Briggs had already had to leave early and that Nick Pegg is a bona fide Bowie expert. The intensity with which Nick grilled the other team while Gary sat back and watched with the rest of us was a joy to watch.

There is always plenty to do of an evening at Gally, but as I've been fighting off a cold/cough for several days, and I didn't feel a strong compulsion to attend any of the late-night events, I made a relatively early night of it and retired after (an admittedly late) dinner. Saturday promises to be just as busy, and I'm fond of sleep.

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