Seattle…. This trip was interesting. It was rife with complications from the beginning. There were mix ups with the organizers, equipment issues, babysitter mishaps, sick kid, arduous logistics, etc., which differs from my usual OutlanderBTS Adventures. I was paying attention.
My flight was delayed two hours, so I arrived late on Thursday night. As I stood in the baggage claim area and felt the place, I understood why my brother lives here. Calm, intelligent, high tech. No one was talking loudly on his/her cell phone or rushing around gesturing wildly. People were having quiet conversations: laughing, smiling, and looking at each other. In my less-than-48-hours here, I took 7 cab rides, interacted with people at my hotel, the convention staff, people on the street, and restaurant personnel. I found people to be engaged, relaxed, polite, and friendly. This is a sweeping generalization, of course, but the vibe I got was: people in Seattle seem pretty happy.
I got to my hotel (W Seattle) and had an apple from the check-in desk and honor bar cashews for dinner (the glamorous part of travel). I put together my post about live streaming the panel for the next day, and hit the hay.
I had my Friday morning all planned out: wake up, get my equipment ready, eat a bar, go down to the water and do my MPC sprints, come back up, drink my coffee, eat breakfast, color my roots, shower, put on my makeup, and walk up to the con in a leisurely fashion. I turned my phone on at 6:30AM, and got a call from home at 6:41AM. My mom had fallen ill on Wednesday, (my hubby was gone this weekend too), and we had scrambled around to find back up in the form of Cousin Johnny- 30 year old bachelor, and general rock star to our kids. They’d had fun, but one kid woke up sick, and Cousin J had to go to work. More scrambling. As I talked to my Sick Kid, I thought “I’d better charge my digital camera battery,” so I began pulling out my equipment. After several digs through my backpack, the realization dawned that said charger was already plugged in, and in fact the battery was fully charged by this time, at home.
I calmly got off the phone, beginning to get a little annoyed. My hub and I had divided up the on call shifts – he was to take Thursday evening while I was on my flight, and all day Friday. I was texting him. No response. He was in Nashville with 3 college buddies, no doubt sleeping it off with earplugs in and his phone on airplane mode. grrrr.
I felt distraught. Really??? I had come all this way to get photos with my I phone?? Noooo.
After feeling my feelings, I calmed down and quickly examined my options: I could borrow my sister-in-law’s DSLR camera… I texted my brother. No answer. They live 1.5 hours away by ferry, better keep looking.
I thought about buying a new battery, and looked up the nearest Best Buy. Then I looked for camera shops in Seattle, and found a little treasure called Glazer’s camera shop where they rent equipment. BINGO. 10 minutes away by cab. They opened at 8:00AM, 5 minutes.
I called Glazer’s, downed a power bar and then packed up my camera and headed out. The fresh air and movement felt wonderful, so I decided to walk for a while before catching a cab the rest of the way. I turned lemons into lemonade and took the opportunity to rent a new zoom lens for the occasion. Back on track.
I began the (uphill) walk back from the camera shop, but now I was heavily laden: umbrella, backpack, purse, rental case, jacket. I walked for a while and then decided to catch a cab for time’s sake. The camera shop is on the outskirts of town, so it took me a while to find a taxi, and by then I was feeling pressured for time. Never a good thing for Ninja flow.
Back at my hotel, I had about 30 minutes to get ready and make it to the panel. I examined my roots. They would have to wait. I sniffed in the direction of my armpits, passable. I downed the remaining cashews and apple for breakfast, washed my face, brushed my hair, changed my clothes, and took off.
As I hopped in a cab, a very well costumed Superman passed by on the street, red cape waving in the wind. We pulled away from the curb, turned the corner, and promptly stopped in traffic. Superman passed us. Traffic started moving again and we moved forward, and stopped at the light. Don’t get all tense, I told myself. I was losing sight of Superman. His cape was dancing in the wind waaaay up ahead now. Crap.
I asked the cab driver to pull over, I paid him, and I leapt out. As I approached the venue, I saw so many different characters walking in every direction. Joker, Disney princesses, video game characters, you name it. It was crazy. I entered and asked directions to the main stage. I went up the three escalators to get there. The ECCC rep who was helping me was texting me to hurry to the front of the line. I weaved my way through the line outside, apologizing as I went.
I’m the one with blue hair she had said.
Finally, I catch sight of the blue hair and we introduce ourselves. She takes me up to the front row, but the place she’s saved for me is gone. She finds a seat in the 4th row, but then says it’s OK if I plant myself at the foot of the stage to snap photos, so I do. As I’m crouching there, I look over and see two people with infants in the front row, covering their ears for the noise. There is an ECCC guy on stage having people do dance moves before bringing on Cait and Sam. He introduces Clare Kramer, who comes on and introduces Cait first, then Sam. Cait is all smiles and blushes.
Sam comes out, dancing like a white man and wearing a kilt. He does a “wee twirl” (his words), which thrills the audience.
— Evening (@KING5Evening) March 7, 2017
— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) March 7, 2017
Woops, you know Sam, with AAALLL those I phones in the audience, one (or two) are bound to get the money shot! ? Verra cheeky!!
Now, I avoid objectifying comments whenever possible, but I’m not dead. I think kilts are very sexy on men, and Sam wears a kilt SO incredibly well. There’s something about the casual draping of the fabric, the legs, I don’t know. Despite being called skirts, they are SO MASCULINE in my opinion. Just the other day my daughter was talking about how boring men’s dress clothes are. Always the same, the only room for expression being a different tie. A kilt just opens up a whole new world in my opinion. What a fantastic garment!
Here is Sam, post twirl. I’m loving the combo of kilt and leather jacket with boots. What a great look.
I clicked some shots, and then realized that from my spot, I was facing Clare, and Sam and Cait were facing the opposite direction. It wasn’t until afterward when I was editing my photos, that I realized my position was so good for… er… kilt shots. But you see what I mean about the draping.
The full video of the panel is here in this post, so I will just write about my impressions and things that stood out for me, instead of giving a play by play of the whole panel.
I wanted to see their faces, so I assumed a bent over position and ran from where I was, around the seats, and to the other side of the stage, where I could get better shots. Sam’s eyes looked a little red and puffy, (presumably from too many kilt lifters the night before?), but he seemed happy.
Cait looked like gorgeous Cait.
Clare gave her opening comments, and directed everyone’s attention to the BINGO card displayed on the big screens, saying fans sent in questions to be asked and questions NOT to be asked (those on the Bingo card) Brilliant.
Someone on the production team once said to me of Caitriona: “she’s an actor’s actor, like Tobias,” meaning she doesn’t thrive on the public stuff, or gravitate to fan activities like Sam and some of the others do, preferring to quietly focus on her craft. I was hoping this convention would be a good experience for her, and was happy to see her expression and hear her say quite genuinely, “wow, that’s a really good question” many times. Outlander fans really do ask intelligent, thoughtful questions (most of the time).
I thought Clare did a really good job of moderating. She only asked a couple of questions that we’ve all heard the answer to a million times like, “how did you get cast?”
Moments that stand out for me include a My Peak Challenge woman who stood up and began crying immediately at the mike, thanking Sam for the program and telling how it has changed her life, and given her back her self worth. It was really beautiful. This photo captures the emotion evoked in that moment…
And here is a video clip of that…
Cait and Sam enjoyed answering q’s and giving each other the business. Cait talked about how Sam has a lot of teenager in him, especially when it comes to food choices, like still putting ketchup on his steak, and liking strawberry flavored parritch. She also refocused him when he ventured off topic. We learned that Sam always gets sick, and Cait plays real life Claire to him, pumping him full of vitamins and herbal remedies (I don’t blame her, she has to kiss Sam A LOT in her job, and she’s gotta stay healthy herself!) French was challenging to learn for Sam. During shooting, the actor who plays Father Bain was attacked by dogs in real life (sorry to the actor, but he plays creepy Father Bain so well, the dogs probably sensed that he was evil!)
They were concerned about not giving away spoilers and avoiding getting in trouble with Sony/Starz. One clever fan asked if they could just do body language to answer the following question: How closely does the print shop scene in the show stick to the print shop scene in the book?
We heard about their paranormal experiences. Why does it not surprise me that they’ve both had them? That’s kind of how Outlander rolls.
*Note to future convention attendees/trombone players, if you take your trombone to the next Outlander gathering that includes Sam, he may just play a few bars…licks…slides?
Another moment that stands out is when Deb Kennedy asked if Sam and Cait could read a scene from the book that didn’t make it into the show. She was all prepared with excerpt in hand- the scene in which Jamie gives Claire the wedding ring. Clare (skillfully) shot that down. However, Cait said they would make that happen on their own time, as a droughtlander relief gift. Very generous and definitely something to look forward to!
A woman asked if Sam would ever consider lending his voice to a navigational system… I couldn’t help thinking that could be a road hazard. Very distracting!
And here is a clip of Sam and Cait explaining what Sam’s favorite Scottish slang term, bawheid means…
Another woman talked about how she had asked this question of Diana at Random House and also asked it at Starfury (but Bad Steven Cree was there, so it no doubt became a (dirty) joke- Sam apologized for everything Steve Cree has said or will say…).The question was, “your embodiment of these characters has profoundly, and I don’t use that word lightly, has profoundly changed my life. I mean it brought me out of terrible depression, and I know it’s done that for millions of other people. As performance artists, how does that affect you, that you have profoundly changed and altered the course of people’s lives. Don’t cry!” Cait answered this one, and basically said that they are actors, they pretend for a living and if it gives people an escape, that’s good.
Personally, I kept thinking about this question and this answer off and on over the next few days. I feel like Cait missed the point. Another person asked her how far she’d read in the books, and she answered through book 3. Could that be it? I’m not sure, but my take on that question is that as readers of these books, we experience so many things with these characters. So many trials and tribulations, joys, and intimate moments. Going through these experiences with Jamie and Claire actually makes us more resilient and more empathetic as people. Experiencing their struggles and their tenacity to their core values, even through excruciatingly hard things, makes us stronger. It’s called “experience-taking,” and it’s a real thing. People aren’t just experiencing escape when reading Diana’s books and watching the show, We are actually being enriched by these characters and their experiences. This, in my opinion, is the reason there is such a devout following of these books, and this show. It’s not simply escapism. To read more about how novels can change our brains, CLICK HERE and HERE.
I say more about this here, in Contemplating Caitriona, If I May Be So Bold…
And lastly, the sweet woman from Chicago who asked Sam to say hi to her mom. Loved that.
As a photographer, I enjoy shooting these guys so much. They are so physically beautiful, and then also so beautiful inside as well (which just enhances their outer beauty, obviously). In fact, during the editing process, I start to become almost sick of them, believe it or not. I take tons of photos, and with most people, you’ll get a handful of good shots. With these guys, they are so photogenic that the good shots go on and on and on and on! Tough job, I know.
I want to share some of my favorites with you….
Here is the full panel in case you’ve not yet seen it…
Later that day I had a photo taken with Cait, which was literally a 30 second affair, but it was nice to meet her, however brief.
And then I ran into this woman, who had spent a month sewing this RED DRESS! Amazing.
Unfortunately, I did not attend the VIP meet and greet, so I won’t cover that here. Seems like everyone who went had a wonderful time though.
I spent time with my brother Friday afternoon, which was great. On Saturday morning I got up and did my MPC sprints down by the water. It was a fresh, sunny, beautiful morning.
I met up with my brother and his kids, and then I hopped a plane back home, managing to round out my trip by leaving my laptop at Seattle TSA after an unexpected baggage search. ? All is well now, and I’ve recovered all my loose ends, thankfully!
It was a very quick trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and all of the people I met or saw again. A whirlwind OutlanderBTS adventure, I look forward to the next one….