Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Welcome to our Little Corner of the World

Where you lead, I will follow was never more appropriate than this past weekend when Gilmore Girls fans from across the country (and even further--hello Brazil, England and Australia!) heard the rally cry from one super fan in particular, Jenny Whitaker, who dared to ask the question, If I build it, will they come? The answer was a resounding Hell yes we will come.

Jenny, and her husband Marcus, decided to put together a Gilmore Girls fanfest while on a road trip this past summer. While the event wasn't without its hiccups (most events aren't) it was amazing to see how much time, effort and love went in to making this happen. Amazingly, 1,000 tickets sold out in just 11 hours. They added 200 more tickets the following day and those tickets sold out in 1 1/2 minutes. I was one of the lucky 200.

While this wasn't my first pilgrimage to Washington Depot, the town that the fictional Stars Hollow is based on, this visit was far more fulfilling. In addition to Jenny, Marcus, their friends, the cast and all of us fans, it was the town itself that was so sweetly excited to claim their fictional identity. They were more than welcoming to so many [nutty] fans who wanted nothing more than a weekend in our favorite quirky New England town. Whether they realized it or not, they were being very Stars Hollow about the whole thing.

From the hardware store owner who set up a Luke's Diner style table and chairs in his window and obligingly offered to take photos for GG tourists, to the bookstore that set out any and all Gilmore Girls related books at their front table. Even the woman who's AirB&B we stayed at (a cabin imported from Finland--gah!) volunteered at the festival and had purchased a Gilmore Girls boxed set from a garage sale so we could watch the show in the evenings if we so desired. Let me tell ya, she was a total Babette.

In a word, it was charming. And Gilmore Girls was never short on charm.


My pink haired compadre, Andrea, who is one of my best friends in the world is also the same person who introduced me to Gilmore Girls and who pilgramged with me the first time we came to Stars Hollow. We should all be so lucky to have a friend who when you madly text, "Want to go to a Gilmore Girls Fan Fest?" texts back just as madly, "YES!" We are friends for many, many reasons but it doesn't hurt that we share this same geeky love a little TV show that brought us together many moons ago. Also, for the record, when going to any type of festival or crowded setting it really helps to be friends with someone who has bright pink hair. Everyone remembers you, and you can spot them in a crowd immediately.

Now the moment you've all been waiting for, the cast.

Hello Jackson!
If you're a little rusty on your GG peeps we have above: Vanessa Marano (April Nardini), Jackson Douglas (Jackson Belleville), Todd Lowe (Zach), Keiko Agena (Lane Kim), John Cabrera (Brian), Sean Gunn (Kirk) and Rini Bell (Lulu) and George Bell (Profesor Bell--and he also happened to be the dialogue coach for GG from seasons 3-7) Below: Rose Abdoo (Gypsy), Biff Yeager (Tom) , Aris Alvarado (Caesar), Ted Rooney (Morey) and Liz Torres (Miss Patty).


The cast was so nice! Posing for picture after picture and taking question after question on all things Gilmore Girls--they were fantastic. Some things I learned about actors: Even at a FanFest they don't want to be called by their character name. Oops! I mean, I get it...they are real people with real lives that extend far beyond the scope of this one character. But in our defense, we were so immersed in the experience it was hard not to want them all to keep playing their roles a little bit. And in fact, many came dressed in character (Gypsy and Jackson for example). Some seemed to mind this a bit more than others (coughSeancough), but again everyone was really nice. And they didn't just pose for pictures, many of them supported a local charity often aligned with their character--Sean Gunn for example was promoting a local cat charity and was selling Team Cat Kirk shirts for the cause, while Jackson Douglass was posing with pumpkins to support local farmers.

One of our most surreal moments came as Andrea and I headed to the media hub to thaw out and charge our batteries (no, our actual phone batteries) and we suddenly found ourselves sitting next to Liz Torres, aka Miss Patty and hanging out with her, hearing stories from her Hollywood days and all I could think was, how is she not the real Miss Patty? She looked at photos of my kids, laughed hysterically at our jokes and all the while we were trying to play it cool. The suddenly Keiko Agena, aka Lane Kim, ran in real quick to grab a piece of pizza and ran out. Later Andrea, who relates most to the character Lane, reminded me that it was exactly like a moment in an early season of GG when Lane runs into the Gilmore household, grabs a piece of pizza (forbidden devil food at her house) and runs out.

The weekend was full of those surreal moments when real life was colliding with our GG fantasy world and I often found it difficult to hold those two moments at the same time. C'mon Sean Gunn, let me just call you Kirk!
I think most would agree that the biggest bummer was the weather. Friday evening was delightful, Sunday morning was magical but Saturday was miserably wet and cold. What are you gonna do? One place that I hadn't been to on our previous Stars Hollow sojourn was the Mayflower in. Rumor has it that GG creator Amy Sherman-Pallidino stayed here when she wrote the first three episodes of GG, And of course it stands as the inspiration for the fictional Independence Inn where Loreli works.
Behold, the gazebo. This gazebo is not actually in Washington, but just down the road in New Milford.

Friday evening and Saturday evening both ended with a cast and crew panel. Friday's panel featured dialogue coach George Bell, costume supervisor Valerie Campbell, casting directors Mara Casey and Jami Rudofsky, and writers/producers Stan Zimmerman and Shelia Lawrence. They were later joined by the late Edward Herrman's widow, Star Herrman, and their youngest daughter. You can read more about the behind-the-scenes stories they shared here.

Saturday was a panel of all the cast members being interviewed by none other than the well known podcasters The Gilmore Guys. You can watch part of the panel here.
We were not allowed to ask any questions about the upcoming episodes and opinions varied widely on many topics. There are so many loose ends that may or may not be tied up and so many directions the new episodes could go. With fan theories being thrown around and a tight-lipped cast and crew we are all on the edge of our collective seats to see what November 25 has in store.

But I did come away with one overall message:
If a majority vote rules, it's Team Jess all the way!

2 comments:

  1. So fun! Way to represent, Inwood 1st!

    ReplyDelete