X-Files Expo. Vallejo, March 7th 1998
Atmospheric conditions: 45-47ºF (7-8ºC), overcast (conveniently hiding any
11:21 A.M. I am standing in line, waiting
to get into the site. The line is momentarily broken in front of me by a
gasoline-powered, 4-wheel, black terrestrial vehicle, from which
Bruce Harwood emerges. Despite being disguised
in casual clothing, Bruce is instantly recognized, and waves back to the crowd
before going in.
11:28 A.M. I get into the building--a very
small building, compared to the huge military hangar I expected. If this is
supposed to be a "high-tech, high-security environment," the military
is a bad joke. There is a second entrance ahead, where expo agents verify the
attendees' clearance. A few monitors are showing old episode promos,
reminding everyone that the show airs on Sunday. Good thing they told me.
I forget those things.
11:34 A.M. I get past the expo agents, who
have verified my clearance and punched two holes on my pass. There is a short,
slightly cute "maze" decorated like an archive as seen in Paperclip.
As I walk inside, I am provided with "evidence" (a
coumarone-indene bag with a slick booklet, a tracking device disguised as a
simple refrigerator magnet, a couple of coupons for the Suncoast Motion
Picture Company, and some crap--I mean, GM's Intrigue
The first stop on my mission is a clear spot to my left (the "concession area"),
where I inspect the "evidence," looking specifically for a schedule of
events. The search is unsuccessful. However, I do discover a graphical representation
of the site, encrypted in the booklet. Having identified the main target, I proceed
deeper into the building, making my way through a mass of scary normal-looking people,
toward the "movie theater." I do not let them intimidate me.
Standing in line next to the "stage," my great powers of perception
identify Bruce Harwood up there. Thus, I proceed
to get the hell out of the dead line for the movie (do not confuse with deadline),
and step over a few people to find a favorable area for the auditory perception
of Mr. Harwood's verbal communication.
Mr. Harwood talks about how he got the job, and how he avoids ties in real life
because they give him a rash. Following his debriefing, there is a Q&A session.
A mole disguised as a fan asks "how did Frohike die?" causing my brain
arteries to blow up. This wipes out my memory of the more informed questions.
12:15 P.M. "Truth or Fiction?"
Trivia Questions. Sorry, not interested.
12:34 P.M. William B. Davis
takes the stage after a short introduction with video clips from the show. Mr. Davis
then proceeds to explain why David Duchovny is not attending the expo. The
official lie is that Mr. Duchovny has a very busy schedule and could not
make time for these appearances, but, of course, true x-philes know better
than to believe the official lie. Mr. Davis explains that Mr. Duchovny is
not attending because he would misrepresent the show, promoting the idea
that Mulder is the hero, when, in fact, CSM is the real hero. Mr. Davis
proceeds to explain why CSM is the hero, under several headings:
Goals and results. What if Mulder gets what he wants, which is to uncover
"the truth"? The result would be chaos, social unrest, and so on. What
if CSM gets what he wants, which is to cover up "the truth"? NOTHING!
Everything stays the same.
Old and wise, or young and over-emotional. Basically, Mulder is inexperienced
and impulsive. When Mulder is disturbed, he either pulls out a gun or punches
someone out. CSM, on the other hand, is cool and wise. Which one of these
would you want as a leader? Someone who, upon discovering "the truth,"
goes on Larry King to babble about it, or someone who is prudent and discreet
about keeping secrets?
Sacrifice. What has Mulder sacrificed? Nothing. Samantha was not a sacrifice
because it was not his sacrifice to make. CSM, on the other hand, has sacrificed
a personal life for his work. Mulder is obviously not even capable of having
a personal life. In fact, Mulder is probably a virgin. CSM, on the other hand...
Love. Who has acted out of love? Not Mulder. Sure, he gets upset when Scully
is abducted, but they are partners. One is supposed to get upset when the other
is in trouble. CSM, on the other hand, brought the Bounty Hunter to the hospital
where Mulder's mother was dying, lied to the Bounty Hunter so he would save her,
and put his own position in the syndicate in danger--all for love.
You also have to wonder about Mulder's eyesight. Whenever it gets a little dark,
he pulls out a flashlight. CSM LIVES in the dark!
Final heading: Style. Enough said.
1:25 P.M. Sorry,
Mark Snow, but I can't wait to see the movie
preview and I don't want to miss Dean Haglund later on. From the other side
of the building, I hear alternative themes for the show, including one with
lyrics (!). That's just too weird for me. While waiting to see the movie,
I finally obtain a schedule of events.
2:01 P.M. Movie preview.
Not really. This is the same trailer that has been on theaters and online, with
the addition of a scene with Mulder in a bar, and sound bites from CC, DD, GA, RB.
Sure, there is a microscopic behind-the-scenes bit of some special effects, but
that doesn't really say much about the movie. The scene in the bar is pretty funny,
though. The innocent bartender asks Mulder "What do you do?" and she gets
a more... complete reply than expected. Total running length: 8 minutes.
2:09 P.M. Having completed the main task,
I proceed to find a seat (the floor) to listen to Dean Haglund.
2:30 P.M. The obligatory video clips from the
show introduce Dean Haglund to those who do not
have the slightest clue who he is. A couple of minutes later, Mr. Haglund comes
out and proceeds to cause severe convulsions, spasms and streams of saline liquid
flowing from my tear ducts (otherwise as laughter, or LMAO). Rather than talk about
himself or the show, Mr. Haglund selects volunteers from the audience to improvise
an XF episode. The first volunteer provides sound effects to Mr. Haglund's movements
and narrative. A few minutes later, Mr. Haglund puts a lab coat on, while a
second volunteer stands behind him filling the coat's sleeves, thus providing
the hand movements for Mr. Haglund's narrative--which also adjusts to the hand
movements. Later on, a third volunteer moves Mr. Haglund's arms and legs according
to his narrative, getting in some strange positions. Then comes the Q&A session,
which I have blocked for safety reasons.
3:15 P.M. Auction.
The Erlenmeyer Flask and Patient X scripts sell for ~ $500 each,
Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose script sells for $610. Something like that.
Audio books, a jacket... Sorry, the $30 ticket is as far as I'll go. It's for a good
cause, however, so go ahead if you have that kind of money. The auction is sloppy
because Mitch Pileggi is coming up next.
3:30 P.M. More video clips remind people
who Mitch Pileggi is, and Mr. Pileggi comes out.
He jumps directly into the Q&A session, and politely declines requests for
hugs, kisses, and sex on stage, though he does agree to shake hands. This saves
some time, which goes into more Q&As. Mr. Pileggi will not be attending the
Washington, D.C. expo, because his wife is expected to give birth around that time.
This will be his first child. Mr. Pileggi's first audition for the part did not
go very well. He had shaven his head, and CC thought that was too extreme
for the show.
Fan: Who is tougher in a fight, Mulder or Krycek?
Mr. Pileggi: MULDER???
Never mind. You had to be there.
4:30 P.M. Again, more video clips to
introduce Nick Lea, and then he comes out. Mr. Lea
explains he partied until late the night before, so he is wasted. Still, he
manages to answer a few questions between the hugs & kisses requests.
Mr. Lea seems to be under the impression that he is in San Francisco, unaware
of being abducted and returned 30 miles away, in Vallejo. He did not enjoy
the plastic mask he had to wear in Apocrypha.
Fan: I love you!
Mr. Lea: You don't *know* me! I could be a creep.
Fan: You're cute.
5:35 P.M. Having had a lot of fun watching and
listening to the guests, the two minutes from the movie, and beginning to sense
a sensation of emptiness in the abdominal area, I proceed to find an opening in the
building, marked "Exit." There's no way in hell I'm standing in line
for hours for an autograph, food, or to buy stuff. If I want to put myself at
Mulder's desk, or next to a car, I'll do it on my computer. The pictures from
the movie at the computer terminals do not show anything. What a surprise.
Props? The plastic cockroaches did not impress me. The CD-ROM preview looked
interesting earlier, but not interesting enough at this time of the day,
looking ahead to two hours driving in the rain.
The production quality is nowhere near the production quality for the show,
and the implementation was nowhere near the promotional hype. Still, the guests
are a lot of fun, so I have no regrets. OK, I do regret not taking pictures,
recording, or taking notes. The "no cameras [yadda, yadda, yadda] allowed"
rule is bull.
If you would like to remind me of something,
or ask for information not provided here, let me know.
I'll be adding bits and pieces as I recover memories in my sessions with Dr. Werber.
sfgate.com has a couple of reviews here and here, with pictures.
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