L8 weekend

Friday

L8 took place 11th to 13th of March at Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton. Can't say much about the city itself other than it being a very smooth traveling distance from London and Gatwick airport. I checked out Brighton Beach briefly - twice. The weather was great (by UK standards) on both Friday and Sunday. Chilly but sunny and barely no clouds at all.

After settling in my room for a few hours, I collected my weekend pass and selected four photos (of Laurel Holloman, Erin Daniels, Clementine Ford and Janina Gavankar) for the autograph session. £10 a photo. Not within my budget at the time but I knew I'd regret not buying any photos. Besides, four photos for £40 is better than nine photos for £90...
After that I ended up paying for an overpriced bowl of nachos in the hotel lounge. I stayed in my room after that, watching the news and the japanese disasters.
I also pondered not going to all of the guest talks this weekend. I didn't know three of the guests and felt I should put my attention elsewhere. I had lost my mood after lunch which stuck with me he rest of the evening.

 

Saturday

While preparing to go down to breakfast it dawned on me that if I didn't go to all the guest talks I would have a hell of a time trying to find a good seat where I could use my camea with ease. Last year at L7 was difficult. I found a good seat but didn't have a zoom lense. Taking photos was a massive guessing game. This time, I had a zoom lense, and I would be utterly stupid if I threw away the possibility to get really good photos.
I had a massive breakfast that almost made me throw up. No need for lunch after that!

Tracy Ryerson and Stamie Karakasidis

I queued for an hour, watching the slow invasion of women in the hallway outside the main hall. 10am and we were let in. I found what I thought was a good seat ... until I realized it was right behind the video camera of the crew. Great!

Tracy and Stamie were the first guest talkers. I had never heard of them before. The event pamphlet said they had starred in the Real L Word. I don't watch reality shows as they only focus on drama. But let's just say I don't regret going to this guest talk.
Stamie is a Greek-American with no verbal cencorship whatsoever. To make it worse, she's also a stand-up comedian! She had the entire audience laugh at her comments; such as her trying to teach her children manners. Her ex is a french woman (if memory serves me right. That, or the ex's new girlfriend is french) and Stamie decided it was good that her children greet their other mum with "Bonjour Cuntface!".
Too many inappropriate comments to remember. It was hilarious though.
Tracy on the other hand was more composed but was caught off guard with Stamie's ongoing comments.
They talked about their relationship and how Stamie had, on national television, called Tracy's mum a bitch.

Heather Peace

Shortly after Tracy and Stamie left the stage, Heather came on. Again, I had no idea who she was. The pamphlet said she'd starred in a brittish serie called Lip Service. The serie seems to be a glaswegian version of L Word.
Listening to Heather was a blast. She's very down to earth, somewhat goofy and has such contained energy.
Example: guests are supposed to sit in their armchair, on stage and answer questions asked by the audience from a microphone placed in a specific spot in the hall.
Instead of doing this, Heather was mostly standing up, pacing casually on stage, telling people to just shout their comments or questions at her. When she didn't hear what they said she started running up and down the aisles. At one point her bum was next to me as she leaned over at least two women only to catch the question of a third person in that row. I'm not sure if she did all this on purpose or if she forgot she was supposed to sit down.

Someone asked her about her most horrific moment in life and she told us about how she had accidentally killed her hamster when she was younger. She was in an argument with her brother and stomped her foot unaware that her hamster was on the floor. That lead to more disturbing hamster stories from the audience that we just couldn't stop laughing at. Someone had found their hamster lifeless in its cage, so this woman and her brother had a short burial ceremony for it. Few days later they found out this particular hamster hibernates... Everyone was horrified and Heather was in shock, covering her mouth with her hand.

On a lighter note, Heather spoke about her coming-out story; how she'd been to a gay club, made eyecontact with someone clearly interested in her while the entire room seemed to do the Saturday Night Fever dance all around them. Heather bolted out of there telling her male friend she thought she was gay. He replied she should go home and get some sleep because she would be back to normal in the morning. Clearly, that didn't happen.

Someone, possibly Heather, started a Pornstar Name contest. It's apparently made up by putting together the name of your first pet and your mum's maiden name. I don't remember any names though but it was an amusing contest.

Clementine Ford and Kate French

Both Clementine and Kate showed up in the later half of L Word, starting in season four I believe. They chatted about this and that, and told us how they had reacted when finding out they had been accepted to join the L Word. Clementine had been out driving in absolute heat that day. The car had broken down in a remote area and she was absolutely frustrated by the situation that she couldn't really enjoy the happy news. Kate on the other hand had gotten the news while shooting for another serie or film. She was supposed to be heartbroken in the scene but couldn't manage it as she was apparently glowing from the news.

Clementine talked about how difficult it had been for her in certain situations while filming. She had been a bit insecure about her acting skills. Especially when her character Molly was caught by her mother Phyllis (Cybill Shepard, mother of Clementine nontheless!) having sex with Shane. Clementine felt awkward on so many levels. Later in that scene Molly gets very frustrated and angry at her mum and starts yelling. I remember wondering how someone could make it sound so real. Apparently I wasn't the only one. Clementine told us that after the scene ended, her mum, Cybill, asked her if she was mad at her for some reason. If that didn't assure her of her acing skills I don't know what will!

Erin Daniels and Lauren Lee Smith

This is what I had been waiting for. Erin Daniels. Her character Dana was one of my favourites. She then died of breast cancer in season three and was taken out of the show. It pissed me off and I'd been wondering for so long why this happened. Was it Erin's choice to leave the show or was it the destiny of Dana?
Erin made clear she wasn't happy with the decision to "kill" Dana. In her opinion it was a matter of improving viewer ratings; to see which show could stir most reaction by "killing" off a popular character.
I don't remember the exact words Erin used, but I do remember the intensity of her tone of voice as well as the bitterness of being "left out". Most of the actresses of L Word have remained friends and to her it felt like all her friends were invited to this amazing party and she wasn't invited.
On the question of her having seen the remaining three season she answered no simply because she wanted to be part of it so badly but couldn't.
One woman in the audience carefully suggested that "maybe it's time to let it go... for your own sake..." and Erin's humour popped right back up by saying "Do you take credit cards or can I send you a check?". This broke the seriousness of the chat.

In all honesty I don't remember much of what Lauren said simply because most focus was on Erin. I do remember her saying it felt strange for her to have a short romantic moment with Alice (played by Leisha Hailey) who were dating Dana at the time of her death. Apparently they were supposed to have this "sympathy sex-scene" after both having lost Dana. Both of them said no.

That's one thing that seems to flow through the making of L word - pretty much all of them had a say in how things should play out. I think that's great. Makes for great television.

Laurel Holloman and Janina Gavankar

Again, actresses I had been waiting for. Especially Laurel, seeing how she seemed to have one of the bigger roles. Sort of. Tina, who spent most of the show being Bette's (Jennifer Beals) girlfriend/wife. Janina on the other hand showed up in season three or four as Papi, the latin love magnet.

I was slightly disapponted when it came to Laurel. I was hoping she would be as relaxed and laid back as the others, and somewhat humouristic, but she wasn't. Janina was the one chit-chatting the entire time making everyone laugh.

At the end of the session we were told that Janina had to leave and wouldn't be around for Sunday's sessions. That sucked because I was in a non-friendly camera area and hadn't been able to get good pictures.

Autographs

The autograph session took place right after the guest talks. It was total chaos in the hallway because of bad planning. They started letting in Gold Ticket holders and then jumped to regular tickets starting with number 300. I had 137. No one offered information on when all he rest of us would be allowed in. I didn't want to hover the area to avoid missing out. But thankfully a group of visitors were let through so I joined them.

The first ones to sign photos and memorabilia were Laurel Holloman, Erin Daniels and Janina Gavankar. I felt an air of arrogance coming from Laurel. She signed photos while leaning her head against her arm on the table. That's the boredom posture. She never made eyecontact either. I think that's important during such a circumstance. We're all fans, more or less. At least put some effort into it as a lot of people have spent a lot of time and money to be there. One woman had come all the way from Hawaii! That's a long trip for just one weekend. I hope she got better treatment.

All of the others made eyecontact. Janina even looked at me with a smile and appologized for not being able to sign photos more personalized. Normally you can choose, but for some reason they didn't allow it from Laurel, Erin and Janina.

The queue to the remaining six guests were long. Very... long... It took me a total of 90 minutes to get all nine autographs. I enjoyed Clementine. It wasn't until later I noticed she had signed my photo with a heart, "to Jay" and her autograph. I remember her hesitating before signing as if she was trying to figure out what to write. But I am sure I'm not the only one with a heart on my photo. It's impossible to get 500+ unique signings.

Tracy and Stamie were having fun at their table despite Tracy suffering from foodpoisoning. When I got there and Tracy saw my weekend program with a yellow post-it with my name on it she asked if I was Jay. I said "Yes" and she replied "Hey Jay". That of course made people giggle. If only I were more comfortable speaking english I'd whip up a whitty comment. But I wasn't quick enough. I just smiled and said "Thank you".

That was basically the end of the day; for me at least.

 

Sunday

Another massive breakfast at 7am that prevented the need for lunch.
The day was pretty much as Saturday had been. Stamie and Tracy with their stand-up comedy comments, potty mouths and sarcastic nature. Hilarious. Stamie promised us all a sample of her stand-up comedy during the closing ceremony later that evening.

Heather Peace kept running up and down the aisles with her microphone. There were some more morbid dead hamster stories, and some woman had asked if she had ever tried her skills shooting a ping-pong ball from a very personal area. This caused major laughter and a two year old kid in the audience to scream "PINGPONGBALL!" about eight times or so.
Another woman in the audience pointed out the woman using sign-language at the side had a minor crush on Heather. She completely stopped when she heard she was the topic. Heather hopped down from the stage to give her a quick kiss and hug. Back on the stage someone else pointed out that the girlfriend of said woman was also in the audience. Heather humouristically complained this wasn't alright, to have her being that friendly when their significant other were close by. So... she hopped down from the stage to give the girlfriend the same treatment.
She also promised a short music performance during the closing ceremony.

Lauren Lee Smith spent her session talking about various thing. One of those things were her former step-dad's "documentary habits". Apparently Wikipedia says he made documentaries, but as far as Lauren knows, he didn't. She was giggling the entire time telling us her view on things, how she had never found out what exactly he was filming. Only that they had to constantly move and that it might've been related to his hobby. I have this sinking feeling it's not something one would laugh about.

Laurel Holloman and Erin Daniels answered questions about a possible L Word movie. It's not something that is planned and, if I remember correctly, they both said they would probably take part in such a project.
One poor woman in the audience confessed that she'd recently started watching L Word and didn't know Dana was going to die, and said she now knew when to stop watching. Such a bummer! Erin sat there feeling really bad about it.

Lastly. Clementine Ford and Kate French showed up with a group of people that were working on a film project. The director had been working on the L Word. I didn't find it interesting and stopped listening, more or less. Instead I focused on getting photos.

In between the end of the guest talk and the closing ceremony, I had one last strole along Brighton Beach and found a fish 'n' chips shop. Massive fried fish and huge chips (or fries as I tend to call them (or pommes if you're swedish)). Not too shabby. I wouldn't eat it on a monthly basis but it was ok.
Back at the hotel I caught Heather Peace during soundcheck. I took photos through the glass in the door while I was waiting. It was frowned upon by some other people who were waiting. I have a zoom lense. Sue me!

Once let in and waiting a great while for everyone to settle and the actresses to show up, Stamie gave us a taste of her comedian side. She took alot from her every day life, which was quite hilarious.
Heather performed, and nearly dropped her guitar on the stage floor when the strap snapped, and later she managed to step on the cord to the amplifier. Everyone laughed and she stood there looking rather goofy. She took it well though.

The actresses said their goodbyes and so did I.