Doctor Who at the Paley Center

I knew going into this week that I’d only be able to get away early to see one of the Doctor Who events in the city this week. I didn’t hear about the Apple Store event until much later, so the choice was between the Monday event at the Paley Center and the Wednesday event at the Cinema. I decided a ticket in the hand was the safest way to go (especially since leaving early didn’t mean I’d get there in time to have a good chance of a ticket), so I went for the Monday event, where you could claim tickets in advance. (Later I would get an offer from a friend to hold my place on Wednesday, but given that when Wednesday came, they gave the tickets away at 5pm and I ended up working until 8pm, I don’t think that would have worked.)

Now I’ve been sharing Doctor Who viewing with two friends of mine. One couldn’t make it, but the other could, which worked out well, since I could only get two tickets. What follows is the tl;dr version of our trip.

We headed up by train (she listened to music, so I started The Adventure of the Diogenes Damosel, a Bernice Summerfield audioplay from Big Finish, only realising later on that I think I skipped an audio in the series AND that it’s linked to the Doctor Who New Adventure novel The All-Consuming Fire which I bought on a whim at Gallifrey One earlier in the year), and then walked to the theatre. I decided to take no chances and used Google Maps on my Pre to figure out the route.

When we got around 6pm there I spotted some of the DWNY crowd hanging around outside. We went in to pick up the tickets, and Steven Moffat (new showrunner, replacing Russell T. Davies) was being interviewed and/or photographed by the press. The Paley Center was very strict on the no camera rule. My friend and I hung around outside until we heard that Karen Gillan (Amy Pond, the Doctor’s new companion) had appeared, and then shifted in to the lobby with the rest of the crowd. My friend is a bit shy so we sort of lingered in the background. Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) appeared shortly thereafter. I can now say that I stood about six feet from him. Though that is not as good a story as the photograph with Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor) at NY Comicon last year or Gallifrey two years ago when Steven Moffat was nice enough to sign all of my Press Gang DVDs even though there was a limit of two or three items and I had a conversation with Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) about cream cheese and didn’t realise it was him until later or about staying across the hall from Katy Manning (Jo Grant, a Third Doctor era companion) last Gallifrey. :)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We were told to start heading into the theater (after they checked our bags, this being NYC). We sat towards the back on one side – some of the seats were being held (presumably for upper level donors and press). Once the room was full, someone from the Paley Center came in to announce the program. They had a slide with a twitter hashtag up, but I couldn’t get a reliable signal, so I stopped tweeting around the time the show began.

This was the third time I’d seen The Eleventh Hour, so I knew what was coming, but it was still lovely to see it on the big screen with lots of other fans. I’m not going to comment on it here for fear of spoilers, but I will say that if you haven’t seen it yet, you won’t be disappointed. There is one spoiler in the discussion of the Q&A below.

Once the lights came up, we moved on to a Q&A with someone from Entertainment Weekly, whose name I’ve forgotten, but who proved his credibility by bringing along the Dalek voice changer helmet he got for his 40th? birthday.

There is a short clip from the Q&A here

He introduced Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan and after a few quick setup questions, he asked for questions from the audience.

Most of the questions were in the form of “share Doctor Who credentials or lack thereof, say how great Matt and Karen were in the episode OR reference favorite Steven Moffat episode (all the episodes he wrote during the Ninth and Tenth Doctor eras were name-checked), ask question” and most of the questions were the sort they’ve been asked a million times before and you can find the answer in any interview.

Interesting questions (at least to me), probably not in the order they were asked (note that these may contain spoilers for the first episode as everyone had just watched it):

Newbie asks for a quick summary of the show. Big laugh from the audience. Steven Moffat asks if newbie remembers when Kennedy was shot (Doctor Who started airing the day after), then gave the canned “madman running around in a blue box through time and space” answer.

SPOILER One of the DWNY members asked about the fish custard (after telling Steven Moffat that Paul Cornell (who has written Doctor Who episodes and books) said hi, and getting a snarky comment about twittering in return). That scene was based on the entrance of Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh. And this whole paragraph will make no sense if you haven’t seen the episode.

Someone actually asked about the whole “geronimo” thing and whether it was related to “geronimo”‘s special meaning in Coupling. You could tell who had seen Coupling by the scattered hysterical laughter. Steven Moffat had this stunned expression and it was clear this hadn’t occurred to him. He hurried to explain that he’d only put it in once, but Matt was the one who kept saying it.

Other notes: Karen Gillan is very tall. Matt Smith’s hands do not stop moving.

There was a reception immediately following, but my friend wanted to head home, so I grabbed a cracker and we left. Later I found out that the three of them had come out to mingle, though as far as I can tell, the autographs and magnets were limited to the other two events this week.

Still, it was fun and I was glad I went. And it gave me an excuse to become a member of the Paley Center and I’m looking forward to attending other events there.


Amazon Fail

Apparently they’ve started removing gay/lesbian books from their ranking system because of concerns about adult content. The list of books is strange and spotty and they are not removing het books with similar adult content. Amazon, thy name is fail.

A list of books and more information.


Search homosexuality on Amazon now and you get some very alarming results.

Belatedly crossposted from my personal journal.

Comic Con Day 2

I got up bright and early on Saturday, thinking the con started at 9am. Checking the site, I discovered it didn’t start until 10am, so I had time to make my usual rounds of the internet before I left.

Unusually for me, I managed to catch the train I was aiming for, and got there about 15 minutes before the exhibit halls opened. There was already a line at the professional entrance, but I figured it would be shorter than the line for the general public. The next 15 minutes were spent people watching and twittering.

I started at Penguin, since that was where Francine from the Voracious Reader said she’d gotten the ARC of the sequel to Graceling, but they claimed to have no knowledge of the book. After that I wandered a bit, collecting more giveaways for our teen programs.

I’d meant to bring along one of my Sixth Doctor DVDs for Colin Baker to sign, but forgot, so when I reached the Doctor Who Store booth, I ended up buying two of my favourite Big Finish Audios (one 6th Doctor and one 7th) and getting on line to get the former signed. I was impressed by the line, since there hadn’t been much in the way of advertisement that he was there. And it was rather nice listening to people suddenly realise he was there and signing stuff. I did some more twittering and people watching and eventually I got my CD signed and a handshake. A little more wandering and a quick lunch (at the next table over was a Deadpool with bunny slippers and an excellent Elektra), and then off to find the first panel I wanted to see.

This was the SF/Fantasy Authors Roundtable. There was a line, the panel was cramped and they put too many people on it, so they barely skimmed the surface of the discussion. But it was fun watching Tamora Pierce’s reactions to certain things, and there were two authors on there that I might try reading.

Another pass round the exhibit hall left me overwhelmed, so I went out in the hallway to knit and people watch. It turned out to be a good place to admire costumes from, and I could see one of the screens in the food court below which startled me by showing a Torchwood trailer.

About 45 minutes before the Torchwood panel I decided I better walk over and get a place on line. When I got there the line had made three turns already, but judging by the size of the room, I wasn’t terribly worried about getting a seat. Note that the following bit contains spoilers for Torchwood series 2 and Doctor Who series 4 (the previous series of each show).

The next bit is cobbled together from my twitter comments. I’m going into a little more detail by request.

For those of you who don’t know, they’re doing a short, five episode series this year that will be shown roughly simultaneously on the BBC and on BBC America. They’re calling it Torchwood: Children of Earth.

I didn’t see anyone I knew, so I just found a seat and settled down. I took one or two pictures, which I’ll try to post tomorrow.

First they showed the trailer. I’d seen it online (and on the video screen in the food court), and even seeing it again, I didn’t find it terribly coherent, but ymmv. It’s below if you want to see it.

Next they showed some prerecorded soundbites from the cast, using lots of buzzwords and saying almost nothing. I did cheer when I heard there would be more Rhys this series.

Then they let real people up on the stage. For those of you who don’t watch Torchwood, they had Euros Lyn (director of the series and of some upcoming Doctor Who episodes) and Eve Myles (who plays Gwen Cooper, former PC – police constable and current member of the Torchwood team, and whose name I misspelled as Miles throughout my tweeting).

The first bit of introduction just said something vague about the past affecting the future and the future affecting the past. Or something like that. I think they’re trying not to reveal too much about the series by saying nothing.

They alternately said that they’d be dealing with the loss of Tosh and Owen and that they had dealt with it in the Doctor Who series finale and in the audio play that they did last year. They were very specific that this was a new story though.

And here is where I prove to be a bad note-taker. I wasn’t making notes about things I already knew, so there are gaps. Except that I did note that John Barrowman (Jack Harkness on the show) farts a lot on set, which I did know – or at least it’s the sort of thing I’d expect of him.

Mostly it was questions from the audience. They did establish that the weevil was on vacation for the series. And I don’t think my favourite question was answered (possibly because it went over the heads of both panelists). Someone who I know from DWNY asked whether Mr. Frobisher’s secrets involved the word Whifferdill.

I noted here that Eve Myles was very cute when she answered questions and was making adorable facial expressions. I’ve never been a great fan of Gwen Cooper, but I really liked her enthusiasm.

More bits about the series. The story is dark, but we see a lighter side of the characters.

Someone asked Eve what it was like to kiss a girl. I was a bit bewildered as to why this was significant.

I was very happy to hear that PC Andy will be back this series and might even have more to do.

A male fan said he’d turn gay for Jack. Eve’s reply was that she’d turn gay for Jack too. Funny but not terribly logical.

Someone else pointed out that Gwen and Ianto had both kissed Jack and asked when Gwen and Ianto would get to kiss. Eve seemed to approve of this sentiment.

They showed the trailer again at the end, and then they said people could come up and take pictures, so I snapped a few more and left the hall.

I went up, intending to have another turn round the exhibit hall, but decided I was too tired. I took advantage of the shuttle bus back to Grand Central and headed home.

Sunday I had to work, so I didn’t go in. I was disappointed that I missed some of the TV panels and Mo Willems, but it couldn’t be helped.

Monday night I went back into the city for the DWNY pub meet for the month. We normally have them on Wednesday, but this had been moved up to accomidate some special guests. We had Paul Cornell (who wrote a number of Doctor Who novels and episodes) and Tony Lee (author of the current Doctor Who comic book series). The pub was packed but they both turned out to be delightful and I also ended up in a conversation with Paul’s wife for a while.

Comic Con Day 1

This may be long enough to require several posts. I make no apologies.


On Friday I had promised to come in for the staff meeting before work (it was on the way to the train station anyway), but I got there, and we didn’t have a staff meeting. This was good, considering what happened after.

I was able to catch the 9:26am into the city, which went smoothly but then I caught the slowest crosstown bus ever. It’s always amusing on Comic Con days to listen to conversations and guess who is headed to the con, so at least I had that to occupy me as we meandered through the city traffic.

I usually get there later on Friday, when the Professional registration is almost empty so the line was a bit of a shock, though not completely unexpected. I decided to check my coat first, as it didn’t seem like I’d save any time doing it the other way. This was just as well.

I got on the end of the line and I stood, reading the book I had brought for trains and lines and things. Shortly thereafter, they moved my section of the line upstairs, so I stood and read some more. The line stalled once (computer problems) and by the time, I got to the front of the line, I’d finished the book, so I put it away and got out my barcode to scan. I was then told to go to the end of the counter to wait for my badge. And I watched the clock tick and other people who had come up after me get their badges. Just as I was about to go over and get my barcode rescanned, the computers went down again. More time spent waiting, but I finally got my badge and wandered down to the food court.

I did a quick scan but didn’t spot the other Westchester Librarians, so I decided that if I wanted food, I should do that first. Got my overpriced food (thankfully, I’d packed water), and finally located the others.

The food was awful, but the conversation was good, mostly about what we were planning to see and current, past and future renovations. Eventually we split up and wandered to our various destinations.

I went off to see a panel first, “Are You There God, It’s Me Manga” about teenaged girls, manga and libraries. It turned out to be a panel about Shonen-ai, which wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was still interesting and introduced me to some manga I hadn’t known of before. I wish I had space for manga right now, but even one or two series would eat up a whole shelf by the time we moved back to our permanent location and I don’t have the space to spare.

On to the exhibit hall to wander. I managed to score an ARC of the next Tamora Pierce Beka Cooper novel, by getting into a conversation with the booth runner, picked up a lot of posters and other goodies to give away for our teen movie nights, and was in the right place at the right time to score a Grand Theft Auto t-shirt.

It also seemed to be the day to run into people I knew. I ran into people from the building where I lived by the DK booth (that was very strange), a librarian from Somers by the Grand Theft Auto Booth, and then at the Alien Entertainment/Doctor Who Store booth, I unsurprisingly ran into a few people from the Doctor Who NY group. While chatting with them, I heard my name called and I turned to see Francine and her daughter from The Voracious Reader in Larchmont. Apparently, her daughter is a big fan of Doctor Who, to the point where she has listened to some of the Big Finish audio productions and was waiting around to meet Colin Baker. This was when I turned around again and noticed that the DWNY people were talking to…Colin Baker. Not wanting to interrupt, we continued chatting about Doctor Who addictions, and I prodded one of the DWNY people for a flier and passed it along. Finally, the booth people reminded Colin he was there to sign autographs, and Francine was nice enough to snap my picture with the former Doctor.

One of the DWNY people mentioned that there was supposed to be an announcement at the IDW panel about future Doctor Who comic plans, but as I had to be back in Mamaroneck for our teen movie night, I decided to give it a pass. Instead I wandered a bit more, and was happy to find that one of the gaming companies was giving out poster holders. A few more aisles and I regretfully decided I needed to get my coat and head home.

In the queue to collect my coat, I ran into Francine again, and she offered me a lift. It might not have been faster than the bus and train, but it was lovely to sit in the car and talk about books for kids and teenagers on the way back. I expressed my envy that she’d collected a copy of the sequel to Graceling by Karen Cashore.

I got back to the library just as it was closing, said hi to Ellen, and dumped my goodies in my car. We did end up using some of the prizes for the movie night and others we saved for the game night we’re planning for next month.

This is definitely long. I think I shall end here and post Day 2 later today.


I found myself typing up a list of award winners, even though the list will be easy enough to find elsewhere. Also remembering my first ALA when it was a case of finding an unoccupied telephone to let the people back home know what had won. This year I watched from the comfort of my library. ;)

I’m currently cursing myself. I cataloged the Printz (Jellicoe Road) two weeks ago and then let it slip out of my hands. I do own a copy of the Newbery, though. YAY, The Graveyard Book! :) For those of you who don’t follow Neil Gaiman’s blog, his reaction post is here. I don’t know the Caldecott (The House in the Night) at all.

Other awards:
I’m very happy with the recognition for We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson (winning both the Coretta Scott King Author and the Sibert award and on the list of honor books for the CSK illustrator). That was just an amazing book. And I’m thrilled with the choices for the Geisel. The Elephant and Piggie books deserved to be noticed for being so different from anythign that’s come before. I have no real quibbles about the list as a whole – either I really liked everything on it or I haven’t seen them yet.

Two interesting links

A post from the Tor.com blog about reading comics and dyslexia and the ALA Awards will be streamed live on Monday

Twit those awards!

The ALA awards (Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, etc.) have a twitter feed. They’ll be announced on Monday and I haven’t a clue what I want to win, though I’m taking a stack of possibilities home to read this weekend.

And if anyone wants to follow me on twitter, I’m hhertzof.