Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More of the Masque

I've dawdled my way to (almost) 1 AM, watching Doctor Who and two episodes of the British series Primeval (one of them by Paul Cornell), refreshing my memory about the end of a L'Engle novel, reading a Thurber pastiche about a candidate for the SFWA presidency and learning why John Scalzi and others say our current President of the United States is only the second worst one ever. (Sure. Go ahead and follow all those links, especially if you're a science fiction fan. The rest of this entry will still be here when you get back.) What I've accomplished by all this, of course, is to give myself an excuse to fob you off with a photo essay tonight instead of writing a lot of those word thingies.

Okay, so in my lackadaisical coverage of the Gallifrey One convention we were partway through the costume contest, called the Masque of Mandragora in honor of a Fourth Doctor serial that I haven't watched in a decade or so. Let's pick up where I left off:

There are only two people in this shot, which I've cobbled together from three different photos. It was a quick change act, with the guy acting as a human wardrobe for the woman. I'm not sure all the costumes were very successful, but it was a very ambitious and interesting attempt.

Somewhere in there was also a guy dressed as Benton, and possibly one or two other entrants, but I failed to get usable photos.

Here's another composite shot, this time of a truly awesome recreation of the Tenth Doctor's recent companion, Martha Jones.

And finally, here's another Tenth Doctor, trying to break into his own TARDIS. Looking at the shots from Friday night, I'm 80% convinced that the fragile TARDIS prop was a little lopsided that night from being handled too much by the day's guests and costume contestants.

The plan was to have writer Paul Cornell host a game show called Just a Minute while the judges did their judging. However, when all the people in costume had paraded across the stage, Cornell and his contestants weren't ready yet. Nobody really minded, though, because Tadao Tomomatsu and Patrick Beckstead of the con committee did a fabulous job of entertaining everyone while we waited, even performing to the classic Muppets tune Mahna Mahna (a.k.a. Manamana). Tomomatsu also did a flawless impression of Satchmo singing What a Wonderful World, the classic song that closes the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy tv series.

Paul Cornell (in stripes above) then presented his version of the longrunning BBC Radio 4 game show Just a Minute, featuring (left to right) writer Steven "Two Hugos" Moffat, "Dalek" writer Rob Shearman, Torchwood/Doctor Who writer James Moran and actress Sophie Aldred. (The woman next to Cornell above is keeping score.) Somehow I didn't manage a good shot of Sophie in the game, which is a shame because she won. The premise is to speak for a full minute on an assigned topic "without repetition, hesitation or deviation," with other contestants winning points for challenging the speaker when he or she commits one of these errors. The catch is that the successful challenger then has to take over speaking on that topic. The topics, such as "My Volcano," "My Dalek" and "Are You My Mummy?" were all tailored to the individual contestant, and the funniest bits tended to come when someone else took over a topic. Lee over on sftv blog has a good rundown of the highlights of the game, and it's nearly 3 AM so I'll stop here for now, and bid you good night.


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