Allison Experiences The ‘Gate: My #ConLife Weekend at Stargate Convention 2015!

It’s been a week since the fun of my fourth Stargate Convention ended…and all the better to have the benefit of time to regroup my thoughts and organize my photos and memories to share with my wonderful readers.


In case you don’t follow me on Facebook (seriously, you should in the very least follow this blog on Facebook), I was on vacation the weekend of August 13-17, visiting Rosemont (a village in the Chicagoland suburbs) for the Creation Entertainment Official Stargate Convention 2015.  It’s the yearly convergence of about 500-plus Stargate fans on the Westin O’Hare, and it is an amazing experience.  It’s not for everyone, but who it is for never walks away disappointed.  Ok, so I’m sure some people walk away disappointed, because you can’t please everyone and their nitpicky existences, but I have yet to meet them.

The journey began on Thursday morning, August 13, aboard a NJ Transit train bound for 30th Street Station.  I only take selfies on two occasions – recitals and Convention/Vacation/Day Trips.  So I did this at the home train station.


Then I got on the train and watched Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on my Kindle Fire until I got to Philadelphia.  Yes, it was a movie within a movie, and it’s awesome.  It’s also the only MST3K-related thing I’ve ever paid for, aside from the stuff I bought at Wizard World back in May.  You Tube and Hulu are great for freebie viewing, but no internet connection on the train, so you do what you have to do…download the movie in advance.

Upon arrival at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, I dragged my stuff to the SEPTA Regional Rail Station (up the ramp, which is not Equalizer Walking Boot friendly), got my round trip tickets for the Airport Line, and waited through a fifteen-minute delay for the train.  Despite that, I still made it to Philadelphia International Airport with about 2 hours and 15 minutes to spare.  Security was a quick breeze (despite being held at Security for additional screening on my boot), but I got through fine and went to my gate.  I had lunch at Salad Works, and went to wait at the gate…only for my flight to be delayed 45 minutes due to mechanical issues.  The plane apparently blew a tire returning to the airport from San Juan.  So my 1:45 pm flight became a 2:30 flight.  The problem turned out to be an easy fix, and we were boarding at 2 pm, taking off at 2:30 pm.  Despite the delay, we arrived at Chicago O’Hare Airport at 3:15 pm (Central time, of course), a mere fifteen minutes behind schedule.  During my delay, my friends kept me company with Facebook messaging, which devolved into quoting Airplane.  And if that wasn’t the best way to ease into the delayed flight, my arrival was the best part.

And then there was my greeting from my friends who had already arrived at the hotel, and later by my other friends, who arrived for the restaurant we were going to enjoy that evening.

Dinner, drinks, conversation, and hilarity happened at this amazing place:


Located at the MB Financial Park down the street, it is one in a grouping of restaurants located around an outdoor concert venue.  The atmosphere was loud, but the food and company was great.


And the drinks had gummy candy in them.  It’s called Grape Crush, and yes it was alcoholic.  And it was so good.


The visit to The Sugar Factory was capped off by fireworks in the outdoor concert venue, a return to the hotel for conversation and laughs, and then to bed for the most rest I would get in three days.

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Not that I’m complaining.

Friday morning started off with McDonald’s breakfast while camping out in the lobby with my group, the arrival of our local friends, and well…this.


When a System Lord wants to hold your hand, you do as he says, without question.

Friday’s light schedule included me wandering the autograph tables and meeting the actors signing there, panels featuring Chuck Campbell, Gary Jones, Peter Williams, and Sharon Taylor, dinner at the hotel restaurant, and the Stargate Celebrity Cabaret/Karaoke Party.  This year’s Cabaret performers were Chuck Campbell emceeing, Gary Jones, Andee Frizzell, and Suann Braun.

Suann Braun Autograph Rainbow Sun Francks Autograph Peter Williams Autograph David Blue Autograph Chuck Campbell Autograph

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We took advantage of the room clearing out somewhat after the Cabaret to move to the back and riff the karaoke performers.  Let’s just say when you choose “American Pie,” and you’re one of three smartasses singing “The Saga Begins” (Weird Al Yankovic’s version of “American Pie”) in the back of the room, you know you’re having a great time.  I’m convinced we all lost it by the time “Living in America” was sung.  Especially when my friends were singing and laughing hysterically.  Friday ended with us getting kicked out of the ballroom so they could close the Con for the night.

Peter Williams

And I hugged a System Lord in a photo op.  One love, Apophis…or can I call you “Apopy” or “Pops”?

Saturday’s day was a little more packed activity-wise, but it’s what we expect from Saturday.  It started early (8:30 am) with a Meet and Greet Breakfast with Fandemonium’s core of Stargate novel authors, Sally Malcolm, Jo Graham, Laura Harper, and Melissa Scott.  It was free, aside from the breakfast, but the blueberry pancakes were incredible, and so was the conversation.  We discussed all things Stargate, talked about non-Stargate life, and above all, I met people outside of my group.  Even made a new friend in someone attending the Con for the first time.

The fun then moved to the ballroom for panels – Dan Payne (later joined by Alex Zahara as co-hosts for the convention), Andee Frizzell, who dragged me up on stage for her panel after asking attendees to talk about their favorite Convention experiences…so she could re-enact them.  I figured I would be up there for five minutes.  It wound up being thirty minutes, and everyone has the pictures to prove it.

Andee Frizzell - Stage 3 With Dan Payne

Suann Braun, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Blue, and Joe Flanigan also all provided entertaining panels for the day.

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Particularly of note was Joe Flanigan’s panel, as he did it solo, and anyone who has attended conventions (this one or otherwise) where he is appearing knows he never does panels alone.  Not because he’s diva-riffic or anything, but because he’s shy.  I’ve been to four Cons, and each time, he’s always had someone with him (in 2012, he was with Paul McGillion, 2013 with David Hewlett, and in 2014 with both McGillion and Hewlett).  But this time, he flew solo, did a great job, and was upstaged by a fart machine taped under the chair.

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Damn Lt. Ford, he’s at it again!

And then, autographs.

Paul McGillion Autograph

Paul McGillion

Joe Flanigan Autograph

Joe Flanigan

And photo ops.

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David Blue – way too cute, but wanted to do a second take because of his “stink face” expression!

Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan. I’m not sure what hold this man has on me (ok, besides the fact that he’s really nice to look at), but I can’t bring myself to break his Con face.  I saw other people managing to do so, but I was unsuccessful.


During autographs, we ordered Giordano’s pizza (a tradition we started last year during Saturday night autographs) and camped in the back of the ballroom until our row was called.  As we were mostly Row M, we all went up at the same time.  By 8:30, autographs were done, and we were hanging out (perhaps loitering) in the ballroom when we were (once again) kicked out so the room could be closed up for the end of the day’s activities.  And of course, we cleared out, but since it was 8:30 pm and not 12:30 am, we moved our party to the lobby, where we bought ice cream from the gift shop (I should add that since we were not Gold ticket holders, we couldn’t attend the Gold Dessert Party), were occasionally visited by others (including our friends Susan and Melanie, who was nice enough to bring us homemade cookies).  The lobby provided much entertainment for our group, with my friend James (A Gold ticket holder who chose to stay with this group, despite having access to the dessert party) provided much of the entertainment.  He had our friend Samantha hysterical and gasping over his Barry Gibb impression, did monkey walk impressions, and referred to an attendee as “Captain Creepy.” “Da-da-da-da-da…ewwww” became the catchphrase of the evening (it’s still being said).  We broke off for the night at 12:30 am by piling into an elevator.

Sunday came on fast, with panels beginning early in the day.  Since the majority of the guests appearing on Sunday were people I wanted photo ops with, this was the day I spent the most time in front of the awesome Stargate backdrop.  My first photo op was at 9:15, shared with my friend/confidant/partner in crime/fellow creative genius Melanie, who came up with this idea, as inspired by Peter Kelamis’ dialogue in a Stargate Universe episode.

2015 SG photo op_0001

Do you ever really want to tell pretty girls to get off your lawn?

Aside from auctions (including the Sea Sheppard auction, and the auctioning off of this amazing quilt made by my friend Samantha – it nabbed $700 for Sea Sheppard)…


…there were panels by Peter Kelamis, Paul McGillion and Rachel Luttrell, the Fandemonium authors (unfortunately, I missed this in favor of photo ops), Corin Nemec and Cliff Simon, and last but certainly not least, one of my reasons for being there (the other two reasons – Amanda Tapping and Ben Browder – both cancelled), Michael Shanks.

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Shanks apparently has this magnet that draws in questionable questions from overly excited women.  Last year’s takeaway from the whole thing was the ability to research ascension, and this year…gold lame pajamas and women who write fan fiction asking insane questions.


It’s the official Stock Photo of Questionable Discussions.  And girls who loved Megasnake.

Of course, there were autographs by Rachel Luttrell, Michael Shanks, Corin Nemec, and Cliff Simon…

Rachel Luttrell Autograph Michael Shanks Autograph Corin Nemec Autograph Cliff Simon Autograph

…and then there were photo ops!

Michael Shanks

The book is an inside joke if you’re familiar with Michael Shanks’ character.  It was also the Greatest Find Ever at the Franklin Institute last spring.

Michael Shanks, Rachel Luttrell, and Paul McGillion

Don’t call us…we just look cool together.  And we’re not sure if Paul McGillion is fight-ready.

Paul McGillion

I wanted to do something else, but he wraps his arms around me and I lose all inhibition.  I think time becomes irrelevant at that point, but I’m not sure. I’m sure I was going to tell you my theory of everything, but I forgot.  Because hug.

Michael Shanks Duo Photo - Allison's Photo

This was my idea, and Melanie was too happy to join in.  We got two takes out of it – here’s mine.

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And here’s the photo I gave her.

Poor Shanks.  He thought it was going to be a nice photo op, not a cabaret performance.  Joke is on him – this was supposed to be done with Ben Browder.

Corin Nemec

Kicking it with bad legs – Corin “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” Nemec and I show off our fighting stances.  Have boot, will rock it!

Rachel Luttrell

And Rachel Luttrell, who apparently has the same female hero influence that Amanda Tapping, Torri Higginson, and Teryl Rothery have on me.  There is no posing. 

I should add that I’m missing a photo op – I was late to pick up my shot with Cliff Simon, so I’ll be posting that at a later date.

But, of course, we had the best photo op of all at the close of the convention weekend.


My Stargate Framily/Family.

Endless appetizers at TGI Fridays ended the best Con weekend I’ve ever been to (and totally beat up last year’s Con experience).

And there you have it, my amazing weekend of going in the ‘Gate for the fourth time.  I’m up in the air about next year, but I’ll see what 2016 has in store for me.  Part of me wants to branch out, the other part wants to be with the family again.

But until then…


These women and their questions.


  1. Several things:
    You and Apophis seem to be having quite a thing. I’m very jealous!! Do tell us more about how you got into his good graces and managed to seduce the guy 😉 Also, that is totally him in the picture of you guys having dinner, isn’t it? So jealous!

    Your photo ops are amazing, by the way – I love them! You always do really creative things. I haven’t managed to break Joe’s “con face” yet either, though I’ve only ever tried once. Now Michael Shanks, on the other hand, makes the *best* faces….I vote that that picture of him should become the official “facepalm” reaction image. (seriously, Shanks is such a riot. I love him)

    I also didn’t realize you went through 30th street station, but at someone who has gone through 30th street station before…I’m so sorry. I was lucky in coming from Michigan, but Chicago’s union station is still a pain.

    Seriously, though, great photos (and you loook like you got a lot of really cool stuff signed – clearly you thought through it. I never know what to get autographed and it’s always a last minute mess). 🙂


    1. Peter Williams was all too happy to inform me that “My smile lights up the room!” and well, when he says that, you go from having the personality of O’Neill to being his willing slave before you can say “Take me as your queen!” And yes, joined us for dinner on Thursday night. 🙂

      Thanks – I admit that I was thinking about my ideas in the morning while trying to keep myself awake in the shower in the months prior to the Con. I had the best prop ever, and I totally worked it. I have one photo op where Joe doesn’t have Con face, and it’s because Shanks was proposing to me. That was in 2012. That Shanks reaction, coupled with an O’Neill screencap from “Window of Opportunity,” are stock photos of frustration. How could you not love him? 🙂

      I used 30th Street Station to take SEPTA to the airport. I do like 30th Street as a means to get home to New Jersey, but as for SEPTA, they like delays and signal problems.

      And autographs…they were all last minute decisions. I just basically saw my visual guide sitting on my bookshelf, said “you’ll do,” and put it in my backpack. I had a vendor credit from my music video last year, so I bought my merchandise and photos that I needed with that.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well, your smile does light up the room! He informed me that I was an academic by the way I speak, so it sounds like we both got fantastic compliments from him. I would definitely consider being his consort, but as to willing slave? No thanks. That’s reserved for…uh, no one, actually. Except maybe Amanda Tapping or Lucy Lawless. (and what is your secret to getting Apophis to come to dinner with you?)

        My photo ops with the stars always end up being “you are so very attractive, come hold me close.” Sometimes it’s an in character thing (“Hathor, please seduce me while you hold me close”) but honestly photo ops are such a great opportunity for a 15-second seduction. Unless it’s with Michael Shanks – he’s too confident for me to try seducing him, but I love the faces he makes so I try to do something clever.

        I have yet to meet a public transportation authority that doesn’t like delays…in Chicago it’s pretty bad too. The Blue Line tends to run well because it goes to the airport and it’s newer, but the buses and older lines….urgh. My other problem is that I live about 5 blocks away from 30th street station – too far to walk with a suitcase, too close to take a cab, hence I end up taking cabs to the airport. But I applaud your valor in taking Septa to the airport.

        Yeah, autographs…at this point I have so many with certain people (Joe Flanigan, I love you dearly but you’ve signed every possible stargate thing I own at this point) that I don’t even know what to do with them. If the cons keep going I’ll end up with like a room of stargate crap signed by Joe and Michael.


    1. We broke up in February. It’s ok, it was a mutual parting of the ways. There were circumstances behind it, but I wouldn’t have traded in the amazing weekend I had for anything!!!


      1. Trust me, I didn’t tell a whole lot of people other than my friends and obviously my family. It was mutual and that was the most important part. There was a reason behind it. Of course, he decided to tell people he wasn’t going for a different reason. I know the real reason. I’ve made my peace with it, and I’ve had a great six months because of that decision.


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