1st & 2nd May, 2010
Centro de Convenciones, Mexico City, Mexico.


 

 

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Entertainment & Fantasy Expo

or

How I met Mr. Jones – yet again

by Marcela Vargas Reynoso


I got a head start this time. One warm night I was wandering through The Tank, whining about not being able to attend the Anaheim Comic Con, when dear Ms. Helen Chavez [Webmaster Helen - Ed.] brought to my attention the fact that a certain Mr. Jones would be hanging around at a Sci-Fi and Fantasy expo (EFX) almost in the same city I inhabit. I, of course, flipped out. I thanked her and immediately went looking for more data on such an event.

To be honest, if Helen hadn’t told me about this expo, I would have never known about it. It was - I’m afraid to say - poorly advertised. I went to its website and found out that they would welcome two special guests: Doug Jones (famous for… well, you already know that) and Lorne Peterson (Head of the Model Department at Industrial Light and Magic – Star Wars legend). With such people heading the EFX, I (being the geek I am) had to be there.

I checked for dates and schedules and realized it fell exactly on one of those horribly busy weekends that come along every time you need a break. It happened the same way last August when I met Doug Jones for the first time; back then, Doug’s appearance clashed with my brother-in-law’s graduation from college, this time, it collided with the birthday celebrations of two very different and very close friends of mine. And also, the expo was held on the outskirts of my city, which meant I would have to take a two-hour bus ride to get there. But it didn’t matter: it was Mr. Doug Jones, and I had to be there.

According to the site of the expo, Doug would be signing autographs and giving a couple of conferences on Saturday May 1st and Sunday May 2nd. The Doug Jones Experience said differently: Friday April 30th and Saturday May 1st. I informed of the scheduling glitch, and got a clarification note by Helen, which stated it would be Saturday and Sunday. Which worked almost perfectly for me.

Now, it must be stated that I am studying and training to become a journalist, so I decided I would take the opportunity and write some stuff for my school’s magazine. One of the perks of being a journalist is that sometimes you may get free access to events … so I went along with it and got a press pass to the EFX. I was so excited (in a completely professional way)!

Finally, the day came. Just before I walked out of my home I was flabbergasted at finding a tweet directed to me from Dougie’s Twitter account. It said something along the lines of “Ready to go to EFX, where I’ll be meeting lovely people from Mexico City, and that includes YOU, my precious little angel @ethneliane!!” (That’s not 140 characters, but that’s why I warned “along the lines of”).

I left my house around 11:30am so I could have a smooth ride and get there early to wander, take photos and may be interview a couple of people. Doug’s conference was scheduled at 4pm; I had plenty of time until then! Or so I thought… turns out my two-hour bus ride turned into an almost-three-and-a-bit-hours-long bus ride and commute. I arrived at 2:30pm. Naucalpan is incredibly far from my house, I have recently discovered.

Anyway, I met really nice people while waiting for Dougie to get there. The lady at the gates (whose name I sadly didn’t ask for) was attentive and amicable, and she told me how stunning it was for her to realize how much some people loved “this stuff” (she really meant “Sci-Fi and Fantasy, specially the Star Wars franchise, which appears to be one of the focuses of this particular event”). There was also a guy that was part of the staff (not too tall, chubby, thick-rimmed glasses) and who kept an eye on me during the day to check if I was having a good time and if I needed anything, being press and all. And of course, I met one of the highlights of my day: Mr. Lorne Peterson.

I am aware that this report is about how I met Doug Jones for the second time in my life, but it has to be stated what a brilliant, humble and nice person is Lorne Peterson. I approached him at his table and asked for … an autograph (which, as a journalist, I should be scolded not to do ever again!!). It took me a dozen seconds to regain my wits and go back to ask for what I should have asked before: an interview. He delightfully agreed, and I spent nearly 45 minutes in conversation with an amazing, legendary man who has not only worked on all six Star Wars feature films, but who helped found one of the pioneering visual effects companies in the history of Hollywood.

After I left Mr. Peterson to his adoring fans, I walked around the hall, looking at booths and taking some pictures. The Press Manager for the EFX, Aldo Rubio, caught up with me and asked which media I represented, if I was having a good time, if I had everything I needed, etcetera. He also asked if I was aware that Doug Jones would be attending, to which I was close to answer “Doug Jones IS the reason I’m here, so yeah, I’m aware of his presence”, but I discarded my lame fangirl answer and said something like “Yeah, I know. I’m kind of waiting for him to arrive”. We then talked a bit about Doug and how he is such a sweet person and talented actor, and Aldo reassured me that he would be arriving “any moment now”.

I began to worry, because it was already 3:30pm, Doug’s conference was scheduled by 4pm, and there was no Doug in sight. I kept walking until there was no booth in the expo I hadn’t visited at least twice. Finally, as I approached the main entrance to the hall, a triad was coming in: a short, smiling man by the name of Gabriel, a fully-dressed-in-black Derek Maki, and a sleek, tall, shiny Doug Jones. I couldn’t hold back a large smile. They were walking my way, getting closer… Doug gave me a glance … kept walking … passed me by … which was, frankly, a bit depressing. I must admit: having been mentioned in Doug’s tweets hours before, I kind of expected a miraculous “Oh sweetie, there you are!” But I tend to dream big.

Depression didn’t last long, because I followed them to the autograph zone and sat nearby as Derek opened a suitcase and began taking out the materials Doug would be signing for the next few hours. Distracted as I was, I kind of didn’t notice that there was one very tall, very glowing gentleman walking towards me. I panicked for a second, but every millimeter of sheer shock and terror went away as he said the magic words “Marcela Ethne, I’m so happy you’re here! I didn’t recognize you before, because your hair is longer and it’s not blue anymore!” I could have died there.

It wasn’t only that my favorite Mr. Jones was standing in front of me, nor that he would take time to come and say hi … but the fact that he actually knew my name and mentioned specific personal traits, that blew me away. Have I been happier? Probably, a couple other times in my life, yeah, surely. But this was Doug Jones, giving me one huge Bosie, and thanking me (How dared he! I thanked him a thousand times!) for coming to share the love.

He had some spare time until Derek arranged the table and all, so Doug decided we should sit down and talk. I took out my notebook and passed along messages from the girls at The Tank, and received the answers I should give back to them. We then had a warm, cozy conversation about recent happenings and about life and work… I felt like I was speaking to a beloved uncle, and Doug in return acted as a delicious aunt, the kind that pinch your cheeks and talk baby talk to their favorite nieces and nephews even when they are in their twenties, except that Dougie was adorable, rather than creepy.

As Fan Sapiens know, Doug’s birthday is May 24th, so, being the first day of that month, and given the chance to be there with him, I got him an early birthday present. A couple of days before, I found out that Derek’s birthday was on April 30th, so I got him a birthday present too. I wanted to give them their presents together, but since Derek was busy, I decided it would be better to give Doug his, because in a few minutes he would have to leave me in order to give said conference. Doug’s was a blue quartz pendant with a gray metal chain to hang around his neck. I was very happy to see he liked it! He even put it on immediately, and in return gave me a great Bosie that would lighten up my life for days and days to come.

A few minutes later, Derek finished his task and came to join us. I had never talked to him, but rumors said he is a sweet, lovely person. Now, rumors are a nasty thing to spread, except when they are a fact. And the proven fact is that Derek Maki is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e. We had never met, but he treated me super nicely, talked to me if he had the slightest impression I felt lonely (‘cause there were times when I just sat down to watch them work), and he even got me a bottle of glorious cold water when he sent for drinks for the gang (Naucalpan is really hot this time of the year). He also happened to like his present a lot! (I’m starting to believe I might be a good present-chooser).

Anyhow, time went by and no conference was held (organization issues prevented it from happening, and I’m not even quite sure Doug had been told he might be giving a conference of any sort). However, the hovering around of some fans drove Derek to the brilliant idea of holding something called a “pow-wow” (casual gathering similar to a conference but shorter in size, whose name I had never heard). It went great! People asked stuff to Dougie about his career, his goals, and his interests beyond cinema. We all learned that Dougie is a good singer, though I am still waiting for a chance to listen to that delightful voice again (do you remember the “Over the Rainbow” rendition from last Christmas?), may be singing “Beyond the Sea”? (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

It was getting late and I still had to get home and get ready for a birthday party, so I decided I would leave around 6pm. I told Derek and Dougie that I would be leaving soon, and I felt incredibly special as both of them asked me why wouldn’t I stay longer. I wandered around taking pictures as Doug signed stuff for his fans. There were some interesting people lined up to meet him, including a man and his wife, who was crammed inside an amazing Pan’s costume! The man himself is a sculptor, and he gave Doug and Derek (and Gabriel, I think) some beautifully carved creepy creature-like dolls. They were awesome! I want one! If anybody knows the info on that guy and his shop, please let me know.

While I was hanging around, Derek came to me, and very sweetly asked if Doug had offered me anything special as a thank you for their birthday presents. I said it was all right, that I did it with absolutely no ulterior motivation. But as I mentioned earlier, Derek Maki is adorable, so he said that the least they could do was that Dougie signed something for me. “But I already have photos signed from last time, and my HB2 notebook too, I truly don’t need anything signed, I’m just happy to be here”, I said, trying to conceal my sudden shyness at being treated with such care. And Derek had a bright idea: “Why don’t you get a picture signed as a birthday present for your friend!” Coincidentally, the friend whose party I was going to attend is a fan of Pan’s Labyrinth; therefore, I accepted the offer. (Just for the record, she loved her birthday present).

Sadly, as everything that is good in life, this too had to come to an end. It was nearing 6pm and a long ride home awaited me. I did NOT want to say goodbye, but I really didn’t have any other option. I asked some random guy if he would take a picture of dear dear Doug Jones and me, and after what felt like a hundred Bosies and much much love, I had to bid Dougie farewell. I went to Derek and said 'bye too, and he said he had enjoyed my presence, and that he’d be sorry I couldn’t attend on Sunday too. Both incredibly lovely men wished me a safe trip home.

I walked out of the hall and all the way to the street and got on the bus and rode all the way home (which took me almost half the time it had taken in the morning) and took a shower and got dressed and left for the party wearing an epic smile on my face. I had had an amazing day, I had been able to interview a legend, and I had spent quite a time hanging with Doug and Derek and Gabriel. Yes, the way up there and back was tiresome and hot; yes, the expo didn’t turn out quite as planned. But I had been treated like a princess by one of the most beautiful and peaceful angels to ever roam Earth. I had been patted and petted and hugged and pinched and pampered by one of my favorite persons. I had met wonderful Derek. And I was called a “preciosa cachorrita” (Spanish for “precious puppy”). Could I ask for more?

Dougie and his 'preciosa cachorrita' Marcela.

Marcela Vargas Reynoso
15th May, 2010


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