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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Why aren't you awesomed by me!"
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May 20 2008

Whedonesque goes to New York. Last night at the Paley Center, an event called "Click Critics: The Power of Fan Websites" was held. Zeitgeist from Whedonesque was on the panel as were fans from other sites. And by all accounts, a good time was had by all.

Pics and reports to follow (hopefully).

Another writeup and some photos.

...why does Sunnydale expand to We Have a Campus And An Airport And a Zoo size and then contract to And We Can Walk Anywhere From Buffy’s House size?

Wasn't this covered under Einstein's special relativity theory?
You left the quote marks off of "special" ;) I, for one, had a fantastic time at the event. I was a tad nervous to start with, but as the panel went on I relaxed more and really started to enjoy it. The other panelists were really fun and Dan from TWoP had some great snarky comments (as expected) when going through a rundown of the whole Aaron Sorkin posting debacle. Proggrrl from Galactica Sitrep was great fun as were Deb and Roberta from Basket of Kisses (the BoKers were not on the panel, we met them afterwards). To a person, they were all delightful and the guys from Previously On Lost really made me chuckle. Really, I enjoyed talking to all of the panelists and the folks from Paley were incredibly cool and fun and interesting. We spent half an hour talking TV upstairs before the event itself, standing in a room with several Emmys and other fun bits of TV history. I wish we'd had a bit more time to delve into the interesting bits of humans being humans that tie together all of these shows, but there was a good audience with some fun questions and I tried not to stutter too much ;) Loved it.

I trust it will come as no shock to anyone that meeting our very own SodddingNancyTribe (who has been a virtual friend for years now) in person was a huge highlight of the evening as well.
That's right, whenever they walk it's in the direction of relatavistic motion (so to us Sunnydale is foreshortened) and whenever they go to the mall/airport/university it's perpendicular to the direction of motion. QED*.

Hope you had a good time guys (and that you didn't reveal all our powers. Muhaha, muhahahahahaha, muhahahahahahaha *kef* *kef*. Ahem).

* Latin for "what I just made up" ;).
I propose that we make a subset of whedonesque called zeigestesque and SNTesque so we can fangirl/boy those two properly! Way to go guys and I am glad you all had fun!
Ooh, I've always wanted to be -esque or at the very least -escent.
Sounds like a great time. Now get Paley to send you all to LA for "Click Critics" road show!
Sounds a great panel. But what is "the whole Aaron Sorkin posting debacle?" I'm intrigued - and who isn't by a debacle?
I'm also ignorant! Maybe he was a forum lurker.

Anyway, to add my two cents—Whedonesque is certainly the best fan site I've ever encountered. I think the policies you've enacted work well to maintain a level of discourse that's something special.
Basically he had been posting under the screen name Benjamin (his middle name) and discussing the West Wing and when things turned negative/sour he lashed out at folks and wrote the episode "The US Poet Laureate" wherein Josh Lyman posts on a Josh Lyman fansite and gets himself into trouble and uses the episode as a platform to say that fansites are populated by obese shut-ins (and referred to the heads of fansite as a bunch of dictators sitting in muu-muus and chain-smoking Parliament Lights). Don't get me wrong, I love Sorkin, but his behavior on TWoP's forums was spectacularly self-important and incredibly naive. All of the stuff with Rick Cleveland makes me shudder... Proof that karma exists - he went on to make Studio 60 ;)

ETA - Thanks for that, Simon, that was the timeline post that I was Google-ing for :)
the whole Aaron Sorkin posting debacle

From what I gather Sorkin used to post on TWOP back on the old days but got very snippy when criticism was levelled at The West Wing and so brought forth the hilarious episode where Josh Limon said "the internet people are crazy!".

There's an indepth post about it here.
Proof that karma exists - he went on to make Studio 60

I liked Studio 60. Take that you click critic!
:) Like it all you want, I think its a let down after the West Wing and it tries to tackle issues that work in the framework of a show about government, but don't work in the framework of a show about a late night sketch comedy show. It had some great moments (unfortunately most of them in episodes that aired after its fate was decided), but I didn't think it was all that it could've been. Plus, the entire show is rife with weird distortions/commentaries on his own personal history and people he knows, so if you followed the man as well as his creations, it started to get a little creepy/offputting.
Hey, I'm trying to update our Wikipedia article (How many of you knew had its own Wikipedia article, hmm?) and I'd love to add some press coverage of this in the major media--please post links to any you find, I'll be watching this thread! :-)
... it started to get a little creepy/offputting.

Yeah there's such a thing as too much meta in your text.

'Studio 60' was pretty frustrating because there was an absolute gem in there that just never quite made it out. Matt Perry was great though, hope he gets something this season.
"Lord Zeitgeist Takes Manhattan." Too bad they couldn't hold it someplace cool, like New Jersey.
So how many people were there and more importantly did any of my groupies turn up?
I couldn't go, Simon.
I was mobbed by people asking if I had ever touched the hand of the one true Simon (apologies to b!X), but when I said no they all ran away screaming "Heretic! Burn the unbeliever" so we got the hell out of there. It was a decent turnout, I'm not sure of the capacity of the theater but it was mostly full.
The Paley Center itself is trying kind of hard to figure out what this whole blogging thing is, and doesn’t quite get it, as evidenced by the fact that no urls appeared in the program for the event.

That's really funny. And that comment about all the things to discuss in the Buffverse is pretty interesting. It left out symbolism, sexuality, and Dracula: good, evil, or awesome? though. Key points those.

What's this story they speak of?
And do we get your story before the blog does, ZG? :-)
I thought "Studio 60" was the best thing on TV that season (and compared not only to many other seasons but to other Sorkin work as well). I mourn its demise to this day... guess I have to stop feeling sorry for certain aspects of the Whedon fandom now, don't I? LOL!
Congratulations and it sounds like a great time -- wish I'd known about it, I might have braved the LIRR.

swanjun: what you said.
It was GREAT meeting zeitgeist and the whole panel.

I'm so glad to have started a "special" relativity discussion here. The list of discuss-able things was done in a hurry, and I kind of left out good and evil on purpose, being not confined to science fiction or the supernatural. Because I'm pretty sure they have good and evil in other places too.

I was thriled to my toes when Dan from TWOP started talking about the Great Sorkin Smackdown and showed the clip from West Wing. I was poking my sister the whole time (which probably hurt); she had no idea what the backstory was. (And I liked Studio 60 too; it took longer to hit its stride than West Wing, which came out swinging, but Angel took a little while to hit its stride too, and please don't kill me for saying that.)

So how many people were there...?

Umm...hard to tell but looked like 100?
The story in question is not mine to tell :) I was talking to Dan about the Sorkin Smackdown in the green room prior to the panel, as I expected it to come up. I think Angel may have hit its stride faster than Buffy, although thinking back on it, it changed to a different stride, so maybe it didn't.
All quote marks aside, congratulations you guys. It sounds like a lot of fun. Pictures if possible please so the rest of us can bask in the awesomeness of seeing what you look like in real life.

And that makes this as good a time as any to comment on what a great site Whedonesque is and what a great job the Mods do keeping the level of quality.
I'm pretty sure they have good and evil in other places too.

Dracula: good, evil or awesome? is a Buffyverse special though.
Sunfire, you're right. I read your punctuation wrong. I thought Dracula was one topic, and good, evil, or awesome was another topic. Which is, um, not sensible. But punctuation can be very challenging.
Especially when I break the rules all the time, yes. Mostly I just love that question though. Plus Buffyverse evil has its own kind of believability too it. Even though it's all entirely implausible.
Sounds like a very cool event, congrats Zeitgeist! And thanks for the link, Simon (I love Mad Men! Didn't know they had a cool fan blog too!).

And here's another second to what Swanjun said. This place really shines, thanks to hard-working mods, sensible rules, and smart people with good taste in television. :)
It was a great night, and I only wished that more Whedonesque-folk were nearby enough to join us. The panel was fun, the audience was cool, and we met some really great people, including the delightful site runner Erica, from Galactica Sitrep. zeitgeist represented well -- he was, (as he is) funny and interesting and insightful. My sense is that the key to succeeding at this sort of thing is to find what might be compelling to people who aren't familiar with the show, creator, controversy you're on about. (Otherwise we're just talking to ourselves, and who cares?) I thought z did a really great job at trying to raise conversation to the more global concern or insight that might be relevant or interesting to all. ('Course, I'm a little biased.) I was proud to be there as a member of this cool site, and proud to be a girl cheering for (and objectifying the hell out of) her guy. Well done, guy.

Plus, it was crazy cool to finally get to hang with the great SNT in the audience, and afterwards, over a marathon laughter session with drinks and good food. He is as lovely (in a manly way) and as funny a fellow as advertised. (No girl with two guys on her arm in Manhattan last night had better dates than this one.)

I did manage to take two discreet photos, but was promptly reprimanded by a stern guard. No matter. I'll throw them up on flickr as soon as I can and link them here.

And as for the "Story" referenced on the Mad Men site, I probably should have kept that one to myself. (It's often thus, with me.) We met the fun girls in charge of that site after the event and were standing around amidst several conversations going on at once. I kept hearing "Vincent Kartheiser" loudly off to my right as I was talking to someone else, and finally turned to announce that I'd seen his bollocks, off-Broadway. (Actuals.) Realizing I had indeed, said this loud, (and twice) I was compelled to explain. But honestly, do you need to know more than that fact? I'm guessing no. ;)

[ edited by barest_smidgen on 2008-05-20 22:55 ]
I actually considered trying to attend this panel. By the most affordable option - 42 hours on Amtrak. That was madness beyond mine (at the moment), but I sure second or third requests for pictures, and maybe videos? I'll gladly settle for audio.
The two Paley photos I got away with are now in the flickr Whedonesque group Library and a couple of the after panel celebrating in my flickr gallery.
Hee. The after-party ones are the best. They always are.
Wow, it's so WEIRD to see faces of the colored ones (zeitgeist & SNT). *head spins*

BTW, I notice the new Whedonesque border/line-thing. Nifty.
Great photos barest_smidgen - you were escorted properly that night! It sounds like it was such a fun evening. Thanks for sharing.
This certainly sounds like fun. Great pictures there, barest_smidgen!

I had never really heard about this whole Sorkin-debacle, but it certainly puts the "The US Poet Laureate"-episode (which I loved) into perspective. HEh.

I often do wonder if Whedon fandom is different from others in any fundamental way, but maybe the conclusion should be "nope, not really" if this is anything to go on.

Also, finally: how much am I missing when I've never even heard of Mad Men?
So SNT isn't blue in real life ? That actually makes a lot of sense now that I think about it.

Ta for the accounts/photos/representing (I feel compelled to add "yo" after that, it's what my homies and I always do on the Street ;).
I am so terribly envious. Thanks so much all, for the link and the pics.

Also, finally: how much am I missing when I've never even heard of Mad Men?
GVH | May 21, 11:36 CET,

Netflix it at the speed of light, that's how good it is. Assuming it's available. But get hold of it somehow, you wont be sorry.
So SNT isn't blue in real life ?

He is, but everyone shot him with lenses that cancelled it out. Shh!
The camera totally lies !

*throws away book of wise adages*
My god that is a big eclair!
Not blue, but a leetle tired from the jetting about. It was an excellent night, and I think I got the best of the deal because (a) I didn't have to actually get up on the stage under the hot hot lights, and (b) I met not one but two brilliant new friends. :-)

As for the event, there was a range of discussion touching on issues such as spoilers; whether shows (or networks) would attempt to control or buy up fansites; on-site interaction between fans and writers; and why it was these shows, rather than, say CSI, that inspired such sites (it's about the narrative, apparently). As mentioned above, each panelist got to select a clip and each was used to illustrate one topic of discussion.

Each of the panelists was articulate and a great rep of her or his site; but, inevitably, time and tact meant that they didn't get into any really juicy debate. I think this was an interesting first step on the part of Paley to try to place this and other sites in the media panorama. And Zg deserves all of your kudos and acclaim for his eloquence in repping us all.

The food and chat afterwards was wonderful - a blend of high-minded discussion, sordid gossip, poetry, and utter profanity. And, yes, barboo, those were some big eclairs. And filled with whiskey and cream to boot. :-)
Netflix it at the speed of light, that's how good it is. Assuming it's available. But get hold of it somehow, you wont be sorry.

Season 1 is released on DVD July 1. It's available for preorder on Amazon and elsewhere, and I assume you can reserve it on Netflix as well. Or, buy individual episodes or the whole season from ITunes.
What was the Whedonesque clip? And definitely, major props to zeitgeist for representing us.
The clip was the infamous final scenes of a delightful little episode called "Seeing Red" (S06E19) - chock full of issues to discuss, had we had more time to do so. Tried to touch a little bit on some of what it meant to various folks. Cheers, SNT, Sunfire :)
As SNT points out, the number of panelists and time alotted made it difficult to get too in-depth with any one thing. The panel only had a chance to scratch the surface on what, I think, could be a really interesting exploration of the kind of robust discussions that can happen that are not about recapping or fugging or polling... the ones that use an interesting post or Whedon work as a jumping off point for a broader conversation.

zeitgeist spoke some about that in regards to his chosen clip. (Clips were to be selected, as I understand it, to represent a scene that triggered great discussion and/or great debate and controversy on each site.) He put the clip in context of what the character of Tara meant to so many viewers, and how her death devastated some fans above and beyond what the death of a typical beloved TV character might, because of what she represented to many. He spoke of the debate about whether or not the need and desire to see such a relationship portrayed successfully should supercede the plan for the story, and whether her murder supported painful cliches or meant the character was being treated with the ultimate in equality by not being handled differently/specially/with kid gloves.
Clips were to be selected, as I understand it, to represent a scene that triggered great discussion and/or great debate and controversy on each site.

Well selected! Both in the sense of yep, that would be the most discussion-inducing moment in the Whedonverse (and competition is tough for that title) AND yep, it leads to great questions about storytelling.
I'm finally in!
There were so many points that could have been discussed in depth... it was a group (the panelists and much of the audience) of folks who, like the people on the sites themselves, just LOVE to talk about the intricacies (thank god this thing has spellcheck) of great television.
What made it a little dry was that so much of the audience was well, us. Media bloggers, who were there to pick the brains of thems that 'know'. So, while many of the questions had value (my sister asked about not biting the hand that feeds you because of how I never stop trash-talking AMC for sucking so hard) like about how to best host a site, I would have preferred what has already been said... delving into why we obsess over the details and the characters. How do a 16 year old perfect blonde who has a calling and dates mostly dead guys, and a Tiny Little Mad Men Spoiler Alert married, Okay That Was All slutting ad man who served in Korea and can't express emotions relate so strongly to ME??
Regardless, it was a great time. No doubt the most fun was the chatterfest/clusterF___ out front with you guys and Erica. D-lightful. Sorry we missed the eclairs. But oh my did we enjoy us some pineapple fried rice.
Next time.
I don't know... the nature of Glory/Ben has had a lot of discussion here. ;)
That's true, Dizzy, but you need to be careful since putting a slash between their names might make people think that they are the same person.
-- Avert your eyes, fan fiction writers --
Doesn't the slash mean, well, slash? Well, that would just be... confusing.
Did you notice that barest_smigen never said fanfic writers could stop averting their eyes? That means if you're a fic writer and you're reading this sentence, you lose 5pts >:) Oh noz!
Wait. Are you saying Ben is Glory?
Either that or a million fan-ficcers are about to elaborate on just how "related" they might have got.

Exactly. I shudder to think of how the physical transitions between the two halves could be spun/bastardized.
They didn't call him "Big" Ben for no reason.
*runs away before I get in trouble*
Dong !

(that's the sound Big Ben makes at one o'clock)

I shudder to think of how the physical transitions between the two halves could be spun/bastardized.

Well Ben/Ben and/or Glory/Glory have to be possibilities. Yeah, you're right about the shuddering ;).
Great choice for an appropriate scene, zeitgeist. It sounds like a good panel and a fun evening for you all.
I wanted to come to this so much, but I was right, there was no way I could get to NYC on a Monday night in the middle of May. (Darn work and motherhood and such like gets in the way of so much of the fun stuff.)

Was this taped like their other panels? I mean, if I went into NYC and went to the Paley Center at some point, would I be able to see a video of this as well as the Buffy reunion? (Inquiring minds want to know.)

BTW, I thought SNT was living out on the other coast. Is he hanging his hat by the Big Apple somewhere these days?
All of the Paley's events are recorded, yes. SNT was out for a visit with some friends.

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