I should preface this by explaining that somewhere around my 31st birthday, back in May, I was finally healthy enough to function almost like a normal human. I decided this year is about shattering my comfort zone. I’ve been through a lot the last 10 years and have a lot to make up for. It’s not just about trips, but things like dying my hair and wearing straight leg jeans and lifting weights at the gym (ouch!). This is about making 31 better than 21. And fangirling is a great way to feel 21 for a little while. Even if your brain melts and you can barely form enough words to ask for an autograph and you want to melt into the sidewalk. OK, maybe that part isn’t the best. But, this is a process. I get to try again in December. :)
A couple weekends ago (Sewing Summit weekend), my cousin Sarah and I took a slightly more than 48 hour trip to Toronto. I’m still trying to wrap my head around Tear the Curtain, so I’ll start with everything else.
We flew Porter Airlines from Midway (Chicago) straight into downtown Toronto – we got our tickets during a super mega sale and it was basically the same price as gas and saved us two days. Porter was absolutely FANTASTIC. We got to head through the priority security lane at Midway so we were curbside to gate in under 15 mintutes. They totally let me slide with my (free!) suitcase being a right at the limit and we even got to use Passbook on our iPhones!
The flight was great. Porter’s Q400 turboprops have tons of legroom and the flight was only 90 minutes. By the time they brought us free water, cookies and wine it was time to land.
Toronto has a small city airport right downtown, on an island, so we flew in right over the water and could see the skyline while we landed. SO MUCH FUN! We got through customs quickly, crammed onto a ferry which took us for a 90 second ride across the water, piled into the cutest bus ever (I love Porter’s branding) which dropped us off at one of the city’s biggest hotels. We walked another 3 blocks to our hotel. So included in the price of that cheap ticket was transportation to within THREE blocks of our hotel. With the exception of dragging a 50 pound rolling suitcase a few blocks, it was completely painless. (See lifting weights, above. More of that needs to happen. Like, tomorrow.)
Hotel Victoria was absolutely adorable. We stayed in the tiniest room ever (this was intentional, we picked the smallest/cheapest room in the hotel with the best location.) It was barely bigger than a dorm room with twin beds, but we loved the decor and the hardwood floors and the brand new bathroom. We were less than two blocks from the theatre (close enough we snapped that photo of the billboard while still hauling suitcases!), a few blocks to the mall and major railcar line and right in the middle of everything. We could run upstairs just to change shoes and drop off our shopping bags without going out of our way. I would totally stay there again.
Friday night we saw Tear the Curtain, but we saw it Saturday night too. So let me skip to the fabric part. :)
Saturday afternoon we got a railcar daypass for $10 and headed down to the fashion district. FABRIC SHOPPING! We don’t have this in Chicago. We just don’t. We have quilt shops, JoAnn, Fishman’s downtown and Vogue in Evanston. We have *nothing* like this. Dozens of fabric stores. We were in love. I brought a mostly empty backpack as an extra carry on :) Did I mention how much I love this city?
The railcars were awesome. We had no problem getting around!
Sarah is in fashion design, so she really knows her fabric like we know our quilting cotton. She encouraged me to branch out and I got some wool, purple denim and an embroidered poly that will be a cute skirt or maybe Cambie dress.
At some point there was Starbucks. OK, Starbucks was next door so there was a lot of Starbucks. I know, Americans. And I found waffles at midnight! Those of you on twitter understand my middle of the night waffle/pancake cravings – when I stay up too late I crave carbs, it’s bad, I know. But we really hadn’t eaten all day. We didn’t have a fridge in our room and food and drinks were expensive and hard to find at the time we kept trying to eat, like after the play. So, waffles.
Tear the Curtain
So. Tear the Curtain. I didn’t start off knowing anything about theatre. I know about Electric Company Theatre through fandom. The thing is, once you know about them, it’s impossible not to be a fan. ECT is not your standard theatre company. They do some really cool and sometimes wacky stuff that I get to hear all about on Twitter but never get to see. They are based out of Vancouver, so as soon as we found out they were coming to Toronto we planned this trip. It’s a film-theatre hybrid, written by (and starring) Jonathon Young with Kevin Kerr and directed by Kim Collier, the three super-award-winning founders of ECT. That, alone, is worth anything we could do to get to see it. I did my homework on it and I knew it would be exceptional but as I was trying to pay attention to every detail and transition and all those little things I couldn’t even keep up. I’m thinking, “OK that was brilliant. How did they even think of that? Wow. OK wait, THAT was brilliant–” etc. etc. the entire time.
For the film parts, they had screens that dropped down. Sometimes you could still see the set & actors behind them and sometimes you could just see the film. They dropped the screens down and pulled them up every few minutes, and then sometimes they would just project straight onto the curtain or the set. Sometimes the filmed scenes were set outside or in a car or on a totally different set, something you couldn’t have/do on stage and sometimes they were seamless with what was going on on stage – for example the actors would run backstage behind a glass door and you’d see their shadow but then the whole scene was projected up on the stage as well. Sometimes there was a scene on film but then something was going on in the part of the stage you could see. Parts of the set pulled apart, up, back, forward. They used the trap door and then showed the scene that was happening under the stage. At one point there was a miniature stage, the actual stage, and then what was going on inside the miniature stage was projected onto the back of the set. I can’t even… you can’t be prepared for it and I certainly can’t explain it to all of you. Most of the time we weren’t sure what was “real” and what was not because it was like a play within a play (or we were supposed to think it was?) Regardless, it was very, very cool. The second night we kind of knew what to watch for. It was easier to understand and look for those other details again too. Definitely worth seeing twice.
There is a point where the whole “tear the curtain” thing comes full circle and the house lights come on and Jonathon points to a half dozen people or so in the audience. Well the second night he totally picked out Sarah & me, and gave us that Tesla side smirk. Which was probably more a “really, you’re here AGAIN?” smirk, but it made our night. lol. It was hard to keep it together, but we did since the lights were actually ON in the theatre. Then there was a scene where he says something about “getting out there and signing programs or such nonsense” and we laughed at that. But otherwise, we were really, really good.
Friday night, after the play, we were trying to find an open restaurant on Yelp and by the time we chose a direction to head off in, we saw Jonathon outside talking to some other fans and asked for autographs. I think. My brain shut off at that point. I got an autograph, so I assume we asked for them? Then I said something like, “So, that came out of your head, huh?” (since he wrote the play… yeah, i’m not very clever) and he had a cheeky answer for us about that. :) I am convinced he is both amused by and adorably confused by the fangirls. I just hope we are more amusing than annoying. We ran away pretty quickly in a fit of giggles.
So we scurried off back to our hotel to Sykpe my friend Erin. I can’t wait until the two of us are on the same continent. 33 more days. Then who will we Skype? Anyway, YAY AUTOGRAPH! Also, do you know how hard it is to find margaritas at midnight in that part of Toronto? But we did. Yeah, we’re awesome like that. Or Toronto is. Probably Toronto.
Almost forgot the best part of that Skype session – At intermission we got to chat for a minute with one of the writers from Sanctuary (we recognized her from Twitter) and she mentioned meeting us on Twitter afterwards, while I was Skyping with Erin (so she could see me, obviously.) So Erin then TWEETED HER that I squealed and jumped up and down when I saw the tweet (well, I did). Thanks Erin, I hold it together (mostly) all night and you tell on me. I love you too. :P
I didn’t have to deal with frizzy/wavy Toronto hair this time, but that was probably more the cut/color/new shampoo and Sarah’s CHI (um, want!) than the weather. It was nearly the same as last time – rainy, overcast, humid, 55 degrees… So once again we didn’t get to go up the tower, which also may have had to do with my friend (who also flew in to see the show) insisting on waiting outside the theatre to get her prop from Sanctuary signed… which she did, but i was so mortified I’m not really talking about it. I still can’t believe she did that. More guts than I’ll ever have. Of course he was super sweet about it, which didn’t help the brain function. Then I made the mistake of thinking he’d actually remember me from last time, which he totally didn’t and that’s probably a good thing, but when he asked the three of us a question, whatever I babbled made no sense because I didn’t fully explain what the heck I was talking about. If my brain was working I would have hid around the side of the building. But no, brain=mush. Let’s recap: Me? Sidewalk. Melt. Please? TWICE. <sigh> I’m hiding behind Erin in December. Seriously. HIDING.
The trip home was delayed a little while because of weather, but it was still fantastic. Porter has this airport lounge with free snacks and drinks and cushy chairs and wifi and we just chilled and until our plane was ready. While all of you were complaining about traveling to and from Sewing Summit we were ENJOYING air travel. I know, right? Seriously the best airline ever.
Since you all were posting “travel handmade” for Sewing Summit – here’s mine! (The backpack I took was a VB – and I love it anyway! Sorry. :P) First, my Daytripper. AWESOME. Then I took my favorite Michelle Pattern grocery bags to help keep things in my suitcase organized. Then my pink zippy pouch ended up being the perfect size to hold my camera, which was great because I didn’t have time to make a case for it. I love love loved my little black brocade wristlet that I made for the play, which you all got as a bonus feature in the wristlet pattern. So thank Toronto and Tear the Curtain for that, because I finished it around 2am the night before. Oh and my blue wristlet was perfect for my keeping my passport, phone, cash and cards (and all those Canadian coins) organized! <3 (You all get the “bonus features” DVD extras reference, right? OK.)
Oh, and then this was waiting for me when I got home. Stay tuned for a fabulous Fat Quarter Shop Simply Fat Quarters giveaway! In the mean time, go click their link in the sidebar and buy fabric. You know you want to. I mean, it’s fabric. :P (And they have all the new lines from Quilt Market in their coming soon section! AND CUZCO THERE IS CUZCO!!!!)
Did you notice all the Instagrams? Yeah, blame/credit goes to Melanie. I fought her on it for months and then about 3 days after giving in, I was addicted. I still wish there was a picture frame option without a filter, just because I’m not me if I’m not difficult. If you don’t have Instagram or Twitter you can see all my photos here.
There isn’t a better place to write this, so here works: Yes, I know how silly this is. At the same time, our little Far-gate-uary (Farscape, Stargate, Sanctuary) fandom has given us so many friends all over the world. I talk to friends in the UK, Australia and all over the US every day. It’s kind of like our online sewing friends except more… enthusiastic. A lot of you just went to Sewing Summit to meet people you know from Twitter and blogs. On top of that, my best friend for 20+ years loves Stargate (she went to Toronto with me last time and she’s *changing her vacation* to make the Stargate con here in Chicago next year! <3 Basically so she can hold my hand while I meet Amanda, because if you think this is bad? Yeah.) And then Sarah loves Sanctuary and Doctor Who. (Sanctuary & sewing, could I ask for more in my awesome little cuz? I think not! :) So, it goes both ways. We start with fandom and find other things we have in common, or we start as friends and share our fandoms. Either way, it’s given me or strengthened so many friendships. My friend Erin is like the goofy little sister I never had. So in 33 days, I’ll be on a plane to Australia. It’s irresponsible. It’s expensive. I have student loans to finish paying and a car that needs new tires. But there will be tackle hugs at the airport. It’s the spring break I never got to take. It will be 2 weeks of baking, ice skating (in Brisbane, in 110 degree heat, because it’s utterly ridiculous and WE CAN), s’mores making (I’m smuggling graham crackers since they don’t have those), TimTam dunking, sandcastles, shopping, more baking, something about epic ice cream at the planetarium (no idea, ask her) and just being giggly and silly with a “Gate to the Sanctuary” (cute huh?) convention right in the middle of it. And our friend Emily, which will make things even more interesting. :D I promise, there will be photos. :)
So thank you to everyone who has cheered me on these past couple of years. Your encouragement and support has meant more to me than I can express while I healed and now while I’m planning to take this (successful… huh? who would have thought? :D) business into 2013. It’s all of you, ALL OF YOU, my sewing and my fandom friends – and many of you overlap – that have given me the motivation to do this – to pull all nighters, to edit just one.more.photo., to not chuck it all out the window. You keep me giggling and smiling, so thank you for every last email, review, comment and pattern purchase. I promise 2013 is going to be even better than 2012 and I can’t wait to drag you all along to have some fun with me!
And a lot of thanks to my husband for only giving me a little bit of crap when I complain about my computer being slow and gently reminding me, often, that I opted for keeping my old iMac and buying a plane ticket instead of a new computer. Thanks sweetie. LOL. <3