Monday, March 3, 2008

magical memories - "Once More, With Feeling" singalong

There are moments in time that stay with you, even if they happened some time ago, even if they only lasted for a short while, but the memories are ever-present.

In 2006, we attended the annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), a combination professional and fan convention which is held annually in a different city on the globe each year. I had attended Worldcon once before, many years ago, when it was being held in Anaheim, and I had gotten a little taste of the event and had a good time. The husband had never been to Worldcon before but with the con's return to Anaheim and our interests in the science fiction and fantasy genre, it seemed ideal to attend that year.

The five-day convention included numerous discussion seminars on all different topics, from movies to television to books to professional advice about how to break into the business and more. It was almost like being back in school, running off to different "classes" in different rooms at different times. Sometimes, the husband and I went to the same events. Sometimes, our interests diverged, and we went to different seminars. There were all kind of fun things that happened over the course of the five days, but the highlight for me involved the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". We had seen a little entry in the schedule for a singalong gathering of the musical episode of the show called "Once More, With Feeling" and had decided to check it out. We had gotten done with the con events a little earlier that day, so we had headed to the Disneyland Resort for dinner before going back to the hotel in search of the room where the singalong was being held. We're not necessarily big on singalongs in general, but we both love that particular episode.

We got there about 5 or 10 minutes before it was about to start, and the double-room area was packed. Pretty much all the seats were taken, so we stood against a side wall about half-way back. They were showing the episode on an overhead projector from the DVD, with the captioning on for the words. Right as they started, some people got up from seats near us and left, so we were able to get two seats together.

A singalong can often be cheesy and weird or lackluster without many participants, but I can't even completely describe how amazing that 46 (or however long the episode ran) minutes was. Sure, it helped that the lyrics were on screen, but I think most people in there knew most, if not all, the words anyway. Everyone sang the songs, and during some songs where it was a duet with a man and a woman, you could hear the voices naturally dividing, with the women singing the female part and the men singing the male part. There had been no prior discussion - it just happened that way. Also, during the show itself, people would yell out various responses to what was happening on screen, a la "Rocky Horror Picture Show", which generally sent the rest of the audience into fits of laughter.

I think part of what was amazing about this to me is that we weren't at a Buffy convention. This convention included a conglomeration of pretty much every manner of science fiction/fantasy-related interests, so it wasn't that just die-hard Buffy fans were there. In this gathering of different interests, there were enough people to create this singalong experience. It wasn't just a handful so that it seemed sparse, and it wasn't an arena full so that it seemed cavernous. It was just the right-sized room with the right number of people to have a personal group experience. Everyone was singing and laughing and having a great time sharing this moment, and the episode came to a close all too soon. I was actually kind of sad when we left, because I wanted more, but it was really just for that one episode.

Whenever I listen to the CD of that episode, and even during random moments, I think of the singalong, and it makes me smile.

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