At the beginning of June I jetted off to Austin for a whirlwind five days. Oh what a time. When Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", he very well could have been describing my trip to Austin. Even though I lived in Savannah for a number of years, I never made it further left than Arkansas. So when my friend Marisa, who I haven't seen in a whopping 14ish years, told me she was headed to Austin, I jumped at the chance to meet up with her there. She lives in NJ, so not only was it a fairly central locale for the two of us to meet, but we were also going to Austin for a very monumental reason. THE Gilmore Girls reunion.
Cue "Where You Lead"...
The TV festival that hosted the Gilmore Girls reunion was disorganized at best. With the festival being in its 4th year and the fact that it takes place in a city that throws festivals left and right, you'd think it would have its act together. But alas that was not be the case. It of course didn't help matters that the festival required its attendees to stand in line outside in the sweltering heat for hours prior to each screening and panel. As my friend declared and I concur, "the hot humid weather brought out my Irish blood and boiled it". But despite the weather and organization of said festival working against us, we managed to have a few unexpected organic moments that made the trip all worthwhile.
The first moment occurred after we registered for the festival and the elevator door opened to the hotel lobby. Who stood before us but Ms. Patty from Gilmore Girls.
The next day, after standing in line for hours to attend a Bunheads panel, we were informed the theater was at capacity and we wouldn't be allowed in. But that only meant we were first in line to see Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop walk into the theater for the panel. Fortunately we got perfect seats for a screening of the finale of Younger and post screening conversation with Sutton Foster at the Alamo theater. The Alamo theater is perfection. They serve bottomless popcorn and you can order alcohol, which they deliver to your seat! Another impromptu moment occurred while eating a snow cone on the side of South Congress Street and spotting Ben Savage. He is the spitting image of his brother Fred, who I crushed on for years. That evening we decided to walk to Hotel San Jose where they were screening an episode of Friday Night Lights outside. As this was a show neither my friend or I had seen, we were ambivalent at best about the screening. But luckily fate intervened and we decided to check it out. Lo and behold Hep Alien, Lane's band on Gilmore Girls, ended up holding an impromptu show prior to the screening. We ended up being in the perfect location to have the "band" walk right by us. Jackson spottings at the show were plentiful as well. He graciously mingled with the crowd. Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls and Bunheads, was also in attendance at the Hep Alien show along with Sutton Foster.
The next day, Gilmore Girls reunion day, found us waking up at the ungodly hour of 6am to get in line for "coffee talk" with Amy Sherman-Palladino. While waiting in line, who doth appear but Luke himself. He was utterly adorable in his middle ageness. Hordes of girls were swarming and fawning all over him. He was having quite the rock star moment greeting his gaggle of fans. While my friend grabbed a smoke on a remote part of the hotel balcony while taking a break from STILL waiting in line for the Amy talk, we unexpectedly befriended Zach (Todd Lowe). Zach played Lane's husband and bandmate on Gilmore Girls. Zach was trying to escape the maddening crowd and have a smoke as well. The poor guy clearly had a late night and forgot to take his sunglasses out on the balcony, so I loaned him mine. Once again back in line to hear Amy speak STILL, I encountered Rickie (Wilson Cruz) from My So Called Life. I had quite the fan girl moment. I rambled on about how much I adored the show and even wrote letters of protest over its cancellation. He was really lovely about my gushing. Finally after waiting literally hours we got into the hour long "Coffee with Amy" panel. The hour went by WAY too quickly. But Amy was perfection, as expected.
After a much needed nap back at the hotel came another ungodly wait for hours in the sweltering heat. This time the line was to finally gain entry to the theater hosting the Gilmore Girls reunion. This redhead does not do well standing in line in 95 degree heat for hours on end. I literally thought I might perish. Some people actually came quite close to doing so. At least two women passed out due to heatstroke and ambulances had to be called. Instead of passing out water to those of us in line, they apparently thought it would be "cute" to pass out Pop Tarts. FINALLY we were let into the theater for the moment we all had been waiting for. The two hours went by entirely too quickly and we were unfortunately left thinking, "that was it?". But at least we withstood heatstroke and sunburn to prove we bore witness to 15 year reunion of The Gilmore Girls.