Before I tell you anything about Outlander in the City I need you to know two things: I am not a fan girl but I am an introvert with some anxiety issues. I don’t geek out over television/movie stars. That’s just not me. Also, I am a people watcher. I see stories in everything because observing the world around me is like reading a book that is being written in real-time. I don’t often “join in” groups at parties because I prefer to watch everything from a distance.
From the moment I stepped into Papillon, I felt as if I was wrapped in a Highland wool blanket of love, happiness, and whisky. The electricity in the air was almost palpable as everyone waited for the special guests to appear. There was so much laughter and so many conversations that it was difficult to hear. It was almost impossible to stay on track anyway as everyone bounced from one topic to the next like a bunch of sugared up teenagers waiting for the arrival of a boy band.
Anne and Mary arrived far earlier than me and managed to secure a table that turned out to be a most fortuitous location. When the special guests arrived, they were escorted by handlers through the restaurant and to the back room, right in front of our table. Our table would be the first one that they passed when they came out of the room to mingle with guests. But why would I even care about that? I’m not a fan girl.
When the actors were released from their VIP holding pen, Nell Hudson was the first I had contact with. One minute I was sitting at the table and the next thing I knew I was out in the floor chatting with her. I don’t even remember making the conscious decision to move. It just happened! She said that she was afraid that people wouldn’t want to talk to her because they hate Laoghaire. I assured her that I do have quite a bit of hatred for Laoghaire but that she, Nell Hudson, is positively lovely. She smiled and instantly drew an entire group of fans into a conversation about the filming of the second season of Victoria, which starts soon (or has already started…some details are foggy at this point). Truly, this is a lovely woman with a gentle spirit and such a disarming smile that it makes a Laoghaire hater completely forget the character that she plays on screen. It was only after she moved on to mingle with others that I realized I didn’t get a photo with her. But what would a non-fan girl care about that anyway?
|Mary and Anne didn’t miss their opportunity to have their photo taken with Nell.|
Over the course of the next few hours the stars made their way to our tiny corner of the restaurant. Gary Lewis could not have been more generous with his time and his delightful personality. He chatted with our group for several minutes. During that time, Mary made a compelling argument for him to join Blake and her on the podcast as part of the #Gonelander series. After the explanation of Gonelander he agreed that he was, indeed, gone and would consider it. After he moved on to mingle with another group we realized that, despite some great pictures, we didn’t capture him on video saying that he was a Gonelander. Stay with me through the end of this post and you’ll see why our disappointment was short-lived.
|Did I mention that Gary Lewis is a hugger?|
Stephen Walters was exactly like I would have expected him to be. He’s full of life and funny and moved easily between the groups. Richard Rankin is well, I just have to say it, he’s adorable. The only tweet with words that I managed from the night said exactly that. There’s just no other way to describe him. Mary was fascinated with his lapel pin so he took it off and gave it to her. If I’d only thought to compliment his shirt.
I can’t tell you much about what Steven Cree said. I can, however, gush to you about what I saw him do. When he approached our group, everyone had their photos taken with him and he engaged everyone in conversation. As he began to walk away, I asked for a photo and handed my phone to someone. Other phones also appeared and I have some great photos taken by several people. He was polite and patient through the numerous camera flashes. He then went off to mingle with other groups. Throughout the night I saw him sit among guests at five or six different tables. A casual observer could have looked at each table and assumed that it was a group of friends out for a night on the town, not paying guests sitting with an actor from a hit television show. There was not one ounce of pretense in this guy and he seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself. I follow Steven on Twitter and find him to be hilarious. It was pretty cool to see that he’s the same guy in real life.
We had a difficult time catching up with Duncan Lacroix. It seemed as though each time he got near our table, the handlers would whisk him away with a promise that he would return. When he finally did make it to our table, he made it well worth the wait. I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t hear most of what he said because I was too busy taking pictures and watching the reactions of everyone around us. After checking in with Anne, Teddie, and Mary about the conversation, I was sad that I had missed it but knew exactly why the ladies in the photo were wearing such rapt expressions on their faces. Duncan was telling a story about how he related to Murtagh’s unrequited love for Ellen Fraser. In theater school he met a young woman who instantly stole his heart. He knew she was the one, and yet they were cast into different plays and he never saw her again. He still thinks of her to this day. Girl, I don’t know who you are, but if you’re reading this you need to drop everything and find Duncan Lacroix! As if that wasn’t enough, Duncan was also wearing Cait’s “I’m an Unusual Lady” shirt. It’s difficult to not like a guy who will do that to support his co-worker.
|It’s difficult to imagine a bigger smile on either face!|
|I’m not even sorry that I missed him telling this story because I got to enjoy the looks on everyone else’s faces.|
I had continually missed the opportunity to meet Grant O’Rourke. He spent all his time on the first visit to our table attempting to grasp the knowledge that Blake was not there. Near the end of the night, I finally caught him in a free moment and asked for a photo. I tried twice to take a selfie and both pictures were terrible. It seems that my lack of coordination had diminished over the course of the night for reasons that I understand but probably don’t need to elaborate on as I believe I was not the only person in the restaurant experiencing such difficulties. What happens at Outlander in the City stays at Outlander in the City. Right? Back to Grant, he laughed at my failed attempts and handed my phone to someone and asked them to take our picture. I have no idea who you were, but if you’re reading this thank you. This is probably my favorite cast photo.
Early last week the event organizers began to drop hints about a newly-added special guest. There were a great many guesses but most of them were wrong. I think everyone was surprised to see new cast member Wil Johson who will play Dr. Joe Abernathy in Season 3. I actually never got a chance to talk to him or grab a photo, but Teddie was gracious enough to summarize their conversation for me. Wil has not read the book because he wants to portray what’s provided in the script first and foremost and to work with the director’s cues to the character of Dr. Abernathy. He noted the difference in the two mediums (book/film) and wants to be true to the role as presented to him for filming. Teddie gave him a head’s up that he was in for a big Outlander love fest and he said he was thrilled to have the role.
As the night wound down, I was regretting my missed opportunity to snag a photograph with Nell. I saw that she was making her way to the back room and I seized the moment. She was wonderful and gracious and even though it was probably the thousandth photo she had posed for, she looks as though she had just walked in the door. This is the point where I realized that I might, indeed, be a fan girl.
As the night came to a close, the cast and guests began filtering outside. As Teddie, Mary, Anne, and I were leaving, we noticed that Gary Lewis was standing on the sidewalk. One of them had the presence of mind to ask if he would do a video for Gonelander. He did! As a reward for sticking with me, I give you Gary Lewis.
When I woke up on Sunday morning I found that I was quite emotional about the entire experience. It was only when I was waiting at the gate with my family for our flight that I realized why. The entire day on Saturday was full of fun and joy. We were all there because it’s exactly where we wanted to be. We were all there to celebrate something that we have fallen in love with and to share that love with each other. There is something magical about being among people who know exactly how you feel about something because they feel it, too.
As I reflected on the night I realized that I hadn’t actually had conversations with the cast even though you wouldn’t think so by looking at the pictures. I had somehow found a way to bridge the gap between introvert and extrovert. I engaged enough to ask for photos and then spent the remainder of the time watching the cast interact with their adoring fans and marveling at the generosity of their spirits as they took time to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to them. This was about as close to a perfect night as it gets.
Before I end this, I want to say a special thank-you to the members of the Outlander Cast Clan Gathering who joined us for brunch on Saturday. It was amazing to meet you. I was overwhelmed by your kindness to me and to each other. Since falling down the Outlander rabbit hole I have wanted to sit with people who love to talk about Outlander as much as I do. Guess what? You are those people! You are MY people! You aren’t the reason that I began writing for this blog. I started because I had so many feelings about Outlander that I needed to write them down. Our editors were kind enough to give me the opportunity to share those thoughts with you. While you weren’t the reason I started, you, my friends, are the reason that I will continue. You inspired me and I want to do good work for you.
Oh and one more thing, I am totally a fan girl.
Did you attend Outlander in the City? Do you have any stories that you would like to share? We want to hear them!
WOW, love this article. I have never felt about a book/show as I do about Outlander. It has caught me in my heart & soul..and seems to be there forever. I'm disabled so most likely will never get to an Outlander Gathering..but love reading about them, and love others also have about this amazing story. And I too have NEVER in my whole life been a "big fan" type of person. This is new to me, and I'm not young..have a great day..thank you for sharing..
Can I ask how much it cost to go to this gathering?
Wish, wish, wish, I could have been there too Nikki. That would have been grand but thanks for sharing your obvious joy in the event, the cast members you met and the Outlander fans. Long may you continue to write for us all.
You can view the details of the event here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/outlander-in-the-city-tickets-28898703801#
Give a shout out when your back in NY, would love to attend
Great job on this Nikki.. I was there (at Brunch too) .. I will do some sort of write up for the Gathering fb page. My only regret is that I didn't know where you guys were.. would love to have hung out with you a bit. Found out after that you were downstairs and I was up .. I did see Teddi.. I should have asked her.. my brain was a swirl. Lol
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and really love what you've done. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Thanks Diana! "Caught heart and soul" is exactly right. 🙂
I would have loved for you to have joined us Jayne. Maybe one day?
Angela, I've seen so many photos of you. It seems like you were everywhere!! 🙂 It was definitely a whirlwind night.
Thank you so much.
Thank YOU Dear Nikki,what a wonderful post,loved reading it & lovely pictures,great to see Anne,Mary & YOU!
what an incredible time !
i am so much like you described
about yourself …i could have written it !
intro, observing, love to write, etc…
yet, being so touched by the outlander books..& know the series..
thank you for sharing your experience with us…??
Dear Fan Woman Nikki,
Thank you so much for your fun and bravely personal account of the fabulous Outlander in the City event last Saturday night in NYC. Some takeaways from your article and the event itself:
1. You look happier than a pig in you-know-what in the pics; actually, you also look a little hypnotized with fan-love 🙂
2. I am an abject videography failure: couldn't I at least have shouted "Lights! Action! Camera!" to Gary Lewis and help an actor out?
3. The event itself was fabulously run by the organizers, and the charities it funded made out beautifully, thanks to the generosity of this wonderful fandom.
Loved meeting you and love this piece!
Wow! Always love reading your blog! Wish we could have met at the event. My sister and I were also sitting downstairs. I didn't know you were there! It was a wonderful and almost surreal experience for us, too! (My sister and I saw the show and were instantly hooked, then we read all the books in a frenzy) This was our very first Outlander event (or any show/fan event!) We did not expect that the cast members would be so friendly, approachable, patient and genuine! We had some great conversations with them. It was so incredible that it kind of feels like it was all a really nice dream. Everything exceeded our expectations in a big way!
Thank you for your blog! Please keep writing! 🙂
It's been fun to realize how many other people relate to this. I sometimes let myself believe that I'm the only one feels these things; that I'm in a boat all by myself. It turns out that the boat is MUCH bigger than I thought.
1. No arguments here.
2. I LOVE that he directed himself…a consummate professional!
Loved meeting you too girl! Can't wait to cross paths again.
I'm so sorry I missed you! It was my first event too and I didn't realize until after it was over how many people I COULD have met. This probably won't be my last event so maybe we'll have another chance? I'm so very happy that you and your sister had a great time. It's amazing to think about how many people were there and how (I think) we all had an incredible experience.
where do I sign up to find out about these events?
Ditto, Diana! Everything you said is what I would say. I may never get to an Outlander event, But I can live through these wonderful interactions vicariously as others participate. Love this fandom!
I don't think there's a comprehensive list of events that you could subscribe to. However, our lovely Denise Stewart wrote a blog post that includes lots of events through the end of this year. She may update it in the near future. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can check out her post here http://outlandercastblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/travel-your-way-through-droughtlander.html
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I love this! Just note seeing it but better late than never. Thanks so much for sharing,… as an introvert myself I feel you.
I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in New York–lucky you getting to be there in person, and thanks for sharing. So much joy in one room!
I have been a fan girl before just not to this level. I followed Babylon5, met several actors associated with it, and moved on. I am an avid fan girl of The Tudors, and the lovely Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Never met him but see everything he’s done. Found him years ago in Michael Collins where he played the assassin. Then the little itch I finally scratched late in 2015 when I watched 16 episodes of Outlander that I had taped/ recorded before. I first heard of Outlander working in a bookstore at Christmas in 1992-93. I recall looking at the display including a handsome kilted red haired Scot with lust! I didn’t scratch it. I was working two jobs and didn’t think I could get into such a big thick book. Oh, in top of two jobs I was taking courses for another degree in English Literature focused on the Tudors. But fast forward to 2015 and once I scratched the itch, I couldn’t stop. The actors I learned were fantastic and reacted with fandom, but not knowing how to do a lot in social media I was invisible for a very long time. I love reading the fan blogs, because save a miracle I will never meet any of the actors. Blogs such as yours permit me to vicariously enjoy every experience. Sorry for running long, I am a frustrated writer with little, usually to say. Long live Outlander!