Credit to @Heughligans for the picture

Outlandish Reflections on a Plaid Carpet Premiere

What a weekend…

Well, it’s been a few days and I’m still not down from the high of all that I experienced at the Outlander Premiere on Friday night. It’s almost hard to know where to begin, but I have heard that the beginning is a very good place to start!

First of all, for those who are a bit wary, this is not going to be a recap of the actual first episode, so those who are determined to be unspoiled on August 9th need not worry! There are some excellent episode recaps out already that have that covered. What I am going to do is give you a window into my experience. Hopefully, this will allow everyone who wasn’t able to attend to feel at least a part of the excitement.

Tell me if you’ve heard the one about 6 women trying to get ready in a single hotel room…

That’s right, you heard me. Before we could go anywhere, it was necessary for 6 of us to get dressed, hair styled and made up. Not that easy as you might imagine. Especially as all of us had brought more than one outfit and it was necessary for each of us to try everything we brought on and get the consensus of the group on THE outfit that should be worn. Through that process, we took the time to order in a lunch as we feared—and were correct—that this might be the last meal of the evening.

Appetites dealt with, it was time to begin the shuffling required to get everyone shower, mirror and straightening iron time. Luckily, we had our own personal stylist on hand. It’s always nice to be friends with someone with red carpet experience. And while there may be no ‘Words heard on set’ tweets from Maril due to the filming hiatus for the premiere, I can report that the following words were heard in our hotel room:

Suck in…Lift your boobs….do you mind if I stick my hand here and adjust this…

And the best of all…

I usually get dinner first before I let someone do this.

But, right on time, we were tweaked, looking perfect, and all ready to go! We requested our UberXL vehicle and headed out for our special night.

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Pinch me…

I think all of us were still pinching ourselves that we were really going to the Outlander Premier as invited guests and we really had no idea what to expect.  Soon enough, however, we pulled up to the Spreckels Theater to join a line of others waiting for the Will Call lines to open. Coincidentally, a band of kilted men came by to help us pass the time. I mean, really, what could be more fun and appropriate! I couldn’t resist having my picture taken with them and was given an Outlander bandana of my very own.

I won’t show a picture, but I was amazed to find that even two of Diana Gabaldon’s children were waiting in line behind us. I figure they are in store for a pretty interesting evening since I’ve heard Diana say that they have never read her books as, in the words of one daughter, “I don’t want to read sex scenes written by my mother.” However,  it doesn’t surprise me at all that Twitter0c2dc2ethey didn’t expect any special treatment.

Pretty soon it was 6:30 and the Will Call line began moving quickly. I made very sure that I stuck close to the lucky girl who actually won the tickets as I knew my +1 status was dependent on her!

Once we had our tickets in hand, we walked behind the Step and Repeat Backdrop and Plaid Carpet the stars would soon walk and entered the atrium of the theater. It was a wonderland of trees, stones and kilted men. I truly felt I was walking through the trees at Craigh na Dun. Once in the theater lobby, we were able to peruse a selection of blue vases—a la Claire’s shopping in Inverness.

I can’t begin to list everyone I met from the Outlander Twitter and Facebook worlds. As with all Outlander-related events, meeting people in person that you normally only tweet and Facebook message with is one of the best parts of the evening.  I quickly ducked into the actual theater for a moment to see where my seat was. Turns out it was in the Orchestra level in Row S. This was one of the last rows in that level of the theater, but the venue was so small and intimate, I was sure I would have no problems seeing anything on stage.

Keeping my eyes wide open…

I then went back out to the atrium to people watch as others arrived.  I had the immense privilege of speaking with several key executives including Chris Parnell (Sony) and Karen Bailey (Starz). However, the highlight by far was the chance to speak with Bear McCreary. He graciously stopped and spoke with me for three or four minutes. I wish I could remember in more detail what he said—or what I said for that matter. I do remember telling him how much I admired his use of instrumentation in his work and he said how amazed he was at all of the support from Outlanders so far. I’m also crushed that I didn’t remember to have someone take my picture with him but I did get some video of him with Kathy. I also spotted Zac McGowan, Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy from Starz’s Black Sails walking through as well. Last but not least, I also had the opportunity to speak briefly with Jolie Lash of Access Hollywood. She is the one who has put together some of the funniest cast interview filmed during her set visit to Scotland back in February, including the “Sexiest Gaelic Words” and “What is it about a man in a kilt” videos.

At this point, the greeters started clearing the lobby for the big arrivals. One of these days I’m going to learn that sometimes it doesn’t pay to always follow instructions, but alas this wasn’t the day, so I took my seat.  Others who didn’t follow directions got some great pictures. As I stated earlier, there are no bad seats in this theater.

It really starts to get real or should that be reel…

I had just settled in my seat when I noticed a bit of a buzz. Ushers were escorting the cast to seats among the crowd in the Orchestra level. I would never have expected that to happen. I managed to get some video of them but I apologize for the quality and the sound as I was just a bit excited.

First up was Lotte Verbeek (Geilis Duncan).

Next, crowd favorite Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie)

And entering to a great ovation, author Diana Gabaldon along with Co-executive Producer Maril Davis.

Also to the delight of the crowd, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) were next. After Sam was seated, I realized I had a perfect view of his face in profile from less than 20 feet away. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I would be able to see Sam out of the corner of my eye while watching Outlander. I could actually see during the screening which scenes he paid close attention to and which were the ones where he grabbed his water bottle.

And last, but most definitely not least, one of my personal favorites, Tobias Menzies (Frank/Black Jack Randall).

Once everyone was seated, the house lights dimmed and out stepped Bear McCreary to give a live performance prior to the screening. He began with a couple of traditional Scottish folk songs: The haunting ballad Loch Lomond and then a fiddle tunes “Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye.” Next, was the very first live performance of the theme for Jamie and Claire that Bear wrote especially for the show. It was so haunting and evocative, I swear I could feel the wind from the moor and smell the heather. Lastly, Bear’s wife Raya Yarbrough took the stage to perform the song from the Outlander opening title sequence—a modified version of The Skye Boat Song. It literally gave me chills. I took a few short video clips but you will have to excuse my inability to keep quiet.

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“Clean Pease Strae” and “Comin’ Through the Rye”

Jamie and Claire’s Theme

I am also posting a video that someone else took of the entire performance and posted on YouTube. The video quality isn’t wonderful but the sound is pretty good.

Everything I thought it could be and so much more…

Once the live performance was over,  the curtain lifted and the credits started to roll. You could hear cheers and smatters of applause as names we know and already love flashed on the screen. Costume Designer Terry Dresbach received applause and cheers but the largest ovation by far was when Diana’s name was displayed. Thankfully for those not able to attend, Starz has released the opening title sequence on YouTube. Prepare to be amazed by the haunting vignettes and music. I will warn you that it is very addictive though. I’ve been finding myself singing the song for two days now.

I promised no spoilers for the episode content and I will hold by that. If you are interested in reading more about the actual episode, I highly recommend you read Candida’s A True Fan’s Review of Outlander Episode #101: Sassenach. She does a brilliant job and I understand the review has already been read and appreciated by those at the highest levels. As for my own reaction, I honestly can’t think of anything I would have changed. There were favorite lines, surprises, passion, action and humor. All of the things long time fans have appreciated about Outlander since 1991. Perhaps the best summary of my feelings is this tweet I sent to Maril Davis (@TallShipProds).

But wait, there’s more…

Not only did we get to be among the first to see a screening of the premier episode of Outlander, but there was also a moderated panel discussion afterwards. Even though jet lagged and tired from a day full of press interviews and a ComicCon panel discussion, the discussion among the participants was enjoyable and insightful. There were some great moments, especially when cheers went up for Gàidhlig tutor Àdhamh Ò Broin. Also, I think Ron Moore gave the best summary of Outlander Season 1 ever. I predict that the phrase “and that doesn’t go so well” will become a new catch phrase among Outlanders everywhere.

Here is a video released by Starz of the entire Q&A panel discussion.

The Clock Strikes Midnight

All too soon, the Q&A session was over and I knew my magical evening was drawing to a close. After lingering a bit in the lobby, trying to make the evening last as long as possible and speaking to friends, we finally exited the theater to the sidewalk outside. There we were privileged to have the opportunity to speak for quite a while with Karen Bailey, Sr. Vice President for Original Programming with Starz, and her husband, Palmer. It was great to hear some interesting tidbits about things that may be coming up for Starz and its productions.

Waving goodbye to Karen who was off to another event, I and the rest of my party adjourned to the nearby Westin hotel for a drink, some nibbles and the chance to discuss the night’s events. I sent a few congratulatory tweets to those I knew had made such wonderful contributions to the production including Terry Dresbach and Àdhamh Ó Broin.

Finally, even drinks and food couldn’t prolong the evening any longer. We hopped in our UberXL and made the journey back to Kearny Mesa, a tired but thoroughly pleased party. Sadly our group of six wonderful ladies had to split up and go our separate ways, but we have wonderful memories we will share forever. Thank you so much to Marisa, Candida, Darcy, Jen, and Kathy for sharing this fantastical evening.

Watch out world. Outlander is coming!

Credits to @Heughligans (Plaid Carpet picture) and @Candida_LN (Forest Lobby picture)

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GreatScot! is in San Diego for the Outlander series premiere – Day One

Wait a minute…weren’t you just in Canada?

Just a quick note to let everyone know that GreatScot! is in San Diego! For those of you wondering what happened with the rest of my vacation trip in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, never fear—I will eventually get those posts completed. I have lots of great pictures and stories to recount.  However, the Outlander Premiere is rightly interrupting all previously scheduled programming.

The trip began this morning with me meeting Tricia Leedom, Heughligan, in the gate area of the Atlanta Airport. Sorry there aren’t any pictures of this meetup, but I’m pretty sure we never stopped talking from the point I arrived until the gate agent started boarding the plane. I never even thought to take a picture.

Once I boarded, I made the now obligatory tweet to Terry Dresbach with the shoe picture.

For those who may not know, Terry began the tradition of taking pictures of her shoes almost a year ago when this journey began. I now feel obliged to do the same every time I begin an Outlander related journey and it always makes me smile. Oh, the places these shoes have been and the stories they could tell. But, then again, that’s why this blog exists.

Winging across the continent to San Diego

Once in the air, I passed the time with the inflight Internet service making sure that I didn’t miss any of the great pics coming from the lucky ComicCon attendees. I also managed to snap a couple of pictures as we crossed the desert east of San Diego.

Once I had deplaned, I hung around in baggage claim waiting for my companion for this weekend’s adventure. Soon enough, she had also arrived and we made our way to a taxi for the ride to our hotel. Thanks to the craziness that is ComicCon in San Diego and the exorbitant price of downtown hotel rooms, we are staying about 10 miles north of the downtown area—where I can use hotel points for a no cost stay. Nothing beats free! Luckily, I have the Uber app on my phone to help us get around economically.

Fish Tacos, Calamari and Mussels…oh my!

Once we settled into our hotel, our thoughts quite naturally turned to food as neither of us had eaten much all day.  We decided to head downtown to the Gaslamp District for some food, so I put my trust Uber app to use and within 4 minutes Scott had shown up to take us downtown. Turns out Scott was a retired TWA airline pilot who drives for Uber to stay out of his wife’s hair. She told him he had to stop hanging around the house so much after he ate some wine and cheese destined for his wife’s book club. And, get this, the book that was going to be discussed at that meeting was A Breath of Snow and Ashes. You just can’t ever get too far from an Outlander reference, can you? I’m sure his wife is going to be very jealous when he tells her of the two girls he carted around today who are going to the premiere tomorrow evening.

Another strong point in Scott’s favor is that he pointed us to the Bay Park Fish Company for their 3-6 pm Happy Hour. Marisa and I gorged ourselves on Fish tacos with Mahi Mahi, Mussels steamed in coconut milk and lemongrass, as well as Kung Pao calamari. Everything was splendid. Scott even hung around the area so he would be available to take us back to the hotel to rest up before a night on the town. Can’t be out too late though! Lots to do tomorrow and we’ll need to be well rested.

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The Big Day is coming…

Tomorrow is D-day! I’ll catch you up on any of tonight’s activities worth mentioning and have extensive coverage of all the events at the Outlander Premiere. People keep asking me what I’m looking forward to most. Obviously, I’m very excited to actually see the first episode and all of the cast plus Ron and Diana. But even more than that, I think I’m most looking forward to is the live performance by Bear McCreary of some of the music for the Outlander series.

For those of you who may not have seen it, Bear recently published a piece on his website titled “Outlander Fans’ Guide to My Music” where he details some of the steps in his life and career that have led him to this project. It is obvious from reading it that he truly has a passion for the music of the era Outlander encompasses. I can’t wait to hear more from him as he has promised as many blog posts during the Outlander season as living with a newborn baby will allow.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling things are going to be verra exciting tomorrow!

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From Savory Meat Pies to Starz in My Eyes – Outlander Retreat Main Event Part 2

OK. I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep but I’m back up and totally jazzed about finishing this blog post. Why does this never happen when I get 3 hours of sleep on a work night? But, yet again, I digress.  Where did I leave off?

A moment in the sun (of Diana’s presence)

Oh, yes! Lunch! But wait, there was this other little thing that happened before lunch. As a part of signing group D, I waited my turn to get Diana to personalize my brand new copy of MOBY! Happily, the line moved pretty quickly as attendees were limited to having their copies of MOBY personalized with just their name. Being the lovely gracious woman that she is, Diana signed my copy for me in the Acknowledgements section where my name appeared. I was thrilled to have another few moments to have her sign the book, thank me for my help, and have my picture taken.

Still basking in the glow of my moment with DG, I headed up to grab some lunch. Some of us who have blogs and fan sites had deliberately maneuvered our way into the same signing group so that we could have lunch together and plot strategies for getting new subscribers for Starz. This is important: New subscribers will be one of several key drivers for the success of the Outlander TV series and determine whether it is renewed for subsequent seasons.

Entering the Armory food court, I found it to be a hub of activity. Apparently, in addition to our own event, there was also some kind of Filipino cultural celebration being held. Skirting the resultant crowds, I scoped out my options and settled on Pies! I figured a savory meat pie would be the closest meal I could come to one that Jamie and Claire likely will eat in MOBY. The Cheeseburger Meat Pie was delicious. (I really wanted the English Meat Pie, but there weren’t any ready when I ordered and besides, I was afraid that would brand me a Sassenach forever.)

Cheeseburger pie

Cheeseburger pie

After our strategy session wrapped up and lunch was devoured, we headed back down to the Fisher Pavilion for the continuation of the afternoon events.

Highland Fling

First up on the roster of afternoon activities was a demonstration of Scottish dancing. Seattle’s Royal Scottish Dance Society delighted attendees with their performance of Scottish country dances in both soft and hard shoe. I was also delighted to hear several tunes that I recognized as staples in the Cape Breton, Nova Scotia musical repertoire. Cutest of all were the littlest costumed members of the group. I caught some lovely pictures and a few short videos to give you a taste.

After the dancing, I spent the next hour pleasantly conversing with many Outlanders I heretofore had only known through social media while valiantly ignoring the siren call of MOBY from the depths of my Random House tote bag. Next up was the hour for which we had all been waiting. It has to be something good if a sign like this shows up, right?

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Reason to Believe

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I love it when a clan comes together… Outlander Retreat Day 1

Anticipation

You know, before the Outlander TV series was even a twinkle in Ron Moore’s eye, Outlander was all about the books and Diana Gabaldon. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited about the TV series as anyone and maybe more than many, but I first experienced Outlander through the magic of Diana’s pen, well keyboard really, and that is still the primary experience for me. Delightful as I find pictures of Sam, Matt’s #POTD and Terry’s costume classes, it still comes down to the magic of the words.

You can imagine how excited I was when Random House announced plans for an Outlander Retreat to celebrate the long-awaited release of MOBY — more properly known as Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Luckily, when the appointed day and time arrived to purchase tickets — which sold out in 15 minutes — I was able to secure one, although not without some assistance from a Random House angel due to some technical glitches.

Next Stop —Seattle

All spring I have waited for this weekend to arrive, contenting myself with Starz trailers , DG’s Daily Lines and tweets with Outlanders world-wide. Finally it is here! I woke up bright and early this morning and headed off on my Seattle Outlander Adventure.

First stop, the Airport!

Once I boarded my plane, I just had to take a shoe photo for Terry. For those of you who may not know, Terry Moore often tweets fabulous pictures of her shoes when she travels. I did the same in LA in January and she seemed to get a kick out of it. Twice makes it a tradition, right?

Well traveled shoe

Well traveled shoe

During the 5 hour flight to Seattle, I amused myself with Twitter and reading my Kindle. Thank goodness for technology! Arriving at Sea-Tac, I made my way to baggage claim to wait for @LallybrochLaura with whom I was sharing a ride to downtown Seattle. As planned Laura landed very soon after me and we quickly found each other. If only finding our town car driver would have been so easy. But on the other hand, if it had, we would have missed out on a thrill.

Could the weekend have started any better?

As I was saying, Laura and I finding each other was smooth sailing, even though we had never before met in person.  The driver, not so much. However, during the course of wandering looking for our lost driver, we stumbled upon many other drivers also waiting for passengers. And it just so happened that Laura noticed one of them holding a sign saying ‘Gabaldon’. Immediately our eyes got verra big and no sooner had we processed the sight than we turned around and… just about ran smack into Diana herself. Not wanting to keep her, we contented ourselves with the briefest of introductions, handshakes and a ‘can’t wait to see you tomorrow’ remark. We also helpfully pointed her towards her driver and then continued the search for our own.

Luckily, a quick phone call resolved the missing driver situation and Laura and I were whisked downtown. Arriving at the hotel, I checked in and Laura stashed her bag in my room while we went in search of lunch.  One of the nicest things about my hotel’s location, is that it is right next to an elevator that whisks you from water level to Pike Market level very quickly without dealing with the hills for which Seattle should be famous. (San Francisco has nothing on Seattle.) We decided to have lunch at Lowell’s in Pike Market.  The food, conversation and view were all lovely.

After lunch, we walked back to the hotel and Laura headed off for her evening’s activities. The only thing left on mine is dinner with a friend.  Plan to call it an early night so as to be well rested for the main event tomorrow!

Stay tuned. We’ve only just begun! More to come on the big event tomorrow.

 

 

 

Outlander

Time running out to listen to BBC Radio interviews about Outlander with Àdhamh and Sam

BBC Radio only allows listeners 7 days to listen to its archived radio programs, so we are down to the last day you can listen via the website.  Don’t miss out!

BBC Radio Scotland – Good Morning Scotland in English

There are a few nice comments from Sam and we can actually hear Àdhamh speak about the importance of the Gàidhlig in English as well!

Listen to the entire piece here. The Outlander piece begins at about 1:49 in.

BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal – Aithris Na Maidne

I listened to it online and amused myself by picking out Gàidhlig words I knew here and there.  I was very pleased that I mostly understood the weather forecast.  However, the real reward is that Sam is interviewed for a few minutes during the piece on Outlander and they switch to English after exchanging “Good afternoon”, “How are you”, and “very well” courtesies. Àdhamh has his bit of the interview as well, but unfortunately (for us that is) it is in Gàidhlig and I can’t understand it all.

You can listen to the show using this link. The Outlander piece starts approximately 23:48 into the broadcast.