This was the 2nd consecutive year the historic Hotel Van housed the awards. Last year, they had the red carpet out on the very busy Georgia Street. While this was great for publicity for the awards, it was a major safety concern as traffic tends to zip by on there & there was several (including myself) instances last year of people needing to step out onto the street to walk by, thus risking their lives somewhat. The red carpet dominated about 4/5 of the sidewalk. This year, they went with a safer approach, which was too far in the other direction. They had the red carpet upstairs in a ballroom, 2 floors up... and while the public was allowed to wait around the check in counter outside the red carpet area, they were not allowed in this time to wait on the red carpet.....meaning, the ONLY red carpet pics this year, will be the very limited number that the very few reporters & bloggers who were accredited opt to put out there. This is IMHO a disservice to the nominees who often would appreciate any free press they can get, and the awards themselves.
For an event that has always been a very fan friendly event (even when those fans were protesting a show being cancelled, as was the case in 2007 with CBC series jPod), this was a small smudge on their image. Next year, I suspect they will need to work on a new design for how to have things. Even several of the nominees & presenters we chatted with seemed VERY dismayed and shocked at this turn of events.
The limited access this year however didnt stop the "in the know" people of the city, who figured out where we could go & made good of what we were given. When I got to the hotel, my friends from www.outlaw-hobbies.com told me the bad news & worse, 1 of my top 10 names that I wanted to get, was already in, Ben Cotton. I became a huge fan of the adult themed puppet mockumentary "Sunflower Hour" this past year when I saw it at the Vancouver International Film Festival. So I made a couple cast images to get signed, since most of them were expected to be there. But I had already missed Ben. I was then given the news "you can go upstairs, you just cant go inside... maybe he's hanging around up there" so I went up, didnt see him though.
I returned to the lobby, JUST IN TIME to see the next celeb roll in. "Sanctuary" star (Winner - Best Lead Male in a Feature Length Film) Ryan Robbins was coming in. We got Ryans attention & he proceeded to sign for us, and enthusiastically talk about his other project "Falling Skies" & he was asked about if he was going to be on AMC's "Hell On Wheels" & he wasnt sure if he could talk about it much but said yes. He was terrific as always, and quite candid & open as he told us about a pretty serious accident he had on the set of Sanctuary this past year that left him not doing well for a couple weeks.
After that we went back upstairs to see who we missed as several people seemed to come in. I 1st managed to get another "Sunflower Hour" star (winner - Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Length Film) Johannah Newmarch. Upon seeing my cast item I was working on, she went inside & found Ben Cotton for me. Ben signed and chatted about the movie & how much fun it was to do. I asked him if he had any other projects on the go, and he told me not currently... so dear god, SOMEONE, give this brilliant acting specimen a regular gig. He was 1 of the few shining lights from Hellcats.
It didnt take long before things started rolling along at a pretty frequent pace. Next up was "Vampire Diaries" star (nominee - Best Lead Actress in a Feature Length Film - Hannah's Law) Sara Canning, now a member of Vancouver shot series "Primeval New World". She signed for me & the others there, and stopped to chat a bit with a couple people. She was 1 of the bigger people I was hoping for, so it was exciting to get her out of the way early on.
Then things became a scramble. I might have (some/much) of this out of order. At some point, I got "The Killing" star (nominee - Best Lead Actress in a Feature Length Film - Sisters & Brothers) Kacey Rohl. Like Johannah & Ben prior, she had just great things to say about doing the film Sunflower Hour and loved the pics I had. Around that same time, another "The Killing" & "SGU" star (nominee - Best Lead Actor in a Feature Length Film - Sunflower Hour ) came by, Patrick Gilmore. Mr. Gilmore was his usual jovial self. He willingly signed what we had and chatted with us for a bit. Sometime a little later a bunch of the cast of "Sunflower Hour" came back out & right towards where I was... seemed they were trying to help me get Ben Cotton's autograph, but I already had him. They then stopped and by this point a few other autograph collectors had made their way upstairs, and there was new people looking for autographs from the likes of Patrick Gilmore. While that was going on, I was introduced to Aaron Houston (nominee - Best Screenwriting in a Feature Length Film - Sunflower Hour) and had him also sign my cast poster photo. I then asked him when it might get a DVD release, he said "soon" and I told him I have been impatiently waiting for it, as I have wanted to see it again. He promised it should be "in the next couple of months in the States, then up here" for a DVD release, which I was a tad disappointed to hear, but long as its out SOMEWHERE, I wouldnt groan too much where I got it from at this point. One of the last people I would get was Peter New (nominee Best Supporting Actor in a feature length film) to sign my Sunflower Hour item, leaving it completed by the main cast, minus Amitai Marmorstein (who was not there).
The most bizaare event of the evening, and if it were not for Robin Dunne dropping his pants on Georgia Street last year, I would suggest strangest moment in my history at the Leo Awards, Patrick Gilmore signed the stomach of 1 of the local autograph hounds after they chatted about his tattoos, which included 1 from a Harlem Globetrotter who had signed his arm & he had it tattooed over. Patrick even had Ben Cotton photograph the event while his guest/date this evening, the often entertaining in her own right, @KeepinltLeal (1/3 of the entertainingly odd "music" group "Coupla Hot Chicks...Maybe 3") stood by probably regretting getting dressed up for such an affair as she witnessed Patrick sipping champagne while signing a guys body. In typical Gilmore fashion, it became of course, a tweet of his https://twitter.com/PatrickGilmore/status/206546263917862912 in the documentation of his evening that he tweeted that evening (Seriously, if you dont follow him on twitter.... do it, more often than not, entertaining tweets) as he showed the world the adventures he was having (really, Patrick is 1 of twitters best celebrity tweeters 93.5% of the time). Only at the Leo Awards would you see a nominee for Best actor in a feature movie sign the chest of a male fan while drinking champagne & then have that said actor boast about it on twitter... this is why the Leos are 1 of my favorite events annually.
As the evening went on, eventually we would nab several of the "Sanctuary" cast as they showed up for the shows big last hurrah at the awards. Outside of Ryan Robbins, we also got Christopher Heyerdahl (Winner - Best Performance in a Youths or Childrens Program - The Haunting Hour) to sign, and he said he's really enjoying working on the AMC series "Hell On Wheels". Robin Dunne (nominee - Best Actor in a Drama Series) would come by a bit later, and although he seemed rushed (he was 1 of the awards hosts as well as nominee) stopped to sign for those there. Emilie Ullerup (nominee - Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Arctic Air) also took the time to stop and sign (finally) which was a big relief for me, after I tried to get her at a fan expo not that long ago but was told from her she cant sign there for free, and I suggested how about the Leo Awards & she said sure if she is nominated. So in the end, it all worked out. One of the last people to show up was Amanda Tapping (nominee - Best Actress in a Drama Series) and she still had the time to stop & sign for everyone. Agam Darshi was also there, but I had nothing for her and watched as she signed for a couple other people who did have things for her.
With "Hiccups" being nominated for a few awards, former "Corner Gas" stars Brent Butt & Nancy Robertson were there of course. Butt seemed a bit hesitant to sign at first, but eventually stopped and did so, while Nancy stood there for the mostpart watching her husband sign for everyone till 1 of the other hounds came up with a Hiccups photo. Shortly after, I got wedged my way by Brent (we were standing in a very crowded confined space near a wall) to go get Nancy as well. She was so amazed by my "Dead Like Me" photo I had she almost forgot to sign it. Everytime I have pulled a DLM photo on someone, they have been amazed by them.
"Arctic Air" had several reps there, besides Ullerup, Carmen Moore (nominee - Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series) was asked by a few fans to sign & she did so happily, while I tracked down Stephen Lobo (nominee - Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series & Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Length Film). Sadly, Kevin McNulty, the only cast member I actually needed (on my Robson Arms cast items) wasnt there. Somehow, we never saw Pascale Hutton, even though she was apparently there.
I saw "Once Upon A Time" cast members "Blue Fairy" Keegan Connor Tracy (nominee - Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series) & "Hansel" Quinn Lord (nominee - Best Actor in Short Drama Film - Last Christmas) there as well, but I had nothing for Keegan, and didnt see Quinn till it was too late.
I saw "Robson Arms" & "Once Upon A Tiime" star Gabrielle Rose. I asked her for an autograph & she was willing to sign, but it was going to take me a few moments to figure out where the item was (by this point, things had been pulled out of my binder, moved, misplaced etc) and said I would get her after she checked in. UNFORTUNATELY, they sent her along the table till she was right at the door, and once out of sight, I was also out of mind, and missed my chance. I saw "The Killing" star Tyler Johnston as he was heading in & didnt have time to get him to sign the item I got for him. I saw another "The Killing" star Brandon Jay McLaren show up, but had nothing for him sadly, although I wish I had the "Tucker & Dale VS Evil" photo 1 of the others had.
All in all, almost 40 autographs at this years Leo Awards made it a venture worth my time. my nearly complete Sunflower Hour poster photo (gonna have to track down Amitai Marmorstein now) being my favorite item of the evening.
I will do a report on the actual winners (actors and films/shows... and maybe a couple others) soon.
Here is some of the pics of the evenings successes and adventures.