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By Mike Watt | July 2, 2003

Fans attend conventions for any number of reasons, but primarily they go to meet celebrities they admire, in the hopes that, in the brief few seconds they’re allowed to meet and have autographs signed, they make a connection. Everyone hopes to be the one that the celeb remembers on the flight home. Every fan has the desire to make that crossover into friend.

The folks who put on cons – particularly fan-run cons – in many cases hope for the same thing. Granted, they have a slight advantage over people who are paying to attend. After all, it is the con coordinator who spends the most time with the celebrities, arranging their travel, expenses, making sure they make it to their autograph and Q&A sessions, etc. The coordinators are also hoping to make a bit of money on the appearances as well, but even that is probably secondary to the desire for that connection.

Moonlight Rising, held this past June in the Catskills, is a fan-run con dedicated to that newly departed popular show, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The guests at this convention were five recurring actors from the show, including two of the undisputed stars, James Marsters (“Spike”) and Anthony Stewart Head (“Giles”). In addition, were Adam Busch (“Warren”), James C. Leary (“Clem”) and Amber Benson (“Tara”). If that wasn’t enough, Moonlight Rising also boasted appearances by novelist and Buffy-tie-in author Christopher Golden and singer Julie Caitlin Brown, as well as a performance by Busch’s rock group “Common Rotation”.

Apart from the packed line-up, what made Moonlight Rising stand out above the countless other cons held throughout the world was the intimacy of the event: only eight-hundred tickets total were sold for the convention, giving every attendee an equal chance to make that valuable connection. The normal venue boasting a convention with this much star power would normally be packed to the gills, with thousands of fans pressed up against each other, straining to catch a mere glimpse of their television heroes. But with the numbers low, fans at Moonlight Rising had more than enough legroom, and were able to mill about in a reasonably orderly fashion.

Being fans as well as journalists, photographer Amy Lynn Best and I were eagerly awaiting the Moonlight Rising weekend, and had been for almost a full year. On board as press since the convention had been announced, we had already made modest connections of our own with Head and Benson in the past, so we were anxious to see these guests again. With Buffy having given up its ghost this past May, Moonlight Rising would be a nice way to toast our favorite series along with the seven-hundred-and-ninety-eight other loyal fans.

The story continues in part two of A FAREWELL TO BUFFY>>>

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