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article imageFans bid farewell to ‘The L Word’ at Starfury’s L10 convention Special

By Anca Dumitru     Aug 23, 2012 in Entertainment
Birmingham - UK promoter Starfury staged the tenth and last ‘L’ event at Hilton Birmingham Metropole from August 17 to August 19, 2012, where fans have officially said goodbye to the groundbreaking lesbian TV drama ‘The L Word.’
For three years after the six-season show aired its last episode on Showtime in March 2009, The L Word continues to attract audiences of all sexual orientations from all around the world. Although never acknowledged with an Emmy or a Golden Globe nod, the exceptional performances of Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Pam Grier or Mia Kirshner — to name only a few members of an outstanding ensemble cast — stand the test of time nearly 10 years after the pilot has been shot.
Thanks to The L Word, a show that has changed the lives of many people over the last decade, same-sex love has finally made a place for itself in television.
Starfury contributed to that by successfully hosting 10 L Word fan events over a seven year-time span, where nearly each actor from the series participated.
Initially intended as an exclusive L Word event, Starfury had to expand the L10 line up with guests from other queer-themed shows due to the cancellations of Rachel Shelley, who’s filming in Vancouver, and Alexandra Hedison. The stars who eventually made it to Birmingham the past weekend were The L Word’s beloved Pam Grier, Janina Gavankar and Clementine Ford, The Real L Word’s good-humoured couple Tracy Ryerson and Stamie Karakasidis, and, as a bonus guest, the lovely Roxanne Mckee, who played the charming TV presenter Lou Foster in BBC’s critically-praised hit drama Lip Service.
There have been three days filled with an amazing meet & great session for the Gold Ticket holders, intriguing guest talks, fun photo shoots and autograph sessions.
Here are some of the highlights of a weekend that abounded in good times, laughter and L Word recollections.
On reality talent shows
Although Ford has a problem with such shows' exploitation factor, both Gavankar, whose role as Papi in The L Word landed her parts in The Gates and now in True Blood, and Ford, who also starred in The Young and the Restless, enjoy watching the dancing reality shows.
Janina Gavankar - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Janina Gavankar - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
Speaking of talent, Gavankar, a gifted musician and renaissance woman, was happy to announce the release of her new single “Waiting for Godot” on August 28, executive produced by American Idol’s Randy Jackson. She gave her fans a gist of it during the closing ceremony. Ingeniously engineered, mixing the vocals with Asian influences, strings and electronic instruments it sounds very different than “Love Lockdown.”
On books, writing and reading
Ford’s love for books comes from both her parents. She isn’t into Kindle because she likes to underline while she reads, and believes the printed word won’t disappear. She is currently writing a script and talked about some of her personal experiences which she covered on her personal blog “The Dog Ate My Anti-depressants.”
Clementine Ford - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Clementine Ford - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
Inevitably she was asked about her mother, Cybill Shepherd, who has a very busy summer. She just got engaged and debuted on Broadway at 62 in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, which runs until September 9 at New York City’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
About her Southern heritage, Ford said: “I do feel like a Southerner. My dad is very attached to Mississippi,” and added that race relations in the South seem to be going backwards.
As opposed to her dislike towards Kindle, if she were to read for audio books, Ford would choose in a heartbeat Cheryl Strayed’s Wild or The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.
On music and The L Word
Speaking about the music she enjoys listening, Ford considers there’s not a genre that she can’t find something she likes. She even has an affinity for the 1980s and 1990s rap.
The L Word was Ford’s most favourite show to work on, when it all came together and she figured who she was herself. The scene she loved the most was the Turkish oil wrestling scene in Season 5.
On humor and banter
This was by far the department in which Ryerson and her partner, Karakasidis, excelled. At their third consecutive visit to a Starfury L event, the set of two shared their guest talks with Mckee, whom they later “corrupted” in joining Twitter.
Tracy Ryerson - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Tracy Ryerson - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
A mother of three, selling real estate by day and stand up comedian by night, Karakasidis brought the audience to laughing tears with her jokes and stories, especially the one about her first experience with a woman. During the past couple of years, fans became comfortable with her presence and her jokes, and didn’t hesitate to ask some cheeky questions like: “What is the battery powered object you couldn’t live without?” The answer came fast and simple: “My iPhone. And Tracy has her Prius.”
Stamie Karakasidis - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Stamie Karakasidis - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
McKee was in her element with the two Real L Word stars. Asked whether she would do a reality web series, she light-heartedly answered she wouldn’t, because she doesn’t want her real personality in the media. If there were a third series of Lip Service, McKee would like to go back, depending on how the writers would re-introduce her character into the script.
Roxanne McKee - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Roxanne McKee - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
The icon – Pam Grier
Those who have been at L6 knew already what an enjoyable guest the kick ass legendary 63-year old actress can be. She greeted her “tweetie pies and huggables” with a “namaste,” took a seat, and simply started talking to the audience.
She talked about her busy life at her Colorado ranch, her animals, the horses she rescues and rehabilitates for therapeutic riding programs. She lives a full and disciplined life, and is grateful for the abundance she was given from life, work and Universe.
Pam Grier - Starfury L10  Birmingham  August 2012
Pam Grier - Starfury L10, Birmingham, August 2012
Courtesy of RachelShelleyRX
The most important piece of news she broke was that her best-selling memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts, is going to be a movie. The book, which took her four years to write, covers not just her influential career, but also the sexual abuse and racial prejudice she’s been through as a child. Grier survived horrific events which she turned into affirmations. She defeated cancer and has been in remission for the past 24 years.
She thought of Paula Patton, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tandie Newton and Zoe Saldana when she was asked about who she would like to play her at different stages in her life. She doesn’t want though to be involved in the casting process. In her opinion, the material would dictate who is up to the challenge.
In the last day of the convention, Gavankar and Grier closed the guest talks reminiscing of The L Word, talking about the great time they had on set as Papi and Kit. They also gave a shout out to the other cast members and their immense talent and range. Grier mentioned that Jennifer Beals would be so great in a comedy: “Jennifer and Laurel [Holloman] would make such a funny comedic team.”
She would really like to see a comedy or a Broadway version of the series. And, of course, a movie version.
On other actresses they would have liked to have in The L Word
Names like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Meryl Streep or America Ferrera came to Grier’s mind. For Gavankar, on the other hand, starring in The L Word and having access to actresses of great calibre was better than any Ph. D. The show was a platform for some of the best female actors, writers and directors in Hollywood.
Best moment on set
The Papi and Shane Wild West style first encounter was Grier's favourite scene. As opposed to that she also brought up the controversial ending of the series. That's the way she would have written it: “The baby [Angelica] did it! The baby killed Jenny!” By accident.
The hardest and easiest emotion to act
Grier thinks cramps are hard to act, and hunger is easy. For Gavankar happiness and camaraderie are so much easier to portray than vulnerability, which is such a personal thing. Regardless of what actors are given to play, Grier says: “You have to be sensitive to the other actor. They know how to support one another in pain and laughter.”
On turned down roles
Grier turned down the role of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It. She knew she wouldn’t get it anyway because she was too tall for the part, and did a play in the same time.
Gavankar recently turned down a show that may be a big hit. Other than that she has no regrets.
On nudity and Papi
Gavankar has no reservations with nudity, but has concerns with the way women are sexualized. What attracted her to the role of Papi was a completely opposite character than what she is. Papi was the ultimate player from East LA, oozing a crazy sexual energy.
The L Word L10 charity auction
Grier auctioned three of the items that belonged to her character, Kit: a pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes, a “Save the Planet” bracelet, and her name tag from her trailer door. Just like at L5, Gavankar has brilliantly performed her duty as the most entertaining ad-hoc auctioneer. The £700 proceeds were donated to Stonewall, the largest British charity for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality.
Like all good things that come to an end, so did L10. Some of the guests got emotional during the closing ceremony, but nevertheless the memories will keep being treasured and shared. The storytelling process continues.
A big thank you and respect to everyone who was part of The L Word and to Starfury for bringing people together for the past seven years. This journey must end so others can begin.
More about the l word, THE REAL L WORD, Lip service, starfury, l10
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