It has been a jam-packed weekend of gay-themed soap events. Gays of our Lives brought together stars from Verbotene Liebe, Alles Was Zahlt, Queer As Folk, Greek/Dante’s Cove, Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten and One Life to Live for meet-and-greets with the fans and passionate panel discussions about playing gay roles on television and the challenges therein. But, for me, I think the most compelling and touching part is the fellowship.
There’s always something about getting together with a bunch of people who all love the same thing that’s energizing. Throw in that you’re literally uniting people from across the pond to do something like this, and it’s really mind-blowing. It was great to see the work all the organizers put into this weekend pay off in such a big way. And I met a ton of people who were just awesome — especially the folks who became my companions for the weekend. Anyone who reads this blog probably realizes I’m more than a tad neurotic, so it was great to be welcomed that way! Otherwise, I would’ve been standing in a corner like I was at an 8th grade dance!
I finally got to meet Jo Weil (Oliver, VL), Thore Scholermann (Christian, VL), Dennis Grabosch (Roman, AWZ) and Igor Dolgatschew (Deniz, AWZ), after interviewing them for the magazine via e-mail. (Can you imagine the logistics of doing international phoners? Yikes!) And it was so organic and natural, it was like we’d met in person time and time again before this. Felix Isenbugel (Carsten, GZSZ) was the only actor I was unfamiliar with and he, too, was as nice as could be. I also reconnected with AWZ head writer (and former VL head writer) Tom Chroust and briefly met Andreas Jancke, who played VL’s Gregor. Would you believe I didn’t get home till almost 1 this morning? Yes, me, the person who is always in bed by 10 and moaning about how tired she is. The mind boggles!
And, seriously, that charmer Mr. Weil has some intense powers of persuasion. I was SO ready to sleep in today and maybe do some laundry and generally not do anything soapy, but he pointed out that this might be the last time I see everybody for quite a while. I defy anyone to resist that argument, especially when it’s accompanied by one of Oliver Sabel’s best “you know you want to give in” looks.
Representing the U.S. were comedian Hal Sparks (ex-Michael, QAF), Scott Evans (Oliver, OLTL) and Gregory Michael (Grant, Greek; ex-Kevin, DC). And though Hal was funny as hell, he also had a lot of serious and resonant things to say about the state of the industry and the time and commitment required to make meaningful steps forward in the fight for equality. Gregory shared a few things about his time on ATWT that you’ll see at some point soon in the magazine or on our Web site, and was candid about the cracktacular insanity that is Dante’s Cove. (Protip: Only watch the show if you’re comfortable with full-frontal nudity and simulated sex, and if you thought Passions was hilarious. Don’t come back to me clutching your pearls and going, “Mala! I was SO horrified!” You’ve been warned!) Scott, I’ve met and interviewed before, at various New York-based events. This weekend I got to know him much better. Naturally, a huge topic of discussion was Oliver and Kyle being written off OLTL, and that thread of bittersweetness definitely ran through the weekend.
In a few hours, I’ll be headed to the last hurrah, a farewell brunch — and it will be even more bittersweet to see this crazy soap lovefest come to a close.