Will the Gene Convention become one of the ghosts and memories of the past, only to appear on websites and in the memories of her many dedicated and loving collectors?
A message went out recently to all Gene Club members that the Integrity Toys' Gene convention team would be joining in the Hollywood Ahoy event run by Sandra Stillwell this coming August 13—16, 2009.
According to the message:
"Gene will be starring in her own dedicated day of events at this convention, complete with a souvenir doll, centerpiece dolls, workshops and more. And of course, no Gene event would be complete without the presence of Gene's creator, Mr. Mel Odom!"
The event is going to take place on the historic Queen Mary ship which is now a hotel docked in Long Beach, California.
There are numerous tales of ghost sightings at the now closed (for the past 30 years) Queen Mary swimming pool. There's a daily show with special effects "that dramatizes actual paranormal and historic events that have been reported over the years. Wet footprints mysteriously appear — and there is not a drop of water in the pool. Women in vintage bathing suits visit for a leisurely swim. ...Testimonials from passengers and crew members continue to be reported and documented, all of them wanting answers to what they've experienced. Do ghosts really exist aboard the Queen Mary?"
I'll bet there are plenty of bars aboard the Queen Mary, if you know what I mean.
The Hollywood Ahoy event is described as follows:
"Top stars of the doll world will pay tribute to legendary ladies of the silver screen… and the equally legendary costume designer and couturier who dressed them.
Illustrious keynote speakers and insiders will dish on the careers and private lives of Hollywood icons.
Joan Crawford, as produced in diminutive form by Robert Tonner, will star in the role of your exclusive souvenir doll on Saturday night.
Starring in their very own feature presentations will be Gene Marshall & Friends, Kish & Company, Bella! Productions, Paul Pham of Dollcis, and Wilde Imagination, with other attractions to be announced."
From what I've seen on websites and heard from long time Gene collectors, Gene events of the past were amazing and I can understand the feeling of loss some of them are experiencing at this time. I can relate because I felt the same way when I saw only three Fashion Royalty dolls at the W Event last week. Three! I'm concerned in advance about what we will be given at the Fashion Royalty convention this coming October. Our baggie doll last year was a Janay - a cheap playline doll. At least the Gene convention goers got a Suited-To-A-T towel-wrapped Gene doll. I can just picture the luncheon doll being one of those "entry level" dolls. I'd better leave that discussion now because I can really go off on a tear about that and pasta.
The reviews about the Gene news are mixed. Many are excited and looking forward to meeting new people and attending an event in a new location. Many are non-plussed and/or downright unhappy and will not attend because they don't believe a one day Gene event is enough to warrant spending the money it will cost. Actually the cost has not even been announced. Many are saying that this combining of events makes sense with the current state of the economy. Many are hoping for absentee packages.
I have the feeling that this event will be fabulous. I have heard nothing but positive remarks about Sandra Stillwell's events and that she is a great party planner. If she is as good as Marg Matsui was at planning Canadian Fashion Royalty events, people are going to have an amazing time. An event like this event provides various options and opportunities - kind of a mini IDEX. It is not known if the separate events are break-out type events. A break-out event is usually a meal or a tea party sponsored by a manufacturer which carries a separate charge. A souvenir doll or other item is included. I guess others are on their own for meals during those events.
The Gene line this year is the best one Integrity has put forth. I'm guessing that some of those dolls would have made an appearance at a Gene convention but instead were put into the Gene line when the decision was made to join Hollywood Ahoy instead of having a dedicated convention. The 2009 Gene line is called "Return to Hollywood." Was this a clue?