Sep 24 2007, 11:15pm
Finally, my DragonCon 07 report. Warning, Warning... it's long!
A report by grammaboodawg (Sept. 21, 2007)
(Golly, I hope I found all my booboos *closes eyes, hits enter*)
Well... y'all who made it to DragonCon last year reported on the great time to be had in Atlanta and the HUGE cost difference between D-Con and ORC. There was the suggestion that we should all descend upon the South rather than the West next year. What? Tolkien fans not going into the West? Preposterous! We couldn't possibly... uh... wow. Lots of people are saying they're going to DragonCon next year. But... it's ORC!
Oh, how I struggled. I literally lost sleep as I thought of abandoning ORC for an unknown. Then I realized it's not ORC... it's TORn! WE are the moot! WE are the family. WE are what counts. So, I turned my gaze to the South. As soon as they were available, I made my hotel reservations and bought my tickets for DragonCon 2007. I also hoped to talk my daughter into letting me take along my g'son, Paragon (formerly HOBBITIZE-ME). He'd be 12 yo by then... the age we promised him in 2003 that he could go. Thankfully, Mom & Dad... being the wise, loving parents they are... said yes!
With their blessings, I arranged for my flight from Michigan to Baltimore to meet up with Paragon. Then I got 2 round-trip Greyhound bus tickets from Baltimore to Atlanta for just over $200. The gasoline alone for that drive would be half-again that cost, not to mention a rental car and parking fees!
[Right shoulder angel: WHAT A DEAL!] :D
[Left shoulder angel: You get what you pay for.] >: (
The year, then months, then weeks ticked away. While Paragon and his lil' sis visited me this summer, we laid our plan of attack. Basically, it was *squeeeee!*
Finally, it was time to prepare! I loaded my Ipod with Paragon-esque music, stuffed a bag full of snacks and distractions, and had my suitcases packed 4 days before my departure. Then the anxiety started. I always freak out as the time approaches to leave. I have myself talked out of going at least 3 times a day. Fingernails are bitten, tears are welling, internal debates rage.
[Right shoulder angel: It'll be fine! You'll make the flight and the bus! Just have fun!] :D
[Left shoulder angel: You're going to say dumb things, they'll discover you're a fraud, and you'll fall off the face of the earth.] >: (
It didn't help that I needed to pack for 4 things. One for Tuesday overnight at Mom's where I'll leave Puddifoot for a visit and head for the airport early in the morning. One for the overnight in Baltimore (Weds & next Mon.). One for the 17+ hour bus ride (there and back again). Oh, then one for DragonCon!
Thursday, August 30
As you suspected by now, I made it to Mom's, made the flight, made the bus... *screeeeeech* The Greyhound bus. *rubs face* I thought it would be a good idea to leave in the early evening where we could sleep most of the trip and arrive in Atlanta refreshed and ready to go. Good plan! In summary, the temperature in the bus was 56 degrees, people talk loudly all night, anyone over 5' 3" would be too tall to fit in the seats, and there was only one 3-hour stretch where the bus didn't stop and we, often, had to get off and on again... potentially making us unable to sit together when re-boarding due to crowding. It's first come-first served... and the bus was full. Sleep was not easy. You couldn't put your seat back without laying on the person behind you, and there was no way to get comfortable. We did stop once at 8:30am for a meal. I sent Paragon in to snag us some eats while I watched the bags. What an ordeal! But ya know... these inconveniences made this adventure all the more intense, action-packed and stimulating. I've done bus trips before, but knowing how uncomfortable and tedious it would be for him made the strain more apparent to me. But he was an absolute trooper and did the duty with great patience and grace. We rose to the challenge and can almost laugh about it now (with an affected eye-roll). As I said to Paragon, it's great to experience this so you appreciate how good you have it, and now you'll get all the jokes about busses.
However, the scenery was gorgeous, and I love riding through Washington DC. Oh... but I nearly freaked when I looked out the window as we rolled through yet another town and I thought I saw Nomad! What's he doing way up there? I cleaned my glasses and looked even closer. Then I realized it was just a close cousin.
Friday, August 31
At about noon, we FINALLY got to Atlanta! We took the subway to the hotel and dragged our bags through a collection of Star Wars, Potter, Anime, Goth, and a myriad of mysterious characters. WOW! Paragon was definitely getting into the mood to get lost in the crowds! He also got quite an education on some... uh... creative (albeit skimpy) costuming. There was this one girl who incorporated a couple of 2 ft. rockets into her costume. Interesting. You'd think she'd be... inconvenienced. No hugs for you!
As we were checking in for 2 nights instead of 3, the hotel offered us a free stay at another hotel 4½ blocks away if we gave up our reservation here. A savings of over $300 dollars. We froze; then looked at each other. I now know how the hobbits felt when Galadriel quietly made offerings to them. Paragon was SO excited about staying in this massive hotel; but he immediately said we should take it. "Gramma. That's a lot of money. Let's just go stay there. It's okay!" Oh, the temptation! Nope... this was what we'd dreamt of and planned for, so we're staying. He jumped up and hooted, "YES!" It was so worth it just to have him so excited! Then we were told our room wasn't ready yet, but that we could take another instead. "Do you want one of the upper floors or lower?" "Up high!" burst out Paragon. "Up high," sez I. So we headed for the 20th floor. The very first thing Paragon did was race to the window, throw open the drapes and thrill at the view and the height. "AWESOME!!!!" He mourned not being able to spit.
We dumped our bags, freshened up, and set out to register for DragonCon! As others there may have noticed, on Friday afternoon the line outside stretched around almost 2 city blocks! Luckily, I'd brought our pre-order tickets and we shot to the head of the appropriate line. BANG! We were in!
We headed for the exhibition/vendor rooms... but our very first stop was TORn's table in the Marriott. There we found Calisuri on duty. Now we're officially here, and I really began to get psyched. "Yes! Thar be sibbies here!" He was still setting up and told us MrCere was somewhere about the place; but we should be sure to come back and play some Trivia!
We had some time before the first track (Tolkien, of course), so Paragon and I wandered into the room housing stars and visitors where we saw MANY familiar faces from tv and movies, and I found the table for the tv show Ghost Hunters team called TAPS. I love watching this show. It's on the SciFi channel here in the States, and it's about two men who work for Roto-Rooter (plumbers) during the day; but at night, they lead a group of people to investigate and debunk haunted locations. I got to meet one of their newer recruits... Dave Tango. What a delightful guy! He's a Ghost Hunter in training... but he's really settling in and contributing so much to the team. (More professional than Brian ;) YO TANGO!!! *waves howdy*
My first Tolkien-track was Anne C. Petty's discussion entitled "Dragon Smackdown: Glaurung vs Smaug." Her presentation focused on the two dragons and their differences and likenesses. Then we eventually got into discussion on the upcoming Hobbit movie, its sequel and who would voice Smaug. Paragon noticed my twitching and that I was restraining myself. "Ohhhhh, gramma..." he coos cautiously. "Enhance your calm," I sez to myself. "It's your first track... chill!" Ms Petty indicated she wasn't totally sold on Jackson being the director... and sweat-beads broke out on my brow. "Steady on, gramma." Then they speculated on who else has been discussed to be the director, and everyone kinda looked around at each other. "Pedestrians!" My hand shoots up, and that was that. Thank goodness SandWitch King (aka MrCere) silently appeared standing next to me, which diffused my mood immediately. NOW the convention was in full throttle with our camera-toting eyes and ears of TORn on the job!
After the track, Paragon and I returned to the TORn table to get our official TORn DragonCon 07 t-shirts! Suh-wheet! I was wearing my Oscars 04 shirt and planned to wear this new one Saturday. Paragon got one, too. We'll be stylin'!! I wore it all the next day and I got many compliments on my Smog Kills shirt from passers-by. "Yes, yes... I know. The shirt ROCKS!"
As Paragon and I wandered around, we stopped by the ballroom where An Evening In Bree would be held later on just to get our bearings. We also found some friends setting up in the lobby area. There they were! Emerald Rose! Unfortunately, they weren't going to be playing for quite a while, so we moved on. "We'll be hearing them BIG TIME tonight!"
Now... it was finally time to throw Paragon into the fray! We hit the dealers/exhibitors' rooms. There was this one corner vendor with some very gruesome reps! We saw LOTS of t-shirts, jewelry, weapons, action-figures... but then, Paragon hit paydirt! Books and games! He found an old gaming book for his Dad, a game expansion for his Mom, and a necklace that converts into a bracelet for his little sister... but he was going nuts for a game he wanted for himself. It's one he plays with his friends called World WarCraft. "Oh gramma! I've been wanting this forever! It's great!" He'd brought his own money, and he's a HUGE online/video/board gamer. "How much is it?" "Eighty dollars." *spasm, kerplunk* "Mom and Dad sent me with $50, so I'd only be using $30 of mine." We discussed it, and I was letting him make his own decision since this was "the" special adventure that I wanted him to remember forever. He had a really hard time leaving it behind, but he wasn't being hasty and realized the expense was huge. I could tell he was very distracted as he fixated on it.
One of the surprises I planned for Paragon was a special lunch. While he deliberated on what to do about his game, I suggested we go have something to eat. Less than half a block away from our hotel, we arrived at The Hard Rock Cafe. "No Way!" he chirped with a smile. So we had ourselves a couple of burgers and gazed at the fantastic memorabilia on the walls. I told him the story of when I pulled his Mom out of school on her 16th birthday and drove from Indianapolis, where we lived, to Chicago for lunch at that Cafe. The meal was great, but we had more important business back at the dealer's table. The smile says it all. ;)
We busted outta there and headed for our room! We only had enough time to freshen up and get ready for An Evening In Bree at the Centennial Ballroom I. What ended up being SO helpful during the weekend was that most of the bigger events were held in that same room. Anyway, we were off for the first of our pre-arranged moots! My tummy was fluttering with anticipation!
An Evening in Bree
When we got to the doors of the hall, we weren't allowed in. They were filled to capacity. "Oh no!" We decided to hang out in case we got lucky... and lucky we were! About 2 minutes later, several people came out allowing 4 of us in! We walked straight to our brood! Sibbies everywhere! "HI!!!" L. Ron, deej, CAhobbit, shuya, Calisuri, Frodo for President, SWK, Alassea Elensar... so many... and there was greendragon. She was going to be singing with Emerald Rose in just a few minutes, so we'd made it just in time! She was stunning in a soft, white dress and flowing cape-esque hood that framed her face beautifully. She was ethereal and so calm.
For some reason, the lights suddenly went out! Luckily for us, Gandalf's staff actually did light up and kept us safe. He had such a great smile on his face as he stepped right into character.
The merriment started with a bit of music from a pair of Celtic singers called The Brobdingnagian Bards who were very good, but difficult to hear due to microphone/audio problems… but they were great fun!
Then I saw our people (MrCere, Frodo for President, and greendragon) move from behind me where they were sitting and go to the front of the room by the doors. Uh oh… it’s almost time! I’d told Paragon all about greendragon and Emerald Rose and prepared him for the fact this was NOT the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He smiled sweetly.
Then the players came up onto the stage and greendragon floated up to the mic. She sang May It Be… so soft and warm… and tears welled up in my eyes. Then she sang Into the West… and I cried. Oh, greendragon… you were magical, enchanting, and elven. Magnificent! Paragon leaned over to me and whispered, “She sings this better than on the movies.” He meant it.
Then Emerald Rose started in on us with a reserved prelude to an eventually raucous-filled Hobbit Drinking Song! I never saw so many people bound out onto the dance floor so fast as when Emerald Rose kicked it into gear with.. . “Hey Ho, to the bottle I go!” The place came alive and was so much fun! After the 3rd song, Paragon leaned over to me and said he LOVED this music! I smiled and told him I had a few of their CDs ;) Oh yeah. Emerald Rose has a new fan!
I’m afraid we didn’t last far into the night. It’d been a very long 48 hours, and this old lady was too pooped to participate; so we departed. Actually, there were several people waiting outside the doors to get in… so it worked out for everyone ;)
Saturday, September 1
Morning already!? I knew the parade was going to begin at 10am, so I was up, showered, and woke Paragon. It was time to get ready to charge out the door and into the wilderness of DragonCon! While he prepared, I was leafing through the bulletin for the day’s scheduling. They laid out the information so well. There was a section of panels/events by description and also with a grid. There was so much to choose from! But I only stuck to a few of the things that interested me so Paragon would feel free to investigate and participate. He surprised me when he said he didn’t want to go to the parade. “Really?” Nope… he wanted to see if we could find a film one of the vendors told him about that started at 10am… so we went hunting. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found. We were, however, planning on going to the Meet the stars of Harry Potter at 11:30am in the same room where An Evening In Bree was the night before. We got there close to 10am and were allowed inside. The center row of chairs were already filled, but the first row off to the right was empty. I offered to save seats for us if he wanted to go back to the room and start punching out the pieces to the game he’d bought. He was shocked I’d turn him loose to go back to the room; but when I asked him if he would use the opportunity to run away, pick up girls, or get drunk… he said “No." “Well, then… get going! But be back by 11:15 so they’ll let you in.” With a HUGE smile and quick wave of his hand, he was gone.
He missed out on some great fun, though! While waiting for our Potter boys to begin, we enjoyed some video shorts (mostly about zombies) and some comical slideshows. One of my favourites was an FDA food/nutrition pyramid that was designed with ALL the collective information on ALL the DragonCon-goers. It's amazing how insightful these pyramids are!
But then the D-conners who were all dressed up in their HP best began to appear as we all marveled at the spectacular costumes! Some of them who appeared were Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall; Professor Sprout, who found herself struggling to control the Weasley twins; Professor Umbridge and Viktor Krum. About 15 minutes before show time, Paragon joined me in our primo seats. His first geek-fest. Righteous...
Finally... our boys arrived! They were soft-spoken, very giving in their responses to pre-arranged questions, and great fun. Matthew Lewis (Neville)was animated and talkative. They all were, and they seemed to really enjoy being with us and having time together. They weren't the only ones having fun. Paragon has a GREAT story to tell his classmates about when he gets back!
For those of you who have trouble telling them apart; this is Oliver (George), and this is James (Fred). Wups... He's impersonating Harry under the cloak again. "Mischief managed!" Here he is. You can also tell by the small scar on James' right cheek and the mole on the right side of Oliver's neck.
Then the microphone was opened to the audience, and the boys answered questions as we all enjoyed a mini-mutual-admiration society. These young men were charming and so appreciative of us and everything they've experienced because of the films. There were many questions about book 7... but not before about a dozen people left after the warning that there would be spoilers [but there are no spoilers here]. Apparently the day before there were some VERY upset audience members who hadn't read the book yet and didn't appreciate being spoiled! Each of the boys was asked what they thought of what happens to their characters, and they were all very excited about the coming story. They also talked about their reactions when they found out about their character's fates.
The fun came to a screeching halt when the presentation's hostess announced the fire marshal sighted violations of the isles being blocked and ordered the room cleared in 3 minutes! The boys were escorted out first, then the room was quickly emptied.
After we left, Paragon had a chance to meet, but not look at, Krum, and Dumbledore, and... wait a minute! What's HE doing here? We also found an incredible collection of posers.
I had no idea how HUGE DragonCon would be! It really is such a rush just sitting and watching people. The costumes go from "He's wearing a box?" to "OMG! The entire cast of Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are here!"
Paragon was such a trooper. I was SO lost trying to get from one hotel to the next. He had an uncanny ability to know where he was and where he was going! I let him lead the way as I hung onto his shirt tail (literally!) and he plowed through the crowds and got us onto escalators through masses of humanity… though I think his feet were starting to feel it. I officially dubbed him my “seeing-eye guy” as he led me from here to there. I think on the 3rd day of it, he began to wonder, though. “Don’t you remember where that exhibit room is?” “You don’t understand, boy,” sez I. “All I’ve seen is the back of your head as I've followed you through an endless trail of turns, doors, streets, stairs, escalators, and PEOPLE!” I didn’t tell him I also did it to keep him close by and under my eye. His Mom would KILL me if something happened to him! Then we hit more paydirt! Oh Goodie! More posers! We just loved seeing so many incredible costumes and creative ideas.
Finally… it was almost 2:30! Now this is the track I was waiting for! TORn's own Making the Hobbit Happen track developed and hosted by our Fearless Leaders; Calisuri/Chris, MrCere/Larry (aka SandWitch King/SWK), Corvar/Bill and Lith/Lynn (who arrived minutes after this pic was taken). I gave Paragon the option of going to the room to work with his new game... which he was delighted to do! So off he dashed with a smile on his face, and I made my way to my chair.
I'm basing the following report on my memory (HA!) and a poor video recording, so I'm only recounting segments and will be PARAPHRASING much of the presentation and discussion. The room next door was very loud and disruptive... so I couldn't always hear the recording clearly. PLEASE don't hold our Gents and dear Lith accountable for any booboos. *sticks hand in air* It's me... not them ;) But I wanted to share with you as much as possible the wonderful job they did.
There was a problem with the laptop for the PowerPoint slideshow. As we waited for the techies to do their magic, our panel filled the time by treating us to games where several of us won prizes...King of the Dead Crown *squeeeee!* Afterwards, they began their presentation with a recount of the origin of The Hobbit... but they were competing with some frequent loud cheering next door making it hard to concentrate. Well, two can play that game. So, at the count of three... we cheered our brains out! *UNBELIEVABLE SONIC NOISE* HA! So There! We showed THEM!
Neat things I discovered:
.....~ A lot of people there didn’t know about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings before they saw the films.
…..~ The little Bilbo on the Tolkien timeline is actually very sweet!
…..~ Calisuri, Corvar and SandWitch King were a force to contend with. They seemed to be everywhere! Panels, TORn Table, moots... they did an awesome job of ruling the convention all day and every night.
…..~ Calisuri can sing The Hobbit cartoon music!
We then found out what that the pile of boxes was sitting in front of MrCere and Corvar. They are The Petition Lith began back in 2004! (my siggy confirmed: Sunday, April 4, 2004 12:03 PM Subject : Signature Confirmation - The Hobbit - #2433) More detail was given on the story of "The Petition" later on... but seeing all 2,000 plus pages sitting there was amazing! *applause*
Ahhh... but the temperamental computer has been conquered! The screen lit up as the PowerPoint presentation started. It was wisely noted that the new film version of The Hobbit would happen, if for no other reason but because there was so much money to be made. Our Staffers did a fantastic job of breaking down the evolution of The Hobbit right up to the filmic hopes we have now.
While expanding on some of the highlights during the slideshow, they talked about their April Fools jokes through the years. One year, they posted an announcement that New Line had purchased TheOneRing.net and reinforced the farce by a giving a new look to the homepage so it had a New Line Corporation appearance. "New Line wasn't very happy about that."
Xoanon posted in 2002 that Andrew Lesnie had his Oscar revoked. About 2 o'clock in the morning they got a phone call from the President of New Line Cinema after he heard about the joke. The Prez wasn't very happy about that.
In 2004, after RotK's release, it was predicted that fandom would die down... so a rumour was put out that would really irritate [ignite] Lord of the Rings fans. April 2004's joke announced that Paul Anderson (infamous director of Mortal Combat) would be directing The Hobbit. Everyone fell for it... and TPTB used the opportunity to launch the Let [Make] the Hobbit Happen website and campaign, which started to help the collection of signatures for Lith's petition. This joke brought significant attention to the fact that a LOT of people wanted to see a Hobbit film made.
April Fools 2004 Pt.1
April Fools 2004 Pt.2
April Fools 2004 Pt.3
Corvar noted that it's also pretty impressive that a joke website...though we were serious ... that within 2 weeks, we got a response from the president of a company who we were directing our wrath at... and he said, "Please stop sending postcards...." He pleaded with us to get it to stop! He responded! As did MGM.
And so, we were off!
The only way I can describe what became a more serious discussion of events was that there was a synergized exchange among all of our panel members. After our little Bilbo travelled through much of 2006, we came to September and the start of some remarkable events.
Later in the year, the news that The Hobbit and a sequel were in the works to be filmed. Excitement exploded at the news, and we thrilled at the thought of Jackson directing and presumed Michael Lynn and Bob Shaye of New Line would repeat their past insightfulness. But all too soon, fans became very anxious when time passed and Peter Jackson indicated, "...that he has not yet been invited to the table to have Hobbit discussions." This spurred one of our own into action.
MrCere spoke about it: "Feeling hopeless as many of you, in September  2006, I penned an open letter to New Line..." and it was delivered to them along with Lith's petition. Lith said, "Because of his letter, the signature count nearly doubled."
On September 22, 2006, Lith carried the nearly 20-pound, 9-inch stack of signatures [over 32,000] to New Line's offices in NYC, after having confirmed by phone a few days earlier that she would be allowed to leave the package at the desk in the lobby. When she arrived, however, she was told that she could not leave the package there under any circumstances. They allowed her to call New Line's offices and explain that she had this delivery arranged, and had flown into the city from another state in order to deliver the petition. Nothing she said made any difference. But the petition ultimately has made an impact despite New Line's attitude!
'The Hobbit' Petition: MGM Speaks!
Lith thanked the fans all over the world for signing the petition. It has doubled in size since it was first delivered in 2006 and numbers over 2,000 pages. With the hand-signed signatures, it's now a little over 62,000 signatures. *massive applause* Calisuri offered the participants the opportunity to sign the petition. MrCere pointed out that online petitions are usually ineffective, but that this petition was extremely effective.
Now our little Bilbo travelled the timeline to November 2006, and we come to "the letter."
I've tried to transcribe some of the conversation, beginning with Calisuri: November 2006, we wake up one morning and have a letter from Peter Jackson in our inbox... which is usually how he communicates with us... Like random BOMBS just DROPPING on us! No warning or planning or anything... just a real quick aside. The Kong is King dot net website... he told us 2 days before he wanted to publish a video... he was, like... 'Hey! You guys wanna make a website?' We're like....'Sure!' [Calisuri as Peter] 'Yeah... I'll give you videos every week...' [Corvar] on Tuesday... [Calisuri as Peter] 'Yeah...on Tuesday. And the first one is coming... Tuesday. ' 'We're like... oh! Okay!' 'So let's make a website!' 'Sure!' So within 2 days we put up this Kong is King website, he starts sending us production diaries. So that's how you get stuff from Peter Jackson. [Referring to Peter's letter] This is the same way.
Going back to the PowerPoint, Calisuri continues to read excerpts from Peter's letter about directing The Hobbit. [small segment] "...[we're] sorry our involvement with The Hobbit is ending in this way..." Imagine how crushing that letter was.
Corvar: This letter was much like a BOMB in the media. Not only on the internet or the online media or fan media, but in mainstream media. The LA Times, the New York Times, Variety... everybody picked this up. This is big, big news.
Calisuri: Peter exposed a lot of what Hollywood hides away from the public with this letter... which is yet another reason he's a revolutionary director. He takes the common sense and morals of the common people into Hollywood. No one ever drafted a letter like this to a fan site...
Corvar: The full-text of this letter is still available on our website. This letter was written 2 days after Bob Shaye's letter ... essentially saying, 'You drop your lawsuit against us and we'll make sure you make more money on The Hobbit than any possible settlement from Fellowship of the Ring. Drop the lawsuit. If you're not dropping the lawsuit, you're not directing The Hobbit.
Calisuri: We know our role in this. We're not naïve about this. We know the role of TheOneRing in this is negotiation tactic. Of course, for us, it's... "Hey! Check it out!" [But] the world is going to learn about this situation now through TheOneRing.
Corvar: We're also partisan. We're pro-Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit. *applause*
MrCere: But, of course, we do want to give both sides of any story... we are a news organization. So... Bob Shaye's had some things to say...
**gramma here... Not that what MrCere had to offer from the PowerPoint that followed wasn't insightful and worthwhile, I just don't want to waste space on Mr. Shaye's comments. Suffice it to say... Mr. Shaye's reaction seems like frantic tantrums to me, and Peter's talent for taking on Shaye and the situation is professional, savvy and effective. So let's move along with our Little Timeline Bilbo to 2007:
[Panel] Ramie was discussed in July 2007 to work in association with Peter, but now Shaye's waffling on Raimi directing because he has "bigger fish to fry." Calisuri: No one really knows what the project is, so it's hard... it's like...you guys wanna... *looks at MrCere* ... [MrCere] Oh, you might as well... Calisuri continues [a prediction]: ...that what we will end up seeing is Peter Jackson is actually the executive producer of The Hobbit with Sam Raimi directing... which might not be ideal in all cases, but with Peter overseeing, we can expect to have a very similar vision of what we've had. If there's going to be a happy medium in this process that, hopefully, is the happy medium. Obviously we want Peter to do the whole thing.
Corvar: Just being able to have the whole artistic team be involved versus being off in New Zealand with no input will make a big difference. Being able to have the same people who designed sets and those types of things [including the screenplay by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens] work on it... that everybody would be under contract to Peter [who] might be out and excluded if Peter wasn't involved.
MrCere: And it's my personal belief... I'm not speaking for anyone but me... I think you can bank on that happening [here the noise and clarity aren't good... so I'll leave it at that... but it's all supportive and encouraging (joined by panel members) of a Jackson/Raimi collaboration resulting in two very good films :) ]
Again... please remember I was transcribing from a video tape with LOTS of noise coming from the room next door. Please don't hold these fine people accountable for every word I've offered. My intention is to give you a feel of what was discussed, and the passion/understanding the panel members have for this subject... not to mention their unique accessibility to Jackson/Hobbit news ;)
We then moved on to speculation of the upcoming films and more excellent slides! Our panelists know how to tease us! We quickly got into the mood for scheming and dreaming as our imaginations took off! As you can see from the slideshow link, we looked at possible players of Bilbo, Smaug, and Bard including quite a distinct reaction to fourth possibility. Once the laughter died down, we looked at what characters could be reprised. It went without saying that Ian McKellen IS Gandalf and Andy Serkis is Gollum/Sméagol (although a non-Jackson film could have him completely cgi), but we talked about other possible players as Elrond and the dwarves (duly noting John Rhys Davies and his allergies). We also considered revisited locations (Hobbiton, Rivendell) and storylines. WE NEEDED MORE TIME! I think I could have stayed for at least 2 more hours and just get lost in the discussions and to dream of all the possibilities! But much too soon, our time was up. There were some more last-minutes games and give-aways... but the next Track-goers scheduled for the room were anxious to claim our space.
As I was leaving, I was told I needed to go to the TORn table and play the Trivia game to see if I could win a prize. "Sure!" So after a bit, Paragon guided us at our Table again. Corvar very purposely read the questions to me. Lo and behold... I won (barely!). Calisuri and he showed me the prizes I could choose from, and I was delighted to take home a Sideshow Weathertop environ! Holy Cow!
By now we only had a short time before the beginning of the TORnsib's Woot Moot! We hit a few more exhibits and headed to the room to unload our goodies and freshen up.
Saturday Night and Woot Moot!!
It was time for my seeing-eye-guy to save the day. I was so turned around by now and had no idea where the High Velocity Restaurant was. I sincerely think Paragon has a photographic memory for directories. We were in the Hyatt, the moot was in the Marriott. He plowed through 2 hotels and the shoulder-to-shoulder masses that always intensified in the evening, and he walked straight to the restaurant! Amazing! I was so lost. What was hilarious was that our moot-place was a glassed-in room that stuck out the front of the restaurant and into the walkway accessing the main lobby where hundreds of DragonCon-ites were gathering. I could see my sibs right there, but I couldn't get at 'em! Once again, Paragon to the rescue. With the blonde leading the blonde, we finally made it!
Woot was the PERFECT name for this party! WOOT! I walked through the sliding glass door and slap-bang into the most exciting room I've been in for years! Laughter, hugging, cheery voices greeting old friends and new faces to go with well-known names... It's AWESOME! Honestly, there's nothing in the world like it! If you EVER EVER get the chance to moot like this, seize it! Don't miss out! Start saving and planning now, because it'll feed your soul for ever! I FINALLY got to meet Smeagirl and her hubby, Smeaguy! *massive hug* But I'm not going to try to name everyone for fear of leaving someone out, and mostly cuz it was such a flurry of smiles and faces and incredible energy... it's just impossible to do anything else but put up the list of names of all who planned to attend. I was especially delighted to meet the family members who came. Alcarcalime and OhioHobbit's daughter, as well as Hobbitlove (who also brought us all some incredible buttons) and ordinaryhobbit's daughter, Loves horses, and silneldor, his wife and son! Finally, we got to meet!! Paragon (having a sip) and Master-sil hit it off like gang-busters... being only a year or so apart. They spent as much time together as possible that night and the next day!
As soon as I could, I made my way to our magic-making Hostesses! I found them in high-gear and busy getting our Tim Kirk-designed Woot Moot t-shirts to us. They're gorgeous! (The shirts are, too) We also were treated with Goodie Bags!!! Some of the treasures were a bookmark, a Sideshow gift card, a Make the Hobbit Happen pin, a trading card and a phial of bubbles!! There was also a an Arwen tin! silneldor made up a sheet with the Hobbit drinking songs, which greendragon promised we would put to good use, ooodles of those terrific buttons and my contribution of a sheet of most of the old TORn boards' banner circle pics (which I’ve made into a mousepad), and another sheet of credit pics, Tim Kirk's preview drawing, and a bit-o-poetry to commemorate the night.
Not long after I arrived and was still caught up in the bliss of greetings, it was such a great treat too look up and find Foe and Celebrían! After so many years, we finally got to meet! He had on the most awesome Mad-eye Moody outfit! The only downer was that they seemed to disappear before I had the chance to sit and just visit. *poof* They were gone. *waves* It was SO great to see you!!
I couldn't believe how organized and inspiring greendragon, deej and CAhobbit were. They constantly kept the excitement and fun alive! Oh look! There's Celebrían!! Paragon was having so much fun! When I told him that the woman in the purple hair (a complete fascination, btw) was the same woman dressed in white who sang the night before… he was astonished! "Really!?" His eyes got big and he looked at her again. "Wow!" I'm afraid greendragon has another fan ;)
I suddenly heard some excited chattering going on across the room, I looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of Gandalf!! I think he was looking for Tom Bombadil who was sitting right over there with Goldberry close by. How Perfect! Namadriel (aka Goldberry), introduced Tom to me as her Mom. *knits eyebrows, wraps brain around it* OH YEAH! I keep forgetting we're pretending! All I know is that she has the most beautiful smile and was such a delight! *waves HI to Mom!* I laughed when I found one of my pictures captured SWK attempting his Peter Jackson gunslinger impersonation for Calisuri and Frodo for President. They seem impressed ;) There were sibbies standing, sibbies sitting, and some at attention, but all of them were having fun being together. Shuya shares a moment with a friend, and our Admins plot something right behind Legolas' back! Geez, guys! Tact not?
This will give you a good idea of how our room was set out into the main floor area. This is the wall on the right side of the room, and this is the wall of the front of the room. Cool, right? :D
I didn’t get his name, but this guy had food! He and about 4 other waiters/waitresses were phenomenally patient, efficient, and durable! They brought us vittles and drinks and a connection to the outside world. I wish I'd gotten the young lady's name who really conquered the drink orders. She never made you feel like she thought (realized) we were over the top! She obviously understood she had a unique group of people. *fluffs hair* I think those who worked there (and were fellow patrons) knew it was a special family reunion. Oh... and KUDOS to Corvar et al for the rounds of drinks and chocolate nachos appetizers! Didn't you love how food and drinks appeared and no one claimed them? *tsk, tsk* Waste not, want not ;)
So it was time to haul out my book for sibbies to sign. I’ve carried this thing with me since my very first moot back in 2002. I think Scout was the first one to sign it! It was great fun to find notes from those who had the chance to sign it long ago and were able to add to the rich history of these moots. I was so happy to find their names resting in the book again. I also brought my scrapbook filled with pics, flyers, ticketstubs, tidbits of moots through the years.
Alassea Elensar's friend Greenwoman was creating some incredibly beautiful sketches onto napkins and giving them out to us (*gasp* I left mine in Baltimore!!!). They're amazing… and she seemed to be having such a wonderful time absorbing the activity, excitement, and mood of the room! What a lovely gift! *waves* Thanks so much, Greenwoman!!
We all tried to hang out with as many sibs as we could… and there were conversations going on everywhere! Laughter (lots of that!), exclamations, glasses chinking, every festive party sound you can think of, we reeked of it! Plotting went on as we tried to lay plans to meet for an elevensies moot the next day. Sort of a "make it if you can" deal.
Now it came time for the Trivia Game, with clues supplied by (our wayward) Altaira. greendragon had us break off into groups of 4 and she read off the questions. We moved around the room as each team struggled with some pretty challenging questions! I get SO nervous with this sort of thing. L. Ron Halfelven was on our team and is awesome with details. I was shocked to find that our team won! Then we each answered individual questions and got to choose from 4 very great prizes! I chose the Sideshow statue of the Haradrim warrior. I’d never looked at this figure very closely, but the detail on the picture was fantastic! I’ll have to admit that once I got back to the room and really looked it over, I was a little apprehensive about it. The warrior has a Rohirric blade driven through him. Oooo… this is hard. I considered trading it for another item at our TORn table the next day, but decided to stick with it. Once I got it home and opened it… the imagery really did remind me of Sam’s thoughts when he saw the fallen warrior in Ithilien as he wondered about this person and who they were and how they felt about being in this war. Someone had mentioned this to me, and now I’m so glad I kept it. The sculpture is stunning, and the meaning of it now (the thought and because of how I received it) makes it all the more precious. I have it displayed with my other Sideshow figures. Thank you Sideshow/Frodo for President and our Lovely Hostesses!
The action seemed to be quieting down a bit as some of our people had to leave. So we grabbed the opportunity to have some group shots! I’ve got a couple here since everyone seems to shift around and you might find one that shows you with your eyes open.
I was feeling a bit on the sleepy side myself and was thinking of leaving when I noticed a commotion at the front window and people were congregating! *CHEERS!* Omg! The Legolas and Frodo standees and all the chairs had been turned towards the front window-walls looking out onto the walkway! *MORE APPLAUSE AND CHEERS!* We were celebrating every single person who walked by! It didn’t matter if they were dressed in costume or not… they got CHEERED! The custodians got standing ovations! *YAY!!! WAHOO!!* THIS IS AWESOME! We came unglued and threw ourselves into this mayhem all-out! No one was safe! They ALL got Blasted! *HOOTS, WHISTLES, CHEERS, APPLAUSE!*
I climbed up onto the couch and tried to capture this on my video camera and snapshots. I’m SO bummed that the quality of the pics is bad because of the lighting; but bad is better than nothing, and maybe you can see enough to get the gist of the madness! This is the best!! I’ve never seen anything like it!
What was equally amazing were the reactions of the passers-by. Remember, we were all enclosed in this square-fish tank of a room that jutted out into this large walkway (pics of what we looked like from the outside), so we were literally right there with nought but a sheet of glass from floor to ceiling away from them, and we were unleashed! Some couldn’t understand that THEY were the focus of our delight! "YEAH! *points enthusiastically* YOU! WAHOOO!!!"
Sometime we just stood around waiting for fresh victims. Laaaa-teee-daaaahhh-deeee-dum-dum. COME ON! ENTERTAIN US! We waited patiently. BABY ON BOARD! One time a young couple came by with a little-one in a stroller. We were cooing and gurgling and being oh so sweet as the parents pushed the tyke right up to the glass to see us. The babe's eyes got big, scanned us from left to right, stuck out it's lower lip and started to cry.... which, of course, erupted a chorus of, "Awwwwwww...." Laughing, Mom and Dad wheeled the innocent away. Bye-bye!
Some of our victims actually made several trips past our perch just to join in the fun again! Some people stopped and bowed with a flourish, some walked by very quickly (usually with a phone stuck on their ear and dragging a suitcase behind them), some did skits for us, and some came in to see what was going on! Actually, really... we were lucky they didn't throw us out of the restaurant. ;) *raises gollum mug* Cheers, High Velocity!
We went on like this forever! We actually had a crowd of people collecting in the lobby off to the side who were watching us watching people! This impromptu 2-way voyeurism seemed more "Us" than anything else that whole weekend! But as it is said at the end of each grand moot… the time finally came to say goodnight; and in too many cases… goodbye (for now).
Sunday, September 2
Oh geez. Morning again?
What a flurry of activity we've been swept into! It seemed like the end of the convention for us was coming all too quickly. Paragon was excited about seeing his new friend at the elevensies moot, so we tried to make hasty work of getting ourselves up and about. I left to find a shop that sold small pillows or stuffed animals to use on the bus ride back (no luck) while Paragon worked a bit more on his board game. We still wanted to do so much before we had to catch our bus back to Baltimore in the afternoon! But high on the priority list was the moot… so off we went to embrace our last day.
After leaving our bags with the concierge and hitting a few more exhibits, we made our way (through Paragon's uncanny sense of direction) to Sears Restaurant. We found many sibs already there waiting to be seated. Soon there was a gaggle of us and we were led to a private dining area. The sad thing I've subsequently discovered is that there were others who tried to join us, but couldn't find where we were tucked away :(
We were quickly settled around the table as the chatter and laughter kicked right in! Paragon and Master-sil picked right up where they left off as silneldor supplied the very appropriate music of The Lord of the Rings soundtrack. It was so much fun! The food was very good and the company most excellent! SandWitch King had to leave to attend to "official duties," but suddenly reappeared with several TORn and Sideshow hats! Thank you!!!! :D
The only sad thing was that we, once again, had reached the time to say good-bye. I've found so many delightful and incredible friends through TORn… and having the opportunity to interact, laugh, hug, chatter like children and have so much in common has been the most amazing experience for me. As I told Corvar… TORn has given me the best times of my life. I'm so grateful and lucky to be a part of such an amazing community. Thank you all!! *sigh* The time goes so fast.
Checking my watch, I saw that it was almost time for the last Track I wanted to see… and that was Ghost Hunters. Remember when I met Tango my first day here? Well, here thar be the capt'ns of the crew! This is one of those shows that tickles my fancy. Some people like to watch those reality shows with the islands… well this one's mine. These guys are so blue-collar, un-pretentious and impassioned with what they do, ya gotta love 'em! It's great no-brainer entertainment that calms me down. On Wednesday nights, they're on for 2 to 3 hour-long shows in a row!
So here they are, and I was delighted! Tango (newbie), Steve (tattoo sweetie), Jason, and Grant. The name of their force is TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), and Jason and Grant are the co-founders. The room was packed! I have to admit I was surprised. The audience knew all of their shows and had some wonderful questions, which this team answered honestly and enthusiastically. There was apparently a running joke among them that Tango (being the newbie) agreed with everything they said. It got so that when it was time for him to have a turn responding to questions like, "What was your most harrowing experience?" each would answer, and Tango would agree with at least one of them… usually with Steve... then the others would chuckle.
Throughout their tv show, they bicker, they lose things, they have fun, they debunk claims of hauntings, they discover hauntings, they have bad grammar, but they're sincere, effective and real. I'm so glad I got to see them, and to learn that they're signed on with SciFi channel for another year!!! Woohoo!!
So… that was the last of the tracks we had time for, and we were off to take one last swing around the exhibit halls and crowd watching before gathering up our bags from the concierge and heading for the subway and our bus ride home. It was very cool for Paragon that one of our last experiences was finding some Star Wars posers who looked incredible! It was so hard to drag our bags out the doors and down the street… but what a fabulous time we had! We were bone tired, but so pumped from our adventure!
Back on the Bus
Uh oh... this looks familiar. We're on the Greyhound bus for the return journey. The trip back always seems faster because you're not anticipating every moment or every mile. We spent a lot of time talking about the past few days, and Paragon took advantage of the 17-hour ride back to Baltimore by reading the massive manual from his new game. Yes... "the game" became a common thread throughout the weekend; but it was SO important to him... and this was his adventure ;)
The trip back was a great time to decompress, and we were exhausted. It was surprising how quickly our energy and enthusiasm returned when we met Paragon's Dad at the bus station. Let's just say that Father and Son are planning on a trip to Atlanta next Labor Day weekend ;)
DragonCon 07 was such a great place to moot! You guys were right. So anyone who is within the sound of my voice… hear me now and hear me well… GO! Get thee to the southern lands and enjoy! It's phenomenal!
I've got to say thank you to our Fearless Leaders: Calisuri, Corvar, SandWitch King/MrCere, and Jincey. I now know why TORn is such an incredible place. You guys are a delight, and your enthusiasm and professionalism are so neatly couched in a child-like enjoyment I saw every time you were around. Thanks to Lith for all of your dedication and perseverance in making the petition such an incredible success! And to our Lovely Hostesses… deej, greendragon, and CAhobbit. Wow! That party will be one to set the bar to from now on! SWK was right… we'll have to include tourist-taunting (my words!) in all of our future moots! And to my fellow sibs… bless you all. You're always fun and spontaneous and absolutely brilliant! I warm myself with the memories of our times together. I especially want to thank the Master and his cohort for making all of this possible. *bows deeply*
Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!
"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."
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(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Oct 21 2007, 1:27pm)