Quick-agorn keeps the show lively
Talented WETA workshop artists
Peter S Beagle
Melonie, Julie, Gina, Liz
Rachel and Steve
Galadrial and Grima - perfect match
Gina and Shelley enjoying the party
"Yes, a virgin Screwdriver" :)
Melonie, Chris and Gina try for the best view
Dominic finds the beat
Wave those awards!
Weta Workshop founders
Nglia Dickson talks about costumes
Richard Taylor speaks
"Sing, sing sing!"
Thanks for the party TORn!
Return of the One Party: The Party
Quickbeam shortly came onstage to announce that the American Legion Staff would be clearing the folding chairs on the dance floor to allow more room for partygoers. However, before he left stage, he announced that Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn was at our party! What a delightful surprise! Kudos to whomever arranged for his visit! Quickbeam welcomed him onstage and he spoke some very kind words to us. We all cheered, of course and he said, “I always wondered what it felt like to have an entire room of people cheering for me.”
We didn’t want to lose our spot because, suspecting the Oscar Winners might swing by to say hello, we wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. We also didn’t want to stand there and watch other people put the chairs away so we folded the chairs while our boys helped Saurumann and the other staffers put them away. Ultimately, however, we decided that standing around missing opportunities to meet fellow Ringers was dumb so we wandered around for a bit looking for online friends, getting more food (yummy) and drinks.
One of my absolute favorite moments from the evening came from this time. I don’t drink alcohol. However, wanting to be at least a little alcoholic beverage savvy I’d come prepared with a memorized list of drink names I could ask for virgin style. Unfortunately, my favorite option, Pina Coladas, weren’t available. So instead, I asked the bar tender for a virgin Screwdriver. The bar tender laughed for at least 5 minutes while preparing my orange juice. (Which was lovely, by the way.) Meanwhile, Tami (who also doesn’t drink alcohol and whom I had tutored before the party) asked for a virgin Sex on the Beach. Once our drinks were poured, I asked for an olive because I’d been craving one all night. I must say the bar tenders at the party were among the friendliest I’ve ever met.
After making the rounds (and visiting the delightful loos one more time) we decided to head back into the main hall to try and get a spot near the stage. Others, it seemed had the same idea and there were already many people at the front of the hall. We located ourselves near where we’d been seated earlier. Turned out we’d once again picked a good spot. It was a very liquid area as far as the fans went. People were coming and going often enough that those with cameras worked their way close enough that I’m sure we got splendid pictures. The room was very hot and I couldn’t see much. I was getting very tired (the direct result of a whirlwind Saturday full of sound checks and rehearsals, not to mention a tire mishap with our car . . .) and wondering how I was ever going to make it through the night.
Just as I thought I might have to give up and leave the party, John Rhys-Davies stepped onstage to raucous cheers and screams of the hundreds looking up at him. I instantly snapped to attention. He looked quite smashing!! Despite some confusion with the microphones (finding the one which was turned on) and a few failed attempts of his at being heard without a microphone, he proved to be just as witty and kind as ever. He was so unfailingly complimentary of us as fans that a sneaking sense of superiority over other fandoms started to creep into my heart. As in official interviews, he said Lord of the Rings fans were the most intelligent he’s ever seen and, he said, “I know fans.” Bless his soul!
After he’d gone, a band I’d never seen before started setting up onstage. I admit, I was a bit wary of this new fangled band business. They were loud and we were right next to a speaker after all. It also didn’t sound like they’d be playing my type of music. The band was A World Without Sundays, and Elijah Wood came onstage to introduce them to us. As soon as he stepped onstage the crowd went wild. (I suspect there were some near faintings going on, either from Elijah or from the claustrophobic crowd trying to get near the stage. . .) He was there to introduce the band as his friends and a surprise part of the evenings musical entertainment. It turned out that, while A World Without Sundays didn’t play my kind of music at all, they were great performers, and I rather enjoyed watching them. It seems we partygoers had rather become celebrities ourselves as a few of the band members took pictures of us!! After two songs, Dominic Monaghan stepped onstage. The riled up crowd were simply beside ourselves. Not only did he say hello to us, he grabbed a tambourine and started playing alongside the band. He took lead singer position and sang his hobbity heart out. He has a very nice voice, and I quite enjoyed watching him perform. His charm is definitely something to behold. (I couldn’t help feeling slightly proud that I too had played a tambourine and sang on that very stage earlier in the evening. . . *sigh*.)
Sometime after all of this excitement, I could hear a great rumbling cheer from the left side of the room. The cheer quickly moved through the whole hall as those of us on the other side realized what the cheering was about. The Oscar winners, Oscars in hand, and others affiliated with Lord of the Rings filed onto the stage. They seemed overcome with the sight that beheld them, but even more, they looked grateful and genuinely happy to be at our party.
Peter Jackson walked up to the microphone and spoke to us for a while. He thanked us and told us the movies couldn’t have happened without our support. He called each of the other Oscar winners to the microphone in turn, even Fran Walsh who needed a little prodding from the audience. Philippa Boyens apologized to the ladies, saying she tried to write shirtless Aragorn scenes into the script but Peter kept cutting them. Ngila Dickson piped in a bit later to say she’d seen all the actors naked. Dom and Elijah nodded their heads in agreement. *Sigh*, the life of a costume designer. Ngila mentioned that she’d seen lots of lovely costumes on partygoers. Everyone who spoke to us was extremely grateful and kind, just as I had hoped. Peter gave us a little insight to a special feature that was going to be on the ROTK extended DVD. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Dom and Elijah were hamming it up with the Gollum statue for the fans. They were given the opportunity to speak, and did for a minute, but quickly gave the microphone back to the Oscar winners. In what seemed mere minutes, Peter said his goodbyes, promising that other actors would soon follow including Ian McKellen and Billy Boyd. The winners waved their Oscars in the air and filed offstage to an ecstatically whooping crowd.
Before long, however, Billy Boyd staggered onstage with a sheepish grin. He explained, “Sorry I missed everyone. I got lost on my way over.” He spoke to us for a bit and as he turned to leave someone got the crowd to chant, “sing, sing, sing, sing.” Billy walked gingerly back to the microphone where he was handed a guitar. Without so much as batting his eyes, he dove bravely and beautifully into a charming rendition of The Proclaimers “Oh Jean.”
When Billy had gone, my exhaustion hit me full force. I could hardly stand up and despite Peter Jackson’s promise, I honestly doubted anyone else would come by. So, most of us decided to leave the party. On our way out we spoke with staffers Sarumann (who is our biggest fan. THANK YOU!!) and MrCere (another fan and friend. Thanks!) We collected our goodie bags, which were better than last years! The best items inside being a copy of “The Art of Return of the King” and a set of the pillars of Argonath! We headed back to the hotel and our beds.
Rachel, however, despite feeling ill, stayed at the party until the bitter end with her boyfriend, Steve (who is also our manager) to finalize CD sales. The wait was long, but well worth it! Hearing commotion from what was left of the crowd in the main room, she made her way back in to discover none other than Bruce Hopkins, Lawrence Makoare, and Sala Baker onstage! Everyone was going mad with excitement and the 3 chaps were eating it all up and having a great time! Unfortunately, they arrived on stage not long before the scheduled end of the party at 2:00am. They apologized and started to leave, but the crowd protested so heavily that they graciously stayed for one last surprise - a Maori chant! What a treat!! Seeing this ritual performed several times on screen was nothing compared to the thrill and energy of seeing it performed live. When they were through, Lawrence and Sala left the stage, and Bruce tried his hardest to follow but people just did not want to let him go! He's far too kind a fellow to leave when people want him to stay. Rachel tried to exchange a few words with him but he couldn't hear her at all over the noise, and soon the guards were literally forming a line and pushing people out the door. One nearly flattened poor Rachel, standing on her dress and moving unceasingly towards the door. Her cries of protest didn't seem to be getting through to the guard until it was almost too late!
In the end, Rachel and Steve got back to the hotel quite late indeed, peeling off their prosthetic ears and eyebrow ridges at nearly 4:00am!
So, when’s the party for ‘The Hobbit’?