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Inside The Dragon

September 8, 2003 at 4:11 am by Demosthenes  - 

Shadow had a booth at Dragon*Con 2003. Her report takes an inside look at the trials and tribulations of being an exhibitor, as well as revealing just how huge Dragon*Con is.

Hi! I’m Shadow, webmaster for West of the Moon, a Tolkien fanfiction archive, and I recently attended Dragon Con. My site, along with frodoandsam.net, teamed up as sponsors for The Gathering of the Fellowship and ran a fan table at Dragon Con to raise money for our sponsorship. My friend, Marea, was also running a fan table for The Gathering, and we both had responsibilities as reporters to our respective websites. The following is my tale of the weekend exploring just how much fun Dragon Con can be!

How do I even begin to describe Dragon Con? I was warned ahead of time by friends that had gone in past years that I would be overwhelmed, and that it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I listened, shook my head in agreement, and figured “yeah, yeah, a bunch of people in costumes, how amazing can that possibly be?” Let me be the first to admit that I was completely WRONG. Dragon Con is truly something that must be experienced in person. I will do my best in the following report to try to convey to you its vastness, its beauty, and the incredible experience that it is, but I know that I will not be able to do it justice-it’s just something that you must go and experience for yourself!

Thursday

After spending most of last week getting ready to go–t-shirt and art shipments, table paraphernalia, squeeing like a fangirl because I was going to a con-it was finally Thursday. I did the 6-hour drive from Chapel Hill to Atlanta by myself, and arrived at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis around 4 PM. I have stayed in many hotels in my time, but I’ve never seen anything like the Marriott Marquis. After spending a short eternity getting my car unloaded and parked, I was finally able to walk into the hotel. As you enter the Marriott on the lobby level, you are greeted by the vast expanse of its atrium. The hotel has 50 floors, and the atrium rises floor to ceiling in the center of the building; banks of elevators travel up through the center and interior hallways on every floor overlook the atrium. Mauve-colored banners drape gracefully through the atrium space from above, creating a flowing pattern that accents the architecture of this amazing centerpiece to the hotel. There are 4 business levels to the Marriott: a garden level with restaurants and lounges, the lobby level, the convention level where the fan tables, art show, and a dealers room were located, and the International Hall, which housed a second large dealers room, the Walk of Fame where autographing took place, and the comic artist room. Needless to say I was a little overwhelmed by the building, before the Con even began! But this was not the entire space for the Con, oh no. The main hotel for convention programming was the Hyatt Regency, which is across the street from the Marriott. The Hyatt also has four levels: the lobby level, which housed restaurants, bars, and lounge space; the ballroom level where all main programming for the Con and the band tables were located; the exhibit level which was dedicated to gaming, and the conference center level, where much of the track programming and the press room were located.

I met my online friend and fellow reporter, Marea, and we spent Thursday evening learning the layout of both the Marriott Marquis and the Hyatt Regency, and getting our press passes and registration squared away. Our main goal for the weekend was to land interviews with both John Rhys-Davies and Brad Dourif, so we did some inquiring as to the best way to accomplish this and were met with “well, you just have to run into them at their presentations or while autographing, and set it up yourselves”. Great, how do you run a fan table, get to see some programming, and run around chasing after convention guests who pay people to keep the likes of you at bay? Well, we determined that we would give it our best shot the next day to try and land an interview with JRD. Both hotels were relatively quiet that evening, seemingly in anticipation of the event to come, so we had a quiet dinner at Champions restaurant and spent the rest of the evening catching up with each other and doing last minute preparation for interviews and fan tables.

Friday

Friday morning, we awoke to a hotel transformed into a sci fi convention of epic proportions. I have never seen anything like it in all my life! There were more people in costume than not! Stormtroopers everywhere! Starfleet officers, Jedi nights, comic book heroes, Renaissance characters, belly dancers, and quite a few things I couldn’t even recognize all roamed the main floors of the Con as we made our way over to the Peachtree Center Mall to grab some breakfast. Everywhere I looked as we walked, I was gasping at the intricacy of costume work and the amazing variety of characters, and grinning from ear to ear at the level of energy and excitement that filled the hotels that morning as everyone geared up for the start of programming. We had breakfast in the mall sitting next to a group of amazingly realistic orcs. Let me just tell you, it’s quite a sight to watch four orcs order breakfast from the Orange Julius! (Later on I got a picture with said Orcs holding a bald to my throat!)

Our first mission was to secure our fan tables. Both my table for West of the Moon and frodoandsam.net and Marea’s table for The Gathering of the Fellowship had been waitlisted, so we were quite nervous about whether we would actually get a table, especially after the countless hours of work we put in preparing our tables for the Con. We were not supposed to check in for tables until Friday afternoon, but we went at 10 in the morning and found that we had already been assigned spaces! YAY!! We scurried back up to our room so Marea could gather her things to set up her table, and I made a sign to place on West of the Moon’s table to hold its place. I could not set up yet, as I had no staff yet and was missing quite a few things I needed that were coming with my partner Celeste, the webmaster for frodoandsam.net. I was worried about not setting up the table on Friday, as I didn’t want the fan table staff to give it away to anyone else while I had no one to staff it, but my fears were put to rest when I returned to the table and met Adrian, who was working the Sci Fi Summer Con table next to mine. Adrian is in charge of security for SFSC, and after talking to me for a few minutes he assured me that anyone who came near my table and was not with me would be promptly tossed into the fountain. Heh. Thank you Adrian, you’re such a sweetie!

Now that my table was safe, I was free to peruse the fan table level a bit before I had to make it over to the Hyatt for the opening of the Tolkien track. At this point in the day, the table that was drawing the busiest was TORN’s. They had begun setting up in the morning, and were now showing the final portion of the ROTK trailer from the DVD on a continuous loop, and were drawing a large crowd of onlookers every time the trailer began again. They were also giving out their “button of the day”, which for Friday was “TheOneRing.net is Hobbit forming”, and selling their legendary t-shirts from Comic Con, “Don’t make me get my Ring” and “I was…chased from my house, stabbed by a wraith, assaulted by a mutant octopus, speared by a troll, stalked by a creepy little man, drawn into a corpse-filled swamp, poisoned by a giant spider, rendered unconscious…I even lost my Ring, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. Must have t-shirts…preciousss…so I bought myself the latter, and met Bill (Corvar), Larry (MrCere), and Chris (Calisuri) from TORN in the process. All three were warm and friendly, and I talked to Bill for quite some time about obtaining a press pass for the TORN Oscar Party and the other events taking place at Dragon Con that TORN was running. By then it was almost 1 PM, so I ran off to catch “Welcome to Middle Earth” over at the Hyatt.

The room that the Tolkien track was assigned for the Con was located on the Conference Level of the Hyatt, 3 floors down from the lobby level and otherwise referred to by myself and company as the “seventh level of hell” or “the dungeon” for the rest of the Con. Both the room and the level were nice, mind you, but when you’re far enough below ground that you lose your cell phone signal, you know you’re in the bowels of the earth. The room was designed to seat 80 people, and TORN’s opening presentation was standing room only. The staffers went over details of the Tolkien track, and at the end of the presentation raffled off copies of Tom Shippey’s latest as well as several of the LOTR art books. Everyone who filled out a survey for Houghton Mifflin got a free copy of FOTR with the Frodo cover. *grin* At the end of the presentation as I’m going up to claim my book, someone to my left says “Wow, West of the Moon” reading the logo off the back of my WOTM t-shirt. So I go over to her and ask if she reads the site. She responds, “yes, and I also have stories posted there”, at which point I respond, “who are you?” and find myself face to face with Bill the Pony. Bill introduced me to her online friend that she had come to meet, Beguiled, and the 3 of us chatted merrily about fanfiction for quite some time. Bill is a lovely woman, and was sweet enough to save me a seat for the upcoming John Rhys-Davies hour at 4 PM, while I ran off to fetch Marea and some lunch.

I learned that there are 3 things you don’t get to do at Dragon Con: eat, sleep, or visit the restroom. Lunch consisted of a Chick-Fil-a sandwich that I inhaled while walking back to the Hyatt with Marea to try and catch the end of the 2:30 Games Workshop presentation that preceded JRD. We caught the very end of the presentation, in enough time to get tickets for the raffle and not win anything, and so began our wait for JRD at 3 PM. I was seated between Bill and Beguiled in the first row center, and anticipation in the room was high as we were entertained for about an hour by Cliff (Quickbeam) and Jessica (Starlady) from TORN. You have not lived until you’ve heard Cliff’s rendition of “Where there’s a whip, there’s a way” from Bakshi. I have a feeling that he created himself a reputation with it, and it will be his new party gig. Marea and I were also lucky enough to be able to get up and tell the crowd about both of our fan tables. What a great advertising opportunity for both of us!

So, the clock ticked, and ticked, and we sang and chatted, and it got to be 4:15 and nothing was happening. The natives were growing restless as Jincey, director of the Tolkien track, made her way to the mic. She informed us rather grimly that JRD had cancelled his appearance for the weekend, they did not know why, and they had just gotten this information 5 minutes ago. #$%@! We were quite put out. There went not only our hour here with him, but also our chance to interview him for our websites. But, what can you do? The thing about con guests is, you never are sure they’re coming until they walk through the door, and we experienced this firsthand.
Disheartened but not defeated, we left the venue and ran into another WOTM author, Lullenny, in the hallway outside. Another nice fanfiction conversation ensued, and we exchanged contact info in hopes of seeing her again later in the weekend. We then went to meet our friend Trasmerg (Traz), who had just arrived, and helped her get settled at the Con. By then it was 6:30, and we had a choice to make: dinner before going to the Evening in Bree, or attending Walter Koenig’s hour on the Trek Trak. Decisions, decisions. Our stomachs won out, and we ate pizza in the room while we got our costumes ready for the evening. Marea wore this lovely female innkeeper’s outfit and went as “Barlimom Butterbeer” and I wore my blue velvet elven gown. Celeste, webmaster for frodoandsam.net, also came by with her friend Laura while we were getting ready for the Evening, and we got organized for the next day’s big fan table premiere.

The Evening at Bree was held in one of the Centennial ballrooms over in the Hyatt, which was a nice large room, and by the time we arrived was fairly filled with fans clapping and dancing to Emerald Rose, who were in the middle their first set up on stage. As soon as we made our entrance, Bill from TORN approached us and asked if one of us would judge the costume contest. Marea was planning to enter, so she couldn’t very well judge, so I said, “of course!”, and the next thing I knew I was meeting the other judges and Emerald Rose was finished with their set and the contest was ready to begin! The other judges for the contest were Julia, who was presenting the costume segment for the Tolkien track the next morning; Ginger (Elbren), a fellow TORCer and programming coordinator for the Gathering of the Fellowship; and Chris from TORN, who I had met earlier that day.

The judges were introduced, and the contest began with the Elf category. There were approximately 20 contestants, which included 2 male elves and a host of Arwens, Galadriels, and miscellaneous female elves, and it was quite difficult for us to choose three winners. In the end we chose a very authentic-looking Arwen (Kell Yarwood from Memphis) for first place, an elven archer (John “John-of-the-Night” Day from Orlando) for second honors, and another Arwen (Beth “Ladystar” Robinson from Michigan) for third.
While Emerald Rose played another set, Marea, Traz, and I mingled through the crowd admiring costumes, and watching the folk-style dancing of the many female elves on the floor. After the set it was time for the second costume contest, for everyone but the elves. This was a much more interesting event, for the sheer variety of the costumes was amazing. There were Valar, Frodos, Aragorns, men of Gondor, Rosie Cottons, Ringwraiths (including a twilight wraith), Gandalfs, Uruk-hai, and even a Balrog, complete with extending wings! It took us forever to judge this one. The crowd waited rather impatiently while we talked amongst ourselves and with Jincey, and finally agreed that there would be 3 winners and an honorable mention. For first place we chose an Aragorn and Frodo pair (Dion Rupa from New York and Heather Dunningham from Santa Cruz) dressed authentically in every detail, right down to exquisite hairy hobbit feet on Frodo. Second place went to the fighting Uruk-hai, complete with a series of nose rings (Beth “LOTR42” McCullers from Memphis). The amazing balrog (Gayle Klar from Savannah) took third, and the honorable mention went to a Rosie Cotton in a lovely blue dress who danced for the judges (Tracey “IridescentGrrly” Cook from Huntsville).

Emerald Rose started up again following the contest, and we sat and watched the performance and wandered about taking pictures of costumes until 11 PM. We were still quite ready to party at this point, and the Con was still hopping everywhere else, so I approached Bill (Corvar) and asked him what there was to do. The next thing I knew, we were on our way up to Champions with the TORN staff to do karaoke. Our friend Rosie-the-hobbit had a late flight in, and she joined us at karaoke when she arrived. Most of the staff was out that night, and we did a lovely rendition of “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow” from “O Brother, Where Art Thou” as well as solo performances by Cliff (Quickbeam) and Michael Martinez. The TORN staff are an absolutely wonderful group to party with, and beer, Long Island Iced Teas, etc., and a good time was had by all. The post-party consisted of a rather heartfelt version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the hotel lobby at 2 AM that got us busted by the hotel staff, so we decided to call it a night. So ended my first full day at Dragon Con!

Saturday

Saturday began at 7 AM, as we hustled around to get everything ready to open our table by 10 AM. Celeste and Laura arrived to help, and we hauled everything down from the room and managed to be set up in time. Celeste brought a lovely 3-part black screen that we sat behind the table, and we hung Laura’s beautiful logo painting in the middle and displayed a t-shirt on either side. Willow-wode’s “Fellowship” illo sat on a large easel for display, and we laid Sting on the table along with two more t-shirts, our “Bring the Ringbearer to the Gathering” flyers, and my West of the Moon business cards. I worked the table for most of the early part of the day, selling t-shirts and chances for the raffle, and conversing with fans about LOTR. I was also treated to a performance of “If I had a million ducats” by the Brobdingnagian Bards, which was hysterical! Afterwards they came over and introduced themselves by kissing my hand in a most attentive manner, chatted with me, and gave me a copy of their new CD “Memories of Middle Earth”. What charming guys! Rosie showed up at 3 PM to man the table through Brad Dourif’s hour, and Marea, Traz and I ventured off to secure good seats for the presentation.

We stood in line until at least 3:30 as the previous presentation cleared out and they cleaned up the ballroom, but the wait was actually rather pleasant as the Bards were playing on the concourse to our right and we were surrounded by fellow Tolkien fans. While waiting in line, I met several women who go to WOTM regularly, and I was thrilled to hear how much they liked the site. (Thank you, ladies!) Finally, we got in. We were lucky enough to secure front row center seats again, so that when Brad finally took the stage and sat down we were about 10 feet away from him. I’m not going to summarize his hour here, as I will be posting the entire transcript on the site, but I want to impress on all of you how warm and friendly Brad was. He related a few memories and stories from LOTR, and then took questions from the crowd for the rest of the hour. He seemed to enjoy the hour as much as we did, and when it was over he posed for some pictures and talked with the fans. Marea approached him about setting up an interview, and he informed her that he would be signing autographs on the Walk of Fame on Sunday, and that we should approach him there. This discouraged us a bit, since he didn’t say what time he’d be there, and we couldn’t set up an appointment. But, we vowed to do the best we could on Sunday, and put our reporter hats away for the day and went in search of dinner.

We were in the middle of dinner at the Hyatt’s buffet when Cliff called me to invite us to go out for Chinese with the TORN staffers. We declined, of course, since we were already eating, but Cliff told me that we had a date for karaoke again that evening, so we met them at Champions around 10 PM. Saturday night’s karaoke was much longer, and included group renditions of “A Man of Constant Sorrow” (again), “Bohemian Rhapsody” (this time we got to finish it), and “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. Again it was beer and delightful conversation with Bill, Chris, Cliff, Carlene, Jincey, Lisa, Josh, Susan, Larry, and Jessica (apologies to whoever I missed) til 2 AM. Ah, convention life!

Sunday

Since the fan tables had been organized on Saturday, we actually slept til 8 AM on Sunday (YAY!) and then went down and set up the tables for 10 AM. Celeste and Laura had the early shift on Sunday, so I finally got some time to go look around the dealers rooms! The dealers room on the fan table level had mainly gaming booths in it, including a large LOTR display at Decipher. I browsed through and didn’t find much to my liking, so I headed down to the lower level to check out the larger room. The lower level was a mass of humanity, and any movement through the crowd took a lot of time. My first mission was to go back to the Walk of Fame and see if I could find out anything about when Brad Dourif would be signing. I talked to a nice security man who assured me there was no way for me to find out when he would be showing up, and that I should just check back throughout the day to look for him. Well, that’s certainly convenient! So I called Marea and we decided that we would both check back as often as we could, and I went back to shopping. The dealers room on the lower floor consisted of booths selling weaponry, t-shirts, publicity photos of stars (signed and otherwise), jewelry, action figures and toys, costumes, comic books, and I’m sure 50 other things I can’t remember at the moment. I picked up an embroidered “Frodo Lives” t-shirt, and a Celtic knot pendant and earrings to wear with my elven gown. By the time I accomplished all this, it was time to run to the Hyatt for the 11:30 presentation of Ringers: Lord of the Fans.

Like Saturday, the presentation was packed, but Rosie and Marea had saved me a seat near the front, anticipating my late arrival. The presentation was given by Cliff, Carlene and Josh, who make up the crew that is producing Ringers: Lord of the Fans, a documentary about Tolkien fans and the history of Tolkien fandom. The finished film is due to come out around the release of the extended ROTK DVD next year. They discussed the inception of their idea to do a documentary, and then gave an enlightening history of early Tolkien fandom. This included details of the dealings between Tolkien and his publisher, Allen and Unwin, as well as chronicling the birth of Tolkien fandom in the US, complete with a full showing of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” by Leonard Nimoy and a display of those awful psychedelic book covers from Ballantine in the 60’s. The documentary looks like it’s going to be a wonderful look at the fandom, so keep your eyes peeled for more information about it!

Now it was time for me to work the table a while before the ROTK preview at 4 PM, so I headed off to the Marriott, grabbing lunch on the way to eat at the table when I got there. While there, the Bards came by again on their way to a performance at the art show, and decided to serenade me. They played a gorgeous sorrowful ballad for me on autoharp and recorder, standing right in front of the table, that just about brought me to tears. I must admit that that’s the most successful flirting technique I’ve ever seen. If these guys aren’t married, they won’t be on the market for long if they keep doing that to women! At 3:30, Traz came to relieve me from the table, and Marea and I decided to take a run down to the Walk of Fame to see if Brad was there. Let me just tell you, if you haven’t figured it out from the rest of this report, that Marea and I were having amazing luck this weekend. When we got down there, we found Brad seated at an autograph table, and not terribly busy. We approached, introduced ourselves, and inquired about an interview. He replied, “sure, would you like to do it right now?” and we began looking for a place to do the interview. The Walk of Fame was crowded and noisy, but in the back corner there was a hallway leading to the restricted portions of the building, and we were granted access to this area because we had a guest with us for the purposes of an interview. So, we ducked around the corner and found two chairs in the hallway, and Brad and I sat there while Marea sat Indian style on the floor, and we began the interview. Again, I will not cover the entire interview here, as I am posting the whole transcript separately on the site. I will just highlight what struck me most from our conversation.

Brad was dressed in jeans and a denim shirt, his brown hair, streaked a bit with silver, laying in curls to his shoulders. He has a moustache flowing down into a bit of a goatee, which he later told us is his look in his latest project, and his eyes are a steel grey-blue that is quite intense when he meets your gaze. His voice is gentle but sure, his hand firm and steady in a handshake. Brad is warm and personable, and puts you at ease with a wink and a smile as he answers your questions. He is a down-to-earth guy. We talked with Brad for about a half hour, alternating questions between Marea and I, and we discussed things like his definition of evil, who he thinks the hero of LOTR is, and his feelings about the comaraderie among the members of the cast during the filming of Lord of the Rings. His answers were sincere and heartfelt, and I had to resist the urge to break interview format and just start talking to him many times throughout our meeting. He has a deep respect for Peter, the cast, and all the crew that worked on the film, and it’s clearly readable in his voice and on his face as he discusses his experiences. We had a delightful interview with Brad, and afterward he posed with both of us for pictures, and we returned with him to the table to get a few autographs for ourselves and absent friends.

Afterward, we hurried off to catch the end of the ROTK preview, and managed to arrive in time to see the ROTK footage pulled from the upcoming ROTK game from EA games, which did contain a few new images. I had made it through the interview with Brad completely calmly and in a professional manner, but at this point it was beginning to dawn on me that I had in fact just interviewed a member of the LOTR cast. Now it was time to be a squeeing fangirl for a little while. So, I wandered the Con like Alice in Wonderland, wondering exactly whose life I was living that I was able to report on these events, and be in this place, surrounded by fandom friends and sci fi and fantasy at its finest. Still high on life, we met up with the TORN crowd again for dinner at Steak and Ale, and then it was off to the Dragon Con masquerade at the Atlanta Civic Center.

The masquerade was lovely, and extremely long…or so it seemed after watching 20 child contestants and 70-some adult entries, each complete with a 3-minute voiceover and in some cases, intro music. The evening was hosted by Walter Koenig and George Takei from Star Trek, who provided quite a bit of entertainment all by themselves by butchering the names of the majority of the contestants and playing one-liners off one another. For the children’s contest, most of the entries were miniature princesses or action heroes, but the one that stood out most was a young Princess Amidala, about age 8, complete with 2 dolls as young Luke and Leia. Her voiceover stated that she had difficulty caring for the twins, so she decided to leave Luke with Owen, at which point the young princess tosses the Luke doll across the stage. Then on the cue that she leaves Leia with other family, she pushes her stroller across the stage, where it proceeds to hit a large speaker and dump the Leia doll to the floor. Oops, she didn’t quite mean for it to do that! Then the voiceover states that all is not lost and she went on to get a job at the Coruscant lounge (or some such), and in response she drops the shoulders on her costume and does a little shoulder dance which sends the crowd rolling, as if they didn’t laugh hard enough with the departure of her children! Needless to say, she won, likely on the basis of her inventive skit.

The adult entries were widely varied, from anime characters to Lara Croft to Pacman. A few words about the memorable ones:

Sully and Boo from Monsters Inc.: Sully is a large furry monster, blue with purple spots, large and quite well done. He comes out with Boo, who follows him around, picks up his tail and drops it, and says “Kitty”. Sully then covers his eyes and counts for hide and seek, Boo trips off her little girl’s dress to reveal black leather underneath, and says “Rowr…kitty” in a quite seductive voice as Sully scoops her off and carries her offstage. I hope this reads near as funny as it was to watch!

Pacman: Pacman was an ensemble cast consisting of a large cardboard yellow pacman, a girl wearing the pacman cherries, and 4 ghosts, pink, red, blue, and orange. Pacman was chased by ghosts until he “ate” the large dot (ball) on the stage, then the ghosts turned around to reveal their blue side as Pacman chased them. As the ghosts were “eaten”, each dropped their cardboard sides and held up sets of black and white eyes as they ran from the stage. Quite an inventive and well thought out performance!

Frankenstein and his bride did a rendition of Summer Nights from Grease, complete with ghoulie backup singers.

The most impressive thing by far was Max and company from “Where the Wild Things Are”. Those costumes were the most amazing things I’ve ever seen that weren’t produced professionally. Max announced ” Let the wild rumpus begin!” and his entourage of 4 wild things began to dance to the music, and then did a great unison dance. It was incredible, and everyone knew instantly that they had won!

There were several LOTR entries, including Nessa the Valar, and an ensemble with the twilight wraith from Friday night. Any entries that took too long with their performances were escorted from the stage by a pair of stormtroopers, as unfortunately happened to a few groups, but overall the contest was a great experience-and as predicted, the Wild Things won!

After the costume contest it was off for another evening of fun with the TORN staff, which concluded around 5 AM. Ahem.

Monday

A few scant hours of sleep later it was back to set the table up for 10 AM, to sell just a few more t-shirts and raffle tickets in the morning hours before the conclusion of the Con. After we dismantled the booth I grabbed lunch with Larry and Chris, and hung out at the TORN table for a while chatting until it was time to take one last look around the dealers room before heading home. Goodbyes with my newfound friends were joyful but bittersweet, and I vowed to see them all at the Oscar Party in February. Rosie and I did one final round of the downstairs, and each bought a Two Towers Frodo magnet, and debated over action figures and publicity stills. And then, it was over, and I was on my way home.

And here I sit, the day after the Con, writing this report and still living the fandom high of the weekend I surely must have borrowed from someone else’s life. I worked with my longtime friends Marea, Rosie, and Traz (who I met in person for the first time), finally met Celeste who I’ve been collaborating with for several months now on the Bring the Ringbearer to the Gathering project, made new friends, landed a major interview, was wooed, was flattered by the notoriety of my website, met several prominent authors in the world of fanfiction, and partied like a rock star every night of the Con. It doesn’t get any better than this!

I must include a special note here to the members of the TORN staff, especially Chris, Bill, Larry, Lisa, Cliff, Carlene, and Jincey: Thank you guys so much for a wonderful time! It was a Con I’ll never ever forget, and the most amazing weekend of my life!

As for the rest of you, I can’t say enough nice things about the TORN staff both personally and professionally, so go, support them!

Rosie and Traz, thank you so much for all your hard work this weekend, it would not have been possible without you!

Celeste, we met at last, and pulled off a miracle! Here’s to more success! And Laura, thank you for your work and your gorgeous sign!

And lastly, Marea, my staffer, fellow reporter, and partner in crime. Just look at what we did this time! I can’t wait to see what February will bring!

You can visit me at West of the Moon and Celeste at www.frodoandsam.net, and this link will take you to Bring the Ringbearer to the Gathering of the Fellowship were you can purchase raffle tickets for Sting or the illustration, Fellowship. You can buy “Happiness is a Warm Hobbit” or “Your gardner…don’t leave home without him!” t-shirts here.

Posted in Old Special Reports on September 8, 2003 by

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