The lights have dimmed, the party is over, and I’m sitting here trying to remember every detail of this past weekend, a whirlwind of activity for the TORN staffers that organized and prepared for our “One Party to Rule Them All.”
First off, I must express my sincere heartfelt gratitude and admiration for TheOneRing.net’s founders, Tehanu (Erica Challis), Xoanon (Michael Regina), Corvar (William Thomas), and Calisuri (Chris Pirrotta). They started TORN out of a love for JRR Tolkien’s work, identifying and filling a great chasm in the world of fandom. (and no, Corvar is *not* the balrog ; )
When I first heard of the movies, I immediately went online, searching for any information I could find. I remember coming up with three fan-oriented sites and I checked them out. TheOneRing.net ‘ruled’ from the very beginning… Why? Because Cali, Corvar, Xo, and Tehanu put their heart and soul into the site, and I didn’t see that anywhere else. Ever. Before TheOneRing.net came into existence, I was like millions of other Tolkien fans. I wondered, “Is there anybody else out there?” Oh, yeah : ) Thanks to these four folks, who met for the very first time in ‘real-life’ on Oscar Sunday, we have all discovered that we are not alone; that we are part of an immense worldwide community. I am very honored and proud to serve as a volunteer staff member here at TheOneRing.net.
Okay, enough of the mushy stuff….
I arrived at LAX early Saturday afternoon. Calisuri and Miss Calisuri were there to whisk me off to Party Central, located at Asfaloth’s home. There I met Asfaloth. Quickbeam, Xoanon and Lady Xoanon, the mysterious Lady T, Arathorn’s better half, and the rest of the PartyStaff, wonderful folks all, who’d been stuffing the “Goody Baggins” with wonderful items donated by our sponsors. Houghton-Mifflin donated copies of The Lord of the Rings FOTR Visual Companion and The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide. Decipher donated Mines of Moria starter decks and LoTR calendars. And Sideshow/Weta donated medallions from their medallion series. These great gift bags were to be handed out to the guests as they arrived.
We watched a bit of the New Zealand Embassy Interviews (soon to be up on TORn Digital!), then Thorongil and I went back to the airport to meet Gandalf and Gamgee, just in from Washington State. It was dark-thirty by this time, so we all headed to Toi’s Rock-n-Roll Thai Restaurant for dinner. Okay, I have a confession to make: I had never eaten Thai food before, and I can’t even remember the name of what I ate, But Quickbeam recommended it so I knew it would be good. (Quickbeam, famous for Green Books and green hair, was our guide for the weekend, pointing us to cool places that could handle a crowd.)
After we’d eaten dinner, some of the group felt the need for some exercise. Others felt the need to vocalize. In what may be a good thing, as I have not heard everyone sing, BOWLING(!!!) won out over karaoke! So off to the Hollywood Star Lanes we went. (I’m told The Big Lebowski was filmed here, by the way.) I remained part of the audience, while some of the more energetic folks bowled the night away. From there, everyone headed to their respective abodes. The Oscars were only hours away!
Sunday morning bloomed fine, fair and breezy. We rushed about getting our party threads and finery in order and carefully packed, then headed to the Hollywood Athletic Club to begin setting up and decorating. The club is a historic building erected on Sunset Blvd in 1924. Founded by Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino, and Johnny Weismuller (the best Tarzan there ever was), this unique structure is only used for private parties and film-making nowadays. As you enter the front door, you walk through the lobby (where we set up registration) and then head up the wonderful (and I must say dimly lit) staircase. As you reach the landing you face two enormous mirrors. Upon each mirror were two stands for statues of the founding members of the athletic club. As I glanced, I noticed Weismuller’s statue was missing from his stand. Thinking it a shame that this had happened, I looked up toward the top of the mirror, where Johnny’s statue, clad only in a loincloth, was scaling the side of the mirror, trailed by a chimp. I do have a picture of this. No, I cannot post it ; ) Hmmmm… maybe if we do some airbrushing I could ; )
As you reach the top of the stairs you enter a long hall. To your immediate left is the largest room, which we used as the Oscar ceremony viewing room. Upon the walls we placed signs for the categories Fellowship of the Ring was nominated in. Rows and rows of chairs, as well as tables and chairs in the rear of the room were set up here for the audience to watch the Oscars when they began.
The room next door was used for playing pool and for dancing. A deejay came in and did a great job for us : ) The next room, cordoned off for security, was the VIP room. This room also had a pool table, as well as a wonderful fireplace. Each room possessed great ambience: dark and glamorous. The final room was used to display all the items up for bid at the silent auction and all the raffle prizes. We had wonderful prizes donated by folks at Sideshow/Weta, The Tolkien Society, and Royal Selangor, to name a few.
As the Oscars began, folks settled in wherever they could to watch. Televisions were strategically set up in the rooms and the hall to give everyone a chance to view the show. During commercial breaks Quickbeam, emcee of TheOneParty to Rule Them All, chatted with the audience and called upon volunteer staffers to help with the raffle drawings.
Now, while y’all were enjoying yourselves, the staff was actually getting ready for the BIG show! Yes, we mean the show after the show!!! Word was out that we would be receiving some very special guests! Sure enough, about midnight, Sir Ian McKellan, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Richard Taylor, Jim Rygiel, Randy Cook, Howard Shore, and Mark Ordesky (President of New Line Cinema) dropped in to visit for a while. Our special guests were thrilled to see the outpouring of affection and admiration radiating from the 400+ fans. They took time to shake hands with as many as they could reach, and gathered together in the front of the viewing room for a photo op and a few words. Thanks y’all, from everyone!
Oh yes, they brought their Oscars…
It was so cool to see all the statues just casually standing on top of a pool table as PJ & Company partied in the VIP room. And yes, those Oscars are heavy! Just for the record, they’ve not been engraved yet. The winners have to send them back to be engraved.
In the wee hours of the morning, our surprise guests left to attend other functions and the wonderful fans who’d partied all night began leaving (I hope only because their feet hurt as bad as mine did and they wanted to take off their shoes). We undecorated the place and gathered up our stuff and loaded the cars. Thanks to the staff of the Hollywood Athletic Club, who worked hard, kept us fed and stayed late for us! A number of folks actually went on to Denny’s for breakfast, but alas, some of us had planes to catch the next day and needed to head on back to our accommodations.
Snagging a few winks of sleep after an all nighter, we managed to resume an upright position on Monday morning. I believe high heels are instruments of Sauron! Hobbling to the airport terminal, I managed to arrive at the gate just as boarding began. The ride home was smooth and peaceful. Of course the first thing I did when I got home was log into the chatroom. So many folks were asking questions and I tried to answer all I could, but doggonit, I had to be at work 8am Tuesday!
Thinking back on the past weekend, the most memorable moment was when the four founders finally got together as a group. The funniest was Ian smooching on the Legolas standee, and turning the Saruman standee around to face the wall. And honestly, I can’t even think of a bad moment. I can’t wait until we do this again even better next year… Are you ready? Woohoo!!!!!