Christine writes: I know that the event was a week ago, and there have already been 5 reports, but hey one more can’t hurt. Readers beware: If you are not interested in a long, gruelingly detailed, essay, about a fifteen-year-old’s day in NYC, and if you in any way doubt you courage, strength, or attention span, turn back now, or boredom awaits you with big pointy teeth, and poorly grammatical wording.
So on Friday (July 12) I went to Viggo’s book signing and Poetry reading in NYC. My other lotr companions had to bag at literally the last minute (We are only 15, and our parents have the right to be restrictive, no?) So my last minute replacement was a buddy Dave (I knew his parents would let him go with me, they’re very loose as are mine!) The only problem with that was that he isn’t quite a lotr or Viggo fan. (When we were going through all the info I had put together addresses, directions, times and what not, David was confused by the heading of the paper, and asked me what “vigoo” meant.)
So we took the 7:25am bus into New York, to arrive at the 42nd street bus terminal at 8:30am, and walked a nice 20 blocks in a good 30 minutes. (By the way when we were buying tickets, I was in such a hurry that I forgot a very important item. I purchased 8×11 glossy photos of Viggo online, and to resist damage, brought the box it was delivered in with me. I also had in the box, maps and directions for the ENTIRE DAY! 20 seconds before the bus pulled up, the man from the office came running across the street with it! God bless his soul, without that the day would have been ruined! I need to send him a fruit basket or something) So, the Robert Mann Gallery was on the 10th floor of a building, and when we arrived at 9, there were only 20 or 25 people all ready there, all seated up against a wall, in a hallway leading to the Gallery doors. We sat for about 30 minutes (pictured), and then people from the Gallery came out telling everyone to be quiet. There was quite a bit of noise, as well as people coming in and joining a large group at the front of the line, which seemed to be getting larger (and louder), but I’m not complaining. About 10 minutes later, the person came out again suggesting that everyone go for some coffee and come back in a half our. Remarkably, the large group did, indeed leave. The rest of us stayed. Us remainders were asked to move to a hallway facing the other way. They said it was because the wall we were up against was on the other side of another gallery’s office. But I thought it was just because they knew that when Viggo came, he would be coming up that hallway, and they didn’t want us jumping him. (They should just do what they did at ICON, and send him in with storm troopers. Heehee But yes my theory was later proved when Viggo not only came up that hallway, but when we got into the Gallery, I realized that on the other side of the hallway was the Gallery, not an office! Liars.)
So I made some small talk with the people around me. Dave kept to himself. (I must tell you that David can hardly stand my obsession, so being around adults with the same exact ‘disease’ didn’t quite appeal to him.) But I was quite glad I found people with similar interests. I got to show them my mini picture books of magazine clippings (which I bring with me everywhere) and show off ICON pictures and tell ICON stories. This creepy lady (who likes to call herself “Creepy” as her name) joined Patty and Tara, who were in line next to me. Apparently, they knew each other from the last Viggo signing, isn’t that neat? I also saw Stephanie, Anthony, and Jessica from Heren Istarion, the chair people of the New York Tolkien Society, who were there to present Viggo with a lovely Aragorn bust from Weta. At some point around here Viggo came down the hall we were previously in, but I missed seeing him. People had to stand in line I don’t know how far down the 10 flights of stairs, but other people (who I assume had just arrived) started coming up the elevator and I believe formed a line of their own. This line later began to merge with the one from the stairwell into the hallway once the line was moving. But David and I and others who had been there 2 hours plus, were in line before that merge so we didn’t have to worry about it. But I do think those on line had waited longer then those from the elevator, so that’s a bit unfair. There really was no one governing the lines etc, and if we weren’t as respectable fans as we are, I bet some fights might have broken out there, but thankfully, I think everyone was happy to see Viggo. Of course I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t involved in any of that. I do find it rather amusing though that David, who can’t even pronounce Viggo’s name right, was in line ahead of about 90% of the people there, who no doubt, knew at least that.
Okay sorry, I’m boring you. Fast forward. The line starts moving, and they let approximately ten people in at a time. In ten minutes we were in. To the left of the doors was the book buying area. I got the soft cover of Signlanguage because the hard cover was a good $50, which is a bit more then my budget permits. David, the little angel, immediately got in line, behind that big group of people from before. Dave asked me if he should ask Viggo why there was a nail in his finger on the front cover. I then decided it would be better if DAVE didn’t speak. So the group in front of us was very cute and very long. This was actually good because I had about 10 minutes were I was standing 4 feet away from Viggo, and I could just watch him interacting with people, and I let myself adapt and get comfortable around him, so that I wouldn’t mumble at him or anything. Each person in the group in front of me posed for a picture with Viggo, and all the other members took pictures, some of them with more then one camera. So I bet they got some lovely pictures. They then presented Viggo with a bundle of goodies. Including Chinese slippers, and what appeared to be a robe, as well as other things, and Viggo explained he’d look through later. I got the idea that the members of the group didn’t all speak fluent English, because there were a lot of hand motions and Chinese sounding exclamations, especially during the photo sessions.
My turn. I stepped up and said hi. Then Dave noted how “Suweet” all the stuff was. Viggo sincerely apologized for the wait, and I said that it was no problem. I first handed his my book and told him my name, spelling out c-H-r-i-s-t-i-n-e. While signing he asked us where we’re from. I replied New Jersey, and David added in a JerZEE! (Thanks Dave) I then gave Viggo my photo of him; thank god I still had it. I also gave him a silver felt marker I brought with me in case all he had was black (which I’m glad I did, because he didn’t) He asked if it was still for Christine, and I said yes. Then I gave him another copy and explained that my friend’s parents denied permission at the last minute because we had no parental supervision, so this one is for Linzi. That’s L-i-n-Z-I with a heart over the last i. He gave me a weird look then did that. And I also had him sign one of the postcards he had available for Caroline. What a sweetie he is. Then I asked if I could take pictures with him. David the photographer had the camera ready, and while I went around the table and squatted down next to his table I explained that I needed to keep the photos laying out for a second and he finished my sentence saying that I didn’t want it to smudge. I added that-
“Yeah, when I was at Billy’s convention—“
“Oh, you went to that? How was it?”
“It was great, we saw the girls whose shirt you signed for Billy.”
“And yeah, anyway, my signature smudged because I didn’t let it dry.”
Dave took one picture of us in mid- pose, and Viggo put his arm around me and Dave took a picture like that, and then a wrapped my arms around Viggo’s neck and pulled him in tight and Dave took that picture. That’s when I realized that the flash didn’t go off. The following thoughts ran though my head-
Oh no, the flash didn’t go off! But I don’t want to complain; I’m lucky I even got to pose with him. But the picture might not turn out-
My thoughts were cut short by Viggo saying-
“The flash didn’t go off, do you want to turn it on?”
So my lovely photographer Dave fumbles around with the one time use camera a bit (I thought they were supposed to be easy to understand, that’s why I got that kind. I didn’t want a repeat of my convention where I chased Billy down for a picture with him, and the camera all of the sudden died on us, and the picture that turned out is in mid pose, and its so embarrassingly bad I don’t even want to post it. )
Anyway, that’s when Viggo held out his hand and miraculously PRESSED THE BUTTON THAT SAID FLASH! Then handed it back to Dave and we took the pictures over again, including the one of me hugging him (which he’s smiling more in hehe!) We thanked him, and I gave him an Aragonath pin, which I have tons of, and I’m sure he does as well, but I thought I’d give him one anyway. And he was like “Oh cool.”
So that was done and we made our way out of the building, and started our two-hour or so long walk (with stops at shops for Dave) to the Used Book Café. On our way there we stopped at a flea market and they offered us a 10-minute massage for $10. I convinced them to make it a 5-minute for $5, and it was great.
The best part of all this was that we never really got majorly lost. We had no problem finding streets or anything. I was a bit worried though about getting to the café on time. I was expecting so many people to show up, and was worried about getting seats. We got to the café at 3:00, only 4 hours before the reading was to start, and there were very few people there. Three of those people were Patty, Tara, and Creepy from the signing. They were at a table all the way at the front, (by then the stage and chairs weren’t set up yet.) We joined them at the table, and Patty showed me a picture of Viggo and I from her digital camera that she took! How lovely. So we sat and chatted for 40 minutes or so and David was getting ansi, so I asked Patty, Tara, and Creepy to save us to save us seats when they set them up.
Dave and I left for a half hour, which turned out to be completely pointless, and came back to find that Patty, Tara, and Creepy had gotten us the most beautiful seats, fifth row! (And with the first 2 rows reserved, I’d say 5th is pretty good! Around I guess 4:30, the band One Ring Zero (Absolutely no relation to the One Ring, or TheOneRing.net) started setting up, even though they didn’t play until three hours later. So until then we talked and made merry, just as merry little hobbits (some of them named Merry) do. I bought a One Ring Zero shirt, and got some bumper stickers.
So at 7:30 One Ring Zero started playing. Their music was so cool, and interesting. I can’t think of a way to describe it, but someone else’s description I heard fits perfectly. Carnival music in a graveyard. It was bliss. I definitely suggest you download a bit of a song off of MP3.com. I suggest the Airplane song. And their website is OneRingZero.com.
Ben Greenman was the first reader, and Laurence Krauser was the second and they were both wonderful.
Then Viggo came on, and for the most part, everyone was respectful and courteous. Some people were a bit talkative and at one point someone yelled out Viggo’s name to try to get a picture of him, which was a bit rude. But that didn’t matter because Viggo was beautiful.
At one point people all the way in the back were yelling, “Speak louder” because they couldn’t hear him but he couldn’t hear them either. So I yelled out “Viggo some people can’t hear you!” And he replied with “I can’t really hear myself, so ” Then when he began his next poem he spoke in a shout talk (Not really shouting, but his volume was a few steps above talking), which got some laughter. We were only like, 15 feet away from him, and we had seats, which is a lot more then I think 80% of the people there could say. And once again I find it humorous that David was that close up, and yet had no interest in being there. So Viggo was reading someone else’s poetry a bit, and I think he was about done, then someone yelled out, “read some more of your own!” And people started yelling out suggestions of which poems to read, when someone yelled out “read in SPANISH!” And of course everyone loved that idea. Viggo says, “Spanish? Okay um here, this one’s about Henry.” My goodness. I think at the end of that poem everyone was more flushed then Sam after dancing with Rosie. I think David was even blushing a bit. Well everyone was completely satisfied out of their minds after that, so we let him go.
One Ring Zero came back on, and played a bit more, which was lovely. They were finishing up, so I made my way out of the row, because I wanted to catch the band members before they left, so I could get some autographs on the back of my shirt. And all of the sudden Viggo ran up to the microphone, “Hey has anyone here ever heard the song ‘Sweet Caroline?’ I think we should request that.”
The crowd agreed and cheered etc. and yelled out that Viggo should sing, but he didn’t want to. So instead, while the band played and the audience sang, Viggo danced with another poet! It wasn’t actually one of the poets who read. He was from the audience, and I was told he was the poet who’s poetry Viggo read a bit of.
So when that lovely bit was over I went up to the band, and asked them all to sign the back of my recently purchased shirt, which they all did lovingly. Then Viggo came out from the backroom and people started bombarding him for autographs. So it was suggested that we move on stage. So yes, I was on the stage with the band (which wasn’t really a stage, but I guess a 1.5 or 2 foot-levitated area). So I took pictures with the band members and got autographs and chatted away about their converse shoes and mine, with Viggo a good 3 or 4 feet away from me, hehe. I made faces at Creepy and Patty from the stage, oh lucky me! I then stood at the end of the stage waiting to get a second to ask Viggo for a picture of him. Some woman came up and said I wasn’t supposed to be up there, but I simply mentioned I was with the band, and went back to resume conversation and buy a CD. But I did get my chance for a picture of Viggo. Dave later joined me and took a picture of Viggo also, and shook his hand as well, and added in a “Thanks, man.” Don’t we love Dave’s vocabulary? I saw my mother from across the room, and so I joined her and we, (Mom, Dad, Dave, Creepy, Patty, etc. and others, and I) all made small talk. Creepy told my Mom she had stories for her, and when my mom replied that she only wanted to hear the good ones, someone else said, well then there’d be nothing to tell. I guess that was a joke. But Creepy did say I was being a regular groupie, and called me Penny Lane, which I don’t really get, but Oh well.
So we all said our good-byes, and exchanged E-mails etc. and on our car ride home we listened to our ORZ CD.
So thats my story, hope you liked it. Expect pictures to come shortly!