This report comes from our good friend Bill (aka Sauron’s Truss on the Fan Club boards):

An excellent weekend spent with excellent people. Sort of redundant when speaking about Fan Club and TORn peeps, non? Goes without saying.

Beach Moot
Last minute Pub Moot preps kept me from getting to the Venice Beach Moot on time, but get there I did and found everyone at the Muscle Beach outdoor gym. While this place is usually chock full of “Arnold” types, all I spotted upon my entrance was a 550 pound man without an ounce of muscle about him and a 130 guy who was muscled up like a sparrow’s kneecap. Just our luck to get a couple of dudes on their first day of working out! At any rate the ladies in our party DID get to see some eye candy there a little later.

irascian’s report on Venice Beach is essentially correct. A very seedy component to it that can take away enjoyment from an otherwise VERY nice stretch of beach and parkland. Though, on sunnier days during the weekends and holidays the place takes on a more festive, brighter atmosphere and tourists come out by the thousands. The street performers alone are worth the price of admission (free). We walked down to the beach so that a few of our non-So Cal friends from out of town could dip their tootsies into the Pacific. Cold!

The Pub Moot, at the Westwood Brewing Company, that evening was very nice and I was gratified to see everyone having a good time. Decipher, TORn, Sideshow/Weta, Eurobubblies (beer!), and some of the guests themselves donated some excellent items for the drawing resulting in lots of people getting STUFF! Very cool.

Pub Moot Awards: This, perhaps, was the highlight of the evening for some of us and as I reflect on each of the awards given out from the Fan Club I’m hard pressed to say which one was more poignant. Let me list them here in no particular order: 1. A terrific plaque given to Icarus (graciously made by sierra). On the beautiful plaque was a very cool LADLE with the following inscription, “Icarus- Prancing Pony OneStalker”. (An inside, Fan Club joke) 2.A mounted and framed display given to Primula (Amy). Lithilien’s idea. Within the display was a pic of Prim and Howard Shore… and a handwriten note, SIGNED by Howard Shore, thanking her for the poem she wrote for him and which now holds a place of honor in his study. Things don’t get much better than this… 3. A six pack of genuine Grape Nehi given to Rosie and myself by Lith. Lith had heard of our “affinity” for the beverage… 3. Sting, by United Cutlery, was presented to Dan Madsen, our Fan Club President, along with a card. It was great to finally meet Dan and he was clearly touched by the gift. Good job everyone! 4. To Rosie (Fan club moderator): A gold-like metal, 14″, Oscar-like statue with Oscar holding a large star over his head. The inscription on the plate read, “Rosie, you’re our star. -Official LOTR Fan Club”. Rosie gets something at EVERY party. She’s THAT loved! 5. To irascian (Fan Club moderator): the same Oscar-like statue. Inscription on the plate read, “irascian, Our beloved O.B.P. -Official LOTR Fan Club”.

It was great to see everyone there. A few admin-type glitches, but nothing insurmountable and, ultimately, worth it in the face of the fun and esprit de corp that was had (and felt) by all.

DVD Viewing Party at the American Film Institute: Lady ‘O’ Bloom and Moochelas did an excellent job of obtaining this professional viewing room at the storied AFI compound in Hollywood. Apparently New Line Cinema partially sponsored this event (due in no small part, I’m sure, to the dilligent efforts of the two ladies already mentioned.), resulting in everyone getting a partial refund of their admission cost AND some posters the like of which I’d not seen anywhere else.

Fine screen, great sound system, surrounded by LOTR fanatics (some of them sobbing), and Jen and Bernadette sitting next to me. How much luckier could a guy get? The fact that the Decipher Fan Club comprises about 85% women is certainly not lost on me…

Orthanc_Ent/aka Saruman/aka Josh put on a great picnic for all the concert goers before the Howard Shore music experience that evening. Hanah was a co-founder of this event as well and let me say right here and now what a tremendous sucess it was. LOTS of people at a wonderful, private mini-park no more than a block away from the Hollywood Bowl. A little oasis. The food was tasty and plentiful. There were picnic tables aplenty and people spread their blankets out everywhere. A small wind and harp quintet (sorry, didn’t get their name) wafted their ethereal melodies on the breeze and the tone for the picnic was set very nicely. Drawings, prizes (natch!) and all-out giveaways were provided for our enjoyment. I saw Official Fan Club magazines and fan letters from Peter Jackson. Amazingly, there were author-signed, advanced reading copies of the fantasy book, The Fifth Soceress, by Robert Newcomb for everyone in attendance. I believe Catherine (Arwen2) was responsible for that little gem. This Bowl Moot had everything except the kitchen sink… even PINATAS that spilled out candy and Decipher TCG packs (garf, yer crazy!)!!! (I discovered Smirnoff Ice at this picnic. A new addiction is born.)

Musical Mythologies at the Hollywood Bowl TORn has already put up a few reports. Let me just add that we LOTR fans occupied an entire section at the Bowl and we were well represented (once again, as organized by the indominible Josh). The eloquent conductor even mentioned us at one point. Yes, we were quite vocal (at appropriate times) in our appreciation of the proceedings. The first half of the concert was taken up by various selections of “musical mythologies” such as Wagner’s Flight of the Valkeries, selections from John William’s score from Harry Potter, and more. The second half was entirely the LOTR composition created by Howard Shore and performed for the first time this weekend. Most compelling for me was The Lament for Gandalf and the piece performed (in the movie) during the Fellowship’s emergence from the Mines of Moria. You know, the part where the solo of the testicularly-challenged boy provides a poignant overlay to the fact that Gandalf has just fallen into the chasm after the Balrog. Magical stuff and I saw tears springing around me.

R&R day for everyone. Some of us had to go home, while the rest soaked up the fun and theme parks that abound in So Cal.

Lastly, the sense of community amongst us LOTR fans never fails to amaze me. You can throw all the star appearances, giveaways, and things like that out the window and what we’re left with is each other and the friendships that begin, and continue, through it all.

The TORn staff, TORn fans, Official Fan Club peeps, Decipher, Sideshow/Weta, and everyone in between are the BOMB! They “get it”. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in this weekend’s events and see you at the next one. The Truss don’t lie!

Bill (Sauron’s Truss)