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Archive for the ‘Old DragonCon News’ Category

Ten ways TORn serves Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom

TORn logoBeginning last Saturday and running through to September 4, is hosting a Pledge Drive (see the banner at the top) as well as a bunch of auctions for some really cool memorabilia and collectibles.

The day-to-day operation of the website, and the events we host, require a lot more resources than when we first started nearly 15 years ago. We sometimes find it hard to ask our readers for the help we need to keep running, so we began discussing what it is that makes worth helping out. It started out as a search for the Top Ten Moments of TORn, but the list got so long because each staff member had their own idea of important moments in TORn history. Here, instead, is something more encompassing: Ten Ways TORn helps serve Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom (listed in no specific order).

And, if you enjoy what we do, consider a donation (no amount too small, because every bit does help!) to keep us running!

If you can’t, that’s fine as well — keep reading, commenting and contributing. Because TORn is as much you as it is us!

If you’ve ever sent in an article, submitted a photo or report, posted on our messageboards, visited our chat, or commented on our twitter, facebook or g+, you’re the reason is among the largest and most-respected pillars of the Tolkien community on the web.


Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Cannes 2001, Casting Rumors, ComicCon, Conventions, Costuming, Crew News, Director Rumors, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Film Screenings, Green Books, Hall of Fire, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Make the Hobbit Happen, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Old Cannes News, Old ComicCon News, Old DragonCon News, Old Main News, Old Oscar Party News, Old Spy Reports, Original TORn, Oscar Parties, Other Events, Other Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, PJ New Line, PJ's Other Films, Production, Return of the King, Rumors Spy News, Rumours Spy News, Studios, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, Trailer, Wellington

Elfstone to bring LARP to Dragon*Con’s Tolkien Track

Over the years, we’ve had several sessions on miniature and PC gaming, but this year we’re sharing a new (to the track) genre of gaming. We’re very excited to welcome Mike Yow of Elfstone come to speak with us about the tremendously popular world of Live Action Role-Playing (LARP). [More]

Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Gaming, Old DragonCon News

Emerald Rose to premiere new music at ELF and Dragon*Con

New CD to be released at Evening at Bree party!

Emerald Rose has announced the completion of their newest cd, “Archives of Ages to Come”, and they plan to release the cd at TORn’s Evening at Bree party at Dragon*Con. The band will be premiering selections of the new material this weekend for audiences at the ELF gathering in Orlando.

Emerald Rose has performed for TORn fans at many LOTR events, including post-Oscar parties in Hollywood. This is the band’s fifth cd, and their most musically diverse, ranging from traditional Celtic ballads and instrumentals to driving rock songs inspired by world mythology. [more]

Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events, Merchandise, Music, Old DragonCon News

Costuming Panel Leaders

There’s always great interest in Lord of the Rings related costuming, and we have the best of the best costumers here with us once again this year. I’d like to thank Laura Bradway for stepping in to lead this year’s panels when Quimbie had to unexpectedly drop out of Dragon*Con this year.

The schedule is not showing the actual panelists for costuming (just not enough room), so here’s who’s going to be doing what: [more]

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Dragon*Con 2003 Kids Pictures Posted

One of the best experiences I had this year at Dragon*Con was the Kids Session during Tolkien’s Middle-earth fan track. We had approximately 15 kids ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 8 participating. Kids spent an hour drawing pictures, having their faces painted, making Elvish brooches, getting ‘Sharpie’ tattoos of their name or initial on their arm, and snacking on ‘lembas’ and apple juice. It is wonderful to see a new generation of Tolkien fans coming up! [More]

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Dragon*Con 2003: That’s All, Folks!

ATLANTA – For perhaps 361 days a year, give-or-take, the people who attended Dragon Con 2003 live life a lot like everybody else. But for four days those passionate about fantasy, sci-fi or related genres enter what might be the closest thing to an alternate reality there is.

Two hotels and an estimated 26,000 guests create a new universe where “strange” dress, behavior, fanaticism and sleep paterns are the norm rather than the exception. Corsets and stormtroopers become so commonplace it seems as if something is missing upon return home.

Among Tolkienites, the internet has already shrunk the fan community, but there is simply no replacement for a friendly hug or handshake and a shared laugh between those who feel strongly about a book that is on the eve of its 50th anniversary. So, during your perusal of TORn’s Dragon Con 2003 coverage, remember that perhaps the best moments are those that aren’t news, that cannot be reported upon and which will never make a headline or a photo. DCon is about being part of a sometimes strange but almost always entertaining and friendly community.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Dragon*Con 2003: The Presentations

ATLANTA – The Tolkien track at DCon is bigger than just TORn programming but TORn programming plays a significant part to be sure. As a reporter of events there, as well as a participant on occasion, I try to be objective, fair and honest. At the risk of sounding TORn-centric, there are things I must tell.

TORn friend Carlene Cordova and staffer Quickbeam gave a two-day, two-part report on their project “Ringers – Lord Of The Fans” starting on Saturday along with the Director of Photography Josh Mandel aka “Tan Pants”. In the spirit of full openness I must disclose that I am a Unit Director (a guy who sends in footage) for the project but I attended the film’s briefing intending to bring TORnados a informative report.

I knew there would be good information but if I may break into a momentary commentary and borrow one of Quickbeam’s favorite
words: “brilliant!” You can find the movie’s web site here: and I had read it and looked forward to the panel, but hearing those working on it gush about their ideas and hopes at the Dragon Con event was inspiring. If nothing else these folks pour their passion into the project and I suspect that will be evident on-screen as well.

Their work is far from over with Mandel heading to the UK shortly and all the ROTK fan footage gearing up. Like any independent filmmakers, they are seeking funding – seeking it always but they are determined to continue in their efforts however they must.

The film’s focus is of course Tolkien fans and on day one of the presentation they spoke of the beginnings of fandom and its first two decades of existence. “It is a penetrating glimpse into the explosion of fandom,” according to Mandel. Quickbeam described it as, “Delicious, fun playfulness.”

Day two was left to cover more modern fans and started with a look at Middle Earth at the dorms in the University of California Irvine. Back in the day fans named 24 dormitories after Tolkien’s own geography and the area still stands as a monument on the campus of the “fightin’ Aardvarks.”

The audience was also favored with Mr. Spock’s (Leonard Nimoy) rendition of “Bilbo Baggins“, a real favorite on convention circuits but a song a lot of fans either don’t know about or haven’t seen. Amazing, vintage, wonderfully dated stuff.

The Tolkien events covered in day two included things like the publishing of “The Silmarillion” in 1977, the release of the animated “Hobbit” by Rankin/Bass, the Ralph Bakshi version of “The Lord Of The Rings” and the internet history of Tolkien fandom. Even TORn history was covered, beginning with the photo-essay page it used to be and Tehanu being charged with trespassing.

Perhaps most compelling was the “Ringers” preview showing some of the quickest bits of Tolkien fandom in their own words strung together to give a feel of the documentary the crew is working on. It was greeted with delight and left the crowd wanting more. The full future of the project is still unknown but at the very least it will play phenomenally well at conventions and in fandom circles but the filmmakers hope the appeal is wider. They hope that as a social commentary it will play to large audiences and that a major distributor will step in and give them added leverage.

In addition to the “Ringers” panel, Calisuri, Corvar, Maegwen and I all played a part in the hour long spoiler-filled look at “Return Of The King” and “The Two Towers” Extended Edition. That presentation to a “sold-out” room (the largest at DCon) both Friday and Saturday, coupled with our own senior staffer Jincey running the whole Tolkien tract, kept the web site in the mix of the community. This was a “had to be there” event but the audience appeared to be involved in the photos and commentary provided by staffers. As an aside, as much as I enjoyed the actual presentation, I enjoyed the in-the-hotel creation of the presentation even more. The staff folks, while not full-time Tolkien scholars, were a pleasure to listen to while theorizing about the films and the significance of each individual photo.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Dragon*Con 2003: Costumes!

ATLANTA – One of the featured events at Dragon Con is constant parade of costumes. Sure the convention’s official Masquerade is spectacular but the real show is the floor of the convention’s two hotels. The creativity on display is head turning and pathway clogging. TORn managed to photograph a great number of costumes (hopefully posted soon) but even then we have just scratched the surface.

Lord Of The Rings fans can rest easy knowing that “our people” represented very well. The front entertainment page of the “Atlanta Journal Constitution” featured a group of fearsome orcs led by LOTR fan Brian Wolfe from Orlando. In addition, the teaser at the top of A1 that day also showed an orc, enticing readers to go inside.

Wolfe and his spectacularly nasty crew has been a LOTR fan for years. “I read the books. We saw the Hobbit on TV and watched it all the time as kids.” Even among all the amazing costumes the crew of nine, a couple out of costume when TORn caught up with them, really were among the very elite.

Wolfe works in Orlando as a make-up artist at Universal Studios and calls the Peter Jackson films their collective favorite movie, and that is among film lovers. “These were something better. They set the standard. Like most good Tolkien fans he was awaiting the DVD at midnight and is a frequent visitor to In the past Wolfe has done costumes based on Spawn, Mortal Combat and “musical” theatrical group Gwar. The friends have attended DCon for five consecutive years and travel from Florida, New York, North Carolina and anywhere else they need to in order to attend.

A group pictured in a fan report on TORn worked on their getups for seven months, all in anticipation for DCon. Julia (part of the Tolkien costume panel) and her husband Kevin – shown here as part of a group of friends – were also show-stoppers. Everybody from Klingons to Laura Croft wanted pictures with the group.

Toby Markham from Chicago attended Dcon in an amazing Sauron costume made by his own hand. “I always do Star Wars,” he said. “The year I wanted to do something different.” When fully suited up, Markham could only see out of the nose of his mask. “People get out of my way,” he said. He is considering redoing his mask to allow for a flap on the back. His work is done in gapaxio for the detail and in aluminum in the broader pieces of armour. It goes without saying that once inside, it gets a bit hot.

More subtle were the extravagant Elvish gowns and sewn materials that dotted the fandom landscape. Explore the TORn scrapbook for an abundance of examples. TORn’s official complaint: Where were the Hobbits people? There were a few but as a fandom we are pretty Elvicentric.

Saturday night was the official masquerade took a Lord Of The Rings introduction on video calling itself “The Masq of the Rade.” Masters of Ceremony George Takai and Walter Kronig of Star Trek fame were funny, partly because they were so unaware of the content of most of the costumes and stumbled over many of the names, descriptions and hand-writing.

“Our” oft-mentioned Balrog with wings was in the official contest along with Nessa of The Valar and a trio of friends who were unfairly escorted off the stage by rotten storm troopers. The very good “twilight nazgul” with her own duplicate scream barely walked on stage when the troopers ended the fun. An Arwen also played part in a spoof along with Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Matrix. Arwen got to chase the HP people off the stage while the Matrix people were riffed on for cashing in.

Other highlights included the three faerie godmothers from Disney’s “Cinderella”, a perversion of my beloved “Monsters Inc.”, Harvey Birdman, Aku and Samurai Jack from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the “most fearsome monster from 1978” Dungeons & Dragon’s mindflayer (which won “best sci-fi”?!?! How is D&D sci-fi?!?!). There were also quality Borg, a wonderful 3,000 feather “Snow Queen” from the book of the same title and a rendition of stage play Grease’s “Summer Nights” by a macabre group including Frankenstein and his bride.

Without a doubt, the most amazing costumes, in or out of the show was the complete monster group from Maurice Sendak’s children’s book “Where The Wild Things Are.” As they slowly paraded onto the stage, the audience gasped, then clapped, then stood, then cheered. Hopefully between dead batteries and camera problems TORn will have a glimpse posted soon. The same group floored the public at the Hyatt later, putting security into a panic. Quite a spectacle. [More Masquerade Costumes]

For a comprehensive look at Dragon Con images, go to their homepage ( and click on “Links And Photos” in the left column where the con posts photo links of all kinds at the con, eventually including TORn’s coverage.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

DragonCon – The Party Never Ends

ATLANTA – The best thing about Dragon Con is that it never sleeps and the worst thing about Dragon Con is, naturally, that it never sleeps. We staffers are hopelessly behind in Con coverage and we are having trouble fitting writing in with presentations, give-aways, interacting with other fans, distributing buttons and having a little fun.

Fear not TORnados, full reports are on their way but DCon is winding down and after a little travel time the full monty will be delivered. Highlights include Brad Dourif, Elvish lessons, tons of Tolkien tract events, fantastic costuming and even presentations.

August has crept into September leaving us only a few short months until the force of nature that is “Return Of The King” is unleashed on us and the rest of the world. DCon has, if it is a good gauge of ROTK interest, shown that not only are Tolkien fans excited for the third film in the trilogy, but the rest of genre fantasy community has their blood in a boil in anticipation. Stay tuned for further reports!

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Day One Gallery

Time is flying by as DragonCon 2003 continues here in Atlanta GA. On Saturday, we gave approximately 2000 people a ‘unofficial’ look at ROTK and plan to do so today at 4pm. We’ll be posting reports from the happenings yesterday in a short while. In the meantime, check out Day One’s gallery! [Gallery]

Posted in Old DragonCon News

An Evening at Bree

Panels, discussions and presentations might be the feast that keeps a con-goer alive, but it is the social desert that makes Dragon Con so rich. The Tolkien clan partied in the Centennial Ballroom in the Hyatt hotel in an event dubbed “The Night Of Bree.”

TORn’s own Jincey serves as DCon’s Tolkien themed programming faciltator (called the Tolkien tract) and although she had the unenviable task of announcing that John Rhys-Davies could not attend, she also had the pleasure of leading “Bree” in its celebrations.

With the help of Emerald Rose – of TORn Oscar Party fame – the festivities kicked off with dancing and general merry-making. Between sets, costuming fans trotted out some fantasticly detailed getups. Elves seemed the most popular, splitting the costume contest into a division of Middle-Earth’s immortals and the rest of the good professor’s characters. While TORn users were well represented, there were other Tolkien fans present, leaving all an opportunity to rub shoulders and compare handywork.

Musical sets alternated with contests and breathers giving Bree the perfect balance of fun. Captain American stopped by to battle evil along with other costumed luminaries who craved the party atmosphere.

Judges, including TORn’s own Calisuri, had a difficult time making final decisions, leaving the audience and costumers alike on pins and needles. Kell Yarwood of Memphis won the Elvish prize for her detailed Arwen dress. She hauled in a Sideshow Toys/WETA statue for her trouble. John (John-of-the-night) Day from Orlando took second with his Elvish archer costume while Beth (LadyStar) Robinson from Michigan managed third for her Arwen outfit.

In the “other” category which was more wide open and even more difficult to judge, an Aragorn/Frodo combo displayed by Dion Rupa (New York) and Heather Dunningham (Santa Cruz) took the top prize. Beth (LOTR42) McCullers from Mephis wrapped up 2nd place with her rendition of a fighting Uruk-Hai that would have done Richard Taylor proud. Third Place was secured by Gayle Klar from Savannah with her Balrog costume with extending wings…let the debating begin. An honorable mention was also given for an adorable dancing “Rosie Cotton” portrayed by Tracey (IridescentGrrly) Cook from Huntsville. Please see the TORn Dragon Con scrapbook for these and other photos of the night of Middle-Earth magic.

Rumors of TORn taking the party to a karaoke-friendly establishment and singing “I am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” can neither be confirmed or denied.

Posted in Old DragonCon News


ATLANTA – A source has revealed that there is likely to be an IMAX version of “Return Of The King” in the works, brokered as part of a deal for IMAX editions of this year’s two “Matrix” movies. Working in the same process used to convert Disney’s “Beauty And The Beast” the film would require an intermission because of the larger film size and projection equipment used to show the gigantic-screen movies. “Spysquid,” who has connections to the projection industry described his knowledge of the IMAX negotiations as “very reliable.”

Atlanta’s IMAX, located in The Mall of Georgia, is viewed as a national showcase for the IMAX format films. IMAX films because of film size, require an intermission just after the two-hour mark, putting the expected three-hour plus ROTK film far into intermission territory. AOL/Time Warner own New Line Cinema, the parent company of the LOTR films and Warner Brothers, the company that produced the Matrix trilogy. TORn will continue to follow this possible story.

Meanwhile the new American Film Institute theater in Maryland, is hoping that an event being sold to AFI members on December 5 is a screening of “Return Of The King,” according to Alex Tarrand who works at the theater. The event is currently listed as “Lord Of The Rings” and might be the FOTR EE screening. The theater which opened in April is in Silver Spring Maryland and sells tickets to the general public but this hoped-for event is available to members only. Memberships are approximately $30 a year, according to Tarrand.

Posted in Old DragonCon News