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Archive for the ‘Old DragonCon News’ Category

Friday Overview – Appetite Wetted for Weekend

ATLANTA – Dragon Con is in full swing now and and the gaggle of J.R.R. Tolkien fans in attendance quickly made a mark. This is a hard-core geek-fest at its finest and genre fans attacked the event with all the passion of a Hobbit in a buffet line.

The TORn booth is nestled near the dealer room in the bowels of the Marriott in downtown Atlanta. Two of the four site founders – Calisuri and Corvar – along with a solid backing of staff were on hand to greet fans, distribute free buttons, sell TORn shirts and let people know about its upcoming, unofficial preview of “Return Of The King,” scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Dragon Con, grown from a group of 1,400 fans in 1987, and expanded to a crowd expected to exceed 20,000 this year, fills to bursting the two hotels in downtown where various branches of the “fantasy tree” cross twigs and interests. TORn’s downtown offices, perched high above the beautiful city and the “hollow” interior of the hotel, will be bringing full daily reports along with live web cam shots all weekend long. Check the TORn Dragon Con scrapbook for a collection of images of the colorful conglomeration of fans devoted to the darkest and seemingly most forgotten corners of the genre house.

Houghton-Mifflin, who publishes the Tolkien works, had a special treat for fans who were willing to take time to fill out a reader survey at the TORn booth. Just a few minutes of writing earned old veterans and newbies alike with a Elijah Wood photo cover of “The Fellowship Of The RIng.” If you haven’t been paying attention, HM just released its final movie tie in book for “Lord Of The Rings.” The soft back all-in-one is a the beautiful edition with fold out maps and the movie photo of the One Ring on Sauron’s mailed fist.

Friday’s brightest star in the Tolkien universe, John Rhys-Davis, couldn’t make the show, although at posting time the reasons were unknown. Fans still had plenty to keep them busy Friday with lessons in Elvish, serious Tolkien discussions and impromptu entertainment by Quickbeam and other convention assistants. Discussion of the proposed big-stage Tolkien musical led into nostalgic and amusing renditions of the Rankin/Bass tune “Where There Is a Whip.”

While mixing with fans, professionals and exhibitors, TORn uncovered a few precious rumours and secrets – all of which we will share – concerning the upcoming ROTK releases and the Tolkien Universe. Read other Dragon Con reports for details. Wish you were here…

Posted in Old DragonCon News

LIVE! We’re up and running!

On behalf of the entire staff, Welcome to DragonCon 2003 LIVE from Atlanta GA. Throughout the next few days, we’ll have a LIVE webcam broadcasting on our DragonCon page, as well as image galleries and reports from the convention floor. Stay tuned for more!

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Costuming Panels have Great Line-up of Handmade LOTR Costumes

We have two costuming panels in store for you this year and each one will have different examples of costumes from the movies. These costumes have been made by fans with a deep love of LOTR and wonderful talents in the field of costuming. Here’s what is on the slate for these two [sessions].

Posted in Old DragonCon News

News from last year’s Dragon*Con

Below, read news and see pictures from last year’s Dragon*Con. Above will be events from Dragon*Con 2003.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Targa’s Dragon*Con Pix

Targa (you remember him, the tall guy in the glasses?) spent a good deal of time with us in the Tolkien track, and stopped in Barlimans tonight to let everyone know he’s posted his Dragon*Con 2002 [pictures]. If you have any cool Tolkien track or TORN related pictures, please email jincey!

Posted in Old DragonCon News

DragonCon 2002 – Sunday

Fans, Friends and Fun

Day three of the Con was the biggest yet. I pity any unsuspecting hotel guest who chose this weekend to stay at either of these hotels, unless they happened to be broad-minded and loved science fiction and fantasy. For us, we loved the endless parade of mind-boggling costumes that passed our table. Most of us haven’t had time to visit any exhibits or talks outside of the Tolkien track events, but just watching the other attendees walk past was all the entertainment we needed. Besides, spending all day chatting to Tolkien fans is not a bad way to pass time. We had a laptop set up on the table playing the preview and that would act like a magnet, and there’d always be a laugh of delight when we pointed out the moment where Treebeard blinks. It’s always great to see people watching it for the first time – their jaws drop. We gave away copies of the Fellowship to kids who looked sufficiently excited about the whole thing. Especially ones dressed as Harry Potter or as young Jedi who were ready to take on a new adventure. I envied them having the Fellowship to read for the first time.

We had bookmarks to give away – some of them official art generously provided by Houghton Mifflin, but we also had eight designs given to us by TORN fan artists. People loved them and we watched our stacks of bookmarks get smaller and smaller all day.

We closed the day’s activities at the table with a raffle drawing which drew a huge crowd. We had some Houghton Mifflin books and some of our t-shirts to give away. The remainder of give-aways were decided by asking H-M’strivia questions to the people who were left until they’d won everything.

Better late than never – we can announce the winner of our costume competition on Friday night. First place, Lord of the Nazgul, went to Joseph Kiser, who had a great costume and suitably threatening hiss. Second place went to Andy Myers, an uncanny double for Dominic Monaghan whose costume was carefully made. Third prize went to Kathleen Myers, as Aragorn’s mother Gilraen. Overall (and this was something that I noticed about everyone in costume thoughout the convention) one of the challenges that would make or break the ‘believability’ of the costume was their ability to move and gesture appropriately.

Tom Shippey, author of “Tolkien: Author of the Century” gave a second lecture. This one concentrated less on the link between philology and story-telling and more on what he called the group of ‘one-off’ writers like Tolkien, Orwell, Vonnegut, Lewis and Graves who were traumatised by war and each wrote books that were completely unlike the mainstream in literature – they wrote fantasies that tried to figure out what the authors saw as the evils of the twentieth century. If we’d had more time the talk would have continued on with a group discussion on the nature of evil and morality. Which I would venture to suggest was not something that being discussed in many of the other tracks at the convention.

Shippey was a great speaker who laced his enormously learned discourse with great wit and a store of fascinating stories about his connections with Tolkien, C. S Lewis, and the institution of Oxford University.

TORN Digital did an interview with Tom which will appear on this site at a later date. Quickbeam asked him whether he was a Tolkien apologist and Shippey said he would go further and call himself a Tolkien polemic.

There was a very popular talk on arms and armour presented by Joe Piela of Lonely Mountain Forge. He had an impressive array of extremely realistic (and well-worn) weapons and armour. He talked about the way the re-enactment people have discovered, through building and using the ancient weapons, how people must have fought. The shape of the weapon and the armour determines what is possible for the fighter in question. What was very clever was the way he kept referring it back to Tolkien’s writing about warfare. For instance Tolkien described how the riders of Rohan used their spears to skewer the orcs they attacked – and now people who’ve used a horse and spear in modern re-enactments are able to testify how much power an armed rider has to overwhelm footsoldiers in exactly that way. Joe could refer to a section in Tolkien, pull out the armour or weapon to illustrate it, and describe exactly how it was used.

Later, the ‘Elvish 101″ course was totally full as well – in fact they had to present the talk twice to fit everyone in. Since the movie came out, so many more people are able to appreciate how beautiful Elvish sound, and there is a hunger to learn more.

Saulone from the TORN community site There And Back Again was very popular – like every other Tolkien Track event it was full. Saulone gave a potted history of how TABA came to exist. He talked about vector versus non-vector art – the fluid lines of his site are very much what he would call non-vector. It is not mathematically-based. Saulone wanted to build a site using non-vector art.


Due to high demand (YAY) we were moved into a large ballroom in order to give our “Behind the Scenes at TTT” talk. The fans were more interactive and heckled Calisuri over Saruman’s death on the Wizard Kebab scene, even though as he pointed out, there’s no point shooting the messenger. We checked the approval rating for the first film and the casting in the first film, and got the usual hysteria over Legolas. Hey, I stir it up!

Thanks have to go to Ginger, Stefan and Allen who worked tirelessly to get the Greenbriars room set up for each speaker and to provide them with everything they needed. Next year we have been tipped to get a bigger room.

Thanks also go to Jessica who got us great seats in the Masquerade, the eye-boggling costume contest which crowned the evening.

We’d like to thank all the fans that dropped by and said how much they loved our site – some of them were even wearing our TORN t-shirts.


Sorry we didn’t post any images up with today’s report. The hour was getting late and we ended up using a digital projector in our hotel room and watching FOTR. Look for loads of images tomorrow for the final day of DragonCon.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

DragonCon 2002 – Saturday

TORNs Big day at DCon

After a succesful presentation, the TORn staff went out on the town. So Mhuirrich, a great friend and helper for the site, offered to write today’s report. Hope you enjoy!

DragonCon Day 3 Report
by Mhuirrich

Hah! They gave me the keys to the editor. I’m thinking they won’t make that mistake again.

Saturday arrived bright and early, with your faithful TORN staff waking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed just moments after the first rose-tinted rays of the sun peeked over the tops of the Misty, err, Skyscrapers. OK, I’m sorry, I can’t lie to you guys. I woke up late, feeling like I’d been on the recieving end of a Lurtz temper tantrum. Never play drining games with Dwarfs and Klingons. In any event, I was far better than Calisuri, who actually woke looking as if he’d just popped out of a Uruk-Hai birth pod. Perhaps it was my snoring.

Nevertheless, after a few minutes spent making our various baths imitate fountains leaping on high, we cleansed our self-inflicted ills with a liberal dose of Kingsfoil, as the rustics name it, or athelas in the noble tongue, or to those who know somewhat of the Valinorean… err, I digress. After a refreshing bit of asëa aranion, we were off to the Convention floor and Tolkien Track room. I feel the need to tell you that Calisuri still had a screaming case of the Black Breath.

First up for the day was a marvelous presentation by Ellen Denham and Stephen Laurent. They have developed a dance project inspired by the story of Beren and Luthien. Pending approval from the Tolkien Estate, they hope to present it in April, 2003, using the forces of the Butler Ballet, the pre-professional dance company of Butler University.

While Tolkien Track director Jincey (ably assisted by Tehanu and Asfaloth) held down the fort in the Greenbriar Room, the rest of us prepared to meet the countless millions….. and millions… of Tolkien fans who trooped by our TORN fan table. It’s always a treat to see the looks on folks faces when they see a great trailer or spoiler pic for the first (or frequently, hundred and first) time! All manner of Elves and Hobbits stopped by to meet and greet, and good times (as well as learned discussion and a great deal of general rumor-mongering) were had by all and sundry.

Back in the Greenbriar, Leeds University Professor and renowed Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey spoke about philology (the science of language) and how Tolkien’s works and study in the field fired his imagination and led him to create the world which we have all come to love so much. Tom’s talk was very detailed and presented a wealth of information that any Tolkien fan would find fascinating.

One highlight of the day for the TORN staff was the belated arrival of the immensly popular Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway. Although somewhat hobbled by a leg injury suffered during the storming of Isengard (I admit that’s a cover story, he made me promise, on the Precious no less, never to tell what he was really doing with those Entwives last night), the Beamster’s mega-watt grin and irrepressible humor quickly infected the staff, which is far better than being infected by Cal’s breath.

Quickbeam’s behind-the-scenes look at the making of Universal Interactive’s series of Middle-Earth based games (for X-Box, PS2, GameBoy Advance and PC) was a great introduction to the dedication and talent Cliff and his fellow Tolkien afficianados bring to the table in the re-creation of Middle-Earth in interactive form. Also of great interest to Tolkaholics was the session on Elvish hosted by experts Paul Dunne and Jeff Sherril.

At 4:00 PM the moment for which all had been waiting arrived. Corvar started break-dancing! All kidding aside, the TORN presentation was a hit (of course). Three thousand Con attendees packed the Centenial Ballroom for an incredible behind-the-scenes report on The Two Towers, presented by our very own Calisuri, Corvar and Tehanu. Our interepid trio showed a great trailer as well as many never before seen pics, and related a lot of new information about the storyline. The fans went absolutely wild for the 4 foot high, 8 foot wide brilliant red neon “SPOILER ALERT” sign that flashed every 4.6 seconds. Those fans who couldn’t make the presentation joined me at the TORN table, where we watched the First Age battle scene from FOTR 387 times in a row. In slow motion.

Finally, the Greenbriar Room hosted master metalsmith and historical re-enactor Joe Piella of Lonely Mountain Forge, who wowed attendees with his innovative creations and personal vision of the arms and armor of Middle-Earth.

Now, lest you think attendance at DragonCon is all work and no play, picture this scene: Champions Grill and Sportsbar presents Middle-Earth’s finest (and only) non-professional traveling circus sideshow bowling team, the TORNados, in their first public appearance (as The Soggy Bottom Boys and Gals), regaling an appreciative audience with their pitch perfect and melodeously harmonic rendition of “Man of Constant Sorrow”. Try not to cringe when thinking about it. Of course, you haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced the mesmerizing, dulcet tones of the Beam-man’s version of Soft Cells “Tainted Love”. No, Sreally. I mean that in the nicest way.

Well, that about wraps it up for this evening. I’ve slaved away at the keyboard whilst the others are cruising the goths at some shindig or other, and it’s past my bedtime. Maybe if I’m snoring when Cal gets back he won’t be able to sleep and he’ll look like the Balrog tommorow.

Please direct any comments to:

love ya

Day 3 Photo Gallery (taken by Calisuri, Saulone, Andy, others…l)
– Pictures of general Fan Table crowd, prize winners, TORn presentaiton crowd and activity and much more!

Posted in Old DragonCon News

DragonCon 2002 – Friday

Somewhere behind the fog, the sun rose in Atlanta. The TORN staff rose considerably later…Today DragonCon started to fill up with guests, though we ain’t seen nothing yet, if I can believe what the others. Today we had a table to look after on a busy corner of the lobby where the whole Con world walked past, sooner or later. First we had to move a mountain of books that Houghton Mifflin had kindly donated – which we have the pleasure of raffling away for the next few days. It turns out that you can decorate any room to look great with enough Lord of the Rings books. Soon we had a dull grey conference room looking about as Tolkien-esque as it possibly could, with posters, books, banners and standees. Aragorn and Legolas of course…usually there’d be a few women jockeying for position to stand in his line of sight.

We split our troops so that some of us minded the table while others did the Tolkien Track over at the Hyatt. The table, well, we were running the Two Towers preview looped on a laptop, and that acted as the perfect bait to peel the Tolkien fans away from the pulsating mass of diverse and unlikely fauna that makes up a DragonCon crowd. That was fun – just chatting to Tolkien fans from all round the country, and giving away the great selection of bookmarks we’d made out of the best fan art that we’d received on the TORN fan art section. Saulone of our community site had his laptop set up to show the latest developments on his beautiful There and Back Again site, and it was fun showing people around his site.

Jincey started things off in the Tolkien track room with her the ‘Welcome to Middle-earth’ presentation, which centered on the Houghton Mifflin “Making Of” documentary, which was on the DVD ‘extras’ which a lot of you will have seen already, but there were a few people in the room who hadn’t seen it, including a group of green leaf-covered tree people.

During the day a huge box arrived full of the new TORN bowling shirts for the TORN staff. Since then Calisuri has turned into the medium-sized Lebowski,going “Dude” with every second sentence. They are GREAT bowling shirts. We have to say thanks to for those. Now we all match. New helper on the Staff is Drew, one of Corvar’s workmates, who looks like a clone of Xoanon. Bizarre. Next year we could hold a ‘TORN staff lookalike’ contest and Drew would win.

Corvar, Saulone and Calisuri talked to a crowd of fans just large enough lose Calisuri’s bet, about ‘How to run a successful Tolkien website.’ Evidently more than 10 people care.

Glass Hammer” showed some music vidoes from their Middle Earth album.

That was followed by ‘An Evening in Bree,’ which attracted way more people than would fit in the room we were assigned, which we’d set up with a nice fireplace and a sign from the Prancing Pony, so it was a shame in some ways that we had to move, but there was no way that crowd would fit in there. The DragonCon organizers allowed us to move into a large lobby. Pretty soon Celtic band Emerald Rose were playing and groups of young Elves and Hobbits were dancing a lively Springle-ring. I fantasized that we would manage to subvert some passing Storm Troopers and kidnap them into a Springle-ring, but it seems they may have been off doing their Million Trooper March (in full costume) to Hard Rock Cafe or something because we didn’t see them around. Lots of Pern and Wheel of Time people seemed to enjoy the Bree event though.

We held a costume contest, judged by myself, Joe Piela of Lonely Mountain Forge, and Steve Babbs of Glass Hammer. Lots of great costumes, but the winning prizes went to a great Nazgul, a Merry, and a woman who went as Aragorn’s mother Gilraen. We’ll announce winners tomorrow if I can find the bit of paper……

Check out the pictures in our Two Galleries:

Day 2 Photo Gallery (taken by Asfaloth)
– General DragonCon, Atlanta and other photos

Day 2 Photo Gallery (taken by Calisuri, Saulone, Bill)
– Pictures of general DCon crowd, TORnado Bowling Shirts and the contestents in the ‘Evening in Bree’ Costume Contest.

Posted in Old DragonCon News

DragonCon 2002 – Day 01

News kind of slow on the site? Well, no, because our news staff are doing a fantastic job of manning the news side of things while the rest of the TORN Powers that Be are whooping it up at that Mecca for all things fantastic and science fictional known as DragonCon, along with chatroom queen Jincey, Corvar’s Other Brain called Andy, Asfaloth who did so much to make the TORN Oscars party a success, and Saulone from our community site There and Back Again.

The convention seems to be dominating two gigantic hotels in central Atlanta – the Hyatt and the Marriot Marquis. These places have a feverishly neo-neo architecture that suits the SF stream perfectly, though it’s less suited to fantasy. Tonight it’s just a chaos of people checking in and setting up, some of them dressed as storm troopers. We’ve already met a great Arwen look-alike in full costume, though, and we hope to see more Tolkien-inspired costumes during the course of the convention.

Tomorrow the real work starts and for most of the weekend we’ll be meeting and greeting Tolkien fans as well as making our own presentations. There’s a gigantic pile of books, toys and TORN cards and bookmarks (designed by the fans!) taking up a lot of space in our hotel rooms – by Monday it’ll be gone.

Til then we’re just getting over our long flights by hanging out at the bar, admiring the people (at conventions like this you tend to look at people’s t-shirts before their faces, to check out if they’ll have some slogan that tells you what KIND of a fan they are) and enjoying Calisuri’s karaoke.

Look for our next report as the festivities continue tomorrow!

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Posted in Old DragonCon News

Dragon*Con Swiftly Approaches!

I’m sure everyone’s heard by now that America’s largest FAN-run sci-fi/fantasy convention, is once again descending upon Atlanta, GA this weekend (Fri Aug 29 – Mon Sept 2)! Here’s a brief line-up of the JRR Tolkien: Welcome to Middle-earth fan track to be held in the Greenbriar Room at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency: [More]

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Glass Hammer Presents Latest Videos

For the third year we are pleased to announce we will be having a Glass Hammer presence. This year Steve Babb joins us to talk about how Tolkien has influenced his life as an artist. Steve is the bassist \ vocalist \ keyboardist for Glass Hammer, and writes the majority of the group’s lyrics. Steve will present Glass Hammer’s latest videos: “The Way To Her Heart” and “Mirkwood”. [More]

Posted in Old DragonCon News

Arms & Armor in Middle-earth

What did the swords, armour, and other fighting equipment of Middle Earth really look like? The object of this session is to explore this topic by referring to the extensive descriptions that Tolkien gave in his many Middle-earth writings. Those attending will get to see and touch a selection of Middle-earth arms & armour reconstructions hand made by Joe Piela, master metalsmith and historical reenactor. He will bring items such as helms, mail coats, swords, axes, bows, and shields, made at [The Lonely Mountain Forge], for this presentation. (Saturday, 8/31 5:30 pm and Sunday, 9/1 10 am)

Posted in Old DragonCon News