Well, I talked to David more on Thursday night about if I should go to the con or not because my brother might have to go into the hospital, and we left it that I would call him with my room number and he would call and leave a message for me if he went to the hospital or needed me back for any other reason.... and so, at 10:30 am on Friday I called a taxi and headed out for the "Elf Convention".
When I arrived I was too early to check in, they told me to check back with them about 12:30. I knew I couldn't check right in but a small (???) detail about the convention had happened to me and I thought I could use that time to find Gary (one of the two owners that run Creation Convention) and straighten it out.. you see.. my VERY EXPENSIVE ticket.. never arrived!! But I had talked to him in emails and he said to print his email out and bring it with me along with my charge bill and there would be no problem. (one of two boo boo's the convention made with me that in the long run paid off!! heh)
I did find Gary and was told to bring it to the table about.. 12:30. Hmmm, check in time at two places for the same time.. why did that not surprise me?
So I sat in an area which became a meeting place later... The Starbucks/ snack area. I wasn't seated more then a few minutes when a lady sat next to me and started up a conversation. "Of course" she was there for the convention also. Her name was Marcia, and as i soon found out she had a really neat gift to give to one of the guests of the convention... Sean Astin. It seems she had met Rudy... the "real Rudy" of the same fame that Sean Astin did in the movie. She had a photo of the real Rudy autographed to Sean Astin!! How cool was that!!! After some chatting I finally went to check in the hotel... I was going to be on the 9th floor.. so up I went to drop off my luggage. Being this was only the second time in 6 1/2 yrs that I would be away from "my room" and helping my brother, it nearly took my breath away to see this very good sized bedroom.. which had TWO (count them! 1, Two!!) full sized beds!!... the air was on (I don't have air in my bedroom here at the house) and it felt wonderful! I put the suitcase on the bench provided for it and WALKED AROUND THIS LARGE ROOM!.. for no reason! Just because I could walk around in a room that was ALL MINE for the next 3 days! I nearly cried, and then sat on the bed and wondered if I wanted to see the convention at all or just stay in this wonderful room and pretend this was what life was really like. and then I tore myself away and headed back down to take care of my ticket (or lack of) problem.
I had purchased what they called an Elve'n Weekend Package. What that included was a numbered seat for the entire weekend that no one could use but me, and the right to get all the guests autographs, free of charge (in turn) that were there. (If you wanted more then 1 then you paid for them..pretty high prices too... like 50 or 60 dollars each). Anyway, I got in a line, that surprisingly wasn't all that long, and when I reached the table I met Gary and told him the problem and showed him the email. He immediately got me the ticket that would hang around my neck for the weekend and wrote the seat number on it.. H 14. Then I showed him the second email from him that, because 2 of the 3 main guests had cancelled allowed me a free autographed photo of John Rhys Davies.
Now I had my ticket ...and my first autographed photo. Though I was happy with it, I was somewhat disappointed because I had wanted his signature in the book that I have, that already contains Ian McKellens signature on the photo of Gandalf, But I was happy that they made such a nice effort to make things right for many... because MANY tickets did not get to the customers due to one of their workers that was supposed to mail them out... and mailed them later they they were intended to be. I will say right here and now that Gary handled any and all problems not only immediately, but with gracious apologies from the convention. I can't say enough at how nice he was to everyone with any sort of problem. (but I will also say that they are THE "most expensive" convention anyone will ever go to!)
Now that I was set for the weekend I returned to the Starbucks area to read the schedule for the rest of the day. Shortly after arriving I met yet another lady who was also there for the convention named Laura. As we talked, I mentioned Marcia and the photo of Rudy she had for Sean Astin, and that she was going to give it to him at a "photo op" session. I told her I wish she would give it to him when he was on stage so everyone could see his expression. No sooner had we agreed on this than Marcia showed up... and we told her "our idea".. and she agreed it might be more fun.
Before we knew it the 3 of us were off to the dealers room for a look see, and then to the main room, where Daniel Reeve was going to speak. He is the man that made all the maps for the LOTR movies and all of the Elve'n writing that would be seen. He had a very nice talk and Q&A session.. very talented man indeed! (he also did a lot of work for the movie Narnia)
Time went by fast, when it was time for the first guest of the weekend to appear. John Noble. He played Denethor in the movie. With his cute Aussie accent he took on all questions that were asked of him, and it was a pleasant hour. Then it was time for autographs.. by row... It took about 2 hrs before my row was called and I got up to him with the photo to sign. (this was were the disappointment was, it wasn't that it wasn't very nice meeting Mr Noble, but the book I had for the signatures did not have his photo in it.. he never appeared until the second movie..sigh) Thankfully creations table had many photos and had a two poses of John so I had purchase a photo for the signing. Considering that Mr Noble only had 8 days of notice to appear at the convention, I thought that was very gracious of him.
By the time I saw Mr Noble it was 8:30 pm. There was a "Desert and Cocktail time with Mr Noble due to begin at 9 but that was another extra ticket that I just couldn't afford, so after talking once more with Marcia and Laura I retired to my wonderful room and savored the time alone on the bed watching television. (I say savored because our Cable had been cut when the tree cutters took the tree down and still wasn't fixed when I left for the convention.. so I was happy to have television) Before I hit the bed though I took a look out of my 9th story room and grabbed my camera to catch this sight.
When I woke, way too early the next morning I took another picture from my window. The buildings waaaaay out there is NY City.
I made myself my cafe vienna using the coffee pot in my room and then took a bath, got dressed and went downstairs. And there sitting in the same seat I left her in last night (but with clean clothes on) was Laura. Good lord woman... did you sleep???? She had stayed up until 3 yet was sitting there at 8:30 am!! (there was a time I could do that!.. not anymore! )
Eventually, I treated myself to breakfast in the restaurant.. of course it was waaaay overpriced, but at least it was good!
After more chatting with both Marcia and Laura I did a really DUMB thing.. I went to the dealers room.. a second time. (like putting candy in front of a little kid! argh~) I found this Viggo Mortenson autograph, and knowing HE would NEVER do anything like a convention.. I bought it! Another thing I can say nice about Creations is that they work thru the movie studios and all their signatures are REAL. If I had any doubt, trust me, I wouldn't purchase it.
Before we knew it, it was time for Sean Astin's photo op (which once again I did not pay for) but I kept the ladies company in line just to keep talking, since nothing else I wanted to see was going on. It wound up that she had purchased 2 photo op tickets.. one was to be a "group shot" with her roommates..who never showed up. So Marcia and I each gave 20.00 and we made up the "group shot" and I got to meet Sean for the first time. I cannot begin to tell you what a really down to earth kind man he has turned into. If nothing else Patty Duke and John Astin made not only a talented son... but a really nice human being.
When that was over we were all headed down to the main room to listen to Daniel Reeve again. When I went to go to my seat... low and behold someone was sitting in it. 'umm excuse me? That's my 230.00 seat you are in".. she shows me her ticket... same row... same seat... ohhhh, great. I went out to find Gary. Without so much as a heart beat (but with a look that could possibly kill to the person at the desk helping him) he said to me... well.. I guess we'll have to upgrade you then... and out came a WIZARD ticket that was 3 rows closer to the stage (and came with more benefits). Thanks again Gary, for taking care of others mistakes! With the Wizard ticket I was allowed a free Elijah Wood autograph! And later in the evening I would be able to go hear the band that would entertain the WIZARD ticket holders called The Emerald Rose. (4 men in kilts!! oh yeah! thanks Gary!) I may be OLD and need glasses, but I'm not blind yet!!
After Daniel spoke it was time for Sean Astin to be center stage.... Sean was really very personable. One of the things he did was to receive that photo of Rudy from Marcia, and I'm sure she enjoyed the one on one things he said while receiving it. He also mentioned others who had given him things during his photo op, including a flag from Marcia's husband from one of his missions over in Iraq.
(receiving the photo)
When it came time for the autographs, I had been moved up a few rows so it didn't take as long.. which was very nice! He was the second autograph this weekend to finally get in that book that already had Ian McKellens signature! At the time of the signing I was able to ask him if he thought I'd EVER be able to watch "Rudy" without crying.. he smiled a really friendly smile at me and sorta shrugged his shoulders and said, "maybe when you get to that part you could turn it off?" I laughed and just said. "Yeah right!" He chuckled, and then thanked me for letting him know he did such a good job in Rudy that he made me cry.
There were a number of people dressed in costumes walking around. I did try to take one of this gentleman dressed as Gandalf the Grey... thought he looked pretty darn good! There was another, a trio of elves.. two ladies and a guy dressed up.. they were fantastic costumes and if i can get a photo for one of the gals I met I'll post it... the guy even had Orlando Blooms hair! (and it was real!) They really looked great. They had driven down to Jersey for the convention from Boston Mass.
After the costumes came the Concert by a group called The Emerald Rose. OOokkay.. live music... something I haven't heard in years!! And all the guys in the band wore Kilts!! Hello?!! Oh yeah... I can deal with this! "Real Men Wear Kilts!" hahaha... they were fabulous! They played Irish music like I've not heard before and it was a real treat! I wish they were from around here but they are from Atlanta Georgia area, so anyone down there.. GO SEE THEM!! They are really enjoyable!!.. Just tell them an old lady from Jersey sent you that saw them at the Elf Convention!!
(band pictures aren't very good.. the room was dimmed to make it feel more like a nightclub)
The evening ended on a high note with everyone enjoying the band!
I woke Sunday morning and immediately felt the pending "doom" of the weekend ending. I had to pack my luggage and have it downstairs before noon. I really wished it was longer. As much as I was enjoying the "celebs" I was also enjoying the company of two very nice ladies who in turn were having a blast! And... I had to leave this wondrous room... nuff said.
There wasn't very much going to be happening that I wanted to attend until it was time for Billy Boyd (Pippin) I did go watch a Trivia contest.. I absolutely love the movies but Trivia? Ahhhh .. no. Of course those in the contest knew everything so they had a good long time having them drop out.
Finally it was time for Billy Boyd. I hadn't heard much about him except that a "brunch" thing he did in the morning was for a charity he helps back in Scotland for kids to be able to have a nice place to have some theater teaching.
Out he walked and from the moment he opened his mouth until he closed it to leave the stage he was Hysterical! For a time I forgot I was down that this was the end of the convention, I forgot for an hour to worry about things back home, I laughed for nearly an hour straight! He won over this old lady.. I'll follow his career more closely.
I so much wanted to tell him, or rather say to him what he did for me... but other then thanking him, telling him he did good .. I became word less, I was about to loose it because the words to tell him that he did more for me in that hour then anyone has in a long long time... the words couldn't come out or i'd cry right in front of this very nice young man. I've had the thought in my head that if I can find out who his agent is, maybe I could write what I couldn't say. But it's not easy finding out their agents anymore. There was a time anyone could call the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and find out.. I don't think it's possible anymore.
Anyway.. Billy signed in the book which gave me 4 signatures in it.. along with all of that I now owned Elijah, Davies, Noble and Mortensen on photo's. I never set out to get LOTR autographs before that book was sent to me.. but it looks good to me now. Maybe it will be worth something years from now when my son "inherits" it.. because no one is getting it any other way!
(Billy on stage)
I have to give credit where credit is due to Peter Jackson.. If this man didn't have such wonderful visions of how this Fantasy should look, it never would have been such a hit and win many awards. It was told to the audience that Peter did as much as he could WITHOUT using special effects. Now of course you know special effects were used, but in many cases where he could have used them he chose to try to make everything as "real" as possible.. re: the Hobbit homes were "real".. holes were dug and grass was planted over them many months before the filming began. It didn't go without notice that he did just as good a job on King Kong as he did with LOTR.... he's a man with a vision that's for sure.
Peter Jackson.. one extraodinary director!
Well, the closing of the convention was a pretty sad moment for me, but I collected my luggage from the hotel and had them call my taxi then I went outside to wait. The taxi took waaaay longer then it should have and I had to have them call them a second time. (found out when they got there the taxi broke down and they had to get another to come and get me) During the wait I exchanged some email addresses with Marcia and Laura, I suspect we will keep in touch.
While I waited I noticed a young Japanese girl standing and waiting also. I began to talk to her and found out that she learned what English she knew from CD's so she could come to this country and meet some of her favorite celebs. Wow.. from Japan! She spoke well enough for us to talk for some time when she asked me "who is your favorite in LOTR?" I said, "Gandalf".. her face broke into a huge smile and she threw her arms around me jumping up and down, "me too! me too!"... then she asked "which Gandalf? Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?" I responded: "Ohhh Gandalf the Grey!!".. again she threw her arms around me and jumped up and down, "Me too! Me too!" hahahaha.. she was so cute I couldn't help but smile. Then her taxi came and she sadly pulled her luggage over to the taxi, but she didn't leave without one more big smile and a wave good-by.
The convention had officially ended.