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September 08, 2002 - September 16, 2002

Monday, September 16, 2002
Hollywood Bowl Report - Xoanon @ 22:14 PST
Eowyn Greenleaf writes:

I’m the director of a musical ensemble, Vis Sit Tecum Musicorum and we performed at the Bowlmoot fan picnic that took place on Saturday before the Hollywood Bowl LOTR concert. We had already been planning on coming to the concert and, when we later found out about it, Bowlmoot as well. On a whim, I wrote to the organizer, Josh, to tentatively ask if we could bring along some instruments to serenade the picnickers as they ate. The idea went over really well and, to make a long story short (too late!), we became the official musical entertainment for the picnic.

We drove all night to Hollywood from Salt Lake City, Utah - our own Journey in the Dark in the Grey Pilgrim and the Lurtz-Mobile - a couple of days before and had a wonderful time frolicking at the beach and experiencing the amazing Getty museum. But of course the goal of our quest was to attend the Bowl concert on Saturday.

We arrived early to set up and I had the pleasure of meeting Josh and Seb, very splendid chaps whose unveiled enthusiasm at having us there was incredibly flattering. While getting everything in order, we were approached by a woman named Carlene who said she was part of the committee that put together the fan Oscar party this past spring. She seemed delighted at the prospect of the live music and mentioned they had wanted to hire a band for next year’s Oscar party, but how great it would be to possibly have real fans play. “Don’t you want to audition us?” one of my group asked. “Hey, this is Hollywood and you LOOK great!” she joked, as we were all wearing costumes.

After trying our best to tune the instruments (I don’t think they liked the humid clime), we played for some time and received generous applause and kind compliments from the crowd. It was thrilling just to be surrounded by so many fans. We met many interesting and nice people and had them sign our group travel journal. The festive atmosphere and all-around feeling of good will was contagious and it was apparent all were having a really jolly time.

Just as we were finishing up our set, Josh came by, quite appalled by our failure to visit the buffet, and insisted we go eat. The food was great - all the locals had really gone all out making sure there were piles of food; no one would go home hungry. As I was filling my plate with tasty eats, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye - a TORNado bowling shirt! The figure turned around and the name stitched on the front revealed that this was none other than Quickbeam of GreenBooks fame! I had run into that Justin guy from American Idol the day before in Sephora, but this was infinitely more exciting. I mean, this was the intelligent, eloquent, and insightful *Quickbeam* himself - more of a celebrity to me than any temporary icon of pop culture. “Hey, it’s Quickbeam!” I think I said, both alerting my friends to his presence and catching his attention. “I loved your report of your trip to the set!” my sister fairly shrieked at him (referring to his “Where the Stars are Strange” articles). My impulse was to say something about how it was one of the best things I’d ever read on TORN or how wonderful it was to vicariously visit the LOTR set or that I cried when I read about his cat dying or. . . something, but I took too long to form a coherent sentence and then the moment for it seemed gone. Instead, I made him promise to have his picture taken with me later on when I had my camera with me. Quickbeam (or “Cliff” as he is known outside of Middle-Earth) was completely approachable and nice, just like everyone else I met at the picnic. He informed us he would be “slipping into a white wine haze” and, true to his word, he did seem to become happier and happier as the night progressed. In fact, a lot our conversation seemed to center around alcohol - how liquor stores are closed on Sundays in Utah, the joy of drinking with Kiwis, and the ever-so-flattering hangover picture of him that is on the website.

My sister was dressed as Galadriel in a splendid costume she made herself (and which had already won her a free copy of the DVD at a B&N event). At one point, a woman we had been chatting with before approached us with her 4-year-old daughter and told us she was dying to meet “Galadriel”. The girl, whose name was Moira, was a wide-eyed darling - surely she could be one of the “cute hobbit children”! - who was so shy she didn’t say a word to us all night. My sister was really cute with her though, bending down to her and quoting, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” We sat behind them during the concert and my sister continued to make eye contact and throw her occasional smiles, which made Moira blush and hide her face in her mother’s clothes.

While everyone else was gathered together for games and the raffle, Quickbeam took the opportunity to nip over to the dessert table to snap up the unsuspecting sweets. Seeing him alone, we boldly and brashly interrupted his sugar raid. He was extremely sweet about it all, speaking on a tape recorder I brought along for an absent friend (a very kind and amusing message) and patiently posing for the promised picture, even when it took far too long for us to arrange ourselves around him!

As the picnic wound down, Josh got up to make a few announcements and thank the organizers and sponsors - and he made special mention of our music group. Something to the effect of, the party was good to start with, but the live music made it *great*. Everyone whooped and hollered. Aw shucks, thanks!! As people began to leave to go to the concert, the organizers started to give away the food. They unloaded a lot of on us, telling us we’d need trip food for the ride home. (It sustained us beautifully across the desert - thanks, guys!) If I’d left right after the picnic, I still would have had one pretty spectacular evening - but there was still the concert to come!

Though the bulk of the suite is what we hear on the CD soundtrack, Shore has proven himself a master composer (again!) by how elegantly he brings it all together. As a rabid fan of the film and someone who literally listened to the soundtrack all day long for several months (an office job has its advantages), it can be difficult to disassociate the music from the film. Once that is accomplished, though, it is apparent that Shore has created an amazing stand-alone piece of program music.

As for the performance experience, there were imperfections to be sure - the acoustics at the Bowl aren’t the best, there were some rough spots that gave the impression a week or two of extra rehearsals would have been beneficial, and the boy soprano had some struggles (and why was the post-moria solo re-written for a boy soprano - why not stick with a woman soprano like in the film version?) However, the good certainly outweighed any small nitpicks; the soloist for “The Lament for Gandalf” was amazing and appropriately haunting; the percussion were having a blast with the oversized drums in the Moria section; Shore left in the last measures of the post-Moria music (after the soloist stops singing and the choir takes over - something sadly left out of the CD soundtrack); the transitional music we’d never heard before was lovely; and the new music, which I assume will be for the extended version, was a joy to behold. [BTW, the biggest segments of new music were located somewhere in Rivendell and before the Great River, assuredly the gift-giving scene.] I’m hopeful that one day when the 3-part work is complete (Fellowship, Two Towers, and Return of the King) that we’ll be able to not only hear it in its entirety live at the Hollywood Bowl, as promised by the conductor at the concert, but that it will also be available on CD.

The concert was amazing, but what really made it special to me was experiencing it with fellow LOTR fans. The enthusiasm of the section where the fans were sitting was unmatched. There was a kind of reverence emanating from all during the suite. Everyone’s ears seemed to perk up whenever unfamiliar music was playing, I’m sure I saw people actually on the edge of their seats during the Moria movement, there were plenty of sniffles when Gandalf fell and Boromir died, and at the end there was a collective sigh before we erupted into applause and gave a standing ovation. I was secretly hoping we’d get an encore - maybe Howard would have given a small piece to the orchestra that had been composed for TTT! Eh? Well, it COULD have happened. But... it didn’t. hm. Sad.

On the way out, we continued to run into fellow fans - there were several people I’m sure we said goodbye to 3 or 4 times. It kind of gave us the feeling it would never end, but end it had to.

Thank you to the organizers of the picnic (Josh, Seb, and Hannah - there may be more, I’m sorry if I don’t know your names) for putting together such a great party (I’m sure it must have been a daunting task, but you made it a success!) and for allowing us to be a part of it. I think LOTR fans must be some of the nicest people in the world and I look forward to mingling with more of them when we attend and, if all goes well (crossing fingers!), perform at the Oscar party this coming March!

Saturday, September 14, 2002
UofT Goes Geek For TTT - Xoanon @ 23:27 PST
Soloman writes: I should have sent this a few weeks ago, but last week was Orientation Week for new students at the University of Toronto. My college at UofT (the university is divided into colleges) is Victoria College, and I was part of the team to welcome the new freshmen. Anyway, Alliance Atlantis (LOTR's distributor in Canada) was kind enough to give us stacks of free TTT teaser posters, temporary tattoos ("One Ring To Rule Them All" in Elvish, very very cool), and "Frodo Lives" T-shirts!! So I just wanted to thank Alliance Atlantis for their generosity. They'll be happy to know that the TTT posters are now plastered all over the Vic residences (every room has at least one poster), and people - including me - are sporting the tattoos everywhere. I'm even organizing a mass student viewing of TTT when it comes out. Thanks for the goodies!!

Friday, September 13, 2002
TTT Action figures Out In Oz? - Xoanon @ 13:47 PST
Rain writes: As far as I'm aware, the TTT action figures aren't on the shelves yet. But, this is not so where I come from. I live on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, and I went into my local Electronics Boutique stores and browsed at the LOTR figures, when I saw ones with strange red boxes. They were the TTT ones. There was a Legolas, an Easterling, and Faramir. I immediately snapped up Legolas, and he is now sitting next to his FOTR counterpart. So, for some reason, we Australians have the TTT figures early. Just thought I'd let your many Aussie readers know.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002
More On Alan Lee In NYC - Xoanon @ 00:34 PST
Maltawingiel sends along more news about the Alan Lee appearance in NYC later this month (Read Live In NYC? Wanna Meet Alan Lee? from September 5th, 2002).

Tickets are now on sale for Alan Lee's New York City appearance to discuss the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and the 60th Anniversary Edition of The Hobbit.

The event, which is part of the New York City is Book Country festival, takes place on Thursday, September 26 at 6:30pm at Clearview Chelsea West Theater, located at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th avenues).

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the theater box office, which is open from 2pm until about 10pm (call 212-989-0061 to confirm box office hours, as they may vary depending upon each day's show times). All proceeds benefit the New York City is Book Country festival and the New York Public Libraries.

Tickets can also be purchased via phone at 777-FILM.

I just picked up my ticket -- I hope to see all of you NYC Ringers there!

Red Carpet Tours News - Xoanon @ 00:27 PST
From: Charles

I just got this note yesterday US east coast time regarding the Red Carpet NZ TTT premier tour. The conversion factor from the NZ dollars noted to US is to multiply by about 0.478.

We now have the final price for the Premiere Lord of the Rings tour for this December. It includes the airfare from Wellington to Christchurch. The airfare from Queenstown to Auckland is also quoted as an optional extra, depending on your plans....

Standard package 11 night tour: single $2658NZ; twin/double $2024 per person. The airfare from Queenstown to Auckland is $145. Should you wish to take the tour please register as soon as possible to secure your booking.

Thank you.

Vic James
Red carpet

PS: New Line Cinema have said they will try to set up a special viewing area for our Tour people beside the red carpet at the Premiere! [Red Carpet Tours]

Wednesday, September 11, 2002
One Mug To Rule Them All - Xoanon @ 13:14 PST
Imladhrim writes: I thought I'd send you some pics of a birthday present I got some days before. A fine mug made by an expert potter ... just for me... The Text isn't just painted onto the mug, but carved into it. Even if the inscription doesn't glow when I pour in the hot cofee, my eyes do.

Monday, September 09, 2002
No Extended DVD For Latin America? - Xoanon @ 20:14 PST
Juan Guillermo writes: According to a local newspaper Chile the FOTR DVD has been a huge phenomenon, selling more than 10.000 copies in a bit more than a week (for a 15 million people market, that's a huge number). Just for the sake of numbers, 890.000 people saw the movie when it was on the cinemas.

Now, the bad news is that, according to some lame executive estimations, in the whole Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, etc.), there's -in the best of cases- market for just around 40.000 copies for an eventual zone 4 Extended edition DVD, and that wouldn't justify the costs of translating all the material, adding subtitles, etc.

To make it worse, zone 1 DVDs don't have Spanish subtitles, so they're not an option either for a good bunch of Spanish-talking community.

Sunday, September 08, 2002
Retro Ringers - Xoanon @ 14:02 PST
Dr. Joe sends along these great images from the 1970's...yes a time before MANY of you youngins were even on this earth. Take a look at how things were done OLD-SCHOOL.

NZ Pics Galore - Xoanon @ 13:23 PST
Ruby_Sandybanks writes: Just thought I would send some pictures along that you might be interested in:

The first and second photos are taken about an hour or so out of Queenstown in a place actually called paradise (quite appropriate) this is around the same area, not quite the exact area where rivendell was filmed.

The 3th, 4th & 5th photos are in some place out of wellington (can't remember the name) but I saw this rivendell sign and went for a walk, and thats what I found.

The 6th,7th and 8th photos are in a witcoulls (book shop) window at the start of the year, (only now just got the film back)

I don't know if any of these are helpful but I thought some people might be interested.

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