Saturday the 12th of April was the first day of the "Aramgeddon Pulp Culture Expo" in Auckland. It was advertised as "New Zealand's biggest computer software and sci-fi/fantasy event" and mentioned Lord of the Rings in the TV advert, so I just had to go.
The queue outside was terrible, we were in a line for half an hour before we even got in sight of the door and I began to wonder if it was worth it. FINALLY we got to the door, paid for entry and we were in.
The first thing I noticed was the Lord of the Rings area. It was on the left, not as big as some of the other set-ups but still enough to draw my attention. The first table was mostly Weta collectables - and some of the new action figures. There was also a bit of jewellery for sale (Nenya and Elven brooches).
After gazing at the collectables for a few minutes, I moved onto the Lord of the Rings stamps table. That was quite good. And that was pretty much all of the Lord of the Rings part of the Expo. I debated leaving, but curiosity made me stay and check out the rest of the building (and I'm very glad it did!!!) The rest of the stalls were good, very well presented with HEAPS of stuff. I scanned the cheap dvds for "Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring" but sadly came up empty handed. At 2.pm there was a talk by some Weta Workshop guys which I decided to go to. The talk started with introductions and they joked that they were very used to these conventions. Then they showed some slides, talking mainly about all the prosthetics they had to make. Some of the full body prostetheics took up to 7 hours to apply! They also mentioned John Rhys-Davies, saying that he was very uncomfortable as the whole of his face was covered in prosthetics except for his eyes! I had to leave half way through and as I passed the Lord of the Rings table I noticed a familiar face. It was Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz)!!
He had come to see Armageddon I guess, but not as a special guest because his name wasn't on the flyers. And what's more, most of the Lord of the Rings fans were in the Weta Workshop show so I had him (pretty much) all to myself. I asked him to sign a picture of Lurtz in my Weta Workshop collectables leaflet and he did with a smile, commenting how he was "the pretty one" out of all the collectables. Underneath his signature he wrote "LURTZ". Unfortunately, when other people saw us asking for signatures they realised who he was and a crowd began to gather. I escaped out the front door of the exhibition, clutching my autograph. It turned out to be a more productive day then I ever expected!!!