EmotionCon = (SingCon * RingCon)²
Due to loading times only a few of the total 375 photographs I took at the Ring*Con 2005 are shown below. Chose from the sub galleries below to see more photographs. Clicking on any of the shown thumbs gets you to the respective subgallery.
Fulda (Germany), October 7th - 9th, 2005
Mana Hira Davis
Always when you think it cannot become any better you are taught a different lesson. This year's Ring*Con went off under a not so good star. Two of the major guest had to cancel their appearances only a few days before the convention took off due to work commitments. Massive disappointment for some of the attendees not to see Sean Astin and David Wenham even such great disappointment that some sold their tickets – Big Mistake! Because what seemed to become a convention which lost its main attraction became the best Ring*Con ever!
My personal start was a difficult one as well. Of course I hopped into the car too late (I envy you folks with a great time management - I simply can't) and of course it took me only 50 minutes to end up in a major Cologne Autobahn ring traffic jam. Duh. Finally 5 hours, 9 different motorways and 15 construction sites later (yes, I counted) I arrived at Fulda.
At first glance the new location seems to be colder atmospheric-wise but that's mainly because the Esperanto's interior cannot match the warm atmosphere of the plush Maritim. Quickly though I got adapted. I still think a lot would be gained if there were carpets in the wide halls and floors. On a plus, the food is good, the staff is friendly (although somewhat unorganised) and you aren't squeezed into small spaces at the parties anymore.
The first thing you do on a Friday morning is of course to get enrolled and then queue up to get THAT ticket for the next year. It is a tradition! And as usual I was late - so what, story of my life. ;-)
One of the first panels to be held was Lori Dungey's - a Ring*Con newbie. It's always hard to be in the first panels because the Con mood hasn't set in yet and with the new hotel it took longer for the fans that travelled to Fulda on Friday to arrive at the main hall. It's even harder if you don't know the crazies that make Ring*Con such a great event. But she got help by Mark Ferguson and Thomas Robbins who respectively asked questions disguised as German and French fan. What a lovely warm-hearted lady she is. She had the fans in her hands in no time. Witty, funny and a good speaker she was instantly embraced.
Two other RingCon newbies were Mana Hira Davis and Jonathan Harding who entered the stage at their first panel in bathrobes doing as if being lost: "where's the sauna?". They were so funny, and of course singing to fans "You are so beautiful..." helped a lot, too. They made it instantly to RingCon favourites. You'd been tempted to think it was their fourth RingCon. They totally grasped the concept of being silly for one weekend.
I was much looking forward to John Noble's panels. I totally, utterly embarrassed myself while I had been watching The Return of the King in the cinema by yelling out loud: "What an asshole (Dénethor), wow! what a great actor (John Noble). Now that was the scene where he approves Faramir's suspicion that he as a father had wanted Faramir to die instead of the so beloved son Boromir. As one of the fans put it so lovingly during his panel: "I love to hate you." I think that says it all. It takes quite a talent to provoke such strong emotional feelings in an audience. Personally John Noble couldn't be any more warm-hearted, gentle and open towards his fans. He not only knew a lot about Dénethor as a character from the books but he also turned out to be a very interesting talker. He also managed to shake the hands of all fans during the autograph session. My dearest respect!
The Con would not have been complete with also the bad guys not attending. Also new to Ring*Con Peter Tait and Stephen Ure, who both turned out to be as nice and funny as the rest of the bunch. Peter Tait even performed live on stage and sang a self-composed song about the relationship between Shagrat and Shelob.
Also new to Ring*Con was Royd Tolkien, great grand son of J.R.R. Tolkien, of whom many thought to be an elderly, serious man before they saw him on stage. He instantly joined into the fun and as any good relative of any other famous person he knows nothing about the books. Must be a generation rebel thing within families that happens all over the world. Very politely he obviously wanted to say something in German. Unfortunately he turned to Sandro Kopp to help him. The outcome: He proclaimed in front of many many many many females in the audience that he'd be still a virgin and whether we (the audience) could help him to change that. Poor lad got besieged by the dozen afterwards. Still not sure whether he knew about what he was reading or whether it was plotted between the two of them. On the other hand...he involuntarily might have helped to lift the burden off Craig Parker's shoulders. LOL
No Ring*Con would be a Ring*Con without the two lads that have been coming since the beginning in 2002: Mark Ferguson and Craig Parker. Most of the regular Con goers consider them already as mascots and don't want to miss their improvised stage appearances. It's always highly anticipated in what predicament they end up and then struggle to get out of it again; much to the fun of the audience. This year it was much talk about daggers and swords and SPEARS! And Craig constantly asking about the four-year-olds that should please now stand up. Yes, with those two the panels loose easily the G-Rating.
Also always welcomed are Lawrence Makoare and Thomas Robbins. Lawrence is well known for making fun about himself ever since he overslept his first panel in 2003 at Ring*Con due to a big bad hang-over. "You'll find me at the bar", is one of the regular statements he makes. And indeed, Lawrence is someone that likes to mingle with the crowd. What touched me very deeply this year was that at the Closing Ceremony he spoke Maori. I personally consider this as a great honour. Lawrence won't be doing any conventions soon. He'll be going back to New Zealand. I wish him all the best in the world and hope he'll maybe return next year or the year after to our Ring*Con. I shall certainly miss him.
Thomas Robbins first Ring*Con appearance was last year. He quickly won the hearts of the fans by being funny, witty and having a thing for inventing sounds and noises. In order to get him recognised by the fans he last year simply re-acted his Déagol Scene on stage without saying a word. He's also an accomplished shooter of small films. This year he brought a funny piece about the caged-in trolleys you find at any supermarket. In true Steven Spielberg's ET spirit those trolleys were freed in the end. And of course he wrote Con history with his Quiz Game buzzer sound uh-Uh-uh, of which you can read more further below.
During the Opening Ceremony the fans received other bad news. John Howe and Colleen Doran also had to cancel their appearances due to illness. Muchos cudos to Marc B. Lee, our Master of Ceremonies, who had to bring it to the fans. It cannot be an easy task but he did it in his usual nice and funny way and I had the feeling the fans took it with humour as well and of course the announced free mead and beer for that evening had also helped to raise the spirits. ;-)
One of the many Con's highlight was the "Quiz Show" with Mark Ferguson, Lori Dungey, Royd Tolkien, Lawrence Makoare and Thomas Robbins. It provided us with THE running gag of Ring*Con 2005. So, imagine you are in a television quiz show. Further imagine you have two teams (Royd, Thomas & fan AND Lawrence, Lori & fan) while Mark Ferguson hosts it. Like in any TV show questions are asked and of course you have to push the button in order to be first, so you are allowed to answer the question and receive the point for your team. Thomas Robbins came up with a buzzer sound that sounded like uh-Uh-uh (second syllable higher as the other two), which had us in stitches every time he used it. Later we learned it was modelled after a Kiwi bird. I already see myself travelling through New Zealand and when hearing that sound I'll yell Thomas are you here? What followed during the entire weekend was wherever Thomas appeared fans went uh-Uh-uh.
Such another highlight was the Saturday night's RingStars musical re-telling of the Lord of the Rings. Oh my gosh! The hall was in an uproar. We screamed with laughter. They truly managed to have all the important story ingredients in their play so it would be recognised but instead of seriousness and sadness they performed it to the music of various pop and rock songs. So you had a skateboard rolling Legolas on stage to the music of Tom Jones' Sexbomb. Other titles that I remember are Love is a battlefield to Arwen and Eowyn fighting over Aragorn, who actually amusedly watched the fight while having a nice big beer. Queen's "Who wants to live forever" at Boromir's death scene and many more. You cannot actually tell about it you should have SEEN it. I hope it'll be on the Con DVD.
A special Thank You to Billy Boyd, who came on short-term notice (after Sean Astin and David Wenham had cancelled) to Ring*Con on Sunday, although he had obligations at a film festival in France. Although he had to free-up the time for Sunday and although he had massive problems in getting to Fulda. Not only did he get up at 4 am, but also his flight to Frankfurt had been cancelled. I don't know who weaved the magic to get him finally to Fulda, but it worked and he simply hailed storm and ice in order to get to us. He didn't give in. I've always had a soft spot for the Scot, because he unknowingly gave me something that will make me always being in his debt (Read here). Not only he came for this one day, he also did something he usually says no to: Singing. I don't know what changed his mind but during his panel he asked for a guitar and performed the lovely ballad Lilac Wine. The entire weekend the main hall Valinor was kind of noisy with people coming and going. For those brief four minutes you could have heard a needle fall. Everybody was touched to the core and many had tears in their eyes.
I'm sure I forgot heaps and heaps of other brilliant stuff so for now I only say: Thank you to the fans and their fantastic costumes and to all of the guests, who made this year's Ring*Con an unforgettable experience. We haven't had so much singing at any previous Con and the emotion ran deep throughout the entire weekend but expecially at the Closing Ceremony. Farewell, stay healthy all the best and see ya next year guys and of course girls!
The Island Premiere
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire Premiere