How a bunch of Kiwis corrupted one Canadian
Due to loading times only a few of the total 545 photographs I took at the Ring*Con 2009 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.
Bonn (Germany), October 2nd - 4th, 2009
Born of Hope
Here it was, my eighth Ring*Con; a Ring*Con which has even more opened up to other fantasy with guests attending from Twilight and Blood Ties. The fear of the Twilight fans was immense and what does human being do when afraid? Right, hit out in all directions. The opening is necessary to keep Ring*Con alive!
There were heated discussions whether Twilight and vampires in general belong to the Con. The fear that the con's roots Tolkien's Lord of the Rings would go downhill let some of the fans run amok; as usual wasted energy because the con should become, just like the one in 2005, one of the best.
The mood was somewhat subdued when beforehand two of the Twilight stars, Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene, had to cancel on short notice due to work commitments. The disappointment among the Twilighters was big and since most of them have never been to a con it took some convincing of the con veterans why to come even though. I myself only grinned knowingly because every time there were cancellations en masse the con was phenomenally good in terms of the mood of fans and stars; almost as if a higher power had decided now all the more.
Dirk would not be Dirk if he would not try to find a replacement. The Ring*Con organizers are truly unique in this regard. Every time Dirk puts his efforts into getting someone on short term notice because there were even more cancellations this year: Dylan Neal due to shooting schedule and around Tom Felton there was chaos since he could not leave his fingers off his Twitter account which put Dirk and the organization into a bad light. The official statement was posted on the official Ring*Con forum. Alex Meraz, too, hat to cancel although he literally sat on packed bags on the set of New Moon. Here, too shortly changes in the shooting schedule were the reason. For Tom Felton Dirk could get Angelica Many (the cute little sister of Isabelle Delacour).
I originally had planned to arrive on Thursday evening but my Supernatural addiction and its airing Thursdays in the US let me move my arrival to Friday. You may know why.
Thus I arrived on Friday at 10:30 at the Maritim hotel and even got a parking lot in their garage. Quickly I checked into the hotel, brought my stuff into my room and quickly went back downstairs to register for the Con. Direct next stop - ticket reservation for 2010.
Yes, I know there is no announcement yet who may attend and honestly I do not care. I am not so much an actor worshipper because of appearances but a fan of stories. I love story telling in which I can get lost and into which I can enter. I am glad about any actor, whether big name or not, who made those stories possible and who is able to portray a character so convincingly that one can identify with the character.
My first panel was the one Of Kyle Schmid. I only knew him from the movie History of Violence and had never seen Blood Ties on the telly. Although I am big fan of TV shows out of the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery and Horror genre I most often only find them by pure accident. I do not like commercial breaks nor the stupid airing politics of the TV stations, which teaser a TV show in their first two seasons mercilessly only to postpone it from one day to the next later. Farscape's fourth season has never aired in Germany but that is a different story to tell.
Kyle was quite nervous on stage and admitted just that. Nonetheless this being nervous combined with a big portion of charm managed that he almost instantly became a fan favourite. Obviously our Kiwis adopted him also right away because in Mark's and Craig's last panel Kyle was game for a guest role - but more about that a bit later. During the Photo Op I asked him whether he was still so nervous and he only grinned and said it had lessened somewhat now. My saying training makes the master and most of the fans do behave halfway decently, so I hope.
Our Kiwis - actually this is somewhat funny to say so. Mark Ferguson has been at every Ring*Con each year so far and already feared last year that fans do not want to see him anymore. Most definitely not, Mark! It is hard to describe why Ring*Con veterans cannot get enough of this group of people. Let it be on stage or the con area, they are always open for a little fun, a little talk. Even this year's newbies, the Twilight fans, got why those people are so much loved. Long ago the Lord of the Rings panels stopped being question and answer panels. What should one ask when everything has been asked anyhow? Instead there is improvisation, spontaneous actions and little videos, such as Jarl's visit at Weta and his interview with fan favourite Daniel Falconer. Or take Lori Dungey's little video tales which always show that those people not only put thought into what they are doing beforehand but also sacrifice their leisure time to bring something to the fans. Moreover none of them is too good to do the most impossible things on stage, to embarrass themselves (whereas embarrass is definitely the wrong word here). They simply are game for anything. The outcome does not matter. Having fun is the keyword here.
After a couple of years of work commitments Craig Parker was once again part of the fun. Mark and Craig onstage are a phenomenon! You simply must have to see it to believe it and as already mentioned even the non Lord of the Rings fans wish for their return next year.
A simple example was the last panel of the two with guest stars such as Bruce Hopkins, Kyle Schmid, Lori and Jarl. Among others there was this ballet called: The seduction of the trees in which Bruce was the lumberjack, the others the trees with Mark as the narrator. The first thing that happened was that Bruce hopped onto stage wearing a gold glittering g-string over his jogging pants. Secondly Mark went with the fun and announced briefly the ballet of tree seduction about to happen. While Bruce was cutting the trees, and thus Kyle, the technicians of Ring*Con could not refrain to join the fun by playing Je t'aime and we, the fans were rolling with laughter. There is nothing too painful for this group and poor Kyle got dragged right into it. But it didn't seem to bother him. He himself had to refrain from bursting out into laughter. The end was a standing ovation from the fans and more than pleased actors onstage.
I watched the Twilight movie before I went to the con just to know what all the hype was about. Well, the movie is not bad but the love story is truly written not for my age group. The most interesting to me is the old Native Indian legend and of course the bad guys. I grew up with Christopher Lee being the vampire; they do not sparkle for me.
Personally my impression was that the Twilight actors were somewhat more reserved than the other actors. This might be due to the hype through which Twilight runs right now and due to the fans which are / were somewhat, let's say unreserved, at other events - looking across the big pond. The most approachable was the Canadian Daniel Cudmore whose surname quickly was changed by the fans into Cuddlemore, which is in itself quite funny since the guy is 6.7 tall. Edi was a lot of fun on stage and Christian defrosted a bit after her first panel.
A revelation was the three invited voice talents. Thus we had the two main leads of Twilight at the Con, well their respective German voices: Bela (Annina Braunmiller) and Edward (Johannes Raspe). The third of the group was Max Felder who among others is the German voice of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. Not in my life I would have thought those three to be so much fun. I only think of the spontaneous new audio dubbing of a Twilight scene live on stage with a Bavarian accent. Hilarious! This is what the Kiwis might have thought, too since they brought Max and Annina up stage in one of their panels to let them audio dub what they were telling. The entire thing developed a life of its own which had us fans once more rolling with laughter.
The so shaken up Harry Potter fraction was more than rewarded with Matthew Lewis' appearance on Sunday who was simply just down to earth and absolutely nice; starting with a little waltz with a fan to football (soccer). None of the questions were left unanswered. The fan wore an Elven costume. Who says fans cannot be flexible?
This year I was not much of a party animal. My bed called me earlier than I had anticipated. Well, you get older.
The atmosphere was ingenious and the three days flew by like nothing - sadly! The Twilight fans turned out to be as nice and I think the further opening of the con is not so much a problem anymore. Even if there were not so many Lord of the Rings costumes wandering through the halls, I am sure with the next Twilight movie and the introduction of the Volturi there is plenty of inspiration for next year's con and costumes.
You have to experience Ring*Con in order to understand why fan goes to such an event. If you should be interested now, tickets can be bought directly at the Ring*Con website:
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