The Trip to Middle Earth ~ 2003 ~ Chapter 3 ~ Knock Yourselves Out
To conserve space these photos are small. Mail me if you want the hi-rez image.
The Big Day dawns at last, and as 'Jacko the Barbarian' would say "Woo Hoo!!" We are up and about, meeting others of our small fellowship within Gondor Two for photos, shopping, museums and other goodness. Dom and Sari are on the picket line. Robert is with the press, but the rest of us head out down Courtney Place making stops at Paddy's Lotto and Post (great folks & the best souvenier shirts in town) and trying to locate our grandstand. Some consternation to realize there is no sign of it yet. We'll check again (and again, and again) later.
Secure in the knowledge that we have expensive reserved seats, we head over to Te Papa Museum in search of special Legolas postcards. They have run out out, but rumor has it that the librarians have relics from the exhibit. I am a librarian ~ it is obviously time to network with my fellow wizards. On the way up we see the bigature for the Barad-Dur. Impressive. We also take in some of Kiri Te Kanawa's dresses. Beauty. The librarians are the guardians of the treasure and they do share. We get a poster a piece. Such nice ladies and it looked like a great place to work too. Major job envy.
Then it was down to the gift shop for Stansborough Fibres (Weavers to Middle Earth) for some goodies. I already had mine from Angela at Te Papa months ago, but Phil got a tie, which was not listed in the online store.
We had previously located the Green Parrot and secured our reservations, but we needed to find another highly important shop, a small luggage store somewhere off the end of Courtney Place. Spotted it at last due to the window display. A photo of Karl Urban signed, "To Dad ~ Love, Karl". We piled in hoping to buy small backpacks with the LOTR characters on them like those in the window. They were sold out! "Come back in an hour, he's gone home to get more." So it's off to Dymock's bookstore and the CD place, where we bought soundtracks, and Cristina got 'Pandemoniumfromamerica'. An hour later we were back talking with Juergen Urban. He did have a couple of packs left and we took them. He was also nice enough to chat with us about his son, the whole crazy fan thing, and showed us his tickets to the premiere and the party. Karl was in Berlin filming, but his dad was going anyway and then they would have Christmas in Oz. What a nice man, to take so much time for a parcel of strangers.
Another attempt to see where the grandstand would be. Signs of something, but not conclusive as to placement. Still we have no other option now, since the rails are full up. Off to the photography, and more movie decorations. The 'MO TE UPOKO-O-TE-IKA/For Wellington' exhibit was easy to locate, close to Courtney Place in the City Gallery. Felicity had given me a copy of this book at the poetry reading the night before, along with 'Coincidence of Memory', so I was interested in seeing the larger format photographs. They were based on Viggo Mortensen's impressions of of the Wellington region during his stay there. Very colorful and bearing some resemblance to fireworks (one of my favorite things) in their intensity of color and movement. Photos of Mr. Mortensen's book covers and pages are from his website at Perceval Press and belong to him.
City Gallery staff gave us directions to the other exhibit, at Massey University. This exhibit was more of a retrospective. It included included portraits, landscapes and abstractions. His sensibility as a painter is a strongly obvious in his photography where colour, light and movement express his response to the environment surrounding him. Christina preferred the black and white photographs of plants and the portraits of fellow actors, but I rather liked the color photographs. I was pleased to see that there were even a few from the artist's Miyelo exhibit. I had purchased the book, but the larger prints allow you to see more details. Unfortunately after these visits, the spouse gradually infected every male photographer he could locate with the idea of taking 'Viggo' photos. His definition is that if the photo is out of focus or you can't be certain what it is ~ that's a genuine 'Viggo'. Fortunately for him I not only have a sense of humor, but have espoused tolerance for the differences in others in emulation of Mr. M.
By this time it was getting nearer to parade countdown so after a final dash to the special post office to get our premiere day postmarks, we split up to get ourselves into the bleachers for the red carpet. Wishing each other luck, and trying to give those we thought had the best chance of getting any autographs a selection of stuff.
Well, I refuse to dwell on the outcome of the experience, but Dom and Sari were the lucky ones. Unable to afford the pricey grandstand seats, they had opted for sitting at the barriers. That was the only show in town for tourists. The auomobiles full of stars drove past our bleachers without pause before anyone ever got out of them. Only Sean Astin actually walked (actually jogged) by our pricey grandstand.
Phil did manage a few nice photos due to his prior experience with these events. He can elbow leaners, stretch on tiptoe, bop blocking security staff and shoot the photo simultaneously. My hero! We returned to the hotel room to try and see some of it on the news. Then off to Molly Malones' to buy some beer to cry in.
Most of our fellowship had dinner that night at the Green Parrot. "Give us whatever Viggo eats!" we cry. "Let me check with the chef"..., says the waiter. "Last night it was filet mignon." Well the filet was big enough for any three people, but I ate it all! We then wandered back down in hopes of catching someone coming OUT of the screening. HA! I simply must find a way to grow another six inches taller. At least we could see the very cool Fell Beast in his nighttime lighting. Next day we find out there will be a tour of the Embassy. We can finally see our seats! Nope, the bus pulled out of Dodge 10 minutes before, so some shots of the lobby are all we have. We know the seats are there. Four other people confirm it. Guess we need to go back so we can see them for ourselves. Yet another excuse.
Off to the airport to head to the South Island (or mainland). Standing in line is rather tedious so I forge ahead in search of a coffee bar and what do I see, but costumes! Return without coffee and send the photographer to make snapshots before the crowd arrives. Also mention the notice I saw about sets someplace in the airport, and told him where to look for the giant Gollum.
Sets are found thanks to a lovely lady in a gift shop.. Much joy to see that Edoras is represented. Go Rohan! But he spends the most time taking shots of the calligraphy in the Rivendell set. The challenges of plexiglas and bad lighting elicit the same type of internal conversation as a deeply buried bug in a piece of software. Ingenuity exhausted, we finally get the coffee and board the plane.
Christchurch is a lovely town, very English in feeling. We are staying out on the edges, but ride the bus in to meet Christina and go shopping! Up to now shopping has taken second place to The Rings, but now it came to the fore in a big way. Even Robert, the patient non-shopper, bought something here. We looked for more stamps. After our luck in Auckland and Wellington, we were hoping to score the FOTR Ultimate or Presentation pack, but our luck had run out. We did get some nice shots of what the guys called the 'ice cream cone'. It seems to match the 'floating ball' we saw outside the big library in Wellington.
Tomorrow will be December 3. Time is simply flying at this point. We've been here two weeks already. Only one is left. Stay tuned for Chapter 4 ~ The REAL Return of the King.
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