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Viggo at SLU

SLU Site report with Pics here
Read my fellow "sisters" account of meeting Viggo at SLU here
TORn was there so go check out their stuff here

From: Andromeda Mar 02, 2003 12:44 am

Hey-ya Ladies!! First time poster, but I thought you might want to hear about my experience at SLU this afternoon, seeing the absolutely heart-wrenching Mr. Mortensen. I only had tickets to the poetry reading, but that was certainly enough. First, the university president introduced him, adding a few biographical comments that I wasn't aware of (did you know Viggo spent a year of his university time studying at Oxford University in the UK?). I was sitting in the second row, at the side, in what I soon discovered was the unofficial 'Canadian' section of the auditorium. I was with new friends down from Toronto, Kingston, and others from Montreal. The U Prez also mentioned that Viggo spoke five languages... I'm thinking one of the other two must be French (I wondered why descriptions of the French books in the reccomendation section at Perceval haven't been translated). But you guys want the goods, so here goes. Viggo came out to huge applause and enough camera flashes to rival the TTT premiere. He immediately said that it didn't bother him, as long as no one was shooting during the actual poetry readings. He was all dressed up (surprisingly) in a lovely beige suit and olive green shirt (and shoes, for those wondering)... I guess the university setting had some effect on him, that or the fact that his Mom was in the audience (such a sweet lady, and she obviously has that Viking spirit, since she drives this massive gray SUV). Viggo was just... oh, so lovely!! Extremely bashful, sincere, heartbreakingly endearing (he thanked us for being patient at least three times, as if!!). He began by thanking a whole list of people, then turned to some prepared remarks (though, as he himself would no doubt acknowledge, he hardly comes off as 'prepared'). Each poem was introduced with an anecdote about what ideas were going through his mind that caused him to write it, more or less. These I thought were fascinating, the best thing about the reading (other than, of course, his voice, his presence, his smile, his intensity, and his sinfully beautiful hands). There were times when his voice was so haunting that I just had to close my eyes to listen to him properly. He read mainly from Coincidence of Memory, but also read the new one, Back to Babylon, and made many very incisive comments about the lack of discourse concerning the war. He spoke of this at length (not really saying anything different from his comments on Charlie Rose, so I won't go into it here), quite eloquently and humanely, and yet still with that sweet-hearted reticience, allowing for other points of view, apologizing for bringing it into the forum of a poetry reading and explaining why he felt it was important to make these kind of points at a university. Ah... what else? My favorite poem of his, and coincidentally the reading I loved most, was Communion. Just absolutely haunting, that piece, those words, in that voice. I was almost crying by the end, it was just so moving... definitely worth any price, hearing that in person.
Well, I've rattled on for long enough, I suppose. Thank you for indulging me. If there's anything else anyone would like to know that I haven't thought of, just ask.
It warms my heart to know that such a gentle, devoted soul exists in the world. I will indeed sleep well tonight. Thank you, ladies, and take care.

From Coke-Coola Journal entry March 1st

I just got back from SLU and OMG! So here’s my day………I woke up @ 7:00 am, had a shower. First of all I couldn’t sleep at all thinking about today. I had breakfast and read the comics….Freaked the hell out cuz my family was so normal and this was such an important day. My dad and I left Montreal at 10:00. I spent the ride there putting addresses into his palmpilot as a deal. We crossed the border and got to Canton successfully at 12:30. First we went into an instabank to get American money but it wouldn’t work and it didn’t accept my dad’s card. But finally after 10 min we got cash to pay for Viggo’s books. We went into SLU and already @ 1:00 people were in line for the 2:30 poetry reading and 3:00 book signing. Since my dad and I didn’t have tickets for the book signing we decided to look through the art gallery with Viggo’s photography. In the gallery there was someone at an information desk and my dad asked her if there were any extra tickets for the poetry reading and she said yes and gave me one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By then it was around 1:45 when I got in line for the poetry reading (They opened the doors at 2:00). Already the line was humoungus! I waited in line while my dad went and got us snacks. At 2:00 they let us in but my dad couldn’t go in cuz he didn’t have a ticket. I ran inside the theatre and grabbed a seat 5 rows from the front and RIGHT in front of the microphone which Viggo would use. In perfect eye level too! By the way, IN line for the poetry reading there was this girl in front of me who was cutting her nails and the clippings were flying everywhere! I sat down next to a weird lady and a kid my age. Then at like 2:15 my dad had got a ticket and asked the kid beside me to move so he sat next to me. 2:30 finally came but not Viggo. Finally at 2:45 (god I love his lateness) he walked on to stage after an introductory speech by the president of SLU. Viggo came on wearing his well-known beige suit with a green blouse and purple shoes and grey socks! His green blouse collar was over his suit as usual. He read beautifully and explained each poem and the process he went through to write it. He was an amazing reader, I love how the words just tumble of his lips so smoothly, I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if my mouth was hanging open. Viggo came bringing a pile of messy papers and a black striped bag (plastic). He read some of his poetry, an excerpt from the book and his new poem "back to Babylon" and he was gonna read from his book of New Zealand poetry I think but he forgot it! OMG lol! I felt so bad for him cause the like first thing he said was "please no flash photography" or something like that cause I swear as soon as he walked on there were A MILLION cameras flashing and it made me feel fukin dizzy! As soon as he said that I stopped but even after when he was talking still people kept flashing away! Viggo also spoke about the war and gave his speech on how we should feel open to discuss things and everything else he says in all his interviews. Viggo also read two of his Spanish poems, one was the poem "Chaco". Chaco is an area in Argentina where he had been. He also translated it and the first line was like "You shit in the jungle with the monkeys" or something like that. As soon as the poetry reading was done my dad rushed out and saved me a spot in line for the book signing. While he went I went tot he bathroom to get ready. The line was HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I have never seen a line that long! If my dad hadn’t gone a head we would’ve had to wait like an hour and a half longer! My dad was in line next to two canton villagers who he talked to for like an hour and a half straight! It was so boring but I didn’t care cuz I WAS MEETING VIGGO!!!!!!!!! The couple was gonna take my photo when I was with Viggo cause you couldn’t pose with him and only candid pictures were allowed. I felt so out of space at the book signing cause everyone else was middle aged overweight women who were mostly only there for the eyecandy. Finally we were almost at the doorway and I could see Viggo and I almost threw up, I could feel it in my throat and I felt so dizzy I almost fainted. The people at the door took my ticket and put a smiley face on it. My dad went towards the exit cause he didn’t have a ticket. By then I was like seventh in line and I started freaking out. I have never gotten stage fright but now I know what it feels like. I took tons of pictures of that face and hands. I started shaking and my mouth went dry. I was shaking and shaking and I felt freezing. A lady a while before me was in a wheel chair so Viggo got out from his desk and I looked at his feet to stricken to take a picture. He was wearing grey wool socks and no shoes. Viggo posed for a picture with the lady even though you weren’t supposed to.

O.K., by this time I was freaking out and my pulse was way up there. Generally I’m an extremely confident speaker and person but this blew me away. Finally I was next. I put my extra book down and some papers I had been carrying on the floor so I could have at least one free hand and I got ready for one of the biggest thrills of my life. I had already typed up what I wanted him to put in my copy of recent forgeries (we were only allowed to have him sign one book). Because I’m learning Sindarin (elvish) I thought it’d be cool to have him write something to me in it. So I had written something down in elvish for him to write. I also had planned what I wanted to say to him ( got freaked out from a friend’s story of going blank). I finally got there, gave him my book and inscription and this was our conversation as I remember it

(M = Me and V= Viggo)
M= First of all I just wanna say that I’m really sorry to add to your fanload but I wanted you to know that (Shaky breath while continuously trembling.) That I admire you as a person and for your talents and not all the stereotypical sex object S&#*t that a lot of people think
V= (looks up at me and raises his eyebrows and forehead crinkles)
M= I just want you to know that me and some other people out there really appreciate your insides and not out and you must never forget it.
(All throughout this he is copying down the Sindarin)
V= What language is this in?
M= You should know………Its Sindarin ….elvish. I’m learning it
V= (looks up and stops writing)
V= Where’d you get this from points to the Sindarin)
M= Oh no, I translated it myself
V= Am I able to have a translation
M= Sure ( I pick out a piece of paper from the pile at my feet and hand it to him while he starts reading it nodding away)
M= I just wanted you to know that you are one of the most inspirational people in my lfe and I wanna thank you for being who you are and doing your art and poetry because it has changed my life.
V= (Still writing but stops and looks up) I’m really sorry I don’t copy this down right or make any mistakes
M= Don’t worry its fine! I also have a really important letter from a friend of mine ( I show him a letter from my pile but stupidly I don’t give it to him)
M= I also think that Henry is one of the luckiest kids I know and I’d love to meet him some time……….considering I’m 14 and all
V= (looks up and nods smiling)
M= (stops talking for one and looks at his mesmerizing handwriting)
V= Again I’m really sorry If I don’t get this right
M= Don’t worry its perfect!
V= (gets to the end of the paragraph I made him write lol)
V= Here is one word that I do know (writes "Namarïe Viggo")
V= Thank you (hands me the book)
M= No, thank you!
(I walk off without handling him the letter still shaking tremendously)

I walked out of the room with the letter and met my dad stammering and started to explain to him when I looked down and saw my hands still clutching the letter. I was like "oh s%#&t". I ran back into the room and nudges it under his right elbow saying softly (Sorry I forgot to give you this" and ran out. OMG it was so scary though cause he was surrounded by like guards and people from the gallery who were watching every step the fans made and listening to you. Also, I held up the line 4 a while and I could feel people complaining so I felt bad. I felt really bad also cause all the people in front of me didn’t say anything to Viggo and Viggo just signed where the fan wanted him to sign.
SO OMG there is my story. I left feeling so excited that I was depressed cause it was over. I was shaking and cold the whole 2 and a half-hours home. My dad was amazing through out the whole trip understanding why I had HAD to be there, On the way back in the car I wrote this down and recapped my 3 minute conversation with Viggo more than the 29 times I have seen FOTR. Today was like he biggest adrenaline rush I have ever had, I don’t think I’ll ever shake that much in my life ……..(holy shit I just looked at my legs and I’m still shaking!) Right now, I have cried a little knowing that it is over but I’m so happy that I got to have this little experience with him and I hope that he at least remembers a little thing from our visit so he can tell henry! (Who unfortunately wasn’t there L)

From: Louise the ferretlady Mar 02, 2003 7:35 pm

Hello all!
I have been, I have seen, and now I report. I hope what I'll say here will not offend anybody, there are a lot of feelings involved, and I'm quoting by memory, so some quotes may be incorrect. I'll be sending pics as soon as I've figure out how to download them from the camera!
My friend Raven and I got to Canton at 10:00 saturday morning. We managed to get lost on the University campus, found a parking spot, got to the nearest building to find out we were in just the right place, in the gallery. I called my student friend who had the tickets for me, and we found some comfy chairs to wait in. I'm gazing out the window, looking for my friend, and a man walks up the path, into the building, than in the gallery. Raven brightens up, and says "That's him", she's got sharp eyes, because I did not recognize Viggo at that point. She got up to see what was happening, I turned around in time to see him walk my way and disappear... in the bathroom. Hair everywhere, long winter coat, great striding steps, looking down. Raven came back a bit later, commented the gallery was full of important people, she did not want to bother him at that point but he did look her right in the eyes for a moment, and sat back with me. It was very quiet, there were very few people around. That soon changed, and I started to meet many friend first met here or in other places, and I had all kind of pleasant chats with many wonderful people. Then we lined up for the poetry reading. The room opened, we found seats, chatted some more. The reading started late, but we didn't mind, we were way too hyped up! I don't remember much from the introduction, but when Viggo walked on the scene, there was a thunder of clapping and camera flashes. He was holding a plastic bag and a bundle of papers and books. And he just sat on the edge of the stage, spread his things around him, and started to talk. His voice was very quiet, I sometimes lost words here and there, but he laughed and talked about writing poetry, and finally said he should "stop procrastinating and start this reading". When he read the poems him voice changed, it was louder, he read with his head tilted, the book in his left hand, and often gesturing with the other. After a few poems (I cannot remember titles or how many) he wanted to "find something more cheerful", rummaged about, made comments about not being organized, then read "Back to Babylon" and made many comments about war. One woman stormed out, but I agree with what Viggo has to say, and he made a lot of good points. Then he shuffled through his book, looking for something, saying "It's my own book, you'd think I knew where things are" and "I think they must change the pages on me". He read one poem he wrote in NZ, commenting on the fact that he chose to drive around so he could discover the country more, and another he dedicated to his mother in the audience. He also read one in spanish (Wow! shivers up and down my spine!) then translated it, to the roar of laughter of the audience (When a monkey shits in the jungle...) It was a real treat, he kept finding more to read/share with us, and everyone was listening quietly. It was over too soon. The theater emptied, and the line up started for the book signing. We were about half way, and we ended up waiting for 2 and a half hour, which was not hard at all considering what we were waiting for, but my thoughts kept going to Viggo and how tired he would be after all this (what the man will put himself through for his fans!). He did take a quick break shortly before it was our turn to go in. (Now feel free to skip all this and read about the movie presentation, this is my personnal encounter and feelings about it, and if I don't write it down I'll forget it.) Raven had told me to go first, and she'd take pictures. The people ahead moved on, so I was faced with a (it felt like) great big room, Viggo sitting at a desk expectantly, he looks straight at me, and disaster, I freeze like a deer in the headlights, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, and I cannot for the life of me speak. Part of my mind knows he's just a man, looking quite tired at that point, but all the excitement and the anticipation caught up with me, and I could not talk. Viggo was very kind, and I'm very thankful for his understanding, but I still feel like a fool. I put a leather folder on the desk, and said "for you". He opened it, looked back at me, and asked "What's this?" "An eagle feather" (I had meant to add "for a peace warrior") He looked straight into my eyes, his eyebrows raised. By the tone of his voice he knew this to be important. "And how did you get it?"
"I have elder (native) teachers who help me"
"From where"
"What tribe? (he named two or three, I cannot remember) "Algonquin"
I presented my Coincidence of Memory book to sign, with a card the university people had us fill in with our names, to speed up the process I guess, and also my fine point permanent felt tip pen, because all he had to sign with were big sharpie markers. I had written Louise the Ferretlady, and again he asked "the Ferretlady? You have ferrets?"
"Quite a few"
"How come?"
"I work for a shelter"
Normally I have all kinds of tidbits of information attached to all these comments, but my brain was on auto pilot, and I just answered plain small automatic statements.
I managed to tell him I loved his trees as he signed my book on page 22 (it has the poem Apart, and a painting with trees, and I love both). I was turning to leave, and he called me back "Here's your pen." I took it back (Why did I not think of giving it to him? sight...) and thanked him for his time. Raven handed me the camera, and she had her time with Viggo, and that I'll keep private because it is not mine to share.
We left through the gallery, and sat down amongst his photographs, trembling, and floating on a buzz of elation.

For those who have been asking, Viggo 's eyes are blue-green, and that day they had a definite grey tint to them, like the stormy sea. Raven and I left to have something to drink (it was very hot in the hallways.) and a bit of relaxing. Then I grabbed some dinner while she waited at the door for the movie presentation. When the door opened, we were first in line, and seated in the first row. There was a delay, and a band played music while we waited. I believe Viggo was STILL signing autographs at that point. (from 3:30 to 8:00!) His mom and stepdad were also in the room, in the front left, and two giggling little girls ran to them and asked for autographs. It was very cute. The presenter came out and did a hilarious speech about Viggo and movies, and Viggo introduced the movie (LOTR:FOTR EV) briefly (I have that on tape, I can listen to it carefully and try to transcribe it if you want) "I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it". The crowd was rowdier than the poetry reading one. We ended up leaving after an hour of movie viewing, because it was a computer screen projected on a bigger screen and it was really hard on the eyes. Besides, we were getting really tired, and had to drive home that night. So here I am, I hope I did not leave anything out, and I send all my Love and Gratitude to Viggo for a wonderful day of incredible memories. Photos will be posted!
See FerretLadies pics here here here here and here.

Mo Mar 02, 2003 8:08 pm
Hi sisters,
I'm floating. Here is a little part of my trip to Canton.
On the friday nigth at the opening reception, he was just there, at a meter from me, and he turn to me and said: Hi...
I said : ( I shook his hand).Hi, I'm not very good in english, I'm a French canadian...
And since this moment he switch to french and talked to me in fluent french.
Viggo: where do you come from?
Me: Montréal.. (i was blocked)
Viggo: Oh, it's a beautiful town.
Me I want to thank you for... (I was still blocked)
Viggo: yes... Do you sleep in town tonight?
Me; Yes, I took a room in a hotel...
Viggo: Do you have something you would like me to sign?
Me: Euh, no... I will be there tomorrow for the book signing.( I didn't bring anything because they say he will sign only at the book signing) but I brought you a cigar..I know you smoke cigars. And I gave him the brown bag with a cigar in it.
Me It's a cuban one..
Viggo: Oh, I know you can buy them in Canada
Me: I have a letter for you( and I gave my personnel letter I wrote just in case...)
Viggo: A letter for me?Thank You. Do you want a photo with me? ( the security guys said that we were not aloud to take picture with him...)
Me : Oh yes, It's more than I wanted from you! And I gave my camera to someone and she took a photo. He was holding my shoulder and I was holding his hip.
Me: Thanks, ( I repeated it 4 times) and I shook his hand a second time.

Do I need to tell you that I'm floating since this event?
I was so knocked after this,( it was only 9:15 PM and the event was to 10pm) I left the place to go to my hotel room thinking to all others who want to speak to him. I cleared the place for the others. Saturday morning I went the a One hour photo place for developping my pictures and I went to the book signing with my photo with him and he reconised me and said: oh, your the canadian girl... and he signed my picture in french. He asked me how to write a word and he wrote in french: Thanks for visiting me Monique, Viggo.

I went to the poetry reading, and the movie too. While we were waiting for his presentation of the film, we spoke to his mother. She's , like his son, very attentive to us. She asked where we were come from, and when we said Canada, she said her father came from Nova Scotia. She asked my friend (topaz) how Viggo was inspiring her. And I said that she must be very proud of his son.

Mr Mortensen is a wonderful man.

Buttercup Mar 03, 2003 12:13 am

Hello! It's me. Finally. I am home and I just finished having a good cry. I have been so emotionally moved this weekend, I can't begin to describe it. But I'm going to try.
First of all, to Louise and Coca_Coola (MC) and everyone else who was there who was looking for me but couldn't find me. Yes I was there. I am very sorry I missed you, but when you send a Canadian girl to a dry county, you have to warn her about these things first.
This is going to be long. Sit down, grab a beer (unless you're in Canton, then you can only grab a Pepsi on Saturday afternoons until 5), and read my tale of mystery, intrigue, and eyes as blue as a Canton sky on a dry Saturday afternoon (can you sense a theme here?).
The quote of the weekend is from Capt. Dave Bowman from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey": Quote:
My God, it's full of stars!

My cohort in crime, JK, and I, arrived in the lovely town of Canton on Friday afternoon at around 3:30 PM. The sky was bright and sunny, the sheep farm was covered in crystallized trees, and the air was warming up. We went into town, found a pub, had some Rolling Rocks, then went to the grocery to get some water for an early night in. My cell phone goes off when I'm in line to pay -- it's Mo!!! Turns out we were 5 min away from her hotel. (In the US, things are measured by miles; in Canada, we measure things in time -- US: "It's a 1/4 mile down the road" Canada: "It's five minutes down the road") We met up with her, and she was very anxious about going to the gallery opening. We were the last people to see her pre-VM.
JK and I head back to the sheep farm. The sheep were lowing (look it up or sing "Away in a Manger" if you don't know what that means), but it was SILENT otherwise. And then, I looked up. At that moment, I saw the entire universe looking down at me. I could see Orion, Cassiopea, Scorpio, the Big Dipper, and the Milky Way. Astronomy senses overload. I really wished at that moment I was a photographer and could have taken pictures of the night sky. When you live in a big city, you can barely see the moon, never mind stars. I stood outside, had a smoke in the silence, and cried with joy at the beauty of our universe.
When I came in, "reality" brought me back via a phone call from Mo. Demi en francais, half in English.
Quote: "Oh Buttercup!" she said.
"And how is our friend tonight?" I asked, knowingly.

Saturday morning after breakfast JK and I went to see the lambs. One had been born Thursday morning (the day before we arrived). I said to JK that they should have named it Viggo, but it was a girl (Viggette?). There were white faced lambs and black faced lambs and all of the sheep were very friendly. So after revelling in the barn, JK and I headed over to the gallery, opening early today for this special occasion.
In the gallery, most of the pics were from "Hole", "Signlanguage" & "Coincidence". JK and I were the first people there, other than the cleaners and Pilar Perez (who IS my sister, well, look at her and look at me and then you'll understand. If only I could have said more than "hi".) and an older couple. After looking (and weeping again) at Sueno del Retiro, I turned my head to read his latest poem, etched on the wall "Back to Babylon", which was right by the entranceway to the right side of the gallery. At this time, Topaz was also there, and she was in the left side of the gallery (the "blue" side). Someone walked in, and as is humanly habitual, I looked up to see who it was and stared right into those sky-blue eyes, with his hair all askew in a "I just woke up" state. As Viggo headed to Pilar, I grabbed JK and whispered, "He's here." We looked up, he rushed out, having finished his errand, looking desperate for coffee. Our morning was complete, except for me sticking my head behind the large flower arrangement at the entranceway, finding the last two potent stargazers, hidden in the back. I took a deep breath. Now my morning was perfect.

After spending two and a half hours walking all over Canton (yes, people, WALKING) looking for a bar to calm our nerves, only to find that no bars in Canton open until after 5, and also discovering that Quote: alcohol is banned from St. Lawrence University Campus , JK and I returned to the car, picked up Buttercup's sac of goodies, and collapsed in the dining hall, at the feet of Topaz and Mo. We all agreed to meet in the booksigning line, and they went to the reading, and we stood in line. Well, sat. Well, JK sat, Buttercup smoked about 5 cigarettes outside. The one moment where I wasn't smoking, guess who walked in wearing his "'s Sexiest Male Star" suit? Viggo and Pilar walked past the line, everyone being too overcome to even say "hello". Viggo was carrying a black garbage bag (full of water we later found out).
Finally, the reading ended, JK and I were reunited with Topaz and Mo. Marian and her daughter found us in line, though they didn't have tickets at that point (hello Marian and Amy!). Finally, the Canadian quartet was allowed in the entranceway. Apparently, there was a coup and I was "volunteered" to speak to the man in the green suit first.
"Hello," I said, shaking his hand. "How are you?"
"Hello," he said. "Fine, thank you."
**THUNK** Buttercup places the sac of gifties on the table. Viggo's eyes widen with surprise.
"Excuse me, excuse me," said the gallery manager lady, "you do realise you only have one minute with him."
"Yes," said Buttercup the Brave, "I know. But I can speak really fast." I turn to Viggo. "I have gifts here from Vancover and London and Toronto and this entire bag is for you."
Security lady slinks away behind me.
In a nutshell, in a flurry, I handed him the gifts -- the beautiful hand-stitched bookmark from Boriel (which truly moved him), the glowing golden-wrapped package from m4sure (which he began to write her name on, scaring security into thinking that, God forbid, he was signing 2 things for me), the secret brown envelope from Buttercup (**blushes at the thought that he might be reading my work right this second**), then the secret silver bag.
I leaned over the desk and whispered, "It's a bottle of [Jameson's]whiskey for you because alcohol is prohibited on this campus."
For that, I got a sly, sexy smile
Then I pulled out the piece de resistance:
"These are from [JK] and me. They're from Canada. You can't get this in America."
He takes the V8 juice cans and stares at them curiously. Then, suddenly, it sinks in when he reads the name of the latest Veggie Juice available in Canada: V-GO. He roars with a loud laugh, as does the entire room. It is a moment I will never forget in my entire life. You can meet people, you can get them to sign things, you can even have a conversation with them. But when you get them to laugh, a full-on, rich, belly laugh, it's a priceless rare moment.
He set the 6-pack of V-GOs on the table next to his water. And he signed the photo which you have probably all seen of us from the Robert Mann Gallery.
"What's your name again?" he asked.
"Oh come on!" I said, "You should know!" (I did actually wink and he did laugh again.)
Then I gave him a couple of photos that I took at the Toronto Peace Rally. One picture which I am very proud of, and I hope he likes enough to put up on the PP site.
Then I ended with "Thank you so much for letting me take up a gazillion hours of your time. Take care." And I bowed.

And he said, "Thank you. Take care."
Then I was supposed to take JK's picture as she got her book signed. But somehow, my camera wasn't working -- the viewfinder was all blurry and it kept shaking. I took three pictures and then I realised what was happening -- my eye and my hands were shaking uncontrollably by the whole moving experience. So JK and I will have artistic, unfocused shots of the artist.

Then Mo went up, and then Topaz, but Security Manager woman was rushing us out of the room, so I couldn't stay to take shots of them.

JK and I left the gallery. We walked towards the exit, where three uniformed security guards stood, drinking coffee while their billy clubs hung from their holsters.
"Can we exit this way?" I asked.
One guard opened the door.

"Thank you," I said. "You're doing a fine job. And don't worry, we didn't molest him."

The guards laughed and we laughed and then I collapsed on the couch.

Later that night, after discovering there was a bar in the Best Western hotel, and after bidding Mo and Topaz adieu for the night, and after having a nice blue rare stake and veggies at Phoebe's, and after we got back to the sheep farm to the inky black overcast sky, and after half a 12 pack of Rolling Rock, chatting and flipping the channels on the TV, we stopped, and turned to the screen. We let out a teenage girl scream that would have woken James Dean. We had flipped to the 12AM showing of "Vanishing Point" on Fox NYC. What a perfect way to end a wonderful day -- beer and Viggo. Really, now, what more does a girl need?

And much love and respect to Viggo.

Met Viggo's Mom!!!!
One of the best things that happened - weas meating Viggo's mom and stepdad. They were at the gallery opening and after I had my picture taken with Viggo - I wandered around saw them standing off to one side and nobody was talking to them so my friend and I went up to her and I asked her if indeed she was Viggo's mom and she said yes and she introduced us to her husband. She asked us where we were from and how we had heaerd about the gallery opening. I told her about the fan base and how we had come from all over to see Viggo's work and to meet him. I think she was amused by that. She has the same quiet demeanor and lovely personality as Viggo.

I told her that I love the story about her saving his artwork when he was little and she said she saved all of his pictures and now all of his press clippings etc. We talked aobut sons (I have one too) and she indicated he wasn't always perfect, but didn't go into any detail.

His stepdad was interested in the fact that we came form Maine, as he was in the lumber business and so he talked to us about lumber, which we know comes from trees and that was the exctent of our knowledge on the lumber business. He was very charming but seemed a little overwhlemd by the sheer number of people interested in Viggo.

They were at all the events and it justpulled at my heartstrings whne Viggo dedicated the poem 'Keepsake' to his mother! The fanbase gave her a bracelet with his name on it - Tamariel had made them for all of us and there was an extra one so we handed it to her at the poetry reading.

I was so thrilled to meet his mom and stepdad, and of course we thanked her for giving us Viggo!!!

Primula Brandybuck Mar 03, 2003 3:33 pm

Well, even though the odds were against me, I had a terrific weekend. I arrived at Saint Lawrence University on Friday afternoon with no tickets available. I was so nervous I had nothing to eat all day.

I hung out at the student center until the gallery reception. As luck would have it, a woman was there with an extra ticket. I was shaking like crazy waiting to get into the reception.

A member of the faculty introduced Viggo. I didn't catch who she was, but she and her husband boarded many students over the years, Viggo being among the first. She had some amusing stories about Viggo the college student, including how he would make himself scarce at chore time, him talking on the phone in Danish, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning out in the barn talking with one of the other students.

Viggo was wearing a black suit, jade green T-shirt, and an elfstone pendant. Because of the number of people there, I didn't get an opportunity to talk to him, but I did have ample opportunity to stare at those green eyes. I came within touching distance on 2 occasions, but missed my opportunity.

On Saturday, I spent several hours in the gallery viewing his photographs. As the time for the book signing approached, I scanned the crowd for any sign of extra tickets. I stationed myself near the line, waiting for an opportunity. As I was waiting, Viggo and one of the gallery ladies walked right past me on the way to the Poetry reading. I was stunned!

The gallery manager had the members of the media and the gallery ushers go in first to get their autographs and pictures. Luck struck once again. One of the ushers had a ticket he wasn't going to use. The usher agreed to let me have his ticket and get me in ahead provided a got him an autograph for his sister. At the book signing Viggo was wearing a sage green pin-stripe suit with a dark charcoal gray button-down shirt.

He was so nice when I asked him for the autographs. I got so flustered I almost forgot to give him the chocolates I had brought. I had to go back to the table to drop them off.

pandora March 1, 2003. St. Lawrence University.

Okay so the day started out like any other day started at 2 in the damn morning. Anyway to skip all that and get to the good stuff, we got to the hotel and met up w/ all the other ladies from the VFB. They went to the gallery the night before so we got to see what Viggo was gonna look like when we saw him!!! *skipping all the nonsense* We get to SLU and are like 3rd in line for the Poetry Reading and when the doors opened it was like a concert. Getting smashed so that you can get to the front. Well I took whatever seat was left in the front and after I got settled in I looked at the stage…. Come to find out that I was FRONT ROW CENTER. Well surprisingly enuff I was just fine. Nothing could have bothered me then. So the President of the school goes on and on about Viggo and then finally he comes out. I snapped pictures left and right!!! It looked like paparazzi was there with all the flashes going off it was annoying! So then he sat down and I kept snapping away but I felt bad cause my flash could blind God himself! Anyway he starts to talk to us and he was quite the funny guy and about 15 minutes late, but let’s not go there!!!

He began to read his poetry and he looked around and stared at people when he read and I was one of them! *sighs* I felt rather stupid though cause I was wearing a low cut shirt and I was sitting right in front of him and he got a good view down my shirt quite a few times, and the ONLY reason I knew my shirt was like that was cause I caught him once in a blue. LOL It was cute how disorganized he was; he mumbled an awful lot to himself that he couldn’t find stuff and that you’d think he knew where stuff was in his own book. So then he read his anti-war shit. Didn’t care for it and I was contemplating getting up and leaving, but I decided to stay. Then he asked us if he could read a couple more or if we had places to be. LOL. Then he did it; the one thing that broke me and caused tears in my eyes… He read Chaco…. one of the girls had to give me her hand and I had tears in my eyes because it’s very beautiful to hear him speaking my language. So that kinda broke me to the point of tears in my eyes.

Okay on to the book signing, stood in line for a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Oh, by this time my friend had arrived and we clicked right away. Never met someone so cool!!!
Anyway we are talking all the way to the door of the gallery and she tells me to look around the wall and thru the door and there he was. They let us in the gallery by twos and I went in w/ my friend It was my turn and I couldn’t budge so she pushed me over to the table. *just like to insert right here that Pilar is a very nice woman* So she took my book and gave it to him, so after he signed my book I told him that the stuff there was from fans that wanted to be there but couldn’t. He looked at me and gave me the cutest look of DUH and asked, “Can I keep it?” I smiled and said yes and he thanked me.

Needless to say at this point that me and my friend needed a cig break. We went outside and then we went back in to eat...Then we went back out for the after meal cig and I had to call around to find everyone. That’s when we *my friend and myself* decided that we were going to just listen to him speak and then leave. He was late to that too, but it was understandable because he was just SO tired. You could see it in his face. From where we were sitting we saw him coming down the hallway and I snapped a couple of shots. No sooner was he done that we were heading down the hall and outside. Then I’ll freely admit we got a little sneaky and decided to smoke outside where we thought he would come out. She looked back really quick and we realized that he was going down the hall and out the other door so we booked it to see if we could get a photo w/ him. Some kid asked for an autograph and the guy Viggo was with said, that he was late and no more, Viggo stopped and turned to the kid and said, “I can sign one more.” Pilar then noticed me and Monika and said, “I remember you too you already have something signed”, and she smiled. So we explained to her that all we wanted was to take a photo w/ him and how far we drove. I guess he heard us, cause he turned to look at us, but in the process, he slid on some ice, came within 2 inches of elbowing me in my face and SLAMMED into my friend! Then he looked like a little boy who broke something and said, “I’m sorry!” She told him it was okay and the guy dragged him off, but Pilar said that since we came so far that she would have him send us something in the mail. She then gave us the info we needed to contact her and we were off to the hotel!!!!!!

Can’t leave this out, we then went for a drive and decided to hit Wal-Mart. We bought the LAST TWO Aragorn Helms Deep action figures!!! So all in all it was really cool

Here is what Viggo read at the poetry reading:


First Light

Back to Babylon

a quote from James Madison



Keepsake - which he said was about Henry and was dedicated to his mother

"They roll over on the swells..."

Chaco - which he translated for us


Fossils - dedicated to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq

topaz Mar 05, 2003 9:48 am
I'm going to try to put into words the wonder and amazement I feel after the SLU weekend. For me it was Saturday March 1st when it all happened -- thank you Naja for mentioning that this date is both Aragorn's birthday and the date of King Elessar's death. What better day to go to Canton to celebrate and remember? I had taken my two daughters to Kingston the night before, to spend the weekend with their dad. So bright and early Saturday morning I set out for Canton. It was nice to have been there once before, even if most of the drive to get tickets Feb. 17th had been in the dark! I drove along the sunlit highway, surrounded by ice-covered crystal trees. It was beautiful. I stopped several times to take pictures -- I'm sure Viggo would have too -- and I guess from reading some of the other reports, he did. There were more crystal trees on the SLU campus, right in front of the building where it all took place. So I took more pictures, and then went inside to look at HIS pictures.

The gallery was beautifully set up, with some of Viggo's poems printed on the walls, and the photographs with their mostly brilliant colours in vivid contrast to the white of the walls. (The first poem one "met" on the wall was Back to Babylon. I was really glad they had put it there, since it was so fresh and immediate. The others were Clear, Hillside, Ontario, and "You are sweating in your sleep..." There were some beautiful tropical flower arrangements, too. There were very few people, so all was quiet and very peaceful. The larger room on the right (where Viggo later signed books) also had a number of black-and-white photographs, the highlight being the large Sueno del Retiro (which is on the cover of Coincidence of Memory.) I stood there gazing at it for ages, always discovering new things. As I shared in my last message, I found myself writing a poem about it -- and then about the four "Lost" pictures (these are on p.8 of the SLU reports). I was amazed at the way this just happened. It felt like a dream. A good dream....

Buttercup had already arrived, with her friend JK, as had Mo. The four of us spent a good part of the day together, and it was so nice to get to know them in "real life" after seeing their names on my computer screen. (Buttercup and I had of course become acquainted during our drive to get tickets!) This turned out to be a lovely and for me unexpected part of the weekend -- meeting others whose lives have been touched by this awesome man we all came to see. Thank you Mo and Buttercup for sharing that wonderful day with me! And thanks to Clarissa for giving Mo and me tickets for the Fellowship film in the evening (instead of just mailing her two extra tickets to the people who couldn't be there to use them, she let us use them first! -- yes, they're being mailed back to you as we speak....) We had lunch in the cafeteria, and then it was time for the poetry reading.

Leslie has already posted a list of which poems Viggo read. I'll try to do a transcript of what he said about them -- but later. I believe it was the president of the university who introduced him, starting with the comment that when he looked up Viggo Mortensen on the internet, he found 86,800 references! (And that he didn't read them all.) When I tried to do that a year ago, to find out WHO this man was who played Aragorn in LOTR, I think I got about 500.

We sat in the 3rd row right at the end with the podium, but Viggo sat instead on the edge of the stage in the centre to read. We were told before Viggo came out that it was fine to take flash photos at the start and at the end, but not once he began to read -- which was only common sense. I don't think he minded all the flashing cameras at the start, and everyone was certainly respectful and refrained from doing it during the reading. This was the first time I have seen him in the flesh. He looked wonderful, but that didn't surprise me. He wore a pale (beige?) suit with stripes woven into it, and a dark green shirt. His hair was sandy blond, and fairly long. The button on his lapel said "US troops out of the Middle East". I didn't think he was particularly nervous at the start -- it just took a while for him to adjust to the microphone and find a good level of sound. He does sound somewhat shy, quite an endearing quality along with that charming smile...

He spoke with simplicity, candour, humility, but also eloquence -- about his experiences when writing the poems, about his feelings, about how important it was for people to have the freedom to question, to discuss, in order for momentous decisions about things such as war to be made consciously and for the right reasons. He was very respectful of others' views in all he said, and his sincerity was very moving. He dedicated "Fossils" to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, AND the United States.

He read mostly from Coincidence of Memory, at times having trouble finding the poem he wanted. (It occurred to me that if he'd said out loud which one he was looking for, there were probably many in the audience who could have told him on which page to find it!) He was the one who chose all the poems, but he chose all the ones I would have wanted him to read. He has a wonderful voice -- it was a privilege to hear him read.

And then came the book signing. This would be the moment when I would really meet him! Buttercup and JK had saved Mo and me a place in line, so we all entered the gallery quite early in the afternoon. Viggo did look somewhat tired, but he spoke to each person with genuine interest and caring. The line was VERY long, so it was no wonder the gallery people told us we could only have a very short time with him, and couldn't have any posed photos, only candid ones.

Buttercup was in front of me. She was giving him all the presents from her abundant gift bag, and I was taking some pictures. I was waiting for the reaction to the V-GO juice. We'd been drinking it at our house for the past few weeks and enjoying it -- in fact I had a large bottle of it in the trunk of my car at that very moment. He looked at it and burst out laughing -- it was such a genuine laugh of surprise and delight. Happy birthday, Aragorn! My camera snapped at just the right moment. As soon as I can get these pictures on CD, I'll send them. That one is GOOD!

And then it was my turn. There were too many things I wanted to say to him, and I knew I couldn't say them all. So I had written a letter to give to him, and I was glad I had. At the last minute I enclosed the poems I'd written that morning when looking at his photographs.

I am a composer. I love setting poetry to music, and have wanted to set some of Viggo's poetry (in fact he had just read all the poems I have in mind for this!) I had written to him about it, and sent him some of my music (before October), but hadn't yet had a reply. I had brought along a CD of my new composition to give to him. I was able to say a little about how much he'd inspired me by who he was. (In retrospect it felt inadequate, but he had the letter.) I gave him the CD, and mentioned I'd sent him some other music before -- and he REMEMBERED ME. He also remembered I was Czech. He asked me how to say "thank you" in Czech. ("Dekuji.") Then he asked me to spell it so he could write it in my copy of Hole in the Sun (next to Blue #4 which I love, and which was hanging in the next room.) And when I asked him if I could set some of his poetry to music, he smiled and said sure, that was fine.

He was fully present during the brief time we had together, and made me feel that I had his undivided attention. He genuinely cared. I could feel what a KIND man he was. It must take an enormous amount of energy to do this for each person who comes, and a new person every few minutes, for four hours. (Someone later said he took a two-minute break once!) He is very generous, and I hope that all the love we have for him can help him to feel good about what he does for people.

When it was Mo's turn I was still in a bit of a dream, and almost forgot to take pictures with her camera! The gallery people wanted us to leave pretty soon, but we managed another good look at the second room before leaving. We went out for some supper, and soon Mo and I had to be back for the 7:30 screening of the xtended Fellowship of the Ring. On our way in I got the big bottle of V-GO out of my trunk, put it in a plastic bag, and as we walked past the gallery door (yes, there were still people lined up and yes, he was still being attentive to each one...) I handed it to the friendly gallery lady (as opposed to the other, unfriendly gallery lady whose job it was to shoo people out!). She remembered Buttercup giving him the little cans of V-GO, so I told her this was a refill and could she please get it to him? She said she would, and as we went around to look in from the far door, I could see the big bodyguard carrying my bag over to Viggo's desk and putting it with his growing pile of gifts. So I hope he enjoys it!

While we were waiting for the movie, we saw Viggo's mother come in. So we decided to go and talk to her. As Mo has already said, she is a lovely, elegant, gracious lady (anyone surprised?) She too seemed genuinely interested in us, where we came from, and what it was about Viggo that had inspired me. (Help! Once again I was being asked to put it into a few brief sentences-- I can't do it!) Yes, her name is Grace. And in fact she reminded me of Grace Kelly (and maybe also Katharine Hepburn?) I'd just read something in the local paper which I'd found very sweet -- that when she watches movies with her son in them, she often gets so wrapped up in the story that she forgets he's in them! It was a surprise to hear her say her father was from Nova Scotia -- that would make Viggo 1/4 Canadian, wouldn't it?

All the events of the day were about 20 minutes late, so Viggo arrived about 7:45. I already posted what he said, as well as what the man who introduced him said. Viggo wasn't on stage during the introduction, so I'm not sure if he heard it all or what he thought of it. I thought it was great! The man said Viggo had spent a year on SLU's program in Madrid. He didn't talk about Oxford -- that came from some other message.

To hear Viggo talk about my favourite movie (well, The Two Towers is up there too, but they're really all one long one, aren't they?) was a real treat. I love what he said at the start of the TTT Visual Companion, and this too focused on the need for co-operation and compassion between people of different backgrounds. In contrast to those who have recently been misinterpreting TTT by claiming it was pro-war and particularly pro- US/Iraq war, Viggo said he believed today's audiences were drawn to both movies precisely because they are about this need for compassion. More than an hour later, when Strider pulled down his hood to say "Are you frightened?" , the audience applauded and cheered. And so we travelled again the road from the Shire to Bree to Rivendell to Moria to Lothlorien to Amon Hen.... What a journey. At the end of it Mo and I went back to the gallery where we wandered until it closed at midnight -- to finish as we had started ("and know the place for the first time" as T.S. Eliot would say). Not all who wander are lost....

We stayed at a motel in Potsdam about 10 miles away, since most accommodations in Canton were full due to a track and field meet (not to mention Viggo's events). The next morning I drove back to Canton, to spend some quiet hours in the Fine Arts wing of the same building, working on adapting The Hobbit into a Grade 5 play.... but that's another story.

As I drove those 10 miles I listened to the soundtrack of The Two Towers, and the "Leave-taking" music of the elves began. That's when the emotion of it all really hit me, and tears began streaming down my face -- because it was over, although it would never really be over because it would live in my heart forever; because it had been so glorious; because he had such a wonderful spirit that we were all privileged to be touched by it; because I had truly met him and now I KNEW that no matter whether he was a star, or the sexiest man in Hollywood, or whatever label one might give a famous person, that he was so very HUMAN, so genuine, vulnerable, caring, earnestly trying to follow his calling.

He had doubts and fears, and he felt all the things I've felt. I'd really noticed the melancholic elements of his temperament -- the brooding artist, with sadness in many of the poems and photographs, the fine attention to detail in everything. And I'd also heard him speak more lightly, and LAUGH -- I'd heard his REAL voice, rather than his "acting voice". He is a terrific actor -- but when he is with people as he was here, he doesn't act -- he just is himself. And now I have glimpsed who that is, and I am filled with gratitude for that.

The Leaving of the elves. The leaving of what took place at St. Lawrence University, of being a part of it all, of being in his presence.... Leave-taking. Mo going back to Montreal. Viggo going to spend time with his family. Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli going to rescue Merry and Pippin.... It all brought back the time last summer when I was reading The Return of the King. After all the horrendous and glorious events, the hobbits eventually say good-bye to the King, and then to Gandalf, and they travel the journey of the Fellowship in reverse -- every step taking them away from grandeur and into the ordinary world. There is a sense of loss in that, and it is not easy -- but they are able to do it because they are changed. They are different because of what they had experienced. They can do anything. They can cope with anything. They have inner strength that is empowering and invincible. And I could feel something of that in me. One stage of my journey is over -- another begins. And when fear comes and I know my defenses have to hold, I hear that voice: "They will hold."

See a great pic that Topaz took of Viggo getting his "Vig" juice here

Christine Mar 08, 2003 7:55 pm

My trip to SLU/Canton

Being from Germany this was my first trip to the US. I was going to meet Leslie and see Viggo’s exhibition, attend his poetry reading and have my copy of “Coincidence of Memory” signed!

My “odyssey” began on Thursday morning in Cologne. From there I flew to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. After that I was supposed to fly to Detroit and then to Syracuse, NY where I would meet Leslie. But my flight from Amsterdam was 4 hours delayed, I missed my connecting flight to Syracuse – and had to stay in Detroit for the night! On top of that my cell phone didn’t work…so I had to wait until I arrived at the hotel, before I was able to call my friend Xandra in Germany. She was so clever to contact our lovely Riv Res, who helped me getting in touch with Leslie. She had no idea where I was! But finally we talked on the phone, met in Syracuse the next day and made it to Canton on Friday afternoon!

Well, what can I say – right before the reception that evening I was nervous like on my first day at school. Luckily I had Leslie with me who was able to calm me down a little! We talked to Pilar a bit and suddenly there was Viggo - surrounded by all these people who wanted to take a glimpse. A member of the faculty introduced him (she had a few interesting anecdotes to tell about Viggo as a student ) and after that Viggo himself said a few words. I was so excited I could hardly listen! I decided that it was time to concentrate on the exhibition. There were two rooms – both displaying a lot of my favorite photographs from “Signlanguage”, “Hole in the Sun” and “Coincidence of Memory”. The impact these images had on me was unbelievable! I love Viggo’s books, but to see the pictures “live” was overwhelming!!! There were also poems on the walls. “Back to Babylon”, “Ontario” and “Clear” are the ones I remember. The gallery was really crowded and there were two or three moments where I had the feeling that Viggo seemed a little exhausted and I felt the urge to just grab him, get him out of there and make a cup of hot chocolate for him – okay…this wouldn’t have been as unselfish as it sounds now! When it was time to leave I had taken a lot of pictures! Trying to get rid of my jetlag I slept long on Saturday, which so started with the poetry reading. To be able to listen to Viggo reading his poems was a dream come true for me – and therefor the weekend’s highlight! He read the following poems: Clear, First Light, Back to Babylon, a quote by James Madison, Matinee, Edit, Keepsake (dedicated to his mother), the poem that starts with “They roll over on swells…”, Chaco, Communion and Fossils (dedicated to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan). What struck me most was the way Viggo presents his poems. He speaks loud and clearly but without much accentuation – he so leaves you a lot of room for your own interpretations. When the reading ended (it went by too quickly if you ask me!) it was already time for the booksigning. Of course I got my copy of “Coincidence of Memory” signed…and hey – I even managed not to drool on Viggo while he signed it for me. Later that day came the last opportunity to lay my eyes on Viggo. We attended the screening of the extended version of the FOTR. Before the movie started he talked about how he likes the extended version better than the theatrical one, as it gives you more insight on Tolkien’s characters. I could go on telling you about my feelings for hours, but as I want to keep it short all I can say is: On my way home to Germany on Sunday I was more than tired, but happier than anyone else on that plane – I’m sure!!!

TORn Ocsar Party

Quicktime Movie Clip Window's Movie Clip Together [but not like that] TORn Oscar Party stuff
Ian Smith's Wonderful Weblog
Lilith's land 'O' links

Synopsis of Buttercup's LA adventure:

- Flew out of Toronto Thursday morning (March 20th) -- the day after Bush declared war. Arrived at the airport at 5:10 AM. Customs lineups were insane, but they moved quickly. No problems getting through the line, I wasn't strip searched or anything, but it did take an hour and a half to get through all of the lineups. Then I had another hour and a half to wait for my plane after I cleared security. So I sat in a designated smoking room watching CNN -- kinda surreal since I was still in Canada. Left Toronto on time; landed in Phoenix on time (if you haven't been to Phoenix you should at least land there -- it's soooo beautiful Congrats to all y'all that live there! ); got on the connecting flight to LA, landed 5 minutes early. This was my first time in LA EVER. I didn't realise it was SO BIG.

- Stayed with a friend who lives in Santa Monica. That evening, she drove me along Ocean Dr. while the sun was setting over the beach. OMG!!!! The sun was a beautiful blood orange red. Had dinner in a wee place called Cafe Montana. Had a couple glasses of wine. I was telling my friend all about Canton ( Buttercup's SLU Report) -- got the harshest stares from these two women at the next table when I mentioned the words "Viggo Mortensen". I still don't know why; maybe they were neighbours or overprotective fans or something. (PS If you ladies are posting here, send me a PM -- I want to know what I said!!)

- Friday: Walked down to the beach. Walked along the beach, letting the ocean play with my toes. Wrote on the beach. Hung out on the pier, hung out on the Promenade, and just really enjoyed the day. Was so inspired by the entire place, well Santa Monica, that is. Forgot about what computers were and what they do, forgot about nearly the entire world when I was on that beach. I even forgot about Viggo. (OK don't kick me off the boards now.) Went back to the Promenade at night with LOTR's Lizzy-loo, and had a blast By the way, the 80s are back BIGTIME people...there were girls dressed like Madonna in lots of beads and rubber bracelets, kids breakdancing to Old School beats in the middle of the road...yet they still ID'd this old woman at the bar!

- Saturday: Pre-Oscar Party Pub Moot with various LOTR fans, mostly from LOTR Fan . It was a pub, everyone had fun, there were drinks, so the $70 cab ride from Santa Monica to Los Feliz ended up being worth the trip. (Note to self: next time rent a car for the 3 days, or a limo -- both are cheaper than LA cabs!) After, we walked around the Kodak Theatre. It was very sad to see such a small red carpet on the road, considering it was the 75th anniversary. But it was inspiring to see them putting up the garlands of flowers above the entranceway! More drinks at the Pig'n'Whistle. Lots of anti-war protesters about, everywhere in LA. (will stay neutral about that on this forum, I promise, Leslie!) Went to see a concert at the House of Blues -- my friends told me to look out for Hobbits, but I didn't see any there . Another $50 cab ride took me back to Santa Monica for the late-night pub moot at the only place in CA that sells Coffee Crisps...

- SUNDAY: Said a sad goodbye to Santa Monica. Drove past Track 16 and Bergamot Station. **crazy Buttercup waves at the empty buildings** Pulled into the luxurious Motel 6 Hollywood, located at Hollywood between Highland and Vine. Got all snazzied up and travelled from room to room on the floor visiting all of the LOTR fans who were in various stages of getting ready -- funny, though, we were all watching "Jade Scorpion" on TV. From there, we sauntered over in our formal gowns to the Hollywood Athletic Club, which is on Sunset, about a block south of the hotel. A lineup had already formed, consisting of various characters from Middle Earth (and, I'm sorry, but some men should just NOT dress up as Aragorn ) and the rest of us who looked like entertainment executives in our formal wear.

The inside of the Athletic Club was just gorgeous -- each room was a set from TTT: We came in at Fangorn Forest, we played PS2 in Helms Deep, we ate in Rohan, we listened to an eerie Celtic folk band in the Dead Marshes (complete with fog), we smoked in Mordor, and we cheered our film on in the main hall (go to TORn to find out the name -- there was a bar in every room, and Buttercup did not disappoint!). The place went mad when we won, and we boooed immensely when we lost.

And yes, Sean, Billy, Dom, John R-D, Andy, and Craig "Haldir Lives" Parker were all there, along with Alan Lee and all of the Oscar Winners, walking into the room carrying the gold men above their heads. They called Peter Jackson on a phone, and they put him over the speakers to talk to all of us. He promised to be with us next year! And at that moment, I lost my cultured pearl earring with the wee diamonds. I just saw it fly away across the crowd. Oh well...I still have the other one. And it was worth losing the earring, really, it was

We stayed until we could stay no longer. On our way out, we got our Goody Baggins, which consisted of a limited edition Weta Disc figure, books, bookmarks, mini models...and then we decided that we had had quite enough of our shoes. So we walked home barefoot -- truly, the Barefoot Sisters as we strolled along the Hollywood Walk of Fame on our way back to the hotel.

- Monday: After one hour sleep (yes), and very unwillingly, I went to LAX, and got on the plane. Phoenix was still beautiful, but my heart was on the beach. Landing in Toronto, I was overcome with the emotions that were filling me from all of the memories that were now behind me. Holding back tears, I walked the very very long walkway to Canada Customs. I had filled in my Declaration card, and stood, biting my lip. When the young Customs officer asked me why I was declaring $200 CDN for 5 packs of cigarettes, I said "Well, I went to the Lord of the Rings Oscar Party and they gave out gifts..." "You went to the Lord of the Rings Oscar Party?" he said, incredulously. "That's so cool!" and he gave me a big smile and told me that it was fine, no problem to declare my gifts, and then we had a nice 10 minute chat about Lord of the Rings. So my smile was back on my face. And now I felt like I had come home! Thanks, Canada, for hiring the coolest Customs Officers in the world

And everyone knows that my shirts came in the next day....
OK, that's my brief report. Thanks for indulging me
Buttercups awesome TORn party pics here

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