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The One Party

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It's two days after the TORN's Oscars party and it already seems like a dream. I know Sir Ian was there, I know that I hugged Richard Taylor and PJ and Fran at some point, but it's like a kaleidoscope mixed in with the moments I spent with the many, many people on TORN who I have spoken to for many years but never met, and the crazy, casual conversations with new friends. This was a big party spread over four or five large spaces, upstairs and down, and there was always something going on that you missed, no matter where you were.

When I got there around 2pm on Sunday the volunteers had been preparing the venue since the morning. Calisuri showed me around and introduced me to about 20 people - many of them from his enormous tribe of family and friends - who I spent the rest of the night trying to keep their names straight.

The Hollywood Athletic Club already looked good with the auction and raffle items set up in one room, big standees and banners placed around the entry foyer and so on. Most people had gone to the pub across the road for lunch so I joined them, finally meeting Tookish, Gamgee, Gandalf and many other longtime netfriends. I went to the bar and a total stranger bought me a beer just on the strength of my connection with TORN.

Then it was back inside to take part in the chaos of setup. Xoanon and Corvar showed up from wherever they'd gone to get into their tuxes - they both looked smashing! But we all had a moment of 'is that you?' when we first met, which is weird seeing as how on the screen we're so familiar.

By the time we opened the doors, the line of fans stretched around the block. And what a terrific-looking party of fans you were! People had gone to a lot of trouble to look good, and hey guys, you DO look good in a tux, all of you. The women had more choices between going for the Elvish look and going for all-out glamour and elegance.

People started filing inside around 5pm and we were busy handing out goody bags, selling raffle tickets etc. People in beautiful clothes started to file up the great stairwell, passing ornate mirrors flanked with statuettes to past film stars. Rudolph Valentino stood on his pedestal, Johnny Weissmuller had climbed off his and was hanging from the top of the mirror with a monkey swinging from his leg. Jincey and I noticed that he was all present and correct under his loincloth!

Slowly the rooms filled - some people sat quietly watching the Oscars proceedings in the screening room, but this got more rowdy as the night went on. Others partied away in the other rooms.

The press were there, and my memory of the night is one of being interrupted from countless conversations because I had to give an interview or I had to go find somebody else that a reporter wanted to talk to. I said the usual things (not that they become any less true through repetition): That although we fans didn't have a hands-on role in making the movies, we still felt a sense of involvemnt and ownership. Whatever happened tonight at the Oscars, we would be and already were immensely proud of the film and its makers, including the many, many film workers who would not be at the Oscars ceremony that night. I enjoyed being phoned up by Radio NZ to give them a report on the proceedings, since I knew there would be a lot of interest there.

Finally there was a moment that I'd been anticipating for a very long time - years, in fact: standing shoulder to shoulder with the other TORN founders to thank the fans and celebrate our achievements in setting up TORN at the same time as we had so much to celebrate for the film itself. For us, this party was a chance to celebrate actually meeting each other!

Around midnight, word came that the film people were making their way from their first party to ours, so the PTB and staff filtered down to the doors to welcome them. Or so I assume - by the time I heard about it, Sir Ian was already upstairs swimming happily through a sea of fans. Staff members were trying to keep the fan crush to a reasonable limit, but Sir Ian seemed to welcome the uproar and fuss, and he made himself available to his well-wishers. Then suddenly PJ and Richard Taylor and the others - Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Jim Rygiel, Howard Shore, Mark Ordesky [and others who I am remiss in forgetting] were there, shaking hands, waving the Oscars around, being hugged and hand-shaken.

I remember I asked PJ 'How do you feel?' which sounds incredibly gauche, since he could have taken to mean 'How do you feel, not having won an Oscar?' It would have been more accurate to ask 'How do you feel, surrounded by all this love and euphoria and excitement about what you've done?' He just smiled with a 'you win some, you lose some' look and I wandered off to see if I could get my foot out of my mouth somewhere quiet. I found one of the Oscars sitting by itself being ignored on a pool table, so I picked it up and examined it, thinking it was the little replica we'd had put up by the registration desk. No, it was the real one. There were probably security people going all tense around me when I did that, but I wasn't noticing.

Richard Taylor had no reservations, he was being the lion of the evening, as much as a New Zealander ever does, striding around having his photo taken with the Oscars and talking happily to anyone who wanted to talk to him. The club broke out free champagne and after that things get hazy. The film folk left around 2am, most of the TORN staff stayed so long that they only left to have breakfast at Denny's. I missed that but regrouped with the survivors for brunch around 11am and we wondered when we were going to do all this again.

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