Friday morning we got up and headed down to the pool area for food. I can't seem to remember if we did anything before that, but it must not have been important if we did, so I'm going to decree that the day began with food. There was a cute little covered outdoor restaurant area and I remember being obsessed with the Chile Lime Vinaigrette dressing they brought me for my salad. I don't know why these details are important, haha, but I want to remember EVERYTHING.
After eating, we met up with the rest of our friends over by the water. I didn't go swimming for very long but in the time that I was there, the water was perfect, the sun was shining and we took lots of adorable pool pictures. I love these little moments at conferences; the momentary breaks from all the crazy, the short stretches of time where my friends and I just get to stop and enjoy each others company while splashing around in the pool or sprawled out on someone's hotel bed. It's just lovely.
Pool time ended abruptly however, when we realized we needed to rush over to the Pottermore keynote to get there in time to see the whole thing. We threw our clothes on (our wet bathing suits were already soaking through) and managed to snag seats near the front on the left side.
Let me just tell say that the Pottermore keynote was one of my absolute favorite parts of the whole week. Before walking into that room, all we knew about the project was what they had vaguely given us online with the owls and the J.K. Rowling video and the broad explanation that we were getting a "new online interactive reading experience".
And essentially, that's what it is. But this keynote went into such detail, the whole room was in absolute awe of what we were being told. It was one of the most magical feelings, sitting in that room that day. There were hundreds and hundreds of Harry Potter fans who'd truly thought we'd reached the end of our journey of getting new Potter content, but Pottermore really sounds as incredible as they hyped it up to be. We get to re-read the books in an online/public setting, get thousands of words of new information and backstory, get sorted (for REAL!) into houses, we'll get assigned our own unique wand and compete for the house cup - and the most exciting part is that they're not all being released at once. We get new release dates for each book. RELEASE DATES. If there's one thing this fandom does well, it's wait for things. The very notion that we have more Potter things to WAIT FOR made everyone in that room feel like they were on the verge of tears (of happiness).
So I'm pretty pumped about it. I know Pottermore wont be for everyone, but from the few things they showed us of the site, I know I'm personally going to love it. My favorite part of the whole presentation was when a slide popped up that had a whole paragraph about McGonagall's life that none of us had ever seen before, and the way everybody in that room reacted to it. I'm sure the speaker only put it up there as an example of what the additional text would look like, but when he began speak, the whole room actually audibly shushed him so we could read it. I don't think he anticipated that at all, because he kind of hurried to switch the next slide, much to the chagrin of the rest of us. Any other panel, any other place, shushing an official speaker would be so, so rude. But here, with Potter fans - you CANNOT just bring in new writing from JKR and expect us to ignore it. Haha. It was so funny.
After the Pottermore panel we all raced to change out of our wet clothes (it was already freezing in the main ballroom without being sopping wet from the pool) and if I remember correctly, I think we wandered around a bit before heading unto the Tchoup Chop for dinner with Sam Friedman, Elizabeth Barret, Brian Malfoy, Tessa Violet and Shawna Howson. Everyone was so blown away by how amazing this restaurant was. They were super accommodating, and when they brought out our food, about 6 waiters were involved so they could set everyone's plates down at the exact same moment. So funny. And kind of adorable.
Sam I filled up on these wonton crisps they brought us (I think we ended up asking them to refill the basket at least twice) and then I got the most delicious bowl of fried rice I've ever had, though I may have been slightly disillusioned by 1. how awesome the restaurant was in general and 2. how little we actually ate while at LeakyCon and how starving you'd realize you were when you DID finally eat.
After dinner it was time to set up for the second night of wizard rock shows. Eia and Kayley and I lugged our merch down to the main ballroom and I'll be honest, things were super hectic and stressful from that moment on to our show because I thought we were playing second but it turned out we were actually first. This led to a few technical failures within the Parselmouths set (like realizing mid-set that the iPod I needed for the second to last two songs was still in my purse back at the merch table) but I think all in all it was a very fun show. Eia and I hammed it up by giving out My Little Pony themed party hats, pink party blowers, pink and green mardi gras beads and had Rosi and Sam come onstage to cover everything with pink and green streamers while we played. Alex was hilarious as a stand-in Harry for "Please Harry", and the set ended beautifully with Alex on guitar and Jarrod on drums for a full-band rendition of "This is Never Gonna End", which I proceeded to start crying during the middle of while singing. It was perfect.
I guess I haven't really talked about this yet, but I had been nervous about my voice the whole week since my nodes are at a pretty bad stage right now, and I had already been losing my voice something fierce by Friday afternoon. But somehow, there was something I was able to channel deep inside of me for that show and I managed to pull it off without a hitch. I mean, it was probably terrible for my voice, but at least I was able to do it. To make up for it, I've been ignoring everyone since I've been home and talking very little unless the conversations have been happening over texts or on gchat. Gotta prep myself for VidCon, haha. Then it's no more singing until 2012. I promise.
After our set was over I was finally able to relax and enjoy the rest of the show. It was funny, because before I left for LeakyCon I was really nervous about being an emotional wreck the entire week, but until Friday night I had managed to keep it together pretty well. But that night, at the show - I was the biggest mess. I cried at everything. Literally everything. Matt's set was amazing, and when everyone continued to sing "We're wizards, we'll party forever. This night will never end," I sobbed. When Evanna Lynch got on stage to dance during the songs about Luna, I blubbered. And oh my GOD. When Harry and the Potters got onstage to play the last set of the evening and I began to think back to seeing them live for the first time in 2003, deciding to start my own wizard rock band, realizing how long ago that was and how far I've come… I'm not going to lie. There was a part of the night where I wasn't even watching the show anymore, but instead sitting in a heap on the floor with an equally emotional Eia and Ariana and just BAWLED. For like 20 minutes.
But it was good. This was a deeply moving and emotional night, and there were a lot of feelings for me to process. When you're in a room full of so many people you just love SO MUCH, that have affected and influenced your life in so many inexplicable ways, celebrating such a wonderful time together and not having to explain to each other why we're feeling the way we do -- it's really hard NOT to cry. So I was glad I let it out. I needed it.
It was a pretty funny sight, actually. This was the night that a bunch of different people all gave me My Little Pony related toys as presents, so I was walking around in my sparkly dress, eyes red and puffy, sniffling, arms just FULL of My Little Pony toys. I'm sure more than one person chuckled at me as I passed by them. This was also the night I really started to get to know Mike Lombardo's drummer Andy Rumschlag, and being the sweet guy that he is, he carried all of my pony toys for me for awhile so I could sign things for people and give them hugs after the show.
I'm not sure how this started, but after the show ended, I also seem to remember a bunch of my friends (myself included) sitting on the floor in the middle of the emptied-out ballroom for a little while. Before long, we were all rolling around like crazy flailing people, back to stomach, probably unsure what other way to deal with the energy and emotion in the room. I distinctly remember Alex Carpenter looking over at us and saying incredulously, "Is this seriously happening right now?" And yes. Yes it was.
One of the most emotionally moving parts of my whole trip happened directly after the show was over (I know, like it could get more emotional than crying on the floor for twenty minutes; surprisingly, it CAN) when I ran into the Catitude/Eff Yeah Nerd Fighter people. I had met Katie Twyman earlier in the week and she told me she's try to make sure I got to meet them, but I wasn't expecting to just walk into the Registration Hall and find every single one of them in a group before me. To explain, this is the group of people who organized the secret project to get tons and tons of people to send me Get-Well-Soon letters and presents a couple weeks ago due to my announcement about my vocal nodes. I was such a mess when I first realized what they had done (back in Seattle), so to see them all standing in front of me, smiling at me -- it was almost comical how quickly I BURST into tears.
They enveloped me in the sweetest group hug of my entire life and I thanked them profusely, insisting we all take a picture together. It's probably my favorite picture from the whole trip. After chatting for a bit, I dried my eyes for the fourth time that night and headed up to my hotel room to drop off the ponies and relieve Andy of his duties as pony-master.
The rest of the evening was mostly just general hotel hanging-out; we discovered an outdoor room within the indoor lobby (weird, I know) with elephants and a big fountain and hung out there for awhile. After a few minutes, though, I headed back to Andy's room to get more drinks and ended up finding Mike, Hayley, Kayley, and Adam Colas there, so we stayed to hang out. I really loved that I got to spend a little time with all my different friends at Leaky, rather than staying in one group the whole time. There were so many people and friends at LeakyCon that it was sometimes overwhelming, but I really feel like I managed to spend a good amount of time with everyone.
The night ended much too soon (even though I was still up until about 5 in the morning), but we had one more big day left at our beloved conference and we all wanted to be ready for it.
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