I'm having that common post-conference problem where the details of my days start to blend together. I can't remember exactly what I did Thursday morning, so I am currently consulting my LeakyCon schedule app I downloaded on my iPad. According to this, the first thing I went to on Thursday was "Finding Hogwarts". Oh yes! I remember now, we had set our alarms for 10 AM (which doesn't sound early, but if you were at LeakyCon you know that's very, very early) so after showering and gulping down a cup of tea, we raced downstairs to see our friends' beautiful documentary. "Finding Hogwarts" was so lovely. The sentiment in it, and seeing all our friends go on a sort of self-discovery mission as Potter fans was just so moving. I want to follow their footsteps and go on my own Potter journey. I can't even imagine.
After the screening, we had lunch (I can't for the life of me remember where) --
Edit: Oh YEAH. After the Finding Hogwarts screening Sarah and I had our "Meat Up" which was something that started as a silly idea, was supposed to be a meetup where we provided a 50 piece chicken nugget meal from McDonald's for everyone to share, but didn't think through the fact that were were no McDonald's anywhere near by. So we ended up just taking the people who came to the meetup over to Island's and having a buffet lunch of mac and cheese, pizza and chicken strips. Not bad. Not bad at all.
My favorite parts of the meetup were coercing Andrew Slack into eating with us (I love that guy) and getting to finally spend some time with my friend Crystal Toscano, who happened to be at LeakyCon as well and was my first close fandom friend, even before Wizard Rock. I knew her from back in fanfiction days. It was lovely to chat with her again.
Anyway, after THAT, we started to get dressed to go to the FINAL MOVIE PREMIERE over at CityWalk at 6:00. It was so, so intense. I saw every other film back home in Seattle, so for the later ones I definitely wore full robes and nerded out in my home theaters. But it was much too hot in Orlando for that. I donned my snake necklace, my Slytherin tie and my Slytherin house sweater over a white tank top and shorts. I felt like it was still representative enough, though I regretted leaving my radish earrings at home. With my wand in my purse, we headed over in the blistering heat (amidst die-hard fans that WERE in full robes, I couldn't believe it) to get in line.
We didn't have to wait long; the people who were performing or speaking or working in any way at Leaky got a special theatre to see the film in, so I ran to the top and settled in between Ariana and Eia (the perfect place to see it). It was exciting because I believe Starkid and, more excitingly, Evanna Lynch and all the Potter kid actors were in our theatre as well. It was a little goosebump-making to know we were seeing the movie in the same room as people who had BEEN IN IT. After merely one preview, the movie started all too soon. I think every single one of us was frozen in place in rapt attention for the full 125 minutes. Luckily I brought special Hello Kitty tissues, because the crying started early and lasted sporadically throughout the entire thing (Spoiler! -- My tears started when Harry stepped out of line at Hogwarts). The whole experience was just so, so intense.
There were obvious flaws and things left out of the movie, but as a whole i just adored it. Over the years I have really separated my love of the books with my love of the movies. Nobody is ever going to create MY Harry Potter on film unless I do it myself, so I try to really just appreciate that someone took the time, effort and money to create these films for us. They're very good. Not perfect, but they still make me feel something, and that's what's important. And seeing it with everyone I love and have shared this whole crazy Potter life with for the past 7+ years was something I can't even really being to comprehend. It was magical, in every sense of the word. Everyone crying together and remembering our personal Potter stories… gah. It was just so much positive, nostalgic, powerful energy.
The cutest thing was later at the conference I went to a keynote with all the kid actors from the movie (Young Lily, Young Snape, Albus Severus, Young Sirius, etc.) and they told us that even though they went to the Premiere in London, they really enjoyed watching it with us more because we had such strong reactions to everything that happened. They said it was crazy to hear us all sobbing in the theatre. I believe Young Lily said at one point, "I knew there were fans, but not fans like these!" It was adorable. Everyone cheered.
After the movie we had dinner at Pastamore on Citywalk and debriefed about our favorite parts and how it felt and all those important things. Also there was drinking, but mostly we reveled in our Potter-ness and enjoyed spending these moments together, still high on seeing the film and stuffing our faces since most of us realized in our excitement we'd forgotten to really eat. That was a common theme throughout LeakyCon, actually.
That night was the first evening of Wizard Rock shows. Most of it was a blur of seeing my friends get onstage and play their best sets ever, talking to fans, selling merch and dancing. At one point I met a few more of the Starkid guys back in the "VIP Section" (I say this with a smirk, like Leaky needs to separate out VIPs - the whole thing just makes me laugh) but anyway, Joey Richter said to me "Hey you're the ALL CAPS girl aren't you? "Don't Unplug Me" was the anthem of my summer last year!" so that was kind of cool. My favorite part about this fandom is the mutual fan-ness. It's nice to know people I admire also appreciate the things that I have done.
I also met Evanna Lynch very, very briefly, and it kind of put my life back in check for a second. I'm telling you, guys, LeakyCon is a BIZARRE existence for me. It's jarring and disorienting to have people constantly calling my name, giving me presents, getting nervous to talk to me. It's something I will never, ever get used to. But when I was back there, dancing, and I turned around and was nearly shoulder to shoulder with Luna Freaking Lovegood. I'll admit I stammered a little when I said, "Hey, I just want to introduce myself. I'm Kristina. I've seen you work with the HPA and I think you're awesome. I'm playing the show here tomorrow night, nice to meet you!" She was lovely, of course, but I just want to tell you guys I get it. I totally get it. I'm just a big of n00b as everyone else sometimes, haha.
I got on stage and sang "Goodbye Privet Drive" with Ministry of Magic as usual, and I can't even begin to tell you how exhilarating it was looking out at that huge crowd of people. There were so many people at the wizard rock shows! I think it was by far the largest crowd I've ever performed in front of; even bigger than VidCon 2010.
The last band to play that night was The Remus Lupins. Alex had Tyler Nicholas on bass (just like old times) and Jarrod Perkins did a phenomenal job on drums. This was an intensely emotional experience as it was Alex's final show as the Remus Lupins entity. I knew it would be sad, but I was not expecting how I reacted to watching his set. I teared up a little during the classics, such as "I was a Teenage Werewolf", but I was NOT prepared for what happened during his final song, "Looking For Trouble". As usual, we all rushed the stage to sing the bah-bah-bah's at the end, and while I was up there, realizing this was the last time I would ever do this - I just lost it. I can't even tell you. So many memories and emotions were spilling out of me, remembering the first Parselmouths/Remus Lupins tour in 2007, all the conferences I'd spent with them, Triple Rainbow Awesome tour in 2010 - And more specifically, Alex telling me that if ever there was a Remus Lupins show I could get to, I was more than welcome to play it.
A lot of wizard rock is based in the North East. I adore all of those bands, but they have a good thing going for them with local shows that I could never really be a part of. On the West Coast, all I had was Alex, and everything he ever did for my band meant so much to me. The Remus Lupins were such a large part of my Wizard Rock experience and it was hard to imagine a world where they're done playing. I gave him a super huge hug after the show and it took me a fair amount of time to dry my own tears. That's when I started to really feel the gravity of this trip begin to set in.
After the show that night a few of us girls went up to my room to just hang out and chat, and more friends started showing up until we had a little medium sized party going in our room. It was a fairly chilled out party, but it was good. We were slowly gearing up to the larger and more intense parts of the weekend, so I was really okay with that. :)
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