Saturday, June 8, 2013

Welly-moot goes to the Weta Cave's 5th birthday party

The Weta Cave celebrated its 5th birthday this week - they first opened their doors to the public at 11:00am, on the 6th of June, 2008. As it happened, Alex and I were the first two through the doors on the day (ok, she was first, but I was holding the doors open for her).

Daniel Reeve
We weren't as quick off the mark today, five years (and two days) later. We arrived at the Weta Cave just around 1:30pm, halfway through an enormous queue for Weta's calligrapher/cartographer Daniel Reeve, who was selling his new Hobbit Birthday Party Invitations, and handwriting people's names onto them with his calligraphy skills. I had brought my map of The Shire (after taking it off my wall), and he signed it for me. Oddly, since his work covers a lot of my mancave's wall, I didn't have his autograph yet!

Mark Hadlow (aka Dori, and Bert)
While we were waiting, we spotted Dwarf actor Mark Hadlow elsewhere in the mass of people, and Chief Wizard Richard Taylor as well.

Alex with Jed Brophy (aka Nori) and an enormous smile on her face
The call went up that there was another Dwarf on the premises, and sure enough, Jed Brophy had arrived also.


Alex, still smiling, with Tania Rodger
After Daniel Reeve graciously signed my (his?) map, we went outside, and met up with Tania Rodger, Weta Workshop manager (and partner of Richard Taylor).

Various other people, including Warren Beatton and Dave Tremont came by to join in the celebrations, cake was eaten, and balloons added to the happy occasion.

Mad scientist and Welly-mooter, Warren.
Richard Taylor with Alex, and her autographed Hobbit book

Dave Tremont, Doctor Who fan #1, and creator of the miniature Barad-Dur

One interesting tale came to hand - in the morning a very special guest had been introduced to the crowds - Hermes the Blue Tongue Skink.

I was initially unclear about why he'd been invited (apart from being pretty awesome), but his handler/owner, Shirley Jones, mentioned offhand that he had been a digital model for Smaug when Guillermo Del Toro was still directing. I couldn't draw her out on more detail, so I'm not sure if Smaug still looks like Hermes, or how much, but that was an interesting snippet of information!?!

 I'm pretty sure this will be discussed at the next meeting - quite a few Welly-mooters had made their way to the event as well. I saw Annabel, Warren, Erin, Cinnamon, Elliot, and Ryan and Hawk. Did I miss anyone?

As an unrelated side-note, Alex and I are on our way to Japan next week, we'll be back for the next meeting (July 14th). Hope to see you all there! I'll be available via email sporadically if anyone needs me (but please don't need me).

  - Jack

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