Lumos! 2006 • An Evening with Harry, Carrie, and Garp
July 27-30, 2006 • August 1-2, 2006
Las Vegas, NV • New York City, NY
Below you will find all our coverage from Lumos! 2006 and An Evening with Harry, Carrie, and Garp! There are reports from both Julie and Brendan below, as well as a link to our galleries and our podcast coverage.
By: Brendan | Julie
Lumos! 2006 – A Personal AccountBrendan Kenney
Day 1: July 27. 2007
“Welcome to Las Vegas, NV. Local time is 11:45pm and current weather is scattered clouds with a nice, mild temperature of 95˚F.”
Yes – yes, it was nearly midnight and the temperature was nearly 100 degrees when Julie, my dad, and I landed in Las Vegas on July 27, anticipating the largest Harry Potter gathering since Spellbound! 2005, (though it was considerably smaller). Having never been to Vegas before, I was a little more excited than Julie, as she’d already seen Vegas. But we’d never seen it together, and we’d never seen it while heading to a Harry Potter convention where all my coworkers were waiting to meet us! Julie picked out our rental car and we were on our way to the JW Marriott. After an hour and a half in the car, all three of us pulled into the JW Marriott Main Tower. Julie called K’lyssa (MNet) and we waited for her to come down from Palms Tower to get us.
When she got there, we had quite the reunion running at each other and squeeing a bit… yeah, it was a tad bit of a scene, haha. K’lyssa then led us to the tower we’d be staying in – Palms Tower. We dropped our luggage off, said bye to my dad (who carried both Julie’s and my heaviest bags), and then headed up to the MuggleNet suite to meet everyone.
Emerson answered so we all met him first, (we meaning Rachel, Jess, Laura, and some others we’d run into on our way up, as well as K’lyssa, Julie, and myself) and then he led us out to the back porch where we met the rest of the staff that was there. We played DDR for a bit. I was laughed at because I’m absolutely terrible at it. Rachel had a go, Brandi had a go and whooped all our butts, and Emerson went and further whooped us. Then, Julie, K’lyssa, and I headed back downstairs to sit in the big chairs for a bit and talk (until four in the morning…). During this time, Sue Upton from Leaky found us and sat to talk with us for a bit, and when she left, Eric found us! I don’t think Eric and I could’ve become better friends any quicker than we did. The four of us ran around to find a piano, and when we did, Eric and I played “Heart and Soul” for a little bit and then he left me to my own. I played some of what I had memorized, which clearly included Harry Potter music, as well as some classical stuff I had memorized, and some Disney stuff Eric requested that I kinda made up on the fly because I’d played them, like, twice and didn’t have music in front of me. Oh, there was some Wicked thrown in there, too. After we were done, we ran into some very cold, half naked MuggleNet staff on their way back from the Pool/Spa area. Emerson, Jamie, and Ben, all clutched their towels shivering in the air conditioning of the hotel, and waved as they made their way back up to the room.
Then, K’lyssa, Julie, and I went back up to the hotel room to sleep. Jill (MNet) and Dave (HPFZ) were already asleep so K’lyssa took the closet, I took a piece of floor, as did Julie. We were all actually quite comfortable, minus the fact it was about -932485˚ in the room.
Day 2: July 28, 2006
I woke up at around nine and went down to get my Press Pass and registration sorted out. I stopped at the 24 hour Starbucks that was in the hotel and sat down with my Media packet to figure out what the heck I was going to be doing and covering. I picked out a few things and made my schedule, then headed back up to the room.
Julie and I headed back down to the convention later and did some interviewing for the podcast. After our first take with the “National Irish Quidditch Champs”, I realized I was stupid and forgot to tell Julie to turn on the microphone. Feeling very stupid, I called the team back over, explained my stupidity to them, and we re-shot the segment. We also ran into Lucius and Draco Malfoy, and Professor Trelawney.
After completing a good portion of our filming, we went back up to the room and Julie and I spent the day making Marauders’ Map t-shirts via stencils. I created custom stencils and cut them out, and she stenciled the paint on the shirts. That took quite a bit of time. By now, Eric had moved in with us and he absolutely loved the shirts, so when I got home I made him one too. Finally, when the shirts were painted, Julie, K’lyssa, and I went to dinner at the Irish pub that was downstairs and we were waited on by this fantastic waitress who gave us free food to hold us over because I ordered a Gaelic steak that took some time to cook.
Then, that night, Jill, Dave, Eric, K’lyssa, Julie, and I just bummed around the room for a little bit and had some good laughs as we talked about the Harry Potter films, and as Eric did his impressions of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore for us. Then we went out and met up with some more MNet staff, among them, Brandi, Elysa, Laura, Rachel, and a few others we’d already met to walk around the hotel. We ended up running into Alex (The Remus Lupins) so we hung out with him for a little bit. We then decided it would be fun to aimlessly walk around and see if we could find anything to do. Having already gone to get dinner/dessert at the Irish Pub, we just walked around and through the Casino that, because we were in Vegas, was right in the center of the hotel. At one point, we were stopped and harassed by the JW Marriott security for being underage in a casino. Yeah, ok, buddy. I waved my press pass in his face as I was the only one in the group that had one and said “This here? Yeah, I’m covering the convention that’s taking place here and need to walk through the casino from time to time.” The other guys mumbled some more things to him and he let it go, but followed us out of the casino. Elysa and I, being the jerks that we are, went to the security desk and tattled on the dang guard that accosted us. Well, actually, we really just inquired as to what we were and weren’t allowed to do, and expressed extreme frustration at the fact we were stopped in a casino when the casino is in the center of a hotel, and there’s a convention going on that’s going to attract a LOT of underage people to the hotel.
So, we went back up to the MuggleNet Suite and, as everyone was still out, left fairly quickly and said good night.
Day 3: July 29, 2006
I woke up after a late night and went directly down to the convention to cover the Keynote Luncheon that was taking place. After clearing up some confusion with the Lumos staff as to what the press pass actually did, I was allowed in to video and cover the lecture. But unfortunately, my contact went nuts and I had to leave to go back to the room after getting all the shots I needed so I could fix it. I did, and Dad called saying that he and his friend, Chuck, who lives in Vegas wanted to take Julie and me out to lunch. So, knowing we had to be back at 3:30 for the podcast, they came at 1:30 and took us out to a buffet style restaurant. It was amazing! They had every kind of food there you could possibly want, and it was all sectioned off into “American, Chinese, Mexican, etc…”. I was in heaven, and ate two full, mountainous plates of food. All through lunch, the conversation centered around Julie’s and my work at Lumos, and Harry Potter in general. Chuck then unknowingly gave us an idea for the design of the MMap t-shirts. We made a mental note, and went back to lunch.
Then, we drove back to the hotel, said bye, and went back to work. By the time we got back, people were already lined up and waiting for their bracelets into the podcast. I ran down the line to find staff members and get my assignments. K’lyssa and I ended up simply being around to answer questions and tell people where to go. Then we all went back to the green room and hung out for a while.
When we were there, Laura expressed being nervous about the trivia contest, so we all stood in a circle and made up a game involving these blue bouncy balls that advertised Prophecy 2007 to prepare Laura for the contest. We went back to the hall in which the podcast was to be hosted and got things set. Emerson told me he’d forgotten the box of t-shirts they were supposed to have to throw out at the audience back in the green room and sent Jill and me back to go get them. Then, everything was set, and the podcast was nearly ready to open its doors. The cast went back to the green room to get ready for their appearance. I ran back to tell Emerson where I’d put the shirts and ran into Laura in there at the same time. She gave me a big hug and I told her she’d be fine and that I love her dearly (because I do!) and that I’d also be leaving before the podcast ended because my flight was late that night. So, she gave me another hug and we said goodbye until NYC. Then, I went back to the hall to make the final arrangements so we could open the doors to the podcast.
When we did, oh my – It was as if people were hungry, predatory birds, and the best seats were a long-awaited, juicy meal. It filled quite quickly and I ran out of my pile of lyrics to “It’s Voldemort Outside” quicker than I’d anticipated. I went down, took my seat, got my equipment ready, and began filming alongside WizardMania! for the podcast’s beginning, and The Remus Lupins’ opening show.
I filmed what I needed, said goodbye, and then ran back, met up with Julie, and headed back to the hotel room to pack as quickly as was humanly possible. We ran downstairs, met my dad, and drove to the airport for our plane home.
We landed back on the east coast at around 7am the next morning (YAY, RED EYE!) and crashed in our respective beds.
Then, before we knew it, it was time to head out for New York City…! Brendan’s NYC Report
Lumos! 2006 – My Personal ReportJulie Goldstein
I just thought I’d start this off by saying that Lumos!2006 was an excellent experience, even if I was not overly impressed by the convention itself. It was an opportunity for me to fly across the country, accompanied by one of my dearest friends, to meet a slew of exceptional people (both fans and colleagues alike.) The best part being that we all had something in common… our love of Harry Potter.
Brendan and I arrived in Las Vegas at about quarter of midnight. Figuring out where to find the JW Marriott was a bit of an adventure, but we managed. K’lyssa met us in the lobby and led us to our room. David and Jill were sleeping so we decided, “Hey! Let’s go to Emerson’s room!” and (after grabbing a few other people to come along) we did. Good times had by all. Later K’lyssa, Brendan and I ran into Eric and we hung around until we nearly passed out from exhaustion.
The next day (or the same day, depending on your perception of actual time versus daylight) Brendan and I set out to figure out how to go about getting internet access in our room as well as a box-cutter, which ended up being harder than one might think. Luckily we were successful in procuring both WiFi and the knife.
Soon after, we went in to the convention and got some of our video podcast done, meeting some outstanding people along the way. Then we decided to go back to our room to eat some peaches and begin the tedious yet love-filled making of our Marauders’ Map t-shirts. They came out gorgeous… totally worth all the time and effort it took to cut out all of the stencils with the box-cutter and paint them. Proud of ourselves, we decided to have a victory dinner with K’lyssa at the Irish pub downstairs. Great ambiance (very Leaky Cauldron… the place, not the website), phenomenal food, and an excellent waitress who even sported a brogue. It rocked.
The rest of the night was crazy. We hung out with a group of people who made my day, met another random group that ended up being some of the funniest people I had ever met, got harassed out of the casino (which was in the middle of the hotel, mind) by a rent-a-cop named James, and went up to Emerson’s room for a bit.
The next morning Brendan went down to the luncheon while I stayed up in the room tinkering around with some site stuff. When he came back, we proceeded to the whole LeakyMug Podcast craziness. Once all the bracelets were given out, the Mugglenet people and I hung out in the press room until the lines started getting long. Emerson gave all of us t-shirts and off we went.
The Podcast was great but unfortunately Brendan and I had to cut out early to catch our red-eye flight home. We chased the sun (only getting about three hours of darkness in total, due to time differences.) It was amusing in a very disturbing way. Julie’s NYC Report
An Evening with Harry, Carrie, and Garp!
By: Brendan | Julie
New York, 2006! – A Personal AccountBrendan Kenney
Day 1: August 1, 2006
After a night of absolutely no sleep, Julie came with her parents to come pick me up at 5:00 and we were off to South Station (both of us overly excited) to board the Amtrak Regional that would take us to Penn Station, New York City. After leaving at around 6:15, we arrived at Penn Station somewhere close to 10:45. Julie and I did not want to pay for a taxi to take us to the hotel, and our hotel was at 56th and 7th, so we walked a little over twenty blocks in the 100˚ plus weather to the hotel.
Hours passed before we were allowed to check in, but Jill (MuggleNet.com) and Jeannie (HP Fan Trips) took us into their room for a while when we were waiting to check into our room. I adore those two. Jill, Julie, and I cruised Broadway for a while, until my contact freaked out and needed to be replaced, at which point we went back to the hotel. A few hours later, Catherine (!), my adopted mom and the little woman in the red t-shirt from my Spellbound! 2005 report, ran and met us at the hotel. We hadn’t seen each other since Spellbound! 2005 so we had quite a reunion.
Catherine took us out to dinner telling us that we “need to go to Mars. We’re going to Mars for dinner!” So we walked a few blocks and came up to this restaurant, but when you walk in, it looked like an amusement park attraction as it had the cloth line dividers up and such. We made our way through the line and sat down in a simulator. Then it literally took us to Mars. We bounced around and, via the screen in front of us, flew to Mars for dinner. We all ordered (to our charming waitress with a cute little accent) and Jeannie and I began speculating about what the reading that night would be like. Soon, the whole table was talking and we couldn’t wait to leave and see the reading. So, we were getting ready to leave, and I look to my right and come face to face with a Martian. Of course, I embarrass myself by almost jumping into Jeannie’s lap, giving the Martian quite a kick, as well reason to laugh at me!
We paid, left, Catherine handed out our tickets to us and we headed over to the Radio City Music Hall for the 7:30 reading. After waiting in line for a while, we got in and I climbed the stairs to my first mezzanine seat. I just so happened that I got a phone call from my friend Ali earlier when I was waiting in line to get in that went a little something like this:
“Hi, Brendan? Guess where I am!”
“…You don’t happen to be in New York City at the Radio City Music Hall for An Evening with Harry, Carrie, and Garp at which JK Rowling is supposed to read from one of the Harry Potter installments …are you?”
“Wow, um, yeah, I am. How’d you know?”
“Because I’M here TOO! With Marauders’ Map and MuggleNet.”
Then after lots of squeeing, we found each other in Radio City after we had both found our seats, and she further surprised me with the fact she had brought another one of my friends with her, Kelly. We gave hugs, talked for a bit, and then ran away so that we wouldn’t miss the start of the show.
Then, it happened. The lights dimmed, a spotlight turned on, and Whoopi Goldberg stepped into the light to begin the event. I did not stop laughing the entire time she was talking; I won’t lie. With that, Whoopi introduced Kathy Bates to give the introduction speech for author Stephen King. King made an eerily perfect entrance to the soundtrack of one of his movies, through fog and a creepily lit stage. His performance was nothing short of phenomenal, making us want to throw up and laugh simultaneously, and charming us with his spooky elegance as is his signature. King finished, and next up was John Irving. Irving, too, entered to the soundtrack from a movie based on one of his novels, but without the “creepy effect”. He read from A Prayer for Owen Meany , which happens to be one of my favorites of his works. He read it with fantastic character, bringing Owen’s raspy falsetto voice to life.
But, of course, for the Potter fans present in the 6000+ person crowd, the highlight of the night was when Jo Rowling’s set rolled out on stage and she walked out to the music John Williams wrote all those years ago when Harry Potter was first released on film, “Harry’s Wondrous World”. She came out and announced that she would be doing a Q & A talkback at the end of her reading, and a second talkback with the other two authors in the evening’s program. She read from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13 – “The Secret Riddle”, complete with all the appropriate voices for the characters.
Then there was the talkback, during which we learned the following:
- Hermione would see herself and the two boys alive and safe with Voldemort Dead, as well as herself “entwined with a certain someone” in the Mirror of Erised, a question Jo had never been asked before.
- Potions can not be brewed by muggles due to the fact that a wand is always involved in some way or another and because muggle contact with a wand would result in a nasty accident, the answer is no.
- Redemption is not possible for all her characters (ie, Voldemort) but is for some. When asked if Draco or Snape would redeem themselves, she says she agrees with Harry when he says he doesn’t think Draco would have ever killed Dumbledore, regardless of the amount of time he had to do it, but that we would have to “wait ‘til book seven” to find out what that means, if anything.
- There are other possible wand cores other than the three that Olivander uses. She says Olivander used the three most powerful, which also happened to be her favorites.
- With regard to how Jo decides to stop writing the books, she lightly joked “Well, some reviews of Order of the Phoenix suggested I don’t know when to stop,” at which point she and the entire audience laughed. She then, seriously, said that she’s had these books planned for 16 years and that, although she’s far into Book 7, she feels there may be some loose ends left untied.
At this point, the other two authors joined her on stage and there were two more questions directed to Jo:
- Jo avidly refuses the temptation to look up negative reviews on Amazon about the HP Series when she writes. She also acknowledged that the internet is an amazing and exciting thing when used correctly and with caution.
- Jo never considered giving up on Harry despite the initial rejections from big name publishers. If she had, she’d be teaching, she thinks.
Then we left, signed some autographs, and went out to eat for a combined MuggleNet, Marauders’ Map, and Leaky Cauldron staff meet-up. Then after, Catherine (MNet, HPFZ), Zach (HPFZ), Jeff (HPANA), Gerry (HPANA), Julie (MMap, MNet), Jill (MNet), Jeannie (HP Fan Trips), and I (MMap, MNet) went cruising around NYC for a bit of a late night walk. We got back to the hotel and went to sleep around 3, and were up at 8:30 the next day to be on our way to the Live Podcast.
DAY 2: August 2, 2006
Julie and I left the hotel at around 9:30 to get the podcast. We got there, got our staff bracelets, and Catherine and I set up our equipment to cover the event for our respective websites. I went to the back room, loaded up on MuggleNet stickers thanks to Dylan Spartz, who seemed manufacture them in his pocket, and went back out to interact with the fans while they were waiting. The podcast began and I went nuts taking all the pictures my camera could hold. Emerson made Catherine cry when he mentioned that “she makes [his] life so much easier, so thanks, Catherine.” Yup, Catherine turned to me and broke out the tissues. Haha Oh, Catherine.
So after, we went outside, and I said goodbye to some of the staff because I wasn’t sure I’d see them before I left. Then Catherine, Julie, and I went out to dinner at “The Slaughtered Lamb”. It reminded very much of a New York City version of “The Hog’s Head” except, less sketchy. It was great, and we met up with some of her (and my adopted, extended) family there. Then, the sad part came and it was time to say goodbye. After having met and spent nearly three days with her last year in the hotel at Spellbound! 2005, I spent only two partial days with her in New York this year, and it was already time to say goodbye. I was sad. But we both vowed to not let it be as long this time, so hopefully we’ll see each other soon!
Julie and I got in a cab and headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Then, not having time to walk, we hailed a cab and took it to Penn Station. (The Spanish cab driver tried to get us to ditch our train and let him drive us back home… uh, k, no thanks!) When we got there, we found our train had been delayed, so I went to go upgrade our tickets to a train that would be leaving in ten minutes time. When I came back, Julie informed me that there was a group of people that were MuggleNet fans there and recognized me. This is when I met Stefana, Katie, and who I assumed to be their Mom, (Hi, guys!). They are apparently from around my area as well, so Julie and I took some time to sit down and talk with them – almost too much time, as we had to run to board our train after we realized what time it was!
But here I am, back at home in bed writing this, and I’m glad everything worked out as well as it did. Marauders’ Map now has a brilliant new podcast as a result of both Lumos and NYC, and I’ve finally gotten to meet my co-workers in person. See ya’ll at Prophecy 2007!
NYC, 2006! – My Personal Account
After a mere day of rest, off Brendan and I went to New York City. Neither of us bothered sleeping the night before, (considering our need to leave at about four thirty to catch our six o’clock train) so we were both dog-tired. We actually ended up at the wrong station, but the Amtrak people were nice enough to let us board anyway. It took us about four and a half hours to reach Penn Station. It was dreadfully hot and even more humid. We walked all the way to our hotel on Fifty-Sixth Ave., our bags in tow. We met Jill there and she let us stow our bags in her room until check-in.
Jill, Brendan and I decided to scope out the area. That was fun, especially the Hershey’s shop. Yeah, free chocolate truffles!
The humidity finally became too much, so we went back to Jill’s room to hang out. Jeannie (who was staying with Jill) showed up and we all hung out until check-in time from Bren and me.
Directly after check-in we went downstairs and met Zach, Catherine, Kevin (Catherine’s cousin), Jill and Jeannie for lunch at Mars 2112. That place had a cool atmosphere, the food was ok and the company was outstanding. We were almost done eating when I got a call from a very lost, frazzled, and confused K’lyssa. With Kevin as my guide, I went to meet her and bring her back to the hotel to drop her stuff off. K’lyssa and I had to run (quite literally) to the Roxie to make it to Harry, Carrie and Garp… but, by God, was it worth it.
As for more on Harry, Carrie and Garp… words cannot describe… nothing as mundane as English vocabulary could ever encompass… see? I’m flabbergasted just thinking about it. It was that… spectacular! Not that “spectacular” word is in any way strong enough to describe the heavenly nature of that reading. In fact, it seems to cheapen it, I think. But I digress.
Afterward the Leaky Cauldron, Mugglenet and Marauders’ Map staff members went out for dinner, which was nice.
The next morning was more LeakyMug madness, after checking out of the hotel and checking our luggage. Brendan and I showed up at Barnes and Nobles, got our purple staff bracelets, and walked into the podcast area… to see a horde of fans were already there! This was around nine-ish, when the podcast didn’t start until noon. Even Emerson didn’t show up until ten or so! It was positively wild. The staff (aside from Brendan and Catherine who were considered Press for the event) all sat off to the sides to watch. It went really well. Better than what I saw of the Vegas one, in my opinion.
After the podcast was over (including the autograph time) we all went to a nearby pub. Brendan, Catherine and I only stayed for a short time, however, before giving everyone our goodbye hugs and heading over to the Slaughtered Lamb (an amazing werewolf-themed pub with the best cheeseburger I have ever tasted.. and I have tasted many-a-cheeseburger) to meet up with a few members of Catherine’s family.
We went straight from the pub to the hotel, grabbed our bags, and left for Penn Station. We took a taxi because we were both too worn out to walk. When we got there, we found out our train is delayed for a few hours. Oh, I think not.
Brendan went to exchange our tickets for more expensive tickets on a train that would be leaving about 20 minutes later than we had planned. We get on the train and get all the way to Providence, RI when our train stops. There are problems up ahead. (For the love of Pete!) Many fellow train-goers took taxis back to Boston but, whereas Brendan and I don’t have that sort of money, we decide to wait it out. It took hours to clear those bloody trees of the tracks.
We did eventually make it home, safe and sound. Thank goodness.