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.: 7.23.2007 

A Very Harry Weekend

On Friday, Hubby and I drove up to Wilmington, OH (near Dayton) after work to catch Tom Riddle & Friends and The Whomping Willows in concert. We thought it was going to be just a small library or bookstore thing, but it turned out that this little town was having a full-on HP hootenanny ("Whole lotta hoot, just a liiiitle bit of nanny!") They closed the streets downtown and there were vendors, two stages, and all kinds of crazy stuff going on. One building, about four or five stories high, was simply pouring bubbles out a window; the children, of course, were nuts for it. The local Girl Scout headquarters was doing a "Hogwarts Tour" - which was kind of like a haunted house, but, you know, Hogwarts, for small donation (we didn't go in). The Main Street bakery had renamed itself Honeydukes. There was funnel cake and snow cones. Part of the square had been filled up with giant inflatable slides and moon rooms. Nearly everyone was at least partially costumed - people dressed in school uniforms with House-colored ties, or just carrying a wand or wearing a cloak. Some of the costumes were very ornate. There was a fabulous Bellatrix, an evil-feeling female Voldemort in a skull cap, a Rita Skeeter, a Snape.... you get the idea. There was even a couple who was walking a dog that had two (very well made) extra heads attached to its collar so it was masquerading as Fluffy. The adult HP fanclub/discussion group of OH held a round table discussion of theories for Book 7 on the main stage between wizard rock gigs. It was an awesome atmosphere. Most of Main Street was taken up by a large non-chain book store, which was packed (we didn't even try to go in) and getting ready to hand out books at midnight.

Unfortunately, we didn't get there soon enough to catch the entire set by Tom Riddle & Friends. This was their first show, and they didn't do badly at all. They are two older teenagers, fairly witty, and were cute enough to make the teenaged girls in the audience swoon. Hubby and I both got more of a "Fred and George" vibe off them, but everyone knows that evil, though evil, still gets to be cooler than good. It's one of the perks.

Being old, and having preordered from Amazon, we left after another excellent performance from Matt Maggiacomo, aka The Whomping Willows. The set was extra fun for several reasons. First, obviously, everyone was just so damned excited about HP. There were loads of fans in the audience, enough to sing along and be heard. There was also a lot of audience-performer interaction, which always makes small venues so fun. Matt wouldn't sing the words "human body" in the song "I Found A Loophole" (full lyric is, as the Whomping Willow continues to try to woo Hermione: "So Hermione, I found a loophole, why don't you come and check out one of my rock shows? I'll take you to the after-party; you can get familiar with my human body.") because there were children in the audience. (No matter, the fans sang it for him!) But then the next song was "When You Touched Me In That Special Place," and I couldn't resist yelling in mock horror, "But there are children in the audience!" which caused great amusement all around. Also, when he sang "Cedric Diggory Had It Coming," it turned out that there was a teenager dressed as Cedric (and who quite looked the part) who got up and made big theatrical gestures and stormed off down the aisle, causing Matt to crack up, stop playing, and cajole him back into his seat, much to everyone's entertainment.

I fell asleep on the drive home, as much as I tried not to. I don't know how Hubby managed to keep awake and alert enough to get us back safely, but he did. We crashed out immediately and slept until noon. Shortly after waking up and getting some "breakfast", our copy of Book 7 arrived. (No spoilers, I promise.) We spent the rest of the weekend with our phone ringers turned off, reading chapters aloud in turn. I cried buckets, more out of anxiety than actual sadness (though there was some actual sadness), and kept a running list of folks who died to sort of distract myself and keep it clinical. At one point I folded clothes just to give my hands something to do. (This was after ripping out the 10" or so of Aran Pocket Shawl I had done, as I wasn't very happy with it.) Towards the end, Hubby paced as he read. We crawled into bed at 2am Monday morning, finished. Finally finished. Honestly? I'm surprised so many people survived. It was still a bloodbath, but apparently I'm more cruel than Ms. Rowling. I didn't expect so much to remain unbroken.

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