In yet another example of just how far certain chance connections can extend, Zoey got me into Game Grumps, and I got her into The Last Unicorn (we watched it when she was here visiting me, and she loved it,) so when the Grumps' own Danny Avidan made a video promoting the Last Unicorn Screening Tour, she saw it first and then sent it to me. It was the perfect promotion, because this was something that was already right up my alley, and I just wasn't aware that it was actually a thing that was happening. Once I saw Danny's video, checked the tour dates, and saw they were coming here, I passed it along to the rest of my family so we could all go. (Zoey, meanwhile, will be seeing it when they go to Australia in 2016.)
I just got back from it last night and it was amazing. A+ would recommend.
The opening was actually a bit of a disaster, as the crew got held up somewhere and was late and we were all standing outside the theater (whose outside area was very cold) because they wouldn't open the doors until almost ten minutes before it was supposed to start. Then, by the time the sold-out crowd got through the process of showing their tickets and being stamped, getting concessions, and dealing with restrooms that were half-out of order (one of the stalls still worked,) let's just say that they ended up not starting the movie at the advertised time.
Still, once things got rolling, they were awesome. There were some short speeches from the tour producer and the merchandise table vendor before bringing out Peter S. Beagle himself, who did a short intro speech, some Q&A from the audience (my sister and I both got to ask things,) and some raffle drawings for a few miscellaneous prizes. I ended up winning some film ... negatives? Those may not be the right word, but a clipping of six frames from an actual Last Unicorn film reel, from the first appearance of the Red Bull. I actually looked at the reel later, and found the exact moment it's from in the movie: it's at about 0:03 of this clip, where the Unicorn dips her head and turns around such that she almost disappears behind that tree root. My frames are from just before she's gone entirely. You can still sort of see her back and legs behind the root in them.
The actual movie was the same one I'd seen a zillion times before, of course, but something about the experience, with the remastered high definition display on the big screen, made it magical all over again. I found myself tearing up not just at the classic tear-jerking moments and particularly powerful scenes, but also at a lot of the early establishing shots (and of course the opening theme.) Hell, the producer splash screens and logos almost got me. I think it was just a sort of self-aware meta-sentimentality, like I was that moved just by the fact that I was watching it, or something.
Afterward, it was time for merch and getting stuff signed! The line was absolutely glacial, but that's because Peter was taking his time talking to people, which is much preferable to him just shoving them all out the door or something. So I didn't mind! While we were waiting, the tour producer/merch people were working the lines, and getting people to sign up for their club, which is probably a mailing list but it did give some rather deep discounts on some of the things I intended to buy, so hey. The "where did you hear about us?" bit of the signup process sparked a conversation about the immense number of people Danny has steered toward this tour. According to the person who signed us up, by far the three biggest sources of basically everyone who came their way were Facebook, Danny, and ... I forget the third one. They are hugely thankful for Danny's efforts, and have apparently even reached out to him to see if they can use his cover of the theme song for the tour. Supposedly they're still just in the point of initial contact and getting that worked out, but I see no reason why he wouldn't be on board with something like that.
There was a major unexpected surprise when it was almost my turn. I was standing a few feet away from Peter but not actually talking to him yet, because my sister still was (I was right after her.) Still, I was right there, and then suddenly IN WALKS GEORGE R. R. MARTIN. He just happened to be there anyway for a different event, and because the Last Unicorn stuff was running behind schedule, he was just popping in to confirm food plans (Peter said this was still going to take about twenty more minutes, so George said he could go get them a pizza, and then left to do just that.) He obviously wasn't part of the tour and wasn't there to talk or anything, so I didn't try to stop or bother him, but just the sighting..! "What did you do today, Teo?" "Oh, I was standing about two feet away while Peter S. Beagle and George R. R. Martin were there and talking about getting a pizza. You know, no big." Even without talking to him, it was still amazing just for the sighting, as well as the incredibly rare opportunity to place "large gathering of people," "completely unexpected surprise," and "George R. R. Martin" all in the same sentence sentence without anyone being killed.
(Note to everyone else considering getting in on this tour: George R. R. Martin is NOT part of the tour. He just lives in Santa Fe, NM, and is the owner of the theater in which the tour stopped. He does appear to be rather good buddies with Peter and thus he had personally invited them to his theater, and we happened to see him because we were all there.)
Then it was my turn to get stuff signed! By this point, I had pre-ordered the new upcoming deluxe version of the Last Unicorn graphic novel, but couldn't exactly get it signed because it was a pre-order of something that wasn't out yet. (It will be signed when it ships to me, though!) However, I did buy a print, and I had taken one of the promotional posters for the show, so I had him sign the backs of both of those. I was torn between having him dedicate it to my real life name or to Kjorteo, but ultimately decided on the latter, because that's the name under which I wrote my novel. It's a writer thing, you see. :) I did have to spell "Kjorteo" for him a couple times, though.
Speaking of that, while I was talking to him, I also got to tell him just how much his work meant to me and how huge an inspiration it was, how heavily the themes of immortality through legacies and being remembered and living on after your own death (the entire Mommy Fortuna arc in particular) and how that inspired my own novel, and so on. Hopefully I didn't gush too much and sound like an idiot.
Then, my family crowded around Peter and got a picture. I am pretty sure this one's going in the scrapbook (if my parents still do scrapbooks.)
All in all, I would say it was a successful event! It was a huge honor to meet one of the people who set me on the path I'm on today, and I got some cool stuff and cool photos and cool photos of cool stuff to show for it.