Tolkien News Throws ‘One Last Party’

olp_outside_01 pulled out all the stops for “One Last Party” on February 21, 2015. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.

Tolkien and Peter Jackson fans from all over the world gathered in Hollywood, California on February 21, 2015, for a gala celebration of all six Peter Jackson Middle-earth films. Our good friends at organized the bash with funding from a hugely successful crowd-funding campaign that brought in more than $219,00 USD, nearly $40,000 above their original goal. I attended the event as one of hundreds of partygoers, accompanied by my lovely daughter and avid Tolkien fan Miranda. Although a print story is no substitute for being at the party, I thought I’d give you a little taste of the evening’s events.


Party guests moved through Gondor and passed the Argonath to enter the party. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.

A display of banners and projections adorned the front of the American Legion hall that served as the venue for the party. After checking in, partygoers had the opportunity to take a keepsake photo before heading into the hall. The venue was organized as different Middle-earth locales: Minas Tirith, Erebor/Dale, Lake-town, Rivendell, the Hall of the Elven-King, Shelob’s Lair, and Rohan/Meduseld. Each area had décor appropriate to the location. Guests passed the Gates of Argonath to enter, and dinner was served in the Golden Hall of Meduseld. The halls of Erebor displayed the Arkenstone and a stone troll’s head. In Dale, guests could sign a fan poster with an inscription of what the journey had meant to them. In Lake-town, partygoers were able to climb into a barrel for another photo op, and sign a contract as a burglar for hire with the Company of Thorin Oakenshield. The Hall of the Elven-King hosted the entertainment for the evening.


The Arkenstone adorned the halls of Erebor inside the entrance to the party site. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.


Valdis Longbeard signed a contract as a burglar with Thorin Oakenshield. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.

Celebrity guests joined fans for the festivities. John Bell (Bain), Bruce Hopkins (Gamling), Sala Baker (Sauron, LOTR), William Kircher (Bifur), Oscar-winning producer Mark Ordesky (LOTR films), makeup artist Tami Lane (LOTR and ‘Hobbit’ films), and Academy Award nominated sound editors Brent Burge and Jason Canovas of Weta Digital attended, as well as Professor Tolkien’s great-grandson, Royd Tolkien. Some notable people who could not attend the party sent video greetings for the fans. Richard Taylor, Adam Brown, and Peter Jackson each wished partygoers well and thanked the fans for their faithful support.


Emerald Rose set many toes to tapping and inspired multiple versions of what looked like the Springle-ring. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.

The musical entertainment for the evening was a real treat. Emerald Rose warmed up the crowd and got lots of Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits dancing. The Celtic-folk-rock band is well known to Dragon Con attendees, with its fusion of traditional Celtic music and original compositions. William Kircher and his band the California Dreamers were the headliners, with their impressive renditions of mostly vintage 1960s hits. The sophistication of the arrangements of those familiar songs often surpassed the original versions, and the songs were brilliantly performed. The band may have left the best for last, with a beautifully arranged and performed version of “I See Fire” as the encore number.


Intrepid partygoers Valdis and Miranda enjoy the California Dreamers on stage. Photo credit: the nice gentleman who was sitting behind us.

As the age of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films comes to a close,’s One Last Party was a wonderful opportunity for fans to come together for a special celebration of the works—literary and cinematic—that mean so much to us all. The film story may be ending, but the story of the fans will continue. The journey does not end here.


Valdis Longbeard in the halls of Erebor. Photo credit: Miranda Grabowski and Valdis Longbeard.


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