15 August, 2008

Breaking Dawn Release Events in NYC Part 2

The line outside of the Nokia theater was incredible. Dustin and I walked around the perimeter of the building just taking in all of the fans, t-shirts and full-on costumes. I think my favorite was the Team Cullen baseball team, or the girl dressed as a bride- veil and all. The excitement was palpable. It kept building, and every now and again would break into shrieks and chants (i.e. the video… there’s nothing like 2,000 people chanting “TWILIGHT! TWILIGHT!”). At one point I was chatting with Dustin about something or other and I heard shrieking, and started looking around for the source (perhaps a cameo appearance by an actor? A sighting of Stephenie’s car? How did I know?), and Dustin just says to me, “It’s just your normal shrieking honey, I think it’s the anthem of the weekend...” And that was very true. It was like a kettle boiling over every ten minutes or so.

Anyway… we met back up with the Lexicon gang and Bailey from the panel, and only had about half an hour to wait before the doors opened and we were allowed in.

I think I now know what it’s like to be a part of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. There were dozens of security staff around screaming “Don’t run!” but those voices didn’t work so well against 2,000 enthusiastic mostly-teen girls. Once inside I wandered the main floor for a short while, just to get a feel for the energy and see what the crowd was like. Then I bought my tour t-shirt (gotta have souvenirs…) and went to sit up in the seats above the main floor. I’m so glad that I did that. It was great to see the crowd react throughout the show, not to mention to be able to sit comfortably after a long day. The theater was spacious, but still very intimate. I never felt like I was far away; I could hear and see everything I wanted to and there were monitors all over the place providing ample close-up views of Justin’s fingers or Stephenie’s grimacing face as she contemplated how to answer a question without revealing any spoilers from Breaking Dawn.

As 7:00pm neared, the audience was at its breaking point. Finally, the lights went down, and one by one, spotlights came up on each of the massive banners hanging on stage- a spotlight on Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and, finally, the Breaking Dawn banner, to which the audience erupted. I could slowly feel myself turning into a shrieking groupie. As soon as Justin Furstenfeld came out with his guitar, I just gave into the hype and rode it throughout the rest of the evening, shrieking with the rest whenever anything remotely exciting happened, and hanging on every word from Stephenie Meyer and every note from Justin Furstenfeld.

I was thrilled that Justin was wonderful. I hate it when you build up a band or musician in your mind, memorize every lyric and let the music affect your daily life, and then when you see them live they just fall flat. Justin Furstenfeld did NOT disappoint. He was wonderful. Every note was on, the emotion streamed from his fingers and vocal chords like tortured honey, and he seemed truly pleased and honored to be there in front of the manic crowd. I think he did four songs, and then as he left, Kim Stolz of MTV reappeared to introduce Stephenie Meyer. Take a look at that video and I don’t think you’ll need anymore analysis of what that moment was like.

I loved the questions that Meyer chose (over 1800 questions were submitted to mtv.com and Meyer chose the ones that she wanted to answer). There were many new ones, which sparked new information and discussion. I found her to be very down to earth, honest, and unchanged from the first interview I ever saw of her. She seemed to be truly in love with her fans, and very relatable to them. I imagine this has only helped her popularity as she seems like your own big sister or the cool mom down the street. She realizes the phenomenon that she has created, but instead of getting a big head like one would expect an author to get, she just seems excited that so many people want to share her obsessions with her; she swoons as much as the next person when the name “Edward” is mentioned and says that she still has moments where she just needs to go back to the books to visit her friends. That sounded very familiar to me!

My favorite part was after the interview, when Justin returned to the stage and played a few of the songs that influenced Stephenie. They both sat on the couches on stage, and it felt like a laid-back jam session in someone’s garage, and 2,000 people just happened to be invited. They both appeared to be enamored with the other, even giggling from time to time. Stephenie shared that she went to a Blue October concert after hearing “Overweight” on the radio, a song that she has described as a “Jacob” song because of lines like ‘ever had to carry the weight of another, for how long’ and ‘I owned up, I’ve grown up, do you remember me? I showed up and so what if I’m the used to be?,’, and after that experience she met with Justin to hear a few more songs and chat with him about the Breaking Dawn tour. While there, he played a few unrecorded songs for her and after listening to one, “My Never,” she was shocked, because there was a page in Breaking Dawn that fit perfectly with that song. When reading the book on Saturday, I’m almost certain that I found that page... at least I think I did… I’d like to know if it’s really the page she mentioned; it’s eerie how perfectly the song fits the book and vice versa. There seems to be an indescribable bond between Meyer and the musicians that influence her. “Hate Me” is the most-often referred to song, as it embodies Edward’s anger at himself, wishing that Bella could just hate him and move on with her life, but “Into the Ocean” and “Congratulations” are two more for me that I think are just eerily related to the Twilight series. There’s that line in “Into the Ocean” about the ocean being 14 miles away (the same distance as La Push from Forks), and “I thought about your face, relaxed and floated into space” which is basically exactly what Bella does at the end of New Moon; she thinks of Edward's face and drifts…until a certain werewolf saves her.

Anywho… this interview/breaking into song bit of the evening was lovely. It was great to hear about the creative processes for both Meyer and Furstenfeld, seeing what inspires them and how they work (they both agreed that the majority of their brilliancy always seems to come in the middle of the night and they can’t sleep until they purge their brains of whatever storyline or song is running through it). The crowd was entranced, hanging off of every word (and yet still managing to shriek whenever Edward, Jacob, The Meadow, Rob Pattinson, or anything else remotely swoon-worthy was mentioned). I really enjoyed the ease of the conversation, and the smooth transitions of their talk into Justin’s songs. The acoustic version of “Sound of Heaven Pulling Down” nearly brought me to tears, and I certainly can’t get enough of “My Never” and “Hate Me.” I wish I had the whole evening to live over again now that I have my favorite parts organized in my brain.

I was very sorry to see it start to wind down, but the release was just a few short hours away at this point, and Stephenie had 2,000 bookplates to sign. The crowd was NUTS at the signing part. I truly understood the term “bottleneck” as an entire auditorium tried to squeeze through one set of doors to file quickly by Stephenie before being shuttled out the door. I tried to think of something brilliant to say to her as I went by, but that was a lost cause. I’m sure that part of the evening was a giant blur to her anyway, so I was just immensely grateful that she was willing and excited to sit there for however many hours she had to sit there, undertake whatever hand cramps came her way, and be close to the fans. It was very refreshing.

Dustin and I somehow floated towards the Borders by Penn Station, pushing through our over-stimulated minds’ exhaustion and riding our post-concert high. After getting recognized on the street (very odd; a girl that had been at the panel recognized me and wanted to ask me a bunch of questions about my days on the Twilight set), we walked into Borders, through the throngs of fans, most of whom were dressed as vampires or werewolves. Inside was organized madness. We picked up our bracelets that allocated us to a group to pick up our books (we were in the ‘A’ group), and did a tour of the building to see what was going on. There was a make up booth giving people purple rings around their eyes and alabaster-pale skin, a fortune-telling booth called ‘Ask Alice,’ a trivia contest organized by the Lexicon staff, and upstairs by the cafĂ© the Twilight trailer and clips from the film were being shown to a crowd of avid fans. Around 11:30 we went to the ‘A’ section of the store to get in line for our books. We were about fifty people back in line. Again, the excitement started building. Every few minutes a member of the Border’s staff would get on a megaphone and scream how many minutes from midnight we were, and the crowds would erupt with cheers and hoots. My phone rang about six times from friends that I got to read the series and were at release parties of their own (my one friend’s mom was working at the local Borders for the release event and Meghan said she came home with vampire bites on her neck… I told her that wasn’t accurate for Stephenie Meyer’s vampires, but I was glad for the excitement and participation of her mother).

Finally the countdown began, and once THREE….TWO….ONE was shouted by the masses, the books were officially on sale. I was also very impressed by the staff there. The scanning and bagging of the books was a well-choreographed dance. The line moved quickly, and we grabbed our books and ran out of the store- when I got the seventh Harry Potter I had a bad experience of people flipping to the back and reading the last page out loud… NOT COOL. I am sooo not a fan of spoilers or people whose intent is to spoil, so we didn’t hang around once we had Breaking Dawn in our hands. We walked home, read for about two hours, passed out (it had been a very, very long day, and I wanted to be able to give my full attention to Breaking Dawn), woke up around 9am and just read all day. We ate in, I didn’t answer my phone or divert my eyes for any longer than it took to pour milk in my tea. Such a brilliant day.

I do hope to analyze Twilight a bit academically in the future, but that is a massive undertaking, so don’t hold your breath for my analysis! Right now I’m just trying to sort out this article, a Twilight academic panel for TwiCon 2009, and oh yeah… move out of Boston, repack my stuff in Pennsylvania, and get ready to go back to Wales in early September. Eeep!

It was a brilliant, brilliant weekend, and I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of it. Of course I’m looking forward to every opportunity that comes my way, and hope that I’ll be able to grab onto each of them. We still have the film versions of the remaining three books (no, I don’t know anything about their production status, sorry!), and Midnight Sun to look forward to.


My webshots album

And here are a bunch of videos... you may have to deal with me singing along to the songs in some of them... sorry!

Twilight Chanting

Kim Stolz asking who's excited... and the crowd erupts!

Stephenie Meyer enters

My Never

Sound of Heaven Pulling Down (love this acoustic version)

And for some reason 'Hate Me' won't load... dang.


Anonymous said...

Oh how exciting! Thanks for your descriptive writing it made me feel like I was there.

ThinkBrown said...

I wanted to be there,
Nice job maggie

Karla said...

Thanks, Maggie. Good luck on packing for Wales!

Dustyn said...

Um ... crazy ... that is all I can say about the Breaking Dawn/NYC weekend! Thanks for letting me tag along!

goooooood girl said...

So good......