Saturday, April 28, 2007

Elf Fantasy Fair 2007

Utrecht in the springtime...hard to find a nicer place to be. Traci and I are back home from a nine-day stint in Europe. We spent the first half of the trip with over 22,000 costumed faithful at the 2007 Elf Fantasy Fair in the Netherlands, just outside of Utrecht. I was invited out as a special guest for the show, and as you can see from the photos here, it's a spectacular venue. The fair happened on the grounds of Castle de Haar, the biggest castle in the country.
Essentially, it was a massive costumed festival, with lots of eats; lots of battles and jousts; and tons of imagination, revelry, and camaraderie everywhere. My fellow special guests at the show were a really special bunch. I can't think of a more diverse and strange group who on the surface should have had nothing in common, but as it turned out, the best times were when we were all together. A quick rundown of the whole crew...

David Anthony Durham -- aka "Big D" -- author of PRIDE OF CARTHAGE and the forthcoming ACACIA, and if the massive Saturday battle is any indication, a man with a killer instinct when 50 rows of his barbarian brothers are in front of him with weapons and shields swinging away...('kidding, D!)...true enough, history will remember that battle as the one where D was holding down the rear guard in heroic fashion. ;)

Brian Froud -- aka "Little B" -- what can you say about Froud at a festival called Elf Fantasy Fair? I mean, seriously. It figured the guy would be a rock star out there, and it was no surprise when he was. Gotta respect a guy who says out of the blue, "Real men don't wear armor. Real men wear tutus." And then backs up his talk when his fans show up in droves to his Sunday signing. He's the man. Froud forever.

Chris Geere (pictured right, along with Jetse de Vries) -- Have you seen the film BLOOD & CHOCOLATE yet? I haven't, but now I have to, because Chris is in it. He was a riot and a revelation all weekend long. Traci and I very much look forward to future shows where this guy graces the screen...favorite Chris Geere moment from the EFF weekend: too many to count really....although the immortal line "Where's Little B?" will probably ring in my memory forever...

Prof. Dr. Roland Rotherham -- A gentleman, a scholar, and the ambassador of the entire Elf Fantasy Fair. You're all heart and soul, Prof, and Traci and I appreciate all that you did out there at EFF.

In addition, we crossed paths with these folks...

Julian Glover -- His performance in INDIANA JONES & THE LAST CRUSADE was unforgettable, and he's widely regarded as one of the best character actors anywhere. We spent some time with him on Saturday night when the group of us convened at the hotel bar, and he was a true gentleman.

Scott Lynch -- saw him very briefly in the VIP room and then never again....very sad to say that we never hung out over there, as his schedule was apparently very different from the rest of us.

James Clemens -- Ditto. Sorry that you and Scott missed out on some really fun times with our motley crew. :)

Lou Ferrigno -- I religiously watched the HULK TV show when I was an elementary school kid, and I had a big Lou Ferrigno HULK poster in my room at that time. So it was quite a trip for Traci and me to spend an hour-long taxi ride with him, and discuss everything from superhero movies to knee surgery to tasers. A very kind guy and I wish we got a chance to hang out with him more at EFF. Take care out there, Lou.

Jetse de Vries -- a good friend, and one of the editors of the Hugo-nominated INTERZONE Magazine...Jetse lives in the Netherlands and was kind enough to join our crazy EFF bunch for a memorable Sunday evening.

(standing, L to R: Brian Froud; Martin, our terrific PA; seated L to R: Jetse de Vries; Chris Geere; the Prof.; me; Traci; Ronald; David Anthony Durham)

Big thanks to the EFF organizers, and especially Stefan, Coca, Martin, Ronald (thanks for getting us around), PJ, Pim, Tamara, Arno, and all the rest who really looked out for us. It was a real pleasure. After EFF, Traci and I spent several days in London, and that was the second of our two honeymoons (the first was last month in Toronto). All in all, we had a phenomenal time in Europe, but it's good to be home now.