July 2007 Archives

Friday night was the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series, and our last chance to go to one of the midnight release parties held at book stores all around the world. Until now, really, Ellen was just too young to stay up that late without just being a disaster and sadly, Katie is still too young for it. However, this time, we decided that Ellen was old enough, and that for the last chance, we'd do it right. We'd go to the biggest party in the country, fortunately here in NYC at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, and take our chances. As you'll see, it turned out to be some night.

Here in NY, we were fortunate enough to have Jim Dale, the "Voice of Harry Potter", come to emcee the festivities. The schedule at B&N for Friday was that people would get wristbands for a place in line to buy the book, and would be able to take part in a number of different activities throughout the night, including a magic show, a potions class, face painting, and a costume contest. There were owls and tons of people dressed up as everything from Harry to Hermione to the Womping Willow. It was a Harry Potter wonderland, and Ellen arrived dressed up as Professor Trelawny, the "Hogwarts School Divination Teacher", pictured below:

The day started with me heading down to B&N mid-day to find out what time the line for the Jim Dale reading would begin. "No earlier than 8:45 PM", I was assured by the B&N crack staff. Of course, they were completely wrong. When I eventually get down there with my little witch in tow, I'm told at 8:00 PM that the line started at 4:45 PM and that the reading is full. Sorry. So, after a few well choses expletives thought of, but not actually uttered at the B&N employee (and in front of Ellen), I decide to take her upstairs for the costume contest. We JUST squeaked into the contest (she was number 57 out of 58 entrants) and after a seemingly endless parade of Harrys, Hermiones, and various Weasleys, we get to Ellen, dressed as above. For her scene--and it was a scene--check out the video below. Let's just say that none of the others did more than show up, say who they were, and move on...except my daughter (double click on video to play, again to stop).


However, as George Bush's presidency proves, popular vote does not always win, and so it was with Ellen who didn't place in the top 3 (2 of the 3 winners were 4 years old or less, and it's hard to vote against a 4 year old in a werewolf costume, apparently).
So, finished with the costume contest, we ambled downstairs because they were clearing the space for the Jim Dale appearance later and we were in their way. The nerve! We ended up at the Potions fun, where a couple of Harry Potters were mixing Ginger Ale and Pop Rocks in phospherescing plastic cups to amuse young and old alike.

However, what they and we didn't realize until Ellen had taken a few sips of the potion and declaired it "REALLY BAD!" was that the phospherescent liquid in her cup apparently was leaking into the actual drink. Thus, a real potion was born, and it was not a pleasant one. I tasted it and found it to be just a few stops short of acetone. After a number of brief huddles to determine if either of us would drop dead on the spot, or worse, sue, one of the store managers decided to ask me if there was "anything he could do for us to make up for it." Of course, I asked to get into see the Jim Dale performance. I might have asked for a Ferrari, but I didn't think a few sips of non-toxic glowy stuff would garner that, and I had the girl to think of. "Marcos" trundled off to determine if he could get us in, and, sure enough, he was able to get us in along the side with some of the press people. One woman standing behind us was from an online outfit called UnderGroundOnline and she asked to take a picture of Ellen for the site. Of course, we said fine, but a shot with her eyes open might have been better...

With about 5 minutes to go before our host was due to show up, a very nice B&N employee came up to us to ask if we wanted to have a seat, since apparently some people hadn't shown up. Any seat for a 90 minute performance would have been terrific, but imagine our pleasant surprise when she lead us up to the front row where several of the VIP reserved seats had been left vacant. We planted ourselves quickly with a hurried thanks, and settled in to enjoy a wonderful performance of many of the bits of book that Ellen and I had listened to together over these many years. The entire performance can be found on B&N's website.

However, before you settle in to watch 90 minutes worth of Mr. Dale's brilliant vocal performance, let me point you to a smaller part that I've embedded here, below. To set the scene, about 45 minutes into the performance, our host decided to do an impersonation contest. To this end, he called 9 kids up on the stage (well, the first 9 kids to rush onto the stage, actually, and as we were in the front row, Ellen was first in line...). The rest you can see below:


Exhausted, but armed with her prizes of a Tri-Wizard Cup lamp and a new wand that makes lots of annoying sounds, we stumbled out of the place around 12:30 AM, giggling, beaming, and having thoroughly enjoyed an incredible evening that neither of us will ever forget. Just when I thought that the night was done surprising me, Ellen pipes up from behind as we're driving home:

"Dad, remember when I wandered away for a bit and then came back?" She asked.

"Yes..." I said

"Well, when I was walking around, a girl in a wheelchair asked me to sign her program from the show."

If that doesn't top off the night, I don't know what could have.

For those interested, here are a few other pictures that I took from this wonderful night:

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

August 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.