Merlin’s Beard, where to even begin?
On June 27th, I was scrolling through Facebook before work and stumbled across a post advertising tickets to see Fantastic Beasts a week early with a chat between Eddie Redmayne and the queen herself, JK Rowling before the show. Frantically, I looked to see where it was and how much tickets were. The show was going to be at none other than Carnegie Hall in NYC and tickets were going on sale in 3 hours. I got to work, pulled up the website in another tab and anxiously waited as the timer counted down the minutes. I sent a text to Lexy to see how much she would be willing to spend on tickets, we agreed no more than $50.00 each. When the moment came it told me I was in line and tickets started at $25.00 (you read that correctly) so I bought 3. On cloud nine as I was dipping out of the office for lunch, I sent a text to Lex exclaiming that I got the goods and to Shelby that *surprise* we are going to see Fantastic Beasts a week early AND be in the same room as the queen. When I parked my car I had dozens of texts and missed calls and a photo of Shelby overwhelmed with emotions laying on her kitchen floor from Lois (Shelby’s mother). Shelby was beyond elated.
From June to November we meticulously planned our 1920’s outfits for the evening. We volleyed endless messages back and forth with flapper dresses, cloaks, fascinators and bags, hairstyles etc. I ordered fancy opera binoculars, we referred to as “omnioculars” and printed wand permits, necessary for any American wizard.
The day finally arrived. We went to the salon first thing in the morning to have our hair sculpted for the occasion then boarded a train in our 1920’s wizard best and made our way to the big apple!
We emerged from the subway and Carnegie Hall was swarmed with wizards and no maj's alike. We managed to walk past the crowds and right into the lobby before the doors closed behind us to seat this batch of attendees. While the rules and regulations were being announced I opened my case to pull out our robes and wands, and stash our coats and gloves.
We hiked the stairs to the top of the venue and were seated high above the stage (thank goodness we brought omnioculars). Below, when Jo took her seat in front of the screen the theater erupted. We were in the room where it happens, we were in the same space sharing the same air as JK Rowling herself.
She and Eddie Redmayne chatted about the incredible work she is doing with her non-profit, Lumos. She explained that this event was a fundraiser and we were helping children around the world by attending. After she and Eddie finished chatting the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them walked onto the stage and the entire theater erupted again. They told us to enjoy the film and silence fell.
I've never had a cinematic experience quite like this one. I've seen plenty of the Potter films at their midnight release but being surrounded by people who love the wizarding world as much as we did gave me goosebumps. It was fantastic. The audience cried when the opening music started, laughed at the nods to the Potter films, it was the most magical experience.
We were practically vibrating when we got out of the theater. Theories about what's next were spewing all around us. We met up with friends who traveled from FL and MA and agreed to head to a bar for "fantastic drinks and where to find them." Unbeknownst to us, this would be a challenging feat. Being in NYC the week after the election meant protesters wreaking havoc on the streets. Roads were closed off all over and we couldn't get anywhere. We finally made it to the bar we were trying to get to (close enough to Grand Central to get home) and enjoyed several cocktails and talks of what's to come in the wizarding world.