My Cosplay Journey – Star Wars Celebration in Character

image

As I said in an earlier post, I just got done with Star Wars Celebration in costume. It was my first Star Wars Celebration and my first time at a convention in costume.

So, what’s the takeway on both fronts?

Cosplay

I admit that I’m already thinking about what my next cosplay should be. It was a lot of work (as I chronicled in a series of posts on the subject) but it was also a great way to experience the event with real fans.

For one thing, your participation in an event is different depending on your level of immersion, which is often revealed by what you choose to wear. Putting on a ‘Han Shot First’ t-shirt immerses you a little more than wearing street clothes and costuming gets you more of an experience than either.

I learned the difference in experience years ago when I attended a Renaissance Faire in costume for the first time. You’re ‘in the club’ as far as other costumers, costumed staff and proprietors are concerned. That included acknowledgements from other costumed attendees, period talk from proprietors and staff and being admired by kids and non-costumed attendees. It’s a more immersive experience. A Faire crew member even pointed out that staff love to see costumed audience members because they can joke and interact more with a costumed attendee; the costume is a signal that you’ve ‘bought in’ to the experience and are welcoming the interaction. With someone in street clothes, they don’t know how that person will react to interaction or jokes.

image

Being ‘in the club’ at Star Wars Celebration meant that I got acknowledgements from fellow cosplayers (particularly other Jedi) and booth staff. There were a few picture requests and even shout-outs from cars passing on the road going to and from my hotel. I also was invited to hang out for a while inside the Cantina replica that StarWars.com had set up for live-streaming video. So, that was all a nice bonus.

The only real downside to my costume (it wasn’t even particularly uncomfortable!) was the ubiquitous nature of a Jedi costume. Jedi were a dime a dozen at this thing, along with stormtroopers, Boba Fetts and Princesses Leia. That made it hard to stand out, although I’d clearly put more work into my costume than many half-baked Jedi attempts. The next time, I might try something a little more unique even if it’s a little harder to do.

Everything Else

Aside from my cosplay attempt, we had a flippin’ fantastic time all around. Getting to see the cast and the new trailer in person with five thousand other fans was the best possible reward for getting up ridiculously early to queue for 5 hours on Thursday morning. And we got into nearly every panel event we tried to see because the rooms were generally of sufficient size (unlike some other conventions I can name…).

image

I like behind-the-scenes stuff, so we attended several panels featuring producers, designers, directors and archivists of the films both new and original. Between them, we learned interesting tidbits about the legacy movies (like the fact that David Lynch didn’t want to have John Williams score his version of Jedi) and heard the new creative teams talking about their vision of the new movies (the words ‘real’ and ‘undistracted’ came up a lot!). I really felt like things are in good hands.

The fans were all super-nice, which helps pass the time when sitting in line. Pretty much all you needed to do was turn to your neighbor and start with, “so, did you get into the arena on Thursday morning?” or, “so, which movie was your first Star Wars in the theater?”. From there, we could just chat for the rest of our queue time because we were all there for the love of the same thing. I heard from prequel apologists and people who’ve banned the prequels from their library. I chatted with Rebels fans and gamers and people still miffed at the decanonization of the EU. There were people who saw A New Hope in the theaters and kids who weren’t even old enough to have seen the prequels in theaters. Serious collectors and casual fans who bought one-day tickets just to people-watch. And we were all friends by the time our lines finally started moving.

So, if you have the chance to attend a Celebration in the future, be sure to do so. Being among a diverse group of people who all love the same thing in different ways is hugely refreshing and a great way to spend the weekend. And if you can do it in costume, that’s a great bonus. Even if it’s just to have a kid pass you and announce to his parents, “hey, look, it’s a Jedi!” Trust me, that’ll make your day.

‘The Force Awakens’ Makes a Grand ‘Celebration’ Entrance

I’m only able to attend one convention this year, so I decided to make it Star Wars Celebration. And so far, it’s been a-mazing!

While I’m not usually one to camp in convention lines for hours and hours, I made an exception Thursday morning for JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy’s panel. So did about five thousand other rabid Star Wars fans, of course. But even when greeted at a ridiculous hour of the morning by this…

image

we still made it inside the convention center’s big arena for the live panel.

image

My only under-caffeinated question was whether JJ and Lucasfilm president Kennedy would indeed fulfill their promise to provide a day long remembered.

Y’know what? They really did. While it started out low-key, with just the two of them trying not to give any details, it quickly grew. Actors, droids and a brand-new trailer… this panel had it all!

Everyone in that room, I’m sure, has his or her own favorite from the morning. Certainly, one of the best-received and a personal favorite was the reveal of a functioning BB-8 droid. This first surprise guest was a great way to show the public that the current people in charge understand the inherent value in having real props and live interaction on set. JJ specifically mentioned this, reaffirming his desire to set a pattern of reality even in a movie that will be filled with other effects.

After BB-8 played around on stage and a pair of fans-turned-Lucasfilm-employees showed off their new droids, Abrams and Co. brought out the new Big Three. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac didn’t have long to meet the fans, but it was great to see them in person.

image

Boyega was the most familiar to me, since he’s been active on social media while filming and promoting The Force Awakens. Daisy Ridley was just what I’d expected her to be: young, fun and sweet. Oscar Isaac was the one I’ve heard the least about, and the one who was hardest to picture in this role. So he was my favorite appearance of the new cast, if only to start seeing him outside his other roles.

And of course, the final surprise guests were the majority of the original cast. Harrison Ford was a no-show for obvious (plane crash-related) reasons. Carrie Fisher was a little risque but not as much as she sometimes is at appearances. So good on that, whew. Peter Mayhew (who appears to be having a harder time getting around these days), Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels were all warm and gracious to their lifelong fans.

Overall, it was definitely worth getting up absurdly early for and was a fantastic way to start the weekend. In contrast to having viewed the first trailer on my tiny phone while riding in a car, I got to see this new one with thousands of screaming fellow fans. That was magical for a fan. When it was over and Han Solo said those last iconic words, I have to admit to getting a little teary.

We were, indeed, home.

Watch the New ‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ Trailer

Living the Geek Life:

I am in love with this new teaser trailer!

Originally posted on Variety:

Disney and Lucasfilm have released the second trailer for the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, Calif. The new footage gives fans their first glimpse of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca from “Episode VII,” as well as a voiceover from Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker that echoes an iconic line he spoke in the original trilogy.

While Hamill doesn’t appear in the new footage in full, we see Luke’s robotic arm reaching out for R2-D2, as well as a woman (implied to be Carrie Fisher’s Leia) briefly handling a lightsaber. The teaser also shows more of franchise newcomers John Boyega (who plays Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and Daisy Ridley (Rey), with Boyega’s and Ridley’s characters joining forces on a desert planet revealed to be called Jakku by director J.J. Abrams at the film’s Celebration panel.

Other shots give us a better look…

View original 115 more words

7 Days Worse than Tax Day

Well, it’s Tax Day here in the US.  And just to remind us that even if we owe this year, it could always be worse…

…here are seven days that make Tax Day look like a veritable vacation!

Reaping Day, The Hunger Games

prim-reaping We might all worry about being audited by the IRS or owing money when we file our taxes, but it’s not like the government is going to make our children battle to the death in front of hordes of wealthy citizens.  Not to mention the double jeopardy visited on the survivors in Catching Fire.  Even the IRS doesn’t have that kind of evil in it.

The destruction of the Twelve Colonies, Battlestar Galactica.

wpid-battlestar-galactica-miniseries-roslin-swearing-in-as-president.jpg

It really doesn’t matter which version of Battlestar you’re talking about – the destruction of an entire system full of humans by a  sneak attack by pissed-off robots just sucks on any level.  While the original series’ survivors went on to enjoy a season of relatively good times (and the indignity of a cheap sequel), the reboot’s sad remnant of humans would go on to suffer four years of abuse by David Sick and Ron Moore before finding a new home in a confusing and disjointed final sprint.  Talk about piling it on.

The First Wave, The 5th Wave

image

In The 5th Wave, the few survivors of the alien invasion look back at simple rituals like taxes as something to be longed for because they symbolize a ‘normal life’.  Granted, a lot more horrific days were about to descend up on the earth, but this was the beginning of the end.  And it makes our little problems look a lot smaller, don’t you think?

September 22, 2004, Lost

LostABC

Lost‘s opening moments just after the Losties’ plane has crashed on a mysterious island may be one of the highlights of any pilot ever produced, but it was a game-changing and terrible moment for all the survivors.  For some, it would eventually lead to salvation, but for most it was the beginning of a journey to a sweeps-month surprise death.

July 2, Independence Day

independence

Unlike The 5th Wave or Battlestar Galactica, the citizens of Earth see their destruction coming in glorious technicolor.  In what is still one of my favorite movie destruction sequences, the planet’s major cities are devastated at the end of a countdown they’ve just figured out.  Sure, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum go on to save the day with a little help from one of the best speeches by a movie President.  But that’s July 4, and it’s more like Refund Day.  July 2 still sucked.

The day the Browncoats surrendered, Firefly

mal-serenityThey say the only sure things in life are death and taxes. But a part of Malcolm Reynolds’ soul died on the day that the Independents gave up the battle that he’d believed in so much.  Then, a part of ours died when the show got cancelled.

May 19, 1999

jar_jar

This was the day we all went to the theaters to see a new Star Wars film after a 16 year gap. We entered the theater to see The Phantom Menace on opening day – with all the innocent giddiness we had… and we left both of them inside that theater.