Wednesday, May 30, 2007

STAR WARS Celebration IV

Barbecues, pool parties, beach picnics—that’s what a lot of Memorial Day weekends usually consist of (not to mention the most important part: recalling all of our fallen).

But my holiday weekend? A little different (except for the honoring of our citizens). In fact, it went a little something like this—

STAR WARS Celebration IV, baby!

With many a Jedi and Slave Princess Leia wandering the L.A. Convention Center, the festivities were both crazy and wonderful. The only thing missing was Uncle George himself, although I know he showed up at the previous celebration. I think he’s in the middle of that new TV series he’s developing, otherwise I’m pretty certain he would’ve been there. Harrison Ford doesn’t come to these events, and Mark Hamill was otherwise engaged, but Carrie Fisher was there in all her awesome glory. (I didn’t get tickets to attend her interview, damn it. But I’ve seen her at Comic-Con and she’s the funniest person alive.)

But we didn’t lack for much else. There was an exhibition floor, which featured scads of toys, books, artwork, autograph stations, and T-shirts (I bought my share, including one with R2D2 beeping at Princess Leia, and the translation reads “Nice buns.” How cheeky. I had to have it.).

Next door was a room where you could buy the STAR WARS postage stamps, check out how to join the 501st (the legion of Stormtroopers you see in parades, etc.), watch people throwing stuffed Ewoks at a Jar Jar cut out, or see a work in progress that was pretty marvelous: bit by bit during the weekend, a group constructed a scaled-down Ewok forest, complete with different JEDI scenes. The conventioneers could contribute their own efforts. Here’s a peek:

But one of my favorite parts of the room was entirely unexpected. A surprise marriage proposal was staged by an X-Wing, and my friend Rich knew about it. I totally had to see it, and it was ever so sweet. Here’s a pic of the proposal happening between the Emperor and a Jedi:

And here’s a gander at her cool Millennium Falcon ring:

Ring bling! What’s great about this is that half of it goes on her finger now, and she’ll get the other half at the wedding. As you see, there are diamonds back where the Falcon’s jets should be.

But lest you think this is all that went on at SWCIV, you’re wrong. There were workshops galore, and I was lucky enough to sit in on an interview with Irvin Kershner, who directed THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. We got a lot of behind-the-scenes juice, such as the details about the famous “I love you”/”I know” exchange. The original exchange was “I love you”/”I love you, too” (or something like that), but Kersh didn’t dig that and they spent most of the day trying out new lines. But when Harrison Ford was asked to improvise, he came up with the “I know part,” and Kersh loved it. George Lucas, however, did not likey so much. So they tested the line out in two different premiere cuts, and when the audience ate up the “I know” version, there was no question as to what they’d keep.

You’d have to be a STAR WARS fan to appreciate such minutia, but it was really interesting, especially when Kersh talked about how the “I know” broke the ice in such a tense scene and allowed him to build it back up again to the climax. As a writer, that’s a piece of golden advice to hear.

There was also an archives room, which had a smattering of props and costumes. Here’s a taste:

And then there was the droid building room, featuring robots that fans had constructed at home. Here’s an R2 unit (plus my buddy Nancy):

Add to that a pop culture room, which ran continuous loops of STAR WARS TV specials, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skits, and MTV clips, etc. I could’ve spent all day in there as well as the fan film room, where winners of the independent film festival were shown. The offerings ranged from the impressive (PINK FIVE series—check out YouTube) to the odd (I won’t name names here.).

A visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Vader helmet room, either. This was interesting, as underground artists were given a basic Darth Vader mask to rework. They started with this

and came up with the clever

and the strange

and the beautiful. I

didn’t get to see everything, even in four days, so my blog isn’t complete. But I’ll be talking about my favorite part of the celebration in my next entry: a little, awesome play called “The STAR WARS Trilogy in 30 Minutes.” Seriously—it’s LAO-worthy, you all.


GeminiWisdom said...

My husband makes a better Darth Maul. ( Then again, I could be biased.

I unveiled my new author site today and am giving away a ton of prizes.

Yolanda Sfetsos said...

Very cool pics, C! Thanks for sharing. :)

The hubby and I love Star Wars.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Celise/Gemini, your site is awesome! So well-ordered and interesting. Your books look so fun, too! And as for your Hubby Maul? WOW!!! I'm impressed with his attention to detail.

Y, thanks! I think there's going to be another SW Celebration in two years in L.A., so mark your calendar!

Karmela said...

Where does one get a MF ring????

Crystal Green's Blog said...

LOL, Karm. I'm not sure where he got that ring--I think it might've been custom made....

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind, but i just had to reblog about that ring. It's an incredible piece of work. Thanks