Celebration IV Report
Warning: Image Heavy
I know some of these pictures and events are mixed up, but I did my best to remember everything.
We got a little bit of a late start on Friday, and arrived in LA around 12:00. I dropped off Luke and Kristi in front of the convention center to get their badges. I found the hotel and got our luggage inside, and met up with them a little later. Turns out that a couple of people offered Luke and Kristi badges for 100 (instead of 135) because their friends hadn't shown up. Awesome! So...we headed inside. We were all in plain clothes on the first day.
We wandered in circles for awhile, oogling over various costumes and not really sure what to do. One of the coolest things about the convention were all of the remote control R2-D2s fans had made. You'd be walking down the hall and suddenly a droid would run in to you and then run away beeping. We even saw one that had the head spin around with smoke coming out of it, wailing, just like in the movies! xD
We checked out the Droid Room, which had a bunch of the fanmade robots. I knew my friends Mike and Amy Senna had a couple droids in the room, and was excited to see their name next to one of them.
We visited the Darth Vader Helmet Exhibit, which was excellent. Statue of Liberty Vader for the win!
We took a break to eat some lunch and then decided we wanted to go to a panel with a bunch of Imperial officers. It was SO AWESOME. They had Admiral Piett, General Veers, David Prowse (freaking man in the Darth Vader suit!), the guy who Darth Vader chokes in the famous "I find your lack of faith disturbing" scene, the guy who says "you Rebel scum", etcetera. These guys had a lot of fun stories. The "little guys" were just thrilled to be there - they were on set for three days, and here they are, 30 years later, with hundreds of people excited to see them.
After that we split up for a little bit, because Kristi and Luke wanted to go to the Sneak Peek panel and I wanted to go to the costume contest. The costume contest was SO MUCH FUN. The costumes were crazy awesome. I saw Kaydee, who is costuming hero of mine, in her gorgeous Purple Senate Gown. There was also a crazy Peacock Gown, a Burger King mask + cape stormtrooper (I honestly thought Luke had entered the contest without telling me), a PERFECT Gammorian guard (he won best in show), and a lot of other awesome costumes. I was really excited to be in the contest on Sunday after seeing it. Luke and Kristi came in for the last part of it.
We were bummed when we realized that we had missed the Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) panel, so we took a little time to sit down and circle the things we wanted to do on the schedule. We wanted to attend Opening Ceremonies, but Kristi wasn't feeling very well. It was horrifying - she had paid so much money and gotten time off work and everything, and now that we were there, she was sick. We were hoping that if she took it easy for a day, she would feel better the next. Luke and I headed back to the convention center for opening ceremonies.
We learned Friday night that if you want to go to a popular event, you need to show up an hour early. We showed up barely on time for opening ceremonies, and had no chance of getting in. While we were waiting in line, there were a bunch of firetrucks and police cars, and a big commotion up the street. Eventually, the staff members came out and informed us that the convention center was going to be shut down for the night (later we found out that it was because of a bomb threat.) Frustrated, we headed back to the hotel. I saw scruffyrebel and her boyfriend in their pilot uniforms. Luke and I picked up some pizza from this cool little New York pizza place, and bought ice cream (Thrifty rainbow sherbet! oh my gosh!) and took it back to Kristi. It was fun - weaving through the streets with ice cream and pizza, waving to Star Wars people along the way.
Kristi felt 100% better the next day, which relieved everyone. Disaster averted! I woke up pretty early, excited about putting on my Padme costume for the first time. It worked pretty well. Everything was fine except for the armbands. My epoxy-ed hook and eyes didn't always stay put, and they still slid down my arm in the back (although I attached them in the front so they wouldn't). Kristi had to keep adjusting them over and over (thank you chan!) The wig turned out to be my least favorite part. It was way too shiny in pictures and in real life. I thought the wig was my favorite part, too! Oh well. I think I'm going to try to cover it with non-caulky extensions eventually.
Kristi wore my Lake Gown (it doesn't fit her either, but better than me. I think I do need to throw that thing away) and Luke wore his Han Solo outfit.
We ran in to a great Anakin, so I had to take my picture with him! I had been looking for a great Anakin all day and was really excited when I found him. We had a conversation about England (he's from the UK and I studied there last semester) and such and then went our separate ways. He was a cool guy. Too bad I can't go to Celebration Europe ;_;
We ran in to some AWESOME ghetto-cosplayers. Luke is posing with them in his Han Solo costume in this picture. I can't even explain how cool these guys were. Their costumes were made to look purposely silly, but were actually pretty well made! They were a lot of fun. That's one of the biggest differences between anime conventions and Celebration - everyone is SO much more laid back. There is no drama, no elitism, nothing like that. You can buy your costume, make it out of cardboard, craft it poorly, whatever - as long as you're having fun and love Star Wars, you're in the club. It's the kind of attitude everyone pretends they have at anime conventions, but everyone actually has it at Celebration. It was so cool. I found my own occasional elitist tendencies disappearing - I think I'm going to ask Kristi's sister Jenny to make me an Imperial uniform! XD (more on that later)
Saturday was our "slow-but-still-awesome" day. We didn't have anything planned that we really wanted to see, so we just wandered around making friends. It worked out well, because our costumes ended up being really popular for some reason. We could barely walk anywhere without being stopped for a picture, and when we were stopped, we got stuck for a couple minutes. I eventually pulled out my cell phone and started pretending I was on the phone, just so we could move through the hallways. I did not expect that at ALL - I thought it would be more like Comic-Con, where nobody cared about costumes. I guess I was wrong!
We went to see the Stormtrooper Olympics, which were mostly lame. While we were in the area, someone came up to Luke and asked "Han Solo" for his autograph. ;_; HOW CUTE IS THAT? It was a great moment.
Luke wanted to go to the Star Wars family guy panel, but Kristi and I didn't want to wait in the long line. We broke off and headed in to the dealers hall so Kristi could buy a Yoda backpack she had seen the day before.
Here's the Yoda backpack. Not on Kristi, obviously. xD
On the way to the dealer's hall, we found a Qui-Gon! I was so excited. Some of you may know that Qui-Gon is my very favorite Star Wars character, and also my very first costume. ;)
An incredible Obi-Wan Kristi and I found. *_*
Eventually we made it to the dealer's hall, where Kristi bought her backpack, and we ran into phavorianne and cosplaykitty - hooray! We camped out in the middle of the dealer's hall catching up a little bit and taking pictures. Apparently it was some sort of hot spot, because people kept coming over and interviewing us. One guy kept asking me if I thought dressing up in Star Wars costumes was homo, and other mildly offensive questions. I answered him politely and intelligently, I hope - because later I heard someone asking him where he was from, and he said HOWARD STERN. It wasn't him, but it was one of his little croonies. How scary! I hope I don't get made fun of on his show, lol.
cosplaykitty was in her Queen Apailana (I don't know how to spell it, sorry) costume, and Kristi and I were both in Padme costumes, so we got stuck taking pictures in the middle of the dealer's hall for probably an hour. It was funny - we kept trying to talk to each other in between pictures, but mostly failing.
Kristi and I eventually decided to go to Rite Aid and buy me some hairspray, because my real hair looked dull next to the extra shiny extensions. We said goodbye to phavorianne and cosplaykitty and headed out. We spent WAY longer than we should have away from the con - that's one of my big regrets. Saturday should have been the big awesome day and we spent probably two hours of it walking to Rite Aid, fixing my hair, and taking pictures.
One of many pretentious pictures with a low-quality camera. Anyone want to photoshop for me to make my hair less shiny and my face less washed out? :D But you can see the basic costume.
Being crazy in the hotel. I LOVE THIS PICTURE.
After we took pictures, I realized that I no longer had my badge. I tried to remain calm, but I read that Celebration does not offer $10 replacement badges like Comic-Con - I was going to have to buy a new $135 dollar badge. We retraced our steps for ten minutes or so, but still no badge. Just as I was beginning to give up hope and have that horrible sinking feeling, I spotted a badge IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. I ran out there and grabbed it, wiped off the asphalt marks, and pinned it back on. Disaster averted. But man, I was terrified for a second there.
After that, we met up with Luke (who loved his Star Wars Family Guy panel) and walked around the convention center some more. We decided to try to make it to Star Wars in 30 Minutes. While we were in line, I took some pictures of the patio eating area below.
Just so you can get a feel for what the convention was like. Lots of cool people milling around, eating together. Celebration was mostly young adults with children, where anime conventions are mostly college students or younger. It's a very different crowd, but I have to say I much prefer it =X
A Fett taking some time out to eat a hamburger with his armor on the table. Later another Fett costumer came over and ate with him - that's why there are two helmets. The other one must have been in the bathroom or something. I love this picture.
Samurai Stormtrooper! One of the reasons I wanted to come to Celebration. I saw this guys picture on line and was like WHOA. I need to be there.
Finally, we got in to see Star Wars in 30 Minutes. It was awesome - there's no way I can describe it, you'd just have to see it. Basically it was 10 or so people dressed in purposely ghetto costumes acting out the Star Wars Trilogy. Their were a lot of silly jokes physical humor, and we left it with a big smile on our faces, feeling a little revitalized from the long day. We met some more awesome people in the halls.
I think this might be the best picture of all of us. We all look great. This is a great Obi-Wan we met in the halls, me, Kristi, and Luke.
I know this was Luke's favorite part of the convention, and it might even be mine. EPIC MAN LEIA. It's like my camera was rejecting the shot, lol!
We ate lunch next to a great Return of the Jedi Luke I wanted pictures with. Yay! He was really nice. He had a friend dressed as Anakin, too...they were probably wondering why I wanted pictures with the Luke. But come on! ROTJ Luke is SO Hamlet.
Luke looking over the
Luke found a Chewie! (This is NOT the Chewie who won Best in Show on Sunday, although he is still awesome. More later.)
Another one of my favorite Obis. This guy was named Lance and was really in character. He talked slowly and deliberately and folded his hands. Usually this would kind of creep me out, but somehow it really worked for him. His costume was amazingly well made, too, which was cool to see in a Jedi costume.
It was getting late and the convention center was emptying (everything stopped around 7:00 every day), so we reluctantly headed back to the hotel. On the way there, we met some nice people in the street who offered to GIVE US PASSES TO CONVERSATION WITH CARRIE FISHER. I had been really upset that I missed buying tickets for it, and then doubly upset when we missed the open panel with her on Friday. And here were people offering us tickets to the smaller, after hours panel! We were all up in that business. They let us have them for $15 each, so we headed back and got in line right away. We took some silly pictures in line.
I love these pictures. I was sitting on the floor because my back hurt, and took a silly picture of myself (OH MY GAWD GUYZ I'M SO EXCITED LAWLZ), and then took one up at Kristi and Luke, who were still looking at me with their best "Courtney, I hate you and your overexcited state" faces. :D
The Carrie Fisher panel was really incredible. She was poised and intelligent and had a lot of funny things to say. She stuck to the Star Wars stuff (some other celebrities we saw didn't really do 'fanservice' and only talked about their present careers, more on that later) and made the audience very happy. She even revealed that she and Harrison Ford were DRUNK in the "arriving on Cloud City" scene, because of partying with the Rolling Stones the night before! How cool is that?
After Carrie Fisher, Luke ran back to go to Celebration Saturday Night, a big dance party. Kristi and I were uncomfortable in our costumes and wanted to back to the hotel and change. Luke apparently was leading a dance circle and having a great time - it's too bad that Kristi and I had to miss it. We got back just as Luke was getting bored, so that worked out.
After that, we weren't tired yet, so we went to an absurdly expensive Italian place on the way back to our hotel. I had the best clam soup I'd ever had (it was red and spicy with the oyster shells still in it). We also had some cocktails and some great pasta. It was cool because all of the restaurants and stores in the area were really marketing towards the Star Wars fans. This restaurant had Yoda posters in the window and was playing the Star Wars trilogy on their big screen in a continuous loop. Even the homeless guys were in on the action, saying "May the Force be with you" instead of "God bless you."
After that, we headed back to the hotel and crashed. Another busy (and even better, somehow!) day awaited us!
I woke up even earlier on Sunday, excited to check in for the costume contest that night. Kristi had to help me a lot with my costume the day before, but I had the hang of it today and managed to get in to it on my own, lacing up my own corset and buttons and everything. I did have to have her mess with the armbands, though. We re-did them with some of Luke's industrial strength velcro. It was ghetto, but it helped them stop falling down. I took off on my own to find costume contest registration while Kristi and Luke finished getting ready. Luke wore his Han Solo again, but Kristi decided to wear street clothes.
Costume judging was professional and easy. I was a little nervous, but explained everything I wanted to, I think. I may have been a little vague or even too humble...I feel self-conscious explaining my costumes after my embarrassment at Anime Expo last year (I rambled on about Earthy for 20 minutes and one of the judges got bored and left, lol). After costume judging, I met up with phavorianne, this time in her awesome Padme white battle costume! w00t! We met up with Luke and Kristi, who were in line for the Ray Park panel.
EPIC, EPIC RAY PARK PANEL. Ray Park was Darth Maul in Episode 1. This was one of the highlights of the convention. He was a really laid back guy with a great Scottish (I think?) accent. He did a bunch of cool gymnastics and kung fu for us. He was doing some lightsaber swirls with a broomstick when someone in the audience raised a Master Replicas Darth Maul lightsaber. Everyone started cheering and whooping, and the guy brought the lightsaber up to the stage. They turned off the lights and Ray Park went CRAZY. He was flipping it around like nuts, and it was glowing and red and making swooshy noises...I was fluttering and overflowing with happiness. I know this sounds really stupid, but Episode 1 was really special to me and it was just a great moment. I felt like that stupid girl in the American Idol audience who started crying. I didn't cry, but still. I was so happy.
After that, Ray invited a bunch of kids from the audience on to the stage and gave them lightsaber lessons and taught them a few kung-fu stances. He was just so great. We left the panel just glowing with excitement and stoked for the rest of the day.
After Ray Park, we headed out to the Billy Dee (Lando) panel line. On the way, I ran in to Kaydee and her friend Cassandra! I was SO excited - Kaydee, as I said earlier, has been one of my heroes for years. They took pictures of my costumes and asked me a bunch of questions. I was so excited and happy. I probably came off really stupid, but I tried my best to explain my fabric choices. It was SO cool to be around these people who have studied the same silly details.
We rushed to the Billy Dee line, worried that we wouldn't get in. We made it, and while we waited in line I took some silly pictures.
Star Trek invasion! I was proud of this guy for having the balls to wear a Star Trek shirt to a Star Wars convention. We saw three people with Star Trek uniforms on (one of them even had a Jar-Jar head, lol!)
The lovely phavorianne in her Padme battle costume. We got to hang out with her all day on Sunday and most of Saturday. Yay!
JENGA! *smash* For those of you who saw Talladega Nights, that is what these little kids reminded me of. They were running around, climbing on stuff, singing, and shoving each other. They made me so happy.
Kristi being a good girl and reading her Anthropology book. You can see her Yoda backpack too.
Luke sitting on the wall, being Han Solo esque. Which is really just how Luke acts anyway! xD
Finally they let us in to the Billy Dee Williams (Lando) panel. It was pretty fun, but not what we were expecting. Luke and I really love the "How're you doing, you old pirate?" silliness of Lando, and we expected Billy Dee to be a really cool guy. He was actually kind of quiet and boring, but good-natured. There was some funny stuff in the panel, but he didn't ham it up like Ray Park and Carrie Fisher did, so we left a little disappointed. No cool stories that I can remember - he mostly talked about non-Star Wars things in his life. Here's an example of his demeanor. Luke got in line and asked him a question. "What can we do to get a charming smile like you, Lando?" He answered, "Brush your teeth everyday. Go to a good dentist." And that was it. You'd think he's say something clever, or funny, but he was just straightforward.
After Billy Dee, I had to run off to check in for the costume pageant, which was starting in 15 minutes. We did a "costume parade" where we walked around the convention center. While we were in the parade, I was talking to Kristi on my cell phone and making friends with a Mara Jade costumer next to me. xD It was very low key and casual, just like the rest of the convention. Then we went backstage and the pageant started! It was SO much fun to chillax with the rest of my Padmes. I talked to a costumer I had met the other day with Kaydee, and she was really interested in my costume and asked me a lot of questions. She had helped set up the dresses at the FIDM exhibit, and said my skirt fabric was very similar. I was so happy ;_; It's hard to explain, but this was really exciting for me - costumers I had admired for years all together in one place, and I was meeting them at last! I'm definitely going to get more involved with theforce.net forums now.
A big Chewbacca won Best in Show! It was so great. One thing Star Wars fans have been continually irritated by is that Han and Luke receive medals in A New Hope, but Chewbacca, who is standing right there and helped just as much, does not. Everyone was screaming "LET THE WOOKIE WIN!" and "GIVE CHEWIE HIS MEDAL!" while we were voting for Best in Show. xD He won best in his category and best in show, so he received TWO. ^_~
After the show things got even more awesome. We stood out in the hall talking to people and taking pictures for another couple hours. By this time, we had met up with cosplaykitty, who was wearing her Queen Jamilia (I dunno how to spell this one either) costume. A guy who said he was from Robot Chicken took my picture and asked for my telephone number "in case we put it on the site", but I think he may have just been a creepy guy, lol.
We met a number of really cool people during this time, too:
This guy looked just like Lando, and his shirt, if you look closely, even says "Lando" on it. Luke and I were really excited, and I made the Lando guy slap Luke on the back and say "How're you doing, you old pirate, so good to see you!" I took the picture right as they were doing it. xD
Crazy old Ben! This guy was talking to us about Comic-Con and kind of rambling on. He was very entertaining and we liked him a lot. =)
Whoo! They had a giant Death Star hanging from the ceiling, so we thought it would be cool to take a picture of Luke blasting it!
Luke sliding on the stair rail, blasting all the way. We took a picture while he was actually sliding, which didn't turn out well. This one was posed and turned out a lot better.
This is my favorite picture of Padme so far. I guess the "fierce" look works better for me than a smile. This Darth Maul was...wow, what word haven't I used? Extravagantly magnificent? I was freaked out around him, actually. With a Darth Maul costumer, the makeup covers their face, and the costume covers their body. With this particular one, he was soft spoken and mild-mannered. He WAS Darth Maul. It was creepy. It's difficult to explain...you'll have to meet a great Darth Maul cosplayer someday, if you haven't yet. ;)
Okay. Now the best part of the entire weekend began. The convention center was emptying and they were kicking us out, so we headed sadly to our hotel. We knew this was the end of the last full day and probably the end of our fun. As we were walking, Luke started chatting with the Darth Maul costumer, and he turned out to be a really interesting guy in the 501st (a Star Wars costuming group) named Sonny Maul. He hired a professional makeup artist to do his Darth Maul makeup, and BOY did it show. He told us a story:
His little daughter saw him in his Darth Maul costume many times before she saw Episode 1. Because of his involvement with the 501st, he wears the costume frequently for charity events and stuff. When his little daughter finally saw the movies, she screamed with glee and said "DADDY!" Because of this, he would always turn off the film because Darth Maul's death, thinking that it would freak her out. One day, he was busy on the computer and not paying attention, the movie played all the way. He heard a wail and his daughter came running in to the computer room, crying. THAT IS THE CUTEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD.
After this, we were hooked on this guy. We decided to all hit up IHOP and pork on pancakes! Sonny, his makeup artist, Jen (whose LJ name I don't know yet), Flo, phavorianne, cosplaykitty, Kristi, Luke, and myself all hitup IHOP at midnight for some well deserved pancakes. Flo told us another great story:
One day the 501st was in a building somewhere with a group of stormtroopers and Darth Vader in the elevator. As they reached the bottom and the elevator opened, an old woman screamed and ran in the other direction when she saw them. XD
Pictures from IHOP:
Whoo! The IHOP was full of Star Wars people. We were somehow not out of place at all.
You cannot tell me there has ever been a picture better than this. Because there isn't. This is literally best picture ever taken. He doesn't really eat with his tongue out...he exaggerated for the sake of a funny picture. xD And he took his gloves off, if his hands are bothering you. ;D
I don't think I can really describe why this IHOP visit was so amazing. There were a bunch of members from the 501st there. Flo is a Vader for the 501st and had a lot of cool stories. I am so excited about getting involved in a Star Wars costuming community. Unfortunately, for the 501st, you have to have a "bad guys" costume. I am thinking about making an Imperial costume, maybe one that matches with Kristi, so that I can join. I don't see myself doing a trooper or a Vader, so maybe an Imperial officer. How fun!
I told the table about my badge-losing experience, and complained that they did not send me a lanyard in the mail. Sonny graciously gave me a 501st lanyard! I was SO EXCITED. Only 501st members are supposed to have it. I will treasure it forever. *chew*
After IHOP, it was very late and we really had to head home if we wanted to enjoy the convention the next day. We went back to the hotel and crashed, already getting depressed. The last full day had ended ;_;
Luke wanted to wake up early for the One Man Star Wars Trilogy, so he and Kristi got going a little earlier than I did. I cleaned up the room and checked out, expecting to miss the show, but somehow I arrived and found them just in time! One Man Star Wars Trilogy was a LOT of fun. He was performing in London while I was there and I didn't see him. Again, like the Star Wars in 30 Minutes, I can't really describe it. You'd have to be there. He'd been to mime school, so he imitated movements while also doing music, voices, and sound effects in an edited version of the trilogy. It was hysterical, and very impressive.
We visited the Celebration Store and got some hawt Celebration merchandise - half off! Yay for Monday shopping. By now, we knew the weekend was something really special and wanted to remember it. I bought a hoodie with a stylized Darth Vader on it that says Celebration in the corner and also a black "Star Wars is Forever" shirt. Whoo!
We all were in street clothes, so we could move much more quickly through the convention center. We didn't really have anything else we wanted to do, so we just walked in circles. We met up with phavorianne again, this time in her Tatooine Peasant Padme. I was so excited! This is one of my favorite Padme costumes, and phavorianne did it so well. Her hair was fabulous. *_*
We took a stroll through the Fan Hall, hoping to get some information on the 501st and the Rebel Legion (the Rebel Legion is the "good guys" version of the 501st, but all the cool people I met are in the 501st...*torn*). Then we took a stroll through the Dealer's Hall...and I had a moment of weakness.
The Darth Maul Gentle Giant statue is something I've admired for years. Some of you may know that I have a huge weakness for the Noble Collection collectibles and the Gentle Giant statues. (HINT FOR BIRTHDAYS OMG.) I buy about one piece of the Noble Collection a year, but don't indulge in the Gentle Giant stuff as often because it is more expensive. I bought the Snape bust while I was in London (picture - http://gentlegiantcollectors.com/ImageGu
The man selling it to me suggested I get it signed by Ray Park, who was 100 yards away in the autograph booth. OH MY GOSH, WHY THE BIP NOT. I can't believe I hadn't thought of it until then. We all excitedly got in line to see Ray Park! He signed my figure, and Kristy and I told him about how we were Obi and Qui-Gon (I managed to leave out the ten times and the gummies), and even took a picture with him.
He was so cool! We just posed stupidly, and he helped us get in to cool poses that made sense. We wanted to look like we were fighting (because we're Obi and Qui-Gon and he's Darth Maul!) I ruined the picture by looking at the camera at the last second, but that's okay. I'm still happy. We thanked him graciously and turned to leave, and he was like "Wait guys, we have to get a nice picture too!" HOW COOL IS HE? So we got this one as well:
Whoo! Thank you to phavorianne and Luke for standing in line all that time with us. I'm sorry we monopolized the Ray Park time.
After Ray Park, we headed over to the Jabba the Hutt statue (freaking Gentle Giant crafted a LIFE SIZE statue of Jabba the Hutt, complete with a recording of his laugh playing over and over.) I still wish I had a picture of just me posed in the tail like Salicious Krum, acting all crazy. Oh well.) Anyway, we headed over the the Jabba the Hutt statue with phavorianne and friends for a picture.
After that, we sadly sadly had to leave. Monday was a half-day and everything was closing, and Kristi and Luke had homework to do. We drove to Little Toyko, ate at Mr. Ramen, and Kristi bought some of those bean paste things for her Anthropology class.
Then...*sniffle* I dropped everyone off...and now I'm home. I'm still coming off the high...if I hadn't had so many amazing experiences last year, I might say it was the best weekend of my life. I can tell you now that I will be hard core Star Wars convention goer for the rest of my life. I want to read the books. I want to join the 501st. I want to hug more little girls dressed like Princess Leia and sign more autographs "Padme Amidala". I want to eat pancakes with more Darth Mauls.
STAR WARS BORN
STAR WARS BRED
I'M GONNA LOVE STAR WARS
TILL THE DAY I'M DEAD
This was the best convention I've ever attended, by FAR. Seriously. It blew any other convention completely out of the water. Thank you to everyone I spent time with during that fantastic weekend!