August 18, 2010

Why I Loved SWCV

I waited until practically the last minute to arrange my trip to Celebration V this year.  I debated about the distance (I'm in LA), the money, and all those practicalities.  Then at some point I just said, screw it.  Celebrations don't happen every year, and what if it goes international next time?  I had to go. 

I won't hesitate again.

I have only been to one other fan-centric convention.  It was a Firefly convention at a local Marriott.  I went for one day, and though it was okay, it wasn't my cup of tea.  And we all know that I love me some Firefly.  It was just... small.  Some vendors in a hotel lobby and a few stars there to talk and give autographs and photo ops.  Star Wars Celebration V was the opposite.

I was dazzled.  And it wasn't the Florida humidity (which should be illegal) or the Force.

I only made a dent in all the things to see and do in the two days I was at CV.  I don't think anyone could be bored at this convention.  Between a sparkly vendor hall with not just exhibitors but laser tag, an autograph area, live tattooing, massive chalk art, fan built dioramas, more Legos than you have ever seen, a commitment chapel, and a Jedi Training Academy.  Oh, and did I mention the life size AT-AT and tie fighter?  G4 sponsored the coolest (ha, pun!) bar around, the Echo Base Ice Bar.  Wampas and humans alike downed Tatooine Sunburns and Sithadillas.  The kids had it good too, besides a Clone Wars screening room, they had a craft room.  Plus there were plenty of Stormtroopers, Vaders, and Chewbaccas for them to pose with.  My heart melted and my ovaries ached (momentarily) when I saw a girl hugging a custom R2 unit from the R2D2 Builders Club.

I'm not finished either.  Panels ran continuously on all topics from costuming to collecting to interviews with stars to social media and how it relates to fandom.  One entire room was a gorgeous nostalgia-inducing display of the art of Ralph McQuarrie.  The reverance in that room was palpable.  The 501st had a room of props and memorabilia, as well as a display of all the helmets from the TK project.  You could also just sit and watch the endless parade of costumes outside the main exhibit hall all day.

I think one of the keys to making this event so enjoyable is that fans get to contribute.  A lot.  Lucasfilm deserves props for not only listening to their fans, but including them.  It creates a certain kind of environment and fellowship that I've not quite felt at other conventions.  The solidarity of Star Wars is strong.  I am aware of how corny that sounds, but it's true.

My highlights of the convention include:
- The Art of Ralph McQuarrie gallery
-  Seeing that the Her Universe booth was surrounded by people every time I walked past.
- Watching the kids fight Darth Vader on the Jedi Training Stage. They were excited and amazed, but not one of them I saw was frightened.
- Meeting awesome artists and folks I know from the internet like Grant Gould and Mandy from TheForce.net
- Hanging out with so many awesome fans that understand why things like the scale of Han's bloodstripes matter
- Buying. cool. things.  I had to play serious luggage tetris on the way home.

If you love Star Wars and you are able, go to the next Celebration.  I promise you won't regret it.

16 comments:

  1. Glad you could come to CV, especially the Fandom 140 panel!

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  2. I'm glad you had fun! I so wish I could have made it. I really enjoyed CIV and this one looks like they improved it a lot.

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  3. If I went, I wanted to check out that Star Wars Knock-off panel.

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  4. I'm so glad it was worth it, Amy! {Not looking forward to our own humidity hitting its straps in a few months.}

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  5. I wish I went. Went to C4 so figured I wasn't missing anything special. Boy was I wrong. Glad you had fun. :)

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  6. Glad to hear you enjoyed the McQuarrie art gallery. It was nearly as challenging to put together as our book The Art of Ralph McQuarrie was in 2007. I'd like to think everyone who made it out to the show searched it out, as it was an incredibly rare opportunity to see Ralph's originals up close.

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  7. That sounds so awesome. Man, I want to fight Darth Vader!

    Shame it was in Florida in the summer. Hopefully the next one will be some place a little less humid.

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  8. Eric - It was such a fun panel!

    Xocc - I really can't wait until the next one. It was just such a good group of people too - Star Wars fans rock.

    Ooky - I went to that one! Sadly, it was late Saturday afternoon and the first time I sat down all day and I kinda nodded off now and again. I felt bad!

    Shell - It was whirlwind, but lovely. And oh humidity. I do not miss it.

    Jedi-J - I can't compare, but CV was a great time. I won't miss the next one!

    Slaughtered Lamb - The McQuarrie gallery was definitely one of the convention highlights for me. It was so amazing to see the originals. I absolutely teared up a couple of times.

    Eleni - I know, I was kinda looking for an adult's line at the Jedi Academy training. It would be so fun!

    The Orange Cty Convention Center was nice, so if they could just pick it up and move it somewhere cooler. Or at least to a different time of the year!

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