June 30, 2011

Tauntaun Costumes: A Collection

I was skimming through some photos of a recent Star Wars day at California's LEGOLAND when I noticed a kid dressed like Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun. It was one of the cutest costumes I have seen on this side of the galaxy. I don't know if I could cut open that tauntaun for survival. Out of curiosity I looked around for other Hoth inspired costumes. I had no idea it was so popular. As you can imagine, the costumes go from adorable to frightening to hilarious. To give my search for tauntauns purpose, I decided to round up my favorites for other people to enjoy.

The picture that started the search. Taken by Lesley Farquhar.

This is Scott Holden and his tauntaun. Let's call him Bob. Holden built Bob the tauntaun for a Zone Ball in 2009. He's actually using stilts inside this massive beast. See photos of construction at at Technabob.

Yes, that's a tauntaun dress. With a picture of Luke "inside." I don't know why, but this one disturbs me. Found on Ugo.

A fantastic tauntaun from Star Wars: Celebration III. Photo by Bonnie Burton.

This version has a few anatomy problems. The most noticeable issue is the square head. The fur is also off, but I guess somewhere there could be tauntauns with brown fur. Maybe Tatooine tauntauns? No? I think the guy gets a C for halfway effort. Photo by Chanuck

And finally, because you shouldn't limit the fun to one person - a tauntaun costume made for two by Victor Huang.
Have you seen any of these creatures out in the convention wilds?  Please share links in the comments!

June 28, 2011

My Night at Can't Stop the Serenity L.A.

You can't stop the signal, and you can't stop Serenity. Browncoats are determined sorts of folks. 2011 marks the sixth year of screenings of Serenity for charity. Specifically for Equality Now. Collectively, Can't Stop the Serenity (CSTS) has raised over half a million dollars. The recent screening in Los Angeles contributed to this number and gave attendees an evening to remember.

When the California Browncoats started to put word out about the event, I knew I couldn't miss it. It would be enough to see Serenity on the big screen again and put my dollars towards a cause that is meaningful to me, but they added Dr. Horrible as well. And then the list of special guests kept getting updated. Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Michael Fairman, and Jessica Neuwirth (one of the founders of Equality Now)... what can I say? They had me at Joss.*

I volunteered to help at the event through a friend. If you stopped by the meet and greet line, that was me in the Serenity tee and the Kaylee-inspired hair. While we waited for the final special guests to arrive, surprise guests trickled in.  Nathan Fillion, Jane Espenson, and Tim Minear. Yeah. I think I heard the nine guests participating in the meet and greet collectively make a noise of happiness when Nathan Fillion walked into the room.  Every one of the attendees who were lucky enough to grab one of the ten $100 tickets left that room grinning from ear to ear.

While I was in the lobby looking intimidating  in case anyone tried to get past the rope (hey, I got to stop one person), there was a performance and a live auction happening in the theater (it was held at Harmony Gold).  I slid into my seat in time for the last giveaway. Then the host, Atom Freeman of ComiCenter, introduced Joss (yeah, he said Josh. the audience would have thrown tomatoes if we would have them - don't worry, he redeemed himself later) and the Man talked about Equality Now and why it's an important cause. Jessica Neuwirth spoke, and so did Bix, the founder of Can't Stop the Serenity.

The big treat of the night was the Q&A before the screening. Freeman asked all of the special guests questions gathered from Twitter. They discussed their favorite moments of working on Serenity, the writers talked about what they learned from Joss, Felicia Day talked about working with Joss ("Working with Joss is like eating whipped cream."), and they offered advice for a college freshman. Jane Espenson stated that no matter what happens in college, "don't let anyone take a picture of you naked." Sage advice. Whedon said that he remembered the sad things the most. It makes the good things more meaningful, and that he feels bitter and grateful for the experience of Firefly. The talk will make your Browncoat heart glow. To hear all of them reminisce was an experience I'm so thankful for having first hand. You can have it, too.  he event was live-streamed, and you can watch the video below. I recommend doing so.

They left the stage, and we all stayed in our seats to watch Serenity for the hundreth time. Or more. I love being in a group that knows the movie so well that we almost cheered before scenes actually happened. We laughed, we cried (okay, I cried), and then we sang along to Dr. Horrible. It was perfection.

Just like Star Wars fans, Browncoats are generous.  Fans raised $11,000 for Equality Now with this single event. The person who won James Hance's Firefrog poster (muppets + Firefly) paid for it, and then asked if it would be worth more signed by as much of the cast as possible.  Knowing that it undoubtedly would be, the fan gifted it back to the cause to be signed and re-auctioned at a higher value. If that doesn't make you like Independents, I don't know what will.

You can watch the pre-movie activities, including the Q&A:

Watch live video from GeekWeek on Justin.tv

*I got to meet Joss. I kept it short and sweet. I don't have the words to explain what it meant to meet him.

June 27, 2011

Geeky Links of the Week

Fun things I saw around Twitter and the vast interwebs over the past couple of weeks!

30 Things You Might Not Know About Raiders of the Lost Ark - For the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Raiders, Moviefone compiled a list of fun facts.

Geek Zodiac - Determine what archetype you fit into based on your birth year! I'm an astronaut.

Badass Moments in Game of Thrones - IGN has a spiffy .GIF list of the most badass moments in the first season of Game of Thrones.  It is hilarious.

Food in Fiction: How Cooking Brings You Closer to the Characters - Fabulous piece how cooking food from books - like Game of Thrones - really makes you more invested in the story.  The author of the article speaks to the ladies behind The Inn at the Crossroads.

25 Geek Origami Creations - Geek themed papercrafts make me smile. (via @bonniegrrl)

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Star Wars - A few of these were a surprise to me.  Go test your Star Wars knowledge!

TARDIS pashmina - Wear this TARDIS print scarf, and it will feel like you're traveling with the Doctor.(via @bonniegrrl)

Human Echolocation - This fascinating article summarizes research performed to see if echolocation works for humans (you know, like it does with Daredevil). (via @revanchegs)
Star Trek quilt - This quilt takes a scene from the transporter pad in the original series and puts it on fabric.  Pretty spiffy. (via @bonniegrrl)

The 10 Most Powerful Rings - Jewelry gets used as a macguffin in many tales.  The Mary Sue choose the 10 most powerful uses.

June 23, 2011

Helping Princess Leah (why Star Wars fans rock)

Some of the kindest people I know are Star Wars fans.  A coincidence?  I don't think so.
Being a Star Wars fan means being a member of a worldwide community, almost an extended family.  If you are in any number of groups like the 501st, the Rebel Legion, or the Mando Mercs, the bonds go even deeper.  In the past several weeks, the Star Wars community (and so many others) have shown an outpouring of love and support for a baby girl called Princess Leah.

Art by Dave Liew
Leah is four months old and very ill.  She's spent most of her life in the hospital.  She suffers from erratic eye and muscle movements that are almost constant.  She has a hard time sleeping because of that, and she uses a trachea tube to help her breathe.  She's been through a battery of invasive tests and tried more medications than most of us can imagine.  The doctors are trying to help.- but her symptoms are a mystery.   

Leah's parents - Zev and Frani - are spending every moment with their daughter and fighting alongside her.  They are posting updates on her condition at Princess Leah's Diaries.  They include specifics because there is hope that someone will read those posts and know exactly what is happening to Leah.  Additionally, a lot of people have come to care about this little girl and this is an easy way for the family to keep everyone updated.  And I do mean a lot of people  Word about Princess Leah is spreading beyond the Star Wars community.  KTLA news recently covered their story.

Spending so much time at the hospital is taking a financial toll on the family, and you can help.  You can send donations to help pay medical costs, living expense, etc directly through Chip In, or you can enter a raffle for a staggering number of Star Wars prizes.

If you aren't able to donate, just spread the word.  Maybe there are doctors that will recognize the medical condition or families that have been through this.  The more people that read about Leah, the greater the chance that someone can help her and her family.

June 22, 2011

Book Review: The True Adventures of the World's Greatest Stuntman

Vic Armstrong is a stunt legend, and these are his stories. That should be the tagline for this no nonsense compendium of his accounts detailing his adventures over forty plus years in the movie business. The True Adventures of the World's Greatest Stuntman runs through Armstrong's extensive (and ongoing) career as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, and assistant director.

You know him even though you may not realize it. He's in the Guinness Book of Records as the World's Most Prolific Stuntman. His work can be seen in films such as Indiana Jones, Superman, Dune, many James Bond movies, and over fifty more. He sort of lucked into the movie business. He wanted to be a steeplechase jockey, ended up doing some stunt work with horses, and started getting small jobs. Those small jobs became bigger, and they led to stunt coordination and even directing. He remembers many of these jobs in astonishing detail.

The book reads like a series of film shorts. Jobs are broken up into separate chapters for the most part, and the direct style left me constantly thinking, “I'll just read one more chapter.” This autobiography invites you to come in and settle down. I felt like I was sitting around a blazing bonfire hearing these stories directly from Armstrong. His enthusiasm, work ethic, and humbleness leap off the pages. It's apparent that he appreciates every ounce of hard work others pour into movies, and he's matched it. He's far from jaded. He seems still filled with wonder that he gets to do what he does everyday. His words are punctuated with photos from the sets and notes from directors and actors.

Like voice actors doing impressions, if a stunt performer does the job right, no one notices. Actually, that can go for several roles in the movie industry. Many puzzle pieces have to be shoved together off camera to achieve what we see in the finished product. Reading Armstrong's account of movie experiences will definitely make me take greater notice of the hard work of stunt performers. If you ever think about what happens behind the scenes, you'll enjoy reading Armstrong's riveting adventures.

crossposted at Geek Girls Network

June 21, 2011

Game of Thrones Finale Feast

PSA: This is a spoiler free post.

The first season of Game of Thrones has come to an end. I’ve been watching the show every week with friends, and we decided to celebrate the last episode in style with a themed feast. Seven people threw this 72 course feast together in less than 48 hours. Okay, maybe it wasn’t 72 courses.

I recommended two links to the group even though they probably already knew about them:
Westeros.org food listing
The Inn at the Crossroads

The Westeros.org page lists every mention of food and drink in the series. The book number and page are listed. It’s a mouthwatering list that includes summerwine, mint tea, snails in honey and garlic, strawberry pies, and roasted onions. The nobles might be struggling over the throne, but they do manage to eat a sinful amount of food from time to time. The Inn at the Crossroads is a relatively new site that takes food and drink from the book and translates it to recipes. They perform research to find out if there are existing medieval era recipes that match (and since it is medieval sort of food, there usually is). They try them out and list the old recipes and modern adaptations. They point out what they liked/disliked about each version along with notes about what didn’t work. Their site is fascinating to peruse even if you’re just a fan of food and not of the books.

Are you hungry yet?

I went in, even though they are House Stark (I'm a Targaryen)
I chose to make beef and bacon pie and lemon cakes. I used the modern versions of both recipes. The beef and bacon pie filling was thick with gravy and everything you dream medieval food would be. Meaty, pungent, and almost chewy. By the time I thoroughly sampled it, the pie was missing at least ½ cup of filling. So amazing. The lemon cake recipe was easy to follow and the result is a pleasantly sweet, spongy cupcake sized treat. The texture is somewhere between a Madeleine and a pudding cake. I used the glaze from the medieval recipe instead of dipping the cakes in lemon curd.

The rest of the group made: honeyed chicken, fruit tarts, onion and cheese pie, Sansa salad, and spiced wine. All those recipes can be found at The Inn at the Crossroads. We ate like kings, and we made it through the evening without any bloodshed. I want an excuse to eat like that every weekend.

June 20, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Links to stuff I've posted around the interwebs in the past week!

Cover Your Legs with Geek - Over at Pink Raygun I display a list (with photos) of some delectably nerdy stockings.

Smell Like Your RPG Character - Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has released a new series of scents inspired by tabletop RPGs.  I discuss them and try out one of my favorite character combos (I got to smell like an elf - win).

The Fate of Star Wars Depends on The Phantom Menace & a rant - When any talk about anything new in Star Wars comes up, the haters come out.  I discuss the 3D conversion and rant against someone who said that Lucasfilm doesn't show any "true fan appreciation."

Quick blurbs
I write lots of quick blurbs on neat products and stories for Nerd Approved, Fashionably Geek, and That's Nerdalicious throughout the week.  I'll start including my favorites:
Stunning Corpse Bride Cosplay
Darth Vader Dollars
Vintage Style Star Wars Dress - also, I just ordered one of my own.

June 15, 2011

June 18: League of Extraordinary Ladies Worldwide Meet-Up

What are you doing this Saturday, 6/18?  How about meeting new geeks in your area?  It's not too late to RSVP for or host a get-together for the first League of Extraordinary Ladies (LxL) Worldwide Meet-Up!

The LxL was founded in 2010 by a small group of geeky gals who longed for real life connections with like-minded ladies. Our motto: “ordinary women creating extraordinary connections.”  It's made a huge difference for us to have fellow geeks in our daily lives to connect with.  We want to help other people find geeks - and despite the name, it is wide open to ladies and dudes.

You can read all about existing events in NYC, Ireland, and more at the LxL website.  You still have time to host an event in your city: invite a friend, pick a location, and we'll help promote it until Saturday.  If no one shows up, you still hang out with a friend.  If lots of geeks show up, you'll make new friends.  Win, win.

If you happen to be in Los Angeles, please come to the meet-up at Meltdown Comics.  It's sponsored by Archaia Entertainment and ScienceFiction.com.  We'll have:
- a food truck!
- cupcakes!
- Giveaways from Archaia, Quantum Mechanix, Comikaze Expo, ScienceFiction.com (ThinkGeek gift certificate) and more!
- lots of geeks!
This is a public event with free admission. Again, guys are welcome.  Please come say hi!

RSVP for the LxL Los Angeles Meet-Up here.
Use hashtag #lxlmeetup for the night's activities

June 14, 2011

5 Theme Songs I Can't Skip

I watch almost all of my television on DVDs or Netflix. The only shows I've watched as they aired in the past year have been The Clone Wars and Game of Thrones. When you knock out entire seasons of television in a weekend, listening to the theme song over and over can get old. Fast. Some of them have me poised and ready to hit the next chapter button on the remote. I don't want to risk them getting stuck in my head. A select few never get skipped. Yes, even after I've listened to the same song or music dozens of times. I've limited my list to geeky sorts of shows, otherwise Mad About You would be included (hey - don't judge).

Angel Season 5 Opening by finash
Angel - This one is all about the music. The visuals are the standard character portraits from the current season, nothing flashy. But the sound, oh those violins. They tug at me every time. Note: I think the statute of limitations on spoilers for this show is expired, but I will caution that this video is from the season five opening. If you don't want to see what characters are around then just close your eyes and listen.

Dexter - Do you remember the first time you saw the opening theme for Dexter? Wasn't it the most brilliant frakking opening you'd ever scene? I still feel that way. They made the everyday morning routine into a parade of subtle nods to homicide. The lighting, the nuance, the shapes - it's just beautiful work. If you don't watch the show, you can still enjoy this trailer. It's not gory, and there aren't any spoilers.

Firefly - I want a line from this song tattooed on my person. I don't think I need to say anything else.

Doctor Who Series 4 - I don't skip any of the Doctor Who openings, but series 4 is my favorite arrangement. It's also short, and it's hard to time fast forwarding through it without cutting into the episode. I spend time trying these things out, you know.  For science. The Doctor would approve.

Game of Thrones - This one grew on me. The music grabbed me from the first time I watched (you can pre-order the soundtrack  now).  The visuals - not so much. It felt a little steampunk-y, and as a friend put it, a little too Tim Burton for the medieval setting of the story. The more I see it and watch it repeatedly on YouTube, the more I see the loveliness of the design. From the storytelling on the spokes of the clockwork orrery to the way the theme changes to include new locations - it's impeccable.

What are your favorite television theme songs?

June 12, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Here's links to bits that I've posted elsewhere on the interwebs in the past couple of weeks!

The Force is Strong with Star Tours - If you think I will ever tire of using the "Force" in ways like that, you are wrong. Anyways.  I went to opening day of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disneyland. Read my report and spoiler-free thoughts on the ride.

Thoughts on Webcomics - I love and hate webcomics.  Mostly love.  Read my thoughts on the good and bad over at ScienceFiction.com.

Game of Thrones Episode 8 Reviewed - Boomtron Podcast - So this isn't exactly something I wrote.  The lovely ladies of the Boomtron podcast invited me on to talk about last week's episode of Game of Thrones, The Pointy End.  We talk about the characters, the big happenings of the episode, and compare Varys to Spock.

Kaylee is My Favorite Mechanic - Kaylee is nice and an incredible mechanic?  You have to like her; read about why she's one of my favorites on Firefly.

Comic Book Reviews
The Stuff of Legend Book 2: The Jungle
The Outlaw Prince
Star Wars: Blood Ties
Star Wars: The Old Republic Vol 2 - Threat of Peace

June 9, 2011

Kessel Run Diaries: My Star Wars in Concert Experience

Star Wars in Concert came to the Hollywood Bowl last weekend. It was the only stop in the United States this time, and I bought tickets as soon as I could. I’d missed the concert the last time it was around, and I refused to let the chance slip by again. It didn’t hurt that I knew someone who could get discounted tickets.

I made my way up from Hollywood & Highland to the Hollywood Bowl, and I was surrounded by groups of people armed with lightsabers and dressed in Jedi costumes. Considering the area is usually full of performers in costumes trying to make a buck from tourists, it wasn’t a given that they were going to the Star Wars concert. They kept walking up the hill though. I met up with friends who were similarly armed:

We pushed our way through the crowd pouring into the Bowl. The Force would have been helpful. I knew we needed to get to our seats, but I kept getting distracted by Stormtroopers, little girls dressed like Leia (I saw the white dress and the Hoth outfit!), and oh so much merchandise (one day I will learn to buy merch pre-concert because no one feels like stopping after. I meant to get a program and possibly an overpriced t-shirt). I was thrilled to be there, and I couldn’t stop flailing. But finally, we made it to our seats at the top of the amphitheater. We didn’t have long to wait. The orchestra took their seats, and the lights dimmed. Anthony Daniels, sans the gold suit, presided over the event and guided the audience on the journey through the six films.

The concert format was a surprise for me, and it totally worked. It loosely followed the timeline of the movies: episodes I-III before intermission and episodes IV-VI after. Each piece of music accompanied a trailer of sorts. One trailer was titled Narrow Escapes, and it had a montage of uh, narrow escapes, from all the films – like the Millennium Falcon escaping from the Death Star and the space slug. The Millennium Falcon has to make a quick getaway almost all the time. Another trailer focused on Princess Leia, one on Anakin and Padme’s forbidden love (there is almost chemistry when they don’t talk!), one on Droids, and on and on. It was a clever way to handle a vast amount of music and footage and still tell a story. My skin tingled through most of the concert, but especially in reaction to a few pieces. One of those was Duel of the Fates from Episode I: A Phantom Menace. Members of the Pasadena Pro Musica group lined the sides of the stage around the orchestra and hearing it sung live wasn’t something I’ll forget. You can listen here.

So many lightsabers!
The videos were shown on a screen behind the orchestra and on two smaller screens to either side of the stage. The images were also projected on the shell of the stage. Most impressive.  Even from my seat at the very top, I had a fantastic view. It was a perfect spot for seeing the hundreds of lightsabers in the crowd of over 17,000 fans. To be in a group of Star Wars fans and feel the enthusiasm and love for the series in the air is enough to melt the coldest Hoth heart.

The last piece of music ended, and I clapped hard enough to make my palms hurt. And then, the night took a turn for magnificent. Daniels announced that there was a special guest. Everyone collectively held their breath for the dramatic pause – the guest was John Freaking Williams. Okay, I inserted the middle name. The audience exploded in the most heartfelt and loud cheering I’ve ever experienced at a concert. Williams seemed a bit taken back by the geek love we were sending to the stage. Then he turned around and the orchestra started the beginning chords of The Imperial March. He wasn’t only there, he was conducting. I cursed in excitement and then I cried and then I sat paralyzed for three minutes. I couldn’t believe my luck – none of us could. It's John Williams CONDUCTING THE IMPERIAL MARCH for the love of Jawas! The march ended and with it the concert; my goosebumps didn’t go away for a while. In fact, I’m still tearing up thinking about that experience.

It didn’t end there! On the way out of the concert, I got to meet Laurel Woods aka Woodsy from MTV! This lady loves Star Wars and hates brunch. That’s how I knew I’d like her. Our friendship was cemented when we realized we were both wearing our Her Universe manga hoodies. Yes, we are adorable:

Check out her experience at the concert at MTV Geek.

The moral of this experience: go to a Star Wars concert if you can.  You'll have an amazing time, and you might walk away with a lifetime memory.

Chicks Dig Comics Tote Bag

A while ago, I was given a lovely tote bag by Kate Tapley, aka @KateDrewThis.

Since then it's been with me on my stops on Free Comic Book Day, to a book festival, the book store, and the comic book shop when I remember.  I try to leave it in my car, just in case.  I get compliments on the bag because duh, it's adorable.  The blue hair is much more vivid in person (and not seen through my iPhone camera).

It's environment friendly, saves your comic book store from using another bag, and gorramit - chicks do dig comics!

Buy your Chicks Dig Comics tote bag from Zazzle.

June 7, 2011

Book Review: Lost at the Con

What would it be like for an unknowing, non-geek journalist to be assigned to cover a convention? You know it has to happen. The calendar is overflowing with comic, science fiction, fantasy, and gaming conventions. Eventually, someone has to get thrown in against his or her will. Bryan Young's upcoming book, Lost at the Con, tackles just that situation.

A drunken political journalist, Cobb, is assigned by his arsehole (technical term) of an editor to cover a sci-fi/fantasy convention. Cobb goes in bitter with guns blazing. He tries to understand what geek culture is about. Relevant questions include: What is slash fiction? Why are so many attendees in costume? Why do people pay for autographs from celebrities? Cobb begins to question himself and the life he's leading.

Young's hard-hitting style pulled me into the story immediately. The dialogue and story move in a direct and snappy tone. No time and words are wasted but nothing is rushed or bland. The journalist, Cobb, is a piece of work. Geeks in particular might have a hard time with Cobb because he's abrasive and not particularly nice to the universe he's found himself in. But he's not really a nice guy in any situation. He makes me think of House. He's harsh and blunt. You feel like you should hate him, but secretly you admire him for saying the things you want to say but are too nice or wimpy to stammer out.
During the convention happenings, Cobb is working through heavy life issues. Maybe surrounded by the unfamiliar world of nerdom isn't the best place to face deep questions about who you are, but maybe it is. The realities of love, work, and alcohol parallel the fantasy of the convention and sometimes blur together.

This book has appeal for both geeks and new initiates like Cobb. From the geek perspective, it's fun because you have the inside knowledge and you get to feel a little superior to Cobb. You'll recognize the setting, but you'll still be surprised by where events lead. I recommend checking it out.

Pre-order Lost at the Con here.

June 6, 2011

Geeky Links of the Week

Some of my favorite links around the interwebs over the past couple of weeks:

Grant Gould's SDCC sketchbook - One of my favorite artists, Grant Gould, is doing a super cool thing and letting folks that can't make it to SDCC order his sketchbook ahead of time.  You have until June 20.  I mean, it has Velma Fett on the cover.  What else do you need to know?

Hogwarts cake - I actually thought this cake was a model for a minute.  It looks that realistic.

Gronk Book 1 available for order! - Gronk is a webcomic by Katie Cook that updates every Friday.  It's adorable, funny, and full of nerdy references.  You can now pre-order the first book of collected comics and extras.

Star Trek: TNG Amigurumi - Little, cute yarn versions of The Next Generation characters from Picard to Guinan.

SNES Doctor Who Opening Sequence - Super Nintendo style version of the Doctor Who opening.  Love it.

Star Wars themed wedding - I love when people fully embrace themes, and I don't know how this wedding could be any more Star Wars-rrific.

Sci-Fi Silhouette Portraits - Victorian style silhouettes featuring sci-fi and fantasy characters.

Atomic Fudge - This Etsy store is serving up geek-themed fudge.  They're not just slapping on geek phrases either, they're doing their research.  For example, their Doctor Who Fish Custard fudge is vanilla with Swedish gummy fish.  Nom.

Spaceships! - This site has lots of spaceships exactly to scale.  You can drag and drop them to compare Serenity to the Enterprise.  My only complaint: the Millennium Falcon isn't included.

June 2, 2011

Kessel Run Diaries: Star Wars Celebration VI

When news about the next Star Wars Celebration comes out on the day I post my Star Wars column, I have to talk about it, right?  I'm glad you agree.

SWCVI will be back at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL on August 23-26, 2012.  You can buy tickets and book hotel rooms now.  Last year I think attendees could still buy general admission tickets at the door.  Since this announcement is so far in advance, tickets might go faster.  If you want the fancy VIP package, I'd definitely plan on purchasing it immediately.  Some people are acting surprised at the 2012 date, but I think that's been on the table for a while.  Instead of 30 years for Return of the Jedi, we'll get 35 years for A New Hope.*  Just think - we're saved from merchandise covered with Ewoks!  Whew.

I am a little surprised at the repeat appearance in Orlando.  Attendance was higher for Celebration IV in Los Angeles, and an optimistic part of me (it's small, but it's there) thought they would alternate coasts.  I understand the appeal of Orlando.  The city is overflowing with affordable hotels and lots of activities.  I tend to make the convention the destination, but I'll be adding a few days on this trip to go to Wizarding World and Epcot.  I think.  Hot weather makes me cranky, and the humidity makes it worse.  It's not ideal circumstances for me to walk around theme parks surrounded by screaming children.

Reservations aside, it's spending four days surrounded by the best fans in the world celebrating Star Wars.  It will be awesome, and I'm jazzed.  I'll see you there.
P.S. Does anyone else think they chose Orlando just so they could continue the Lando jokes?

P.P.S. You can see my photos from Celebration V here.

*No - I don't really know if the 35th anniversary of A New Hope is what we'll be officially celebrating.

June 1, 2011

I Went to the Renfaire and All I Got Was This Lousy Turkey Leg!

I got my visit for Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire in at the last minute. I’m glad I waited until the last day of the faire. It might have been the only time I’ve been to this faire and not drowned in my own sweat. It was overcast, cool, and only a tiny bit humid. Perfect weather for being outdoors in corsets and heavy costumes. I actually didn’t dress up, but I imagine folks who did appreciated the breeze and lack of direct sun. Have I rambled enough about the weather for you? Okaaay. I’ll continue.

This is my fifth year of attending this faire, and I’ve developed a pretty set routine. I have favorite foods, vendors, and performers. I like seeing the familiar faces and being reminded every year that yes, the shepherd’s pie is as tasty as I remember. Change is good though, so this time I made it a point to see a few new acts and take the time to browse through shops I usually breeze past. I decided to definitely eat my favorites but to make the real goal of the day to feast upon as much faire food as I could (yes, that absolutely was one reason why I didn’t lace up in a corset).


Given that lofty goal, food was the first activity of the day. I ate a full lunch despite the fact that it was barely 11am. First up was a toad-in-a-hole (herbed sausage inside delicious, buttery, messy pastry dough) and a healthy serving of ribbon fries. They absolutely ate those in the 1500s. With ketchup. After stuffing myself, I wandered around some of the shops but mostly carved a path to the Fool’s Stage to catch MooNiE. I always try to see him and/or Broon at the faire. MooNiE is a funny juggler, tight-rope walker, and multi-talented guy. He always gets the audience rolling.

SoCal Renfaire 2011

I wandered more, considered buying skirts and a pair of soft and lovely leather boots, and I ended up in front of the meat pies stand. It happens. I ordered shepherd’s pie and got mead and parked my butt at the Rogue’s Reef to catch the Poxy Boggards and the Merry Wives of Windsor. It’s the “naughty” stage, and somehow I’d never made my way in for a show. The songs, especially the ones from the Merry Wives of Windsor, had me in hysterical tears. I especially cracked up at the sign language interpreters. I’ve learned many things from Bonnie Burton, but the tip about watching sign language interpreters is gold. I took mental pictures of the signs for dirty words and acts. I don’t know when they’ll come handy, but I know it will be useful information.

SoCal Renfaire 2011

After enjoying the raucous songs of the Reef, my companion and I met up with friends, and we strolled through the guild and encampment areas. I watched a blacksmith and his apprentice work, I saw the Witch-king standing around, I bought a new ceramic mug, and ended the day with a churro, steamed artichoke, and bruschetta. I walked out with a very full belly and dust covered feet. It was a perfect renfaire day.

Witch King at the Renfaire

You can see the rest of my photos from the day here.
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