Aug. 29, 2007

Chewie Hands off Lightsaber to NASA

Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber makes its way into space (for real) with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October. To commemorate the historic event, Star Wars characters visited the Oakland International Airport where Chewbacca handed the lightsaber over to NASA’s Space Center Houston during a special ceremony on Aug. 28, 2007.

Arriving by Escalade and Hummer stretch limos (the Falcon's in the shop) Boba Fett, Jango Fett, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, X-Wing pilots, Jedi and stormtroopers (from the Golden Gate Garrison of the 501st Legion) accompanied Chewie for the fun-filled press event which took quite a few travelers and tourists in baggage claim by surprise. NASA’s Space Center Houston Director of Marketing Roger Bornstein greeted the intergalactic guests and warmly thanked everyone's favorite Wookiee for bringing him Luke's lightsaber.

"On behalf of NASA's Space Center Houston, we're proud to take temporary possession of this great American movie icon, Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber," Bornstein says. "It'll be trusted into the care of Southwest Airlines and transported to Space Center Houston where it will be held in inventory on the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-120. During the launch scheduled on Oct. 23, 2007, Luke's original Jedi lightsaber will take its rightful place in space for a mission to the international space station."

"When the mission is complete and the Jedi lightsaber has traveled almost six million miles it will then be on display at the Space Center Houston and later returned to Lucasfilm," Bornstein continues. "To paraphrase the famous Han Solo, 'We're all clear kids, now let's load this thing and go home.'" (He was paraphrasing and using his own words so it made since to LOAD the plane with the lightsaber, not BLOW it up.)

To send off the spectacular departure of the lightsaber aboard its Southwest Airlines flight, Chewbacca helped push back the airplane on the tarmac, with his friends, bounty hunters and stormtroopers looking on. The group waved goodbye as the plane set course for Houston.

Once the flight lands in Houston, stormtroopers (from the Star Garrison of the 501st Legion) will escort the lightsaber off the plane as R2-D2 and other Star Wars characters (from Rebel Legion) kick-off the second half of the celebration in William P. Hobby Airport. The fanfare concludes outside baggage claim where the lightsaber is transported via Hummer with an official City of Webster police escort to NASA’s Space Center Houston where it will be on display through September 4, 2007.

Be sure to check out my photos here for our photos from the event complete with Rebel pilots mingling with Southwest Airlines pilots, Chewie on the tarmac, and stormtroopers helping with security.

Aug. 12, 2007

Stormtroopers in Love

Red and Jonny are married artists who live in Ontario, Canada -- who like to photograph themselves wearing stormtrooper helmets frolicking on the beach, in the countryside and in the grocery store.

Check out the photos on Flickr here.

Aug. 10, 2007

Cradle of Filth: Our Kind of Scum and Villainy

Captivating crowds of minions with their dark theatrical stage shows showcasing their symphonic death metal sounds, British band Cradle of Filth would easily find their way into Darth Vader's iPod, if he had one. With albums like The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein and Damnation and a Day, Cradle of Filth's music isn't likely to be happily hummed by Ewoks.

Compared to such legendary acts as Iron Maiden and Christian Death, the band consists of Dani Filth (singer), Paul Allender (guitar), Dave Pybus (bass guitar), Martin Skaroupka (drums), Charles Hedger (guitar), Sarah Jezebel Deva (backing vocals) and Rosie Smith (keyboards). Along with their darker influences such as H.P. Lovecraft, John Milton, Clive Barker, "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory, and werewolves (their music found its way on the soundtrack to Ginger Snaps), a few of the band members -- Filth, Hedger and Pybus -- also are die-hard Star Wars fans with impressive toy, comic, book and game collections. All three began their quest as fans at an early age, often daydreaming of Star Destroyers before they could run to the local theater.

"I tried to dress up as Boba Fett once when I was young which obviously looked a bit daft seeing as most of the armor, as far as I can recall, was made from breakfast cereal boxes," Filth laughs. "Nowadays, I'd like a real suit to dress in, but really what I'd like to do would be to dress up as Jar Jar Binks and then spend the rest of the day violently beating myself up as some kind of penance for my actions."

Read my full interview with the band here: Cradle of Filth: Our Kind of Scum and Villainy

Aug. 9, 2007

My Chat with Force-cast Podcast

I chat with the Super Sucklord of Suckadelic's Star Wars Breakbeats fame for the Force-Cast: Microcast Comic-Con Special Report about working at Lucasfilm, marketing Star Wars to teen girls and my book You Can Draw: Star Wars.

The interview also includes chats with Hasbro's Darrell DePriest, General Grievous voice actor and sound designer Matthew Wood, Dov Kelemer (curator of The Vader Project) and even Elvis Trooper himself!

Check it out here.

Aug. 1, 2007

Comic-Con 2007 Recap

I've been attending Comic-Con for years now. And every year I see something new and weirder and crazier than the Comic-Con preceeding it. Just when I think I'm gonna get burnt out seeing spaztastic guys dressed as Spider-Man jumping around the convention floor, or endless strollers running over my feet, I end up getting some weird convention high -- a superhero/stormtrooper sugar rush of sorts -- and all is better.

So instead of painstakeningly detailing each and every moment of Comic-Con, here's my hit list with links.

Things that Rocked Comic-Con 2007

See the entire collection of photos here: Comic-Con 2007


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