March 31, 2008

We Made NPR!


The 501st NEG made an NPR segment a couple of days ago that I just found - There's a short thing on the Byron Park Project, called the Ramble, where they talk about us, and the Jedi religous people buying property on the moon. The clip's a little poking fun at us, but it's an amusing clip. The blurb on this site doesn't display that it's about us, but it's there.

Give it a listen here.

Media and the 501st


Here's a really good example of the media as a whole not fact checking and generally lumping all fan groups together. Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter have, along with numerous other websites, attributed the 501st with the recent protests over Superhero movie.
That being said, apparently only a single person showed up to the protest in New York. One. I'm not terribly surprised, and I'm not surprised that the movie flopped anyway.

Here's the article:

"Star Wars" fans picket in support of delayed film
By Borys Kit and Gregg Goldstein, Reuters
LOS ANGELES — Angry "Star Wars" fans, aggrieved about editing changes to an upcoming Weinstein Co. comedy inspired by the sci-fi franchise, picketed theaters playing the studio's latest film, with both sides claiming some sort of victory.

Protesters, organized by a fan group calling itself the 501st, showed up in "Star Wars" gear on Friday at AMC Theatres in New York and Los Angeles that were playing "Superhero Movie."

They want to draw attention to the fate of "Fanboys," about four diehard "Star Wars" fans who break into George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in order to see "The Phantom Menace" on the eve of its release. The film was originally set for the release last August, but a cancer storyline worried Weinstein, which shot a second version of the film. Fans were outraged.

Weinstein said last week that it will release the two versions on DVD, and a studio source later said that is exploring two theatrical versions. The announcement did nothing to satisfy the fans, who vowed to proceed with their picket of "Superhero Movie."

But the exact number of fans who donned "Star Wars" gear differs depending on which side is talking.

The 501st claims 14 members showed up in New York, but an AMC spokesperson said there was no protest, and a Weinstein source cited a YouTube video posted Friday night showing one protester saying no one else was there. The video has since been removed by the user.

The group also claimed more than 20 showed up at AMC's theaters in L.A.'s Century City district, but an AMC rep said this was limited to one person in a Darth Vader costume on the street outside the theater. A Weinstein source said eight protesters did appear, and were taken out for pizza by one of the filmmakers.

"We've been working on this movie for many years and if someone is going to take time out of their personal life and support our film, whatever that support may be, at the very least what we can do is say thank you and buy them a couple of slices of pizza for caring about this project as much as we do," "Fanboys" producer Matthew Perniciaro said.

"They seemed to take the term 'phantom menace' to a whole different level. I guess they weren't that organized. Apparently getting Star Wars fans to give up their Friday night isn't as easy as it looks," one source said.

Organizers learned quickly that it's all about location, location, location. For Los Angeles, the group chose a mall in Century City rather than a public area. Malls are private property and AMC and Weinstein Co. personnel were able to shut down protesters, visibly identifiable in "Star Wars" costumes or geekwear such as a Green Lantern T-shirt, almost as soon as they stepped foot into the outdoor mall.

"Guards were everywhere," said one protester, who declined to be identified. "At one point, I counted nine, no joke. They hired a whole force and whenever someone showed up looking around for the protest, they were surrounded by guards and told to leave instantly or be arrested. I guess you can't really hold a protest on private property."

The 501st claimed victory by pointing to "Superhero Movie's" dismal performance at the boxoffice.

"We're really not too concerned with how many people did or didn't show up at the protests," said the group. "'Star Wars' fans showed their support for 'Fanboys' by not showing up at theaters all over the country. Our primary goal was to make sure that that 'Superhero Movie' tanked on its opening weekend."

The movie mustered up a gross of only $9.5 million despite several predictions of a $14-milion-$19 million bow.


Full Article Here


Bold parts are the incorrect ones.

Note that we aren't the ones behind the protest, and note that we have in no way claimed that the dismal performance was due to the one guy.

March 28, 2008

Caught on Tape



Here's a couple of videos that were uploaded in the past week with the 501st.


501st Rose Parade-ITALICA GARRISON





Newport - Fantasy Events UK - "23rd March" Dodgey Character


(This one's my favorite)

A couple out of Michigan:


Star Wars @ Muskegon Fury Hockey game




Clone Commander Rocks the Nat'l Anthem on Electric Guitar




Skating Stormtrooper practicing




And a little how-to video:-



How to Add a Fan to a Helmet or Mask


Sound Check!

It's hard to hear when you have a TK helmet on - small wonder because your head is encased in plastic and whatever padding you have to be comfortable. One of the last things that I've needed to get for my TK armor is a small voice amplifier, so that I can be heard when I say anything, and to also have that electronic sounding voice that a trooper is supposed to have.

I had a voice amplifier a couple of years ago, something that I purchased off of e-bay, a popular model that the legion uses. It's larger amp, one that can be strapped around someone's waist, and it's white, matching the armor. The problem that I had with it was that it had rechargeable batteries, and I left them charging too long, damaging it. I'm not sure where it ended up, as I haven't been able to find it for a long time, so a replacement was in order.

I had planned on picking up a Skullworx kit, which can easily be installed in a FX TK helmet such as mine, but I've had bills to pay, and sadly, wasn't able to pick one up. So I've gone for a cheaper and probably simpler route - stopping over at radioshack and picking up a couple of components.

After a little research, I came across a really cheap unit, a Radioshack Amplifier/Speaker, number 277-1008C. It's white, which fits with the armor, and just a couple inches on each side, with a volume control and with a speaker and microphone jack.

When I asked around my Garrison and the Legion, I got some mixed reviews. The most common complaint was that it wasn't loud enough, while some people said that it was a good volume for what they needed. I also got some good instructions on how to dismantle it and install it in a helmet. I might do that down the road, but for now, I'm going to throw it on my belt, attaching it with some leftover industrial strength Velcro that I have from when I refitted my suit's seams a couple months ago.



My main problem was that my microphone didn't work - this unit requires a powered one, so I also went back to get one of those, and I got a Clip-On Electret Condenser Microphone, 33-3013, which comes with a small clip. This actually worked out better for me, because I can mount this directly into my helmet.



I did this by cutting a small strip of Velcro and attached it to the clip and one of the helmet cheeks. The clip can be easily seperated from the microphone and with the Velcro in there, it'll come apart easily if I take my helmet off and forget about it. The wiring is stowed under the chest plate, out of sight, and goes down to my left hip, where I've attached the speaker to my belt with another piece of Velcro. I've also added a piece under my chest plate, so the unit can be affixed there, but I won't be able to test how this sounds until I get out in the field with other people.




The only issue I've come across is feedback - this microphone seems to be a pretty good one, and if I put the volume up too high, it'll squeal. This is pretty easily adjusted though, so I'm not too worried about it.

The last thing, I wrote a reminder to turn off the microphone and amplifier on the inside of my chest plate, because I'm just going to forget to turn it off one of these days and drain the battery, something that I don't want to do.



Total cost here was $48.20, which gives me an extra $76.80 that I would have spent otherwise. Granted, this doesn't have any fans, but those'll be pretty cheap, probably another $20 when all is said and done. That'll be the next project for my set. The only other things that I really want to do to it is replace the lenses to flat ones (the curved ones blur my vision a bit), get a E-11 Conversion kit for my Hasbro Blaster and to get a neck seal.

Then of course, there's all the work on the Scout, which I'll hopefully be getting to in the next week or so.

501st Caught on Camera

Here's some of the images from the past week that I pulled from flickr:



You have the right to remain silent...

This shot just cracked me up...




A couple more parade shots, of Boston, Georgia?, a FemTK and a regular TK





A bunch of pictures from the German Garrison at Jedi-Con:


Steve Stansweet dropped in for a photo-op





AT-AT costume, very cool!

Events Report - March 29 - April 30

The following events have been reported to the legion between March 29 through Arpil 30, 2008. Please remember to contact the hosting garrison for questions and up to date information.


Saturday Mar 29
MidSouth Garrison - MidSouth Con - Memphis, TN
Canadian Garrison - Ad Astra 2008 - Crowne Plaza Toronto, Don Valley Hotel 1250 Eglinton Avenue East
Ohio Garrison - The Big Robot Game Café - Tipp City, OH 45371
Midwest Garrison -Inter-Fan Comic Jam - CANCELED - Portage, IN
Florida Garrison - Orlando Guardians Football Game Event - Orlando, FL
Costa Rica Outpost - Fundraiser for Club De Libros: "They have stolen fantasy" - Centro Nacional del Arte y la Cultura, San Jose, Costa Rica
Midwest Garrison - Blue Harbor Resort Charity Benefit - Sheboygan, WI
Georgia Garrison - Young Astronaut's Day - Robins Air Force Base-Warner Robins, Ga
Great Lakes Garrison - Grand Rapids Griffins Star Wars Day - Grand Rapids, MI
Alpine Garrison - MS Walk
Florida Garrison - North Florida 2008 walk MS Event - Friendship Park, Florida
Midwest Garrison -Griffins Hockey Game - Grand Rapids, MI
Terror Australis Garrison - Cancer Council's Relay for Life at Victor Harbor - Victor Harbor
Terror Australis Garrison - SupaNova Melbourne - Melbourne Australia
UK Garrison - Memorabilia - NEC, Birmingham
Garrison Carida - Steel City Con - Monroeville Expo Mart, Monroeville PA

Sunday Mar 30
MidSouth Garrison - MidSouth Con - Memphis, TN
Canadian Garrison - Ad Astra 2008 - Crowne Plaza Toronto, Don Valley Hotel 1250 Eglinton Avenue East
Terror Australis Garrison - Cancer Council's Relay for Life at Victor Harbor - Victor Harbor
Terror Australis Garrison - SupaNova Melbourne - Melbourne Australia
UK Garrison - Memorabilia - NEC, Birmingham
Garrison Carida - Steel City Con - Monroeville Expo Mart, Monroeville PA
Georgia Garrison - Cherry Blossom Festival Parade - Macon, Ga
Georgia Garrison - "The Empire Strikes Back" - Macon, Ga
Terror Australis Garrison - Run for the Kids
Italian Garrison - CARTOOMICS 2008 - Milano
Badlands Garrison - Edmonton Pop Culture Fair - 11410 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta

Friday Apr 4
Midwest Garrison - Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo - Carol Stream, IL
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY
Costa Rica Outpost - 6th Cartago's Manga Fest - Cartago, Costa Rica

Saturday Apr 5
Midwest Garrison - Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo - Carol Stream, IL
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY
Costa Rica Outpost - 6th Cartago's Manga Fest - Cartago, Costa Rica
Central Garrison - Omaha Beef Game - Omaha, NE
Southern California Garrison - Honoring Our Future Heroes - Iraq and Afghanistan at Naval medical Center San Diego
Old Line Garrison - Edgewater Library
Florida Garrison - UCF HUGME Foundation Bbq - Orlando Florida
Garrison Excelsior - Heart Walk
Dutch Garrison - Collecters convention - Jaarbeurs Utrecht
Garrison Excelsior - Teen Book Festival
Central Garrison - Planet Comicon - Kansas City, MO
Belgian Garrison - Houthalen-Helchteren
Florida Garrison - Family Fun Day - 5145 ORANGE GROVE BLVD, NORTH FT MYERS, florida
Mountain Garrison - MS Walk - Las Cruces, NM
Canadian Garrison - Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Young Peoples Concert - Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON
Cloud City Garrison - Children's Miracle Network Radiothon - Eugene, Oregon
70th Explorers - Kansas City Planet Comicon
Nordic Garrison - Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention
Florida Garrison - The Florida International Air

Sunday Apr 6
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY
Costa Rica Outpost - 6th Cartago's Manga Fest - Cartago, Costa Rica
70th Explorers - Kansas City Planet Comicon
Nordic Garrison - Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention
Florida Garrison - The Florida International Air
UK Garrison - Heroes and Legends II - Dolphin Hotel, Swansea
UK Garrison - Collectors Fair - Grundy Leisure Centre, Cheshunt
Great Lakes Garrison - Port Huron Icehawks Star Wars Night - Port Huron, MI

Wednesday Apr 9
New England Garrison - Hasbro Inny Awards - Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in downtown Providence, RI

Thursday Apr 10
Great Lakes Garrison - East Grand Rapids Library Star Wars Day - East Grand Rapids, MI

Friday Apr 11
Old Line Garrison - Cub Scout "Flights of Fancy"
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con - Biloxi, Mississippi

Saturday Apr 12
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con - Biloxi, Mississippi
Alpine Garrison - MS Walk Salt Lake at the Gateway - Salt Lake City, UT
Florida Garrison - A Friend For Daisy Benefit Concert - Tampa, FL
Great Lakes Garrison - Rivertown Convention - Grand Rapids, MI
Florida Garrison - St. Pete Festival of States Day - St. Pete Florida
Star Garrison Crimson Nova Squad - Little Rock Comic Book Convention - Little Rock, AR
Canadian Garrison - Toronto ComiCon Fan Appreciation event - Metro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto, ON
70th Explorers - 5th Annual Walk for Autism Awareness - 1901 NW Parkway, Unity Village, Lees Su, MO

Sunday Apr 13
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con - Biloxi, Mississippi
Florida Garrison - Tampa Comic Book & Toy Convention - Tampa, FL
UK Garrison - London Marathon - Go Out to Support Steve and Ray! - London, UK
Empire City Garrison - Maria Fareri Children's Hospital - Valhalla, NY

Friday Apr 18
Southern California Garrison - Boys and Girls Club Carnival - 2200 E Commonwealth Fullerton, Ca
New England Garrison - Hasbro Bring you kids to Work Day - Pawtucket, RI
Great Lakes Garrison - PenguiCon 6.0 - Troy, MI
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
Empire City Garrison - New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center

Saturday Apr 19
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
Empire City Garrison - New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center
Alabama Garrison - Magnolia Festival - Gardendale
Old Line Garrison - East Columbia Library
Florida Garrison - Relay For Life / American Cancer Society
Southern California Garrison - MS WALK 2008
Florida Garrison - Celebration Exotic Car Festival
70th Explorers - St. Patrick's Day Parade - Springfield , MO
Empire City Garrison - WHUD Kids Fair - White Plains, NY
German Garrison - FEDCON XVII - Godesberger Allee, Bonn
Florida Garrison - Great Strides fund raising walk - Tallahassee, FL
UK Garrison- Salute 2008 - ExCeL, London
Canadian Garrison - SciFi on the Rock - Holiday Inn in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Midwest Garrison - Prairie Air Show - Peoria Airport

Sunday Apr 20
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
Empire City Garrison - New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center
Canadian Garrison - SciFi on the Rock - Holiday Inn in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Midwest Garrison - Prairie Air Show - Peoria Airport
Southern California Garrison - EarthFair 2008 - Balboa Park, Southern San Diego
Badlands Garrison - Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show - Edmonton, Alberta

Friday Apr 25
Alpine Garrison - SOUTHWEST SYMPHONY / Science Centre fund raiser - TENATIVE
Florida Garrison - Florida Garrison - 2008 Relay for Life Gainesville - 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL
UK Garrison - Forbidden Planet - Forbidden Planet, London

Saturday Apr 26
Florida Garrison - Florida Garrison - 2008 Relay for Life Gainesville - 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL
UK Garrison - Forbidden Planet - Forbidden Planet, London
70th Explorers - Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis
Badlands Garrison - The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo
Midwest Garrison - Cape ComicCon - Cape Girardeau MO
Dune Sea Garrison - 5K for JA / KidsRockStars - Tempe Town Lake Arts Park
Florida Garrison - Our Kids World Family Fun Fest - Florida
German Garrison - Tattoo Convention 2008 - Frankfurt
Dune Sea Garrison - Tucson! March of Dimes: 3k March for Babies! - Tuscon AZ
Florida Garrison - March of Dimes March for Babies 2008 - Tampa Bay, FL
70th Explorers - Cape Con - SEMO University Student Rec Center, Cape Girardeau, MO
French Garrison - Generations Star Wars - Cusset, France
Belgian Garrison - Hypercon - Aalst, Belgium
Dune Sea Garrison - Relay for Life of Surprise, AZ - Surprise, AZ
New England Garrison - Relay For Life - TENATIVE - Norwich University, Northfield, VT 05663
UK Garrison - WGW Return of the Goths (Episode V) - Shambles shopping archade, Whitby

Sunday Apr 27
70th Explorers - Cape Con - SEMO University Student Rec Center, Cape Girardeau, MO
French Garrison - Generations Star Wars - Cusset, France
Belgian Garrison - Hypercon - Aalst, Belgium
Dune Sea Garrison - Relay for Life of Surprise, AZ - Surprise, AZ
New England Garrison - Relay For Life - TENATIVE - Norwich University, Northfield, VT 05663
UK Garrison - WGW Return of the Goths (Episode V) - Shambles shopping archade, Whitby
Mountain Garrison - Breast Cancer Walk
Garrison Tyranus - March for Babies - VA Beach
70th Explorers - Kid's Trolley Run 2008 - Mill Creek Park, JC Nichols Parkway, Kansas City, MO
Dewback Ridge Squad - Breast Cancer Walk - Albuquerque, NM
Mexican Garrison - Día del Niño en Casa Alianza - Casa Alianza
Capitol City Squad - MS Walk

Wednesday Apr 30
Mexican Garrison - Tabasco - Galerias Tabasco 2000 día del niño

Stats:
Total This year: 486
Jan - 28
Feb - 49
March - 96
April - 83

March 27, 2008

The 501st Legion and "Fanboys"

The Legion finally issued a statement regarding our involvement with the Fanboys boycott that the media seems to have latched onto:


The 501st Legion and "Fanboys"

The 501st Legion is not involved as an organization in any protests, boycotts, or movements related to the film “Fanboys”, nor do we have an opinion or position on the film (which has not yet been released). A few of our more than 4,000 members in 47 countries participated in the project, and accordingly may have their personal opinions about the current issues surrounding it. But their participation in this film was not coordinated through or sanctioned by the Legion.

Our organization is an all-volunteer costuming club that focuses on official Star Wars promotions and charity work. Mounting protests is counter to the Legion's mission and would detract from the time and energy that we currently devote to more meaningful causes.

If you would like more information on the 501st and what we are all about, please feel free to contact us! www.501st.com

- Legion Command


Thus far, a number of news sites have reported that the 501st is behind these proposed protests. We've even been contacted about them, hense the above statement. This is what I was afraid of, that we'd be piggybacked onto this. I really hope that nobody goes out in armor for this one.

March 26, 2008

Florida Garrison in the News

This just came across the 'net - the Florida Garrison made the news for a recent Charity walk that they just did:

DIABETES FOUNDATION
BENEFITS FROM WALK

At a charity walk March 15 at Siesta Public Beach, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation raised $300,000 from the efforts and contributions of 3,000 people who took a three-mile round-trip excursion on the white sands.

Event chairman Sara Rankin happily mingled with the walkers, who had the chance to enjoy food under the pavilion thanks to CEO Carl Cannova of SYSCO Food Services of West Coast Florida, who donated a truckload of goodies.

Coca-Cola donated bottled water and beverages; Todd Graff was on hand representing the company.

Corporate chair was Todd Morton of Morton's Gourmet Market. His daughter, Ivy, was excited to have her face painted by the talented Melba Peel, who created colorful designs on many of the children's faces.

Public relations coordinator Cynthia Kemp was an event touchstone as well a member of one of the larger teams, Danny Dragoon.

The day was fun for all and accomplished much for the diabetes foundation.

Keeping lunchtime lively were local band The Key Rats and "Star Wars" characters, who came out from the 501st Legion to interact with the folks and support the walk.

Original Star Wars Trailer

Not really 501st related, but it's pretty cool nonetheless:

March 25, 2008

TK Suit Types

One of the things that I never really got when I was starting out in the Legion was the different varieties of suits out there. To recap slightly, all of our suits are made by fans. Nothing of what we make is licensed by LFL, and as one trooper put it, we're a walking, talking copyright infringement that LFL tolerates. This is why we want to stay on their good side.
I have an FX Storm Trooper suit. This is fine for me - it looks like a Storm Trooper, and the people who I'll dress up for, kids and parents, aren't likely to notice that it's not the most accurate suit out there. There's some small differences with the helmet and armor, as it's completely sculpted from scratch, not based off of the original molds. Something like 90% of the legion's storm troopers use this suit, because of it's cost, I suspect. At around $475, it's a pretty good price.

However, there's a number of other suits out there, and I found a terrific resource that shows some really good images of each suit type and how they differ from one another. I highly recommend checking it out:


Personally, I'm happy with my FX. I might go and get a new helmet someday, if I get the urge to go for something more accurate, but that's nothing that I'm planning on doing for a long time.

Wired Magazine Fanboys Article

I've known that this'll hit sometime soon, and it's interesting timing that this comes out the same day that we hear that the Weinsteins are thinking twice about their other version of the movie. Wired Magazine did a whole photoshoot with members of the 501st recently, and did an article on the movie:





It's a Wrap! Ernie Cline Has Written the Ultimate Star Wars Fan Movie
By James Lee Email 03.24.08 | 6:00 PM

The Millennium Falcon has landed in Marin County, California. It's not the real Millennium Falcon, of course — it's an '89 Chevy van that's tricked out to look like Han Solo's interstellar freighter. Protruding from the roof is what appears to be the head of R2-D2, and at first glance you'd never guess that it's just the dome from an old security camera. There's no Wookiee sidekick inside the ship, but there is a cheap imitation of the holographic chessboard and a lamp fashioned from a vintage Burger King Star Wars tie-in cup.

"Is there an emergency brake on this thing?" asks the pilot of the bizarre vehicle. He's having a hard time distinguishing the real gauges from the props. And no wonder: The speedometer on this vehicle, which cost all of $300, doesn't work much better than the fake toggles and switches placed over the dash.

The director yells, "Action!" and the ramshackle van coughs and sputters, then tears across the campus of Skywalker Ranch, past Lake Ewok, and toward the main house. A klieg light shines through the windshield, blinding the driver, a middle-aged transportation coordinator on the film who's now thinking of asking for stunt pay. He squints into the light and shouts, "I'm driving by braille here!"

This is the last day of principal photography for Fanboys. "It's a movie about Star Wars fans, made by Star Wars fans," says Ernie Cline, the screenwriter. The plot centers on a group of wannabe Jedis who travel cross-country and break into Skywalker Ranch to sneak a peek at a rough cut of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace before its release. It's a comedic road flick — though you'll need an encyclopedic knowledge of the George Lucas movie franchise to get the jokes.

Fan films about Star Wars aren't new. Hundreds are made every year, and the most popular get hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube. There's even an annual awards ceremony at Comic-Con. But Cline's piece of cinematic nerdbait is different. It's being executive produced by the company of Hollywood macher Harvey Weinstein, with help from Kevin Spacey's production shop. It features cameos from actual Star Wars actors like Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and Ray Park. And Fanboys, out later this year, has the honor of being the first feature to be shot here at the Lucas compound.

All this was made possible by Cline's deep understanding of a powerful unseen force at work in the universe. Not the Force that Jedis use, but the force of fandom itself.

"Man, I am the geek cliché," Cline says as he sits in his office, surrounded by Star Wars action figures and posters. "An obsessive science-fiction-movie-watching, comic-book-collecting, Monty Python-dialog-memorizing, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek." He's also, naturally, a lifelong Star Wars fan. As a kid in Ashland, Ohio, he dressed as Luke Skywalker on four consecutive Halloweens. As a high schooler in the A/V club, he debated the finer points of the trilogy with his gamer buddies. Even in his twenties, when he was doing customer service for CompuServe, he would still get into arguments over whether Boba Fett could kick Han Solo's ass.

Cline, now 36, wasn't oblivious to his weirdness. If anything, he was self-conscious and contemplative about it. "We all loved the same things, had the same points of reference. Those commonalities fascinated me."

And he realized that these commonalities could make for great entertainment. In 1993, a conversation at Gen Con, the convention for tabletop-game aficionados, devolved into a volley of quotes from the Arthurian spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cline had a revelation: "I said to myself, I bet every person at Gen Con knows the movie by heart. I bet I could ask people to get up onstage and reenact it on the spot.' And I was right."

Cline hastily assembled an amateur cast to act out the entire film from memory. The impromptu performance drew huge crowds. It was instructive for Cline. "I learned that I could tap into this," he says. "I could enlist other fans to assist in my insane ideas."

Cline moved to Austin, Texas, where he found some success doing a sort of spoken-word geek performance art. If Garrison Keillor's routines are aimed at middle-aged Midwesterners, Cline's monologues targeted nerdy Gen Xers like himself, who had been raised on Transformers and Atari. His rant about kids today who don't understand how tough it was to grow up in the low tech 1980s — no Internet! no Napster! no 3-D videogames! — spread throughout the Internet as an MP3. But his poetry-slam triumphs didn't pay the bills, and Cline took a tech-support job at a local ISP.



In early 1998, he and other geeks stuck at their desks across the country spent every free moment hitting Refresh on nerd-friendly sites in hopes of finding details about the first new Star Wars movie in 15 years. It was the perfect escape from the monotony of his work and the pain in his personal life. "My mother had died of cancer the year before, and I was in a morbid frame of mind," he says. So morbid that he found himself entertaining an irrational and unspeakable fear: What if he died before the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace?

"It seemed like the most horrible scenario at the time," Cline says. The prospect of seeing the movie was a reason to get up in the morning, something he anticipated with every fiber of his being. "Like all the other fanboys, I was being more careful on the highway."

The sites he followed were focusing on the postproduction work they imagined was happening at Skywalker Ranch. The 2,500-acre site is named after Luke Skywalker, protagonist of the movie that made Lucas rich and famous. "Skywalker Ranch is this mythical place for fans," Cline says. He remembers hearing rumors about the magical fortress in the hills outside San Francisco during gaming sessions in the 1980s. One urban legend held that a group of die-hard fans actually broke in and got their hands on a few precious minutes of footage that had been trimmed from the original Star Wars. The story stuck with Cline. "It was like invading a castle, a D&D adventure in the real world," he says, laughing.

This was all Cline needed to create his screenplay, Fanboys. The story is set in 1998, a few months before the release of Phantom Menace. Cline's characters, a group of dweebs from a small town in Ohio, cannot wait for the film's release. Literally. So they drive to Skywalker Ranch to steal a furtive look at a rough cut.

"I read Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which Lucas cited as an inspiration," Cline says. "And I mapped out this hero's journey that would parallel the one in Star Wars." In Fanboys, Skywalker Ranch represents the impenetrable Death Star. The young film buffs are the ragtag band of rebels who try to infiltrate the Imperial HQ. The decrepit pizza-delivery van they use to drive cross-country is their Millennium Falcon.

For six weeks in the fall of 1998, Cline spent every spare moment working on the script ... and rewatching the original trilogy "about 20 times" on VHS. He was so excited with the final product that he decided to quit his job, find local actors willing to work for nothing, and finance the project with his meager savings. "I was doing almost everything myself," he says. "Directing, camera-operating, lighting, location-scouting." He soon realized this approach was all wrong. "I could see that trying to make the movie this way was going to give me a nervous breakdown and result in a film that wouldn't live up to my script," Cline says. To realize the epic he envisioned, he needed lots of money. And lots of other fanboys.

The ultimate fanboy has to be Harry Knowles. He even has the battle scars to prove it: In 1995, he wrenched his back at a convention while pulling a cart loaded with more than 1,200 pounds of movie memorabilia. Knowles started the Web site Ain't It Cool News while convalescing, and soon he had an army of spies in the film industry and at test screenings who sent him tips, leaks, and early impressions. By 1998, he had an estimated 1.5 million daily readers.

"I met Harry when he and his dad were selling movie collectibles at a garage sale," Cline says. Later, the two bonded over their shared love of sci-fi while haggling over a vintage Barbarella poster. Knowles was on his way to becoming an Internet celebrity, and Cline often bumped into him at advance movie screenings and premieres around Austin.

Cline saw this immense nerd conduit that Knowles had created, and he had a brilliant insight: He wrote Knowles into Fanboys, with an eye toward having him play himself. Knowles would fill the Yoda role of wise mentor. His character would help the protagonists infiltrate Skywalker Ranch in exchange for the first review of the anticipated film. Knowles read the screenplay and posted a gushing review on his site: "The script reads damn well ... Cline is a geek that started out like many of you, and like some of you he's following up on his dream to do more than just stand in lines and buy merchandise."

The post caused a stir in Hollywood. "Everybody in the industry reads that Web site," Cline says. "I got national press attention." His script was optioned in 2002 by a young producer named Matt Perniciaro. But there were still problems; Cline's script was a cornucopia of copyright infringements. No production company would get involved unless Lucas blessed the project and removed the threat of a lawsuit.

Cline grew increasingly dispirited as the last of the three Star Wars prequels was released and all he had to show for his effort was a few hundred dollars a year to renew the option. His screenplay was like Han Solo at the end of Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back: encased in carbonite, hibernating.

That all changed in 2005, a few months after the prequels concluded with the release of Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. The production company Trigger Street, created by actor Kevin Spacey, stepped in. "I thought the script was hilarious," Spacey says. "It takes the huge impact that these films have had — the way they've intertwined with people's lives — and humanizes it."

Spacey was a fanboy icon himself, revered for his roles in The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns. He'd actually met Lucas while playing Lex Luthor, so he simply called the director and asked him for permission to make Fanboys. "George was surprised I wasn't calling him looking for a part. That'll be the next call I make to him," Spacey says. "He couldn't have been more helpful and more encouraging about the movie."

With Lucas on board, Hollywood got interested again. "DreamWorks wanted to make it," Cline recalls. "I heard that Steven Spielberg was taking the script home to read. I couldn't sleep or think." Producer Harvey Weinstein eventually agreed to finance the film.

Kyle Newman, the director of Fanboys, was an NYU film-school grad who'd done an award-wining short film and a documentary that drew raves at Sundance. But what made him perfect for the project was his exhaustive Star Wars knowledge. "He's a bigger fan than I am," Cline says, with a gravity that conveys what a remarkable feat that is.

"I was born in '76, saw it at a drive-in in '77," Newman says. "My first words were R2-D2' and C-3PO.'" Newman tapped production designer Cory Lorenzen, who had made the testicle-shocking time-travel device for Napoleon Dynamite. But the two soon realized that the $4 million or so the Weinstein Company had ponied up just wasn't enough to make the film that Cline had envisioned.

"The budget couldn't sustain what was in the script," Lorenzen says. There was only one way to get the film made: Use the force.

Newman went to every fan site and message board and invited geeks to help. Fans from as far away as Florida put their costumes and memorabilia in the back of their cars and made their way down to the main shoot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They wrangled props and made sure the correct lightsabers were used. "Their expertise was priceless," Newman says.

"It's as though we said, Hey, Star Wars fans, come help us make our movie for nothing,'" Cline says. "And they did." It was like his impromptu production of Holy Grail at Gen Con on a much grander scale: He had created the perfect entertainment for geeks, and geeks wanted a part in making it.

The Fanboys production formed an alliance with the 501st Legion, the largest organization of amateur Stormtroopers in the galaxy. They appeared as extras and did crowd control. Ken VanLyssel, a Web developer by day and a member of the 501st by night, became an unpaid wardrobe consultant. For a scene in which a character eats peyote and hallucinates that he's getting humped by an Ewok, VanLyssel himself created a small furry costume. "He would check in and say, Look at the teeth I made from a melted plastic cup,'" Lorenzen recalls.

Several celebs — William Shatner, Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Kristen Bell — jumped at the chance to be in the film. But the most ballyhooed cameos are by actual Star Wars alums: Lando Calrissian and Darth Maul and Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. She doesn't slip back into her metal bikini, though. She plays a doctor who helps the stars of the film on their pilgrimage. "She had great comic timing," says Newman. "She had a lot of memorable quips, and she does some other creative things with her lips that I'm sure fans will be talking about," he adds cryptically.

Back at Skywalker Ranch, Chris Marquette, who plays one of the fanboys, is getting into character. He's about to shoot a climactic scene: The rebels have infiltrated the ranch, only to be captured. But they manage to snag a rough cut anyway.

Before filming began, the actors got a crash course in Lucasfilm arcana. "I had stacks of DVDs for each of them to study," Cline says. "The bootleg Star Wars holiday special, the making-of documentary, Saturday morning cartoons, action figure commercials."

None of this prepared Marquette for the precious cinematic artifacts on the ranch. "I'm like, Oh my God, that's the spellbook from Willow,'" he gushes. He channels the enthusiasm into his performance. When Newman shouts, "Action!" Marquette stumbles into the frame as if he were concussed, as if he had just achieved enlightenment or won the lottery, as if he were the first fan in the world to see Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.

Marquette jumps into the van, and the fanboys race off, their mission accomplished. In the final version of the film, the car's engine noise will be replaced with the sound of the Millennium Falcon making the jump to hyperspace. "Skywalker Sound is letting us use their original sound effects," Newman says. "Lucas is extremely controlling of his brand, but he grew to trust us."

As filming wraps, a Porsche drives up to the main house on the ranch. It's Rick McCallum, a producer on all of the Star Wars movies. He's game for an impromptu cameo in Fanboys, one that can be inserted into the escape scene that was just shot. As Marquette again runs out of Lucas' house and hops into the van, McCallum follows him outside and watches the Chevy screech away. He shakes his head and mutters, "Nerds."



There's two other articles along with this, one about the controversy over the film's change, and another urging people to submit your tribute photos.

Changes in Fanboys



I'll be dammed: the Darth Weinsteins movement might actually be working. I posted up a rant on a couple other blogs that I run, basically addressing some of the issues that they were complaining about - I thought that they didn't have any chance, and I still think a lot of their logic is unfounded. That being said, it's nice to see that they are getting some results, or at least making the Weinstein Company think twice about releasing the new version to theaters. I've always suspected that we'll see both versions on a DVD.

However, this article does have some problems with it.

Fans press Weinstein on 'Fanboys'
By Gregg Goldstein and Borys Kit

March 24, 2008

The geeks have been heard.
Faced with a grass-roots boycott of its films, bicoastal protests at screenings of its Friday opener "Superhero Movie" and a campaign calling its co-chairman "Darth Weinstein," the Weinstein Co. said Monday that it now plans to release two versions of "Fanboys." The company said it will release the two versions on DVD, and a company source later said that is exploring two theatrical versions.
"Fanboys," about four diehard "Star Wars" fans who break into George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in order to see "The Phantom Menace" on the eve of its release, wrapped production two years ago and has been stuck in limbo as a tug-of-war between Harvey Weinstein and the filmmakers waged over competing versions of the movie.
The latest announcement did nothing to satisfy the filmmakers, who accuse the company of only putting out the announcement in order to sidestep a meltdown at this weekend's boxoffice.
"This is more about avoiding picket lines at 'Superhero' than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie," said Kevin Mann, one of the producers.
Mann -- along with producer Matthew Perniciaro, director Kyle Newman and writer Ernie Cline, who originated the story -- worked on "Fanboys" in 2003 with Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street coming on board in 2005. The cast, including then up-and-comers Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen and Dan Fogler, all signed up for a script that one year made the Blacklist, the annual industry ranking of the top scripts in town. Footage began making the rounds at "Star Wars" festivals, while 40 minutes of "Fanboys' " rough cut was screened at Star Wars Celebration and Comic-Con, where it was enthusiastically received by a standing-room-only crowd last year.
The Weinstein Co. picked up the project in late 2005, and following production slated "Fanboys" for release Aug. 17, 2007. That got pushed back to a Jan. 18 release. Then it went off the grid altogether.
Insiders said the root of the problem was Weinstein's issue with the underlying story in "Fanboys." The cross-country adventure is put in motion because one of the characters is facing cancer. Late last year, the company decided it would do reshoots, hiring Judd Apatow's producing partner Shauna Robertson to oversee a $2 million reshoot of four scenes done by director Steve Brill ("Drillbit Taylor"). That, combined with re-editing, created a version that excised the cancer subplot.
"Harvey feels it's hard to market, especially with this cast," an insider said. "He wants to market to a more teen audience. The filmmakers wanted a dramedy along the vein of 'Stand by Me.' "
The Weinstein Co. this year began testing both versions. Unprompted by the filmmakers, "Star Wars" fans began uniting to oppose the noncancer version, led by the 501st, a "Star Wars" fan group named after a fictional battalion. The group created a Web site that provided updates on developments while also lampooning Harvey Weinstein by Photoshopping him in Darth Vader drag.
The test screenings yielded a minuscule win for the noncancer version -- one insider said the difference was only two test points -- but that only emboldened the geeks. And some of the producers remained unmoved.
"The original reason we wanted to get involved with this script was because it was a comedy with heart," Mann said. "In my opinion, when the cancer was taken out, the heart went with it."
The new announcement still leaves the movie up in the air. It still has no release date, only a promise that both versions will be available on DVD. Late Monday, a Weinstein source said, "We're making a very strong attempt to make both films available theatrically as well."
The 501st was unimpressed with the Weinstein Co.'s move.
"This is clearly a vain attempt by the Weinstein Co. to avert 'Star Wars' fans' impending boycott of all of their films," the group said. "It's not going to work, Darth Weinstein. There was never any doubt that you would release both versions of the movie on DVD, probably months apart, so as to leech as much money from 'Star Wars' fans as possible. Our boycott will continue until the Weinstein Co. announces that they are returning control of 'Fanboys' to the 'Star Wars' fans who made it, releasing the original version in theaters and doing away with their anti-fan version of the film altogether."
The company Monday acknowledged that it had received more than 300,000 e-mails, which factored in its decision.
"While the later version tested very well with audiences, the grass-roots support we have received for the first version simply cannot be ignored," a Weinstein spokesman said.
The filmmakers had a more measured response than the fans, hoping to be given a chance to work the film some more.
"If they want to excise the cancer or reshoot again, I'll cooperate," Trigger Street producer Dana Brunetti said. "One tested better than the other, so I see both sides to it.
"We're too close to the movie to be objective, but we know which we consider better," he added with a laugh. "I've always been content with the (original cut of) the movie."
Harvey Weinstein has a history of tangling with filmmakers over their films' edits, earning him the moniker "Harvey Scissorhands" in some circles, but he seems to have met his match with a legion of "Star Wars" fans.
The possibility of a theatrical release was encouraging to both Newman and Brunetti.
"It will be interesting to see what version comes out theatrically, if it does at all," Brunetti said. "We're hoping to meet somewhere in the middle between the two."
Gregg Goldstein reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.


First of all, the 501st had nothing to do with this. We have members who are part of the Darth Weinsteins movement, who might have even started it, but as a group, there's no official opinion. We want to stay out of these things, mainly to keep the group's name in a good light for the larger organizations - we don't want to close doors.
This isn't the work of the 501st.
Second, the 501st isn't named for a fictional battalion - the fictional battalion in the movies was named after US.
I'm really hoping that this won't be a direct to DVD film, and I do hope that the second version won't make it to theaters.

March 24, 2008

THE FORCE IS STRONG... IN PLYMOUTH

This article just came over google about the UK Garrison:


Once in a galaxy not so far away, a peaceful shopping square was invaded by Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers.
Frankfort Gate in Plymouth's Independent Quarter was taken over for the day by Star Wars characters, including a cloaked Tusken Raider and a green-clad Biker Scout.
Children enjoyed mixing and being photographed with their Star Wars heroes, though one or two were scared by the imposing Vader, played by 6ft 5ins tall Alex from Plymouth.
The one-day event was organised by traders in the Independent Quarter, with support from the Plymouth City Centre Company and Hospital Radio.
Julian Shelford from Toy Tardis saw customers overflowing from his shop, where part-time assistant and Luke Skywalker lookalike Sam Gardner was obviously feeling the force, describing trade in Star Wars toys as "wild and manic".
Julian said: "We invited the 501st legion, who look great in their authentic outfits and go to all the conventions.
"We are having a great day's business and are planning further events in June or July."
Keeping the crowds in order was an American cop - but his uniform was not fancy dress.
Paul Carter, 51 and from Mutley, is a friend of Julian's who used to live in the USA and was an auxiliary policeman in Rutland County, Vermont, until 1983.
Back then, he toted a 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol, but never needed to fire it.
Paul said he was just pleased to fit into his uniform after 25 years.
Also enjoying the fun was six year-old Star Wars addict Jordan Moody from West Park. Jordan, accompanied by his dad, Darren Wright, said: "I have seen all of the films, but my favourite is 'Return of the Jedi'.
"I've got lots of Star Wars figures in my bedroom."
Up to 40 children also entered a Star Wars fancy dress contest.
Becky, as Princess Leia, won £50-worth of toys from Toy Tardis, Daniel as an Imperial officer won £30-worth of clothes from Casual Kids, and Matthew as Yoda won a prize worth £25 from Model Zone.
Interesting to read about the Vermont police officer in the UK. The full article is here, and has an amusing video embedded in the site.

March 21, 2008

Events Report - April 4 - April 30



The following events have been reported between April 4th through April 30th, 2008. Please keep in mind that all events are subject to changes and that the hosting garrison should be consulted prior to attending. If there are any errors, omissions or events that should be excluded from this report, please e-mail or PM me.

Friday Apr 4
Midwest Garrison - Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo - Carol Stream, IL
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison / Northeast Remnant - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY

Saturday Apr 5
Midwest Garrison - Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo - Carol Stream, IL
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison / Northeast Remnant - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY
Central Garrison - Omaha Beef Game - Omaha, NE
Southern California Garrison - Honoring Our Future Heroes - Iraq and Afghanistan at Naval medical Center San Diego
Florida Garrison - UCF HUGME Foundation Bbq - Orlando Florida
Garrison Excelsior - Heart Walk
Dutch Garrison - Collecters convention - Jaarbeurs Utrecht
Garrison Excelsior - Teen Book Festival
Central Garrison - Planet Comicon - Kansas City, MO
Belgian Garrison - Houthalen-Helchteren
Florida Garrison - Family Fun Day - 5145 ORANGE GROVE BLVD, NORTH FT MYERS, florida
Canadian Garrison - Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Young Peoples Concert - Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON
70th Explorers - Kansas City Planet Comicon
Nordic Garrison - Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention
Florida Garrison - The Florida International Air

Sunday Apr 6
New England Garrison - Northeast Wars VIII - Burlington Vermont
Empire City Garrison / Northeast Remnant - I-Con - Stonybrook, Long Island, NY
70th Explorers - Kansas City Planet Comicon
Nordic Garrison - Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention
Florida Garrison - The Florida International Air
UK Garrison - Collectors Fair - Grundy Leisure Centre, Cheshunt
Great Lakes Garrison - Port Huron Icehawks Star Wars Night - Port Huron, MI

Wednesday Apr 9
New England Garrison - Hasbro Inny Awards - Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in downtown Providence, RI

Friday Apr 11
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con,
Biloxi, Mississippi

Saturday Apr 12
Alpine Garrison - MS Walk Salt Lake at the Gateway - Salt Lake City, UT
Florida Garrison - A Friend For Daisy Benefit Concert - Tampa, FL
Great Lakes Garrison - Rivertown Convention - Grand Rapids, MI
Star Garrison, Crimson Nova Squad - Little Rock Comic Book Convention - Little Rock, AR
Canadian Garrison - Toronto ComiCon Fan Appreciation event - Metro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto, ON
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con, Biloxi, Mississippi

Sunday Apr 13
UK Garrison - London Marathon - Go Out to Support Steve and Ray! - London, UK
Empire City Garrison - Maria Fareri Children's Hospital - Valhalla, NY
Mississippi Outpost - Coast Con, Biloxi, Mississippi

Friday Apr 18
Southern California Garrison - Boys and Girls Club Carnival - 2200 E Commonwealth Fullerton, Ca
New England Garrison - Hasbro Bring you kids to Work Day - Pawtucket, RI
Great Lakes Garrison - PenguiCon 6.0 - Troy, MI
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center

Saturday Apr 19
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center
Alabama Garrison - Magnolia Festival - Gardendale
Florida Garrison - Relay For Life / American Cancer Society
Southern California Garrison - MS WALK 2008
Florida Garrison - Celebration Exotic Car Festival
70th Explorers - St. Patrick's Day Parade - Springfield , MO
Empire City Garrison - WHUD Kids Fair - White Plains, NY
German Garrison - FEDCON XVII - Godesberger Allee, Bonn
Florida Garrison - Great Strides fund raising walk - Tallahassee, FL
Canadian Garrison - SciFi on the Rock - Holiday Inn in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Midwest Garrison - Prairie Air Show - Peoria Airport

Sunday Apr 20
Mountin Garrison - Starfest - Denver, CO
Dutch Garrison - FedCon - Bonn
Midwest Garrison - PenguinCon - Troy MI
New York Comic Con - Javits Center, NYC, NY
Pacific Outpost - Kawaii Kon - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii/Hawaii Convention Center
Canadian Garrison - SciFi on the Rock - Holiday Inn in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Midwest Garrison - Prairie Air Show - Peoria Airport
Southern California Garrison - EarthFair 2008 - Balboa Park, Southern San Diego

Friday Apr 25
Alpine Garrison - SOUTHWEST SYMPHONY / Science Centre fund raiser - TENATIVE
Florida Garrison - Florida Garrison - 2008 Relay for Life Gainesville - 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL

Saturday Apr 26
Florida Garrison - Florida Garrison - 2008 Relay for Life Gainesville - 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL
70th Explorers - Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis
Midwest Garrison - Cape ComicCon - Cape Girardeau MO
Dune Sea Garrison - 5K for JA / KidsRockStars - Tempe Town Lake Arts Park
Florida Garrison - Our Kids World Family Fun Fest - Florida
German Garrison - Tattoo Convention 2008 - Frankfurt
Dune Sea Garrison - Tucson! March of Dimes: 3k March for Babies! - Tuscon AZ
Florida Garrison - March of Dimes March for Babies 2008 - Tampa Bay, FL
70th Explorers - Cape Con - SEMO University Student Rec Center, Cape Girardeau, MO
Dune Sea Garrison - Relay for Life of Surprise, AZ - Surprise, AZ
New England Garrison - Relay For Life - TENATIVE - Norwich University, Northfield, VT 05663

Sunday Apr 27
70th Explorers - Cape Con - SEMO University Student Rec Center, Cape Girardeau, MO
Dune Sea Garrison - Relay for Life of Surprise, AZ - Surprise, AZ
New England Garrison - Relay For Life - TENATIVE - Norwich University, Northfield, VT 05663
Garrison Tyranus - March for Babies - VA Beach
70th Explorers - Kid's Trolley Run 2008 - Mill Creek Park, JC Nichols Parkway, Kansas City, MO
Dewback Ridge Squad - Breast Cancer Walk - Albuquerque, NM
Mexican Garrison - Día del Niño en Casa Alianza - Casa Alianza
Capitol City Squad - MS Walk

Wednesday Apr 30
Mexican Garrison - Tabasco - Galerias Tabasco 2000 día del niño

Total events reported for 2008: 424

Jan - 27
Feb - 46
March - 92
April - 65

March 20, 2008

Podcast 11 Up

Alrighty, it's a little bit late, but the latest podcast for the 501st legion is now up. Here's the show notes:

501stCast: Episode 11: March 19, 2008: icanhas501stcast?

March 20th, 2008 — Full-Length Podcast

This episode of the 501stCast is dedicated to the memory of Joe Price, TD-6117 from the 501st Florida Garrison. A big trooper with a big heart, Joe left this world on March 7th after a long struggle with health issues that rarely kept him from participating in Legion events. We will miss you, Joe. Thank you for all you’ve done for the Legion.

Show Notes: Episode XI (March 19, 2008)

Hosts: Dean Plantamura (TK-899), Rich (IC-9577) and Lor (TK-7883)

Post-Production: Rich Sigfrit (IC-9577)

Content Development: Nicky Blum (DZ-8397)

Contributors: TD-0013, Burr Martin (TD-9993)

* New unit: Mississippi Outpost
* 501st Legion on icanhasforce.com
* Matt Busch’s You Can Draw Star Wars Season 2
* Exclusive interview with Honorary Member Timothy Zahn
* Ohio Garrison: Charity Lazer Tag
* Escorting George Lucas at ShoWest (LFL’s Bonnie Burton’s photos)
* Nordic Garrison: Scandanavian Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming Convention
* Malaysia-Brunei Outpost: Sony PSP Cosplay Competition
* Terror Australis Garrison: One Man Star Wars Show
* New England Garrison: St. Patrick’s Day Parade (audience video)
* Central Garrison’s Imperial 80th: Star Wars Birthday Party
* MidSouth Garrison: Star Wars-themed Bar Mitzvah
* Carolina Garrison: StellarCon 23 (gallery)
* Garrison Carida: Where Science Meets Imagination & Philadelphia Phanatics
* Connecticut Garrison: St. Patrick’s Day Parade
* Public Service Announcement from TD-9993
* A Different Point of View - Episode 3
* Quick Calendar:
o UK Garrison: Indiana Jones event (March 21st-23rd)
o German Garrison: Jedi Con (March 21st-23rd)
o Garrison Carida: Philadelphia 76s game (March 22nd)
o Alpine Garrison: Winder Farms 3rd Annual Spring Fling (March 22nd)
o Garrison Tyranus: Galacticon
o Spanish Garrison: XVII Jornades de Rol i Simulació del CRUPC (March 23rd)
o UK Garrison: Eastern Newport Film Fair (March 23rd)
o Florida Garrison: Learning 4 Life Family Fun Day (March 27th)
o UK Garrison: Lite a Nite (March 28th)
o MidSouth Garrison: MidSouth Con (March 28th-30th)
o Canadian Garrison: Ad Astra (March 28th-30th)
o Ohio Garrison: Big Robots Game Café (March 29th)
o Costa Rica Outpost: Fundraiser for Club De Libros (March 29th)
o Florida Garrison: MS Walk (March 29th)
o Midwest Garrison: Blue Harbor Resort Charity Benefit (March 29th)
o Great Lakes Garrison: Grand Rapids Gryphon’s Star Wars Day (March 29th)
o Georgia Garrison: Young Astronaut’s Day at AFB (March 29th)
o Alpine Garrison: MS Walk (March 29th)
o UK Garrison: Memorabilia event (March 29th-30th)
o Garrison Carida: Steel City Con (March 29th-30th)
o Terror Australis Garrison: Cancer Council’s Relay for Life (March 29th-30th)
o Terror Australis Garrison: Super Nova (March 29th-30th)
o Georgia Garrison: Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (March 30th)
o Georgia Garrison: Screening of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (March 30th)
o Terror Australis Garrison: Run for Kids (March 30th)
o Italian Garrison: CARTOOMICS 2008 (March 30th)
* Trooper of the Month Interview: TB-3330
* Contest and Giveaway: Win autographs from Star Wars authors Zahn, Stackpole, and Allston!
* Honorary Member Birthday Wishes
o Steven Barnes (March 1st)
o Jake Lloyd (March 5th)
o Iain McCaig (March 19th)
o Julian Glover (March 27th)
* Happy 2nd Anniversaries to:
o Arma Candida Squad (German Garrison) - March 18th
o Coastal Hammer Squad (German Garrison) - March 18th
o White Shadows Squad (German Garrison) - March 18th
o Parjai Squad (Florida Garrison) - March 20th
o Dewback Ridge Squad (Mountain Garrison) - March 21st

Download it here.

Other Pictures from the Week

Here's some images from around the legion from the past week. The first two are from Wizard World 2008:





Pictures from the Girl Scout 96th Birthday Party in Yorba Linda CA:




Storm Trooper at Comic Con Ponce ' 08

Trooper at Wizard Con




March 19, 2008

More Boston Pics


Pictures are still coming in from the Boston Parade. Here's the latest batch:









Other Parade Pictures

Came across some pictures from some other parades. I believe that this is the Golden Gate Garrison, on the 11th Annual Vietnamese Spring Festival & Parade, but I could be mistaken:










Another Video...

Here's another video from the Boston St. Pat's parade:


StellarCon in the News


Here's an article that just floated up to the web about StellarCon 23, which was trooped at by the Carolina Garrison:

The "other" N-word
Darth Vader goes in the middle. That's obvious.
And let's get some of his men here to his left. A stormtrooper. A clone trooper. And can we get one of those TIE pilots?
That's good.
Let's get a couple biker scouts over here, and you, the royal guardsman - that red cloak will just jump out over on Vader's right. Yes.
Back to the left now. Let's get Boba Fett and the rest of the Mandalorians over here. And you, the female Tusken, yes you.... Let's get you on the left with the Jawa - is that your daughter? So cute.... And Emperor? If you would, please.
A TIE pilot here, another Mandalorian over there. The Imperial gunner goes here.
And now... can the Imperial officers take a knee down front? You too, admiral.... Good. Now let's get the Sith lord front and center.
Oh, this is just perfect.
Cars slow down on Main Street in downtown High Point, honking horns and passengers disembark to capture the moment on their cell-phone cameras. A Randolph County ambulance cruises by; a tinny blast from its PA speaker advises, "Trust in the Force, Luke."
The members of the 501st Legion's Carolina Garrison, Star Wars fans one and all, chuckle at this one. But really, there is no Luke Skywalker here - I mean, what are they, a bunch of kids? Anyway, the 501st is a national costuming club for Star Wars villains, and Luke Skywalker was clearly a hero. Duh.
Also, the line as delivered to Luke Skywalker by the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars movie, which was actually Episode IV, came when Luke was barreling down the trench of the Death Star like he was blasting womp rats in Beggar's Canyon back home. And actually, it was two lines: "Use the Force, Luke," delivered when Luke first dove into the canyon, and then, "Luke, trust me," which he said just before Han Solo swooped in with the Millennium Falcon and took out Vader's Twin Ion Engine Advanced X-1.
Just so you know.
Probably anyone here at Stellarcon, the 32nd installment of the Triad's biggest science fiction, fantasy, horror, gaming and comics convention, could tell you the same, though the crowd is not limited to Star Wars freaks. There are hundreds of RPG - or role playing game - enthusiasts, sci-fi bookworms, memorabilia collectors, movie and television fans, filkers, anime junkies, aspiring writers and artists, working writers and artists, fanboys, fangirls and, in some cases, their fankids.
Full Article Here