July 31, 2008

Welcome to the Dark Side

This article just came in from Tulsa World:

Welcome to the Darth side

by: MIKE AVERILL World Scene Writer
7/31/2008 12:00 AM

Why would Sam Bell choose the Dark Side? "Ask anybody who the best villain is. Even people who don't know 'Star Wars' know who Darth Vader is," Bell said.

Sam Bell always loved the Storm Troopers in the "Star Wars" films. Growing up, he watched the movies and played with the toys. "Now," he said, "I'm my own action figure."

Bell is the head of the Oklahoma Fire Team of the Star Garrison, part of the 501st Legion, or Vader's Fist — an organization whose members dress in costume as members of the Empire. Bell and other members of the 501st Legion will be decked out this weekend at DefCon 7.

"The conventions are for fun," he said. "If I can make one kid smile, I don't care how much I spend on armor. That's all I care about."

Members of the 501st Legion will check for admission badges at the entrance to the convention and will also have an information booth.

"And we want to make sure that no rebels are acting up," he joked.

Bell purchased most of his outfit on eBay and assembled it with hot glue, foam and Velcro. His blaster is hand-made through resin casting. He said his outfit cost about $600, but some people spend up to $1,200.

"I saved up my money and bought everything piece by piece," he said.

The 30-piece uniform is lightweight plastic.

"The disco boots are the heaviest part of the outfit," Bell said.

He declared that the 501st Legion is George Lucas' preferred group.

"We pride ourselves in being as close to the movies as possible. We're not extremely strict, but we are portraying people's childhoods and hopes."

So why does Bell align himself with the Dark Side instead of siding with the Rebel Alliance as a member of the Rebel Legion?

"First, it's simply cooler," he said. "Second, I've always been attracted to the shiny armor."

And there's the fact that the Storm Troopers are led by one of the best villains, Darth Vader.

"Ask anybody who the best villain is. Even people who don't know 'Star Wars' know who Darth Vader is," Bell said.

Bell's been a "Star Wars" fan since his father took him to see "Return of the Jedi" at a drive-in theater.

" 'Jedi' was the first movie I'd seen. I remember loving seeing things that I never could imagine were possible. The biker scouts zipping through the forest hooked me."

He also enjoys the Star Wars films because they have a story that other movies try to live up to.

"It shows humanity at its best," he said. "There's turmoil and overcoming that turmoil and delving back into it. And I'm simply just a geek."

About the 501st Legion

The Oklahoma Fire Team has nine members, one short of being a squad, and the Star Garrison — which encompasses Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma — has 170.

The goals of the 501st Legion are to celebrate the “Star Wars” movies through the wearing of costumes, to promote the quality and improvement of costumes and props, and to contribute to the local community through charity and volunteer work, its Web site says.

The 501st Legion has more than 4,000 members around the world, even in Antarctica.

For more information on the Star Garrison and how to join, go online to tulsaworld.com/stargarrison or e-mail info@stargarrison.com

Source: http://www.tulsaworld.com/lifestyle/article.aspx?articleID=20080731_17_D1_hAbout389210

FAMILY: 'Star Wars' convention at The Summit

This article just came online:

FAMILY: 'Star Wars' convention at The Summit

July 31, 2008 09:48 am

— By Anthony Custode Jr.

Light ... saber, action!
The National Star Wars Convention rolls into town this weekend at Omega Sports in The Summit mall. Brenden Bronson, owner of the sports memorabilia store, expects a huge turnout.
As of Monday, there were 120 tickets remaining of the 3,500 made available. The convention is unique compared to the autograph sessions he normally holds at the store, Bronson said.
“We have a ‘Star Wars’ DJ and a band. We also have a laser light show and smoke machine inside and an epic battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader,” Bronson said.
Of course, it wouldn't be a “Star Wars” convention without stars from the movie. According to Bronson, David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch and Felix Silla, who played Darth Vader, Boba Fett and the hang-gliding Ewok from “Return of the Jedi,” respectively, will be on hand to sign autographs and mingle with fans.
Bronson also says he expects a “massive amount of celebrities,” including World Wrestling Entertainment diva Tammy “Sunny” Sytch. There are other celebrities tentatively scheduled to appear, as well.
Sytch says she looks forward to the convention, even though it isn't wrestling-related.
“I've been booked for signings at other (”Star Wars” conventions) and it's actually a lot of fun,” Sytch said. “Everybody expects to have a great time and meet their favorite characters. It's a fun, friendly atmosphere, and we're just trying to give them a good time.”
Bronson said the attendance of the 501st Legion, a fan organization whose members often dress up in Stormtrooper armor, will be a huge hit.
“The 501st Legion will be here all dressed up, and it's great because they actually look better then the characters in the movie because they spend so much more time on their costumes,” Bronson said. “They look amazing. I'm actually more excited about getting my picture taken with the legion because I'm such a big fan of the movie.”
Although hosting a convention with such a popular theme may be new to the Niagara Falls area, Bronson said he holds one annually, but the location changes each year.
“Last year was in Las Vegas, this year is in Niagara Falls and next year will be in Tampa, Fla.,” he said.
Sytch believes making appearances at these conventions will help enlarge her already popular fan base.
“Wrestling fans and ‘Star Wars’ fans are usually one in the same, but if I meet some people who aren't wrestling fans, maybe I can turn them on to it and hopefully turn them into a fan of mine,” Sytch said. “I do love meeting new people. The more people I meet, the broader my fan base gets.”
There will also be movie passes given away to the upcoming theatrical release “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” at the convention, Bronson said.
General admission tickets are $50 and VIP tickets are $100. Both tickets will allow access to the convention on each day, but the VIP ticket grants access to autographs from all celebrities in attendance.
Autograph signings will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, but a complete list of stars appearing has not been released. According to Bronson, that’s done by design.
“We like to have a few surprises that people don't know about so they think, ‘Wow, this is a great deal,’ ” he said.

* WHAT: National Star Wars Convention
* WHEN: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
* WHERE: Omega Sports in The Summit mall, 6929 Williams Road, Wheatfield
* MORE INFORMATION: Call 605-0985 or visit summitniagara.com

July 30, 2008

Interviewed for Online Gaming Radio

This is from a really long time ago:

Design & Conquer 101st Storm Trooper
Mon, 08, May 2008

Download this episode (15:56)
Interview done during Northeast Wars. Interviewed Andrew from the 101st Storm Trooper.

This was back during Northeast Wars, one of the first troops back in Vermont earlier this year. I've since sent them an e-mail to get them to correct the title to 501st.

Their website: http://www.onlinegamingradio.com

More NEG Oddities

This video, taken during the Midnight Toy Release, features one of our TKs:


July 29, 2008

Imperial Commando Novels

Looks like Karen Traviss isn't done with the Republic Commando novels after Order 66. In a recent interview with Randomhouse, she mentioned that she will be writing a couple Imperial Commando novels, and a Boba Fett novel:

Q: What other projects are you working on, both Star Wars—related and in your own fictional universe?

KT: I'm concentrating wholly on military and political fiction for the foreseeable future. I'm having a wonderful time working on Gears of War, which is a profoundly intelligent and well-created universe about a squad of soldiers in a post-apocalyptic world — yes, there are chainsaw rifles, but it's also very smart stuff - and I'm continuing the Republic Commando series in Imperial Commando books. There are a few other SW books in the pipeline too, including a Boba Fett one. In my creator-owned work, I'm writing a political thriller series about mercenaries, set in the very near future . I'll also be doing some comics work, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time. So, no vacation for a few years....or sleep....!

Looks like she won't be able to put her armor together any time soon...

Extended Clone Wars Clip!

Yahoo movies has posted an exclusive clip from the Clone Wars movie. The 3:49 minute clip details an early battle sequence in the movie, and contains some minor spoilers. Keep an eye out for the 501st Clones with jetpacks.

Take a look here:


Man, that looks awesome.

The Force is with them

This fantastic article came in from the Star Tribune, out of Minnesota:

The Force is with them

By Randy Salas, Star Tribune

Adam Brown, 6, left, and Sam Liang, 6, both of St. Paul, were surprised to find a real person — Steve Carter, 56, of Woodbury — behind what they thought was a static stormtrooper outfit during a visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota. “It freaked us both out,” Adam said.

July 29, 2008
It's not every day that you're riding an elevator and the doors open to admit an ominous "Star Wars" villain. But that's exactly what happened on a recent visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Enter Boba Fett, the lethal bounty hunter whom Darth Vader dispatched to track down Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back." As the imposing armored figure silently strode into the crowded elevator, trapped families and others quickly parted to the perimeter. One small boy ducked behind his father's legs, peering out in wide-eyed awe.

Later, in a secluded room at the huge museum, the faceless Fett removed the helmet to reveal not a ruthless male warrior, but a bright-eyed St. Francis woman named Stacie Hanson, who was all smiles.

"I just love it!" she said about impersonating one of the coolest, baddest dudes from the popular sci-fi films. "Seeing the kids' reactions is great -- even the parents'."

Hanson is one of a few dozen Twin Cities fans who appear regularly as "Star Wars" characters in authentic costumes that they often put together themselves. You can catch them Saturday and four other dates in August at the museum's special exhibit "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination," but you're just as likely to see them in a community parade, at a store opening or even at a charity event.

And they do it all as volunteers.

They belong to local chapters of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, companion costuming clubs that have the blessing of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas as long as they adhere to rules that include:

• The costumes must look authentic.

• The general public can't see any members partly costumed -- not wearing a helmet, for instance.

• Members can't be paid for their costumed appearances. (The nonprofit Science Museum has given them volunteer benefits, such as free admission and Omnitheater passes, said Joe Imholte, project leader for special exhibits.)

It's all about authenticity

Members of the 501st and Rebel Legion look as if they just walked off a "Star Wars" set. They compare constructing their costumes to building a scale model. Even if they don't make the parts -- usually ordered from specialty replica companies or other fans -- they paint, trim and do other things to customize the components to fit their bodies.

Hanson, 28, who works at a finance company, estimates that she has spent "well over $2,000" on her getup for Boba Fett, a character she takes turns playing with two other Twin Cities fans, who have their own costumes. She's continually upgrading, too, with plans to add working lights and a cooling fan for the sweltering helmet, for example. And Fett is just one of four "Star Wars" characters she portrays.

"This is my main hobby," she said.

Then there's Mike Hansen, 39, of Woodbury. He has built a full-sized, working replica of R2-D2, the cute dome-shaped droid and plucky sidekick of the golden C-3PO.

Hansen's R2 unit beeps and whistles. It also rolls around, rotates its dome and lights up -- all controlled remotely by Hansen, whose day job is at an insurance company.

He wouldn't say how much he has spent on the little fella other than "it was a lot." What's more, he added, his R2 might never be done. Planned upgrades include opening doors and a periscope.

"He looks so good that if I'm not where people can see me, they think he's right from the movie and totally running on his own," he said.

Dealing with the skeptics

Now, the reaction from nonfans of "Star Wars" might be, "What is with these people?"

Steve Carter, executive officer of the 501st's Central Garrison, has heard it before. The 56-year-old Woodbury resident, a technology company executive, says skeptics often experience what he calls "scoff and awe."

"Initially, they scoff at the idea of a grown man wearing a costume in public," said Carter, who plays Darth Vader and a stormtrooper. "But then when they see me in it, the scoff is quickly followed by awe. Once I am in costume, I rarely have anyone make fun of me."

Ed Cook, 28, commanding officer of the Rebel Legion's Central Base, doesn't let derisive comments get to him.

"Obviously, we can't take ourselves too seriously," said Cook, a Minneapolis resident who works for a mortgage company. "We're grown adults who go out and play dress-up, basically. But when you do a charity event or have a kid come up to you and see the smile on their face, it's just so totally worth it."

Chad VanVorst, 35, of Maple Grove, knows all about it. Another 501st member who plays Darth Vader, he's swarmed by young fans at events.

"It's cool to interact with the little people at that level," said VanVorst, who works at an insurance brokerage firm. "They look past the darkness -- the armor, the immediate visual ugliness that Darth Vader is. When you see those wagon-wheel eyes and the big mouths just agape, it's fulfilling."

As VanVorst stood in the Science Museum recently in full Vader gear -- all 70 pounds of it -- a tiny girl slowly but bravely approached the Dark Lord of the Sith. She whispered something indiscernible. VanVorst bent down and asked her in Vader's deep, amplified voice to repeat the words.

"High five?" she said a little louder.

He gently patted his gloved hand against her open palm. She hurried back to her waiting family, grinning all the way.


There are some more pictures on the website.

July 28, 2008

The NEG being Wacky

My home garrison being weird:


Hasbro Mentions 501st Legion

This is a really neat mention, a disclaimer really. With the release of a special 501st toy, there is a special membership card for the 501st Legion. Not our 501st Legion, but the other one - the one from the films. Scott Will, our merchandising person, noted this to Hasbro, and they put up the following disclaimer:

*This figure does not confer membership in the 501st costuming club. If you are interested in learning more about the costuming club and the great philanthropic work they do, please visit www.501st.com.

It's a nice bit of recognition, especially with the work that we do, and with a company that's so big and well known.


Review: The Clone Wars

[This review contains spoilers for The Clone Wars]

Earlier this year, the Star Wars Lit community was abuzz with the news of a couple of things - that there was an untitled Karen Traviss novel coming, and that there was a Clone Wars movie coming out. A couple of months ago, fans learned that they were both connected, as Karen turned out to have been writing the novelization.
The release of The Clone Wars brings about the first book released in the time frame since Traviss's last Republic Commando novel, True Colors, which was released last year, and once again shows that Traviss is one of the better writers for the Clone Wars.

This novelization isn't the best work that Karen has released. The book is a very short one, and plotwise, has a bit to be desired. In a nutshell, the Seperatists have kidnapped the son of Jabba the Hutt, hoping to anger the Hutts enough to ensure that the Republic can't utilize their space lanes.

The book is rife with action, which is Karen's strong point, especially when it comes to Clones. the main characters are introduced with a battle, where Karen puts her expertise gained from the Republic Commando books. What I really enjoyed was seeing an author put a level of military realism to this - the Clones talk and act like soldiers.

Karen leaves a lot of nods to the 501st, helping to further explain the role of Vader's fist, the battalion seen in Revenge of the Sith, named for the 501st Legion. One of the more interesting characters in the book is Captain Rex, whom a number of Legion members are building in anticipation of the film's release. Karen pushed these guys to a particular prominence in the book, which is a great nod to the group, of which, she's an honorary member. There weren't any mentions of Republic Commandos, which surprised me a little.

The plot of the book leaves more to be desired beyond the military sections. There are some interesting political ideas here, but the idea that the Republic would send two of their most highly regarded Jedi after a Huttling is somewhat ridiculous. While this is addressed somewhat at points, I found it hard to believe.

More so, I found the notion that the Hutts, or more particularly, Jabba, would completely base foreign policy on a kidnapped child a ridiculous notion. Granted, this is a novelization based off of an animated movie, so expecting something on the level of Karen's other books or other Clone Wars novels such as Shatterpoint is somewhat expected.

Unfortunately, the book is short, clocking in at around 250 pages, taking me a total of five or so hours to read. Fortunately, Del Rey seems to have realized this, and as a result, I only paid $12 for the book (yay for a 40% discount at Borders).

Overall, this is a decent enough read, despite the fact that it is short and not as good as her other books. However, with four more books to go in the series, there's plenty of room for more improvement and Clone action.


Pictures from Toys R Us

Now that the weekend is now over, we've gotten all of our pictures in from the Williston event. Here's some of the highlights:

July 26, 2008

Mission Report: Williston Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release

The Vermont contingent of the New England Garrison turned out in its biggest gathering on Friday night at the Williston, Vermont Toys R Us to participate in their midnight Clone Wars toy release. The event saw three troopers, Andrew Liptak, Mike Anton and David Willard, appear, as TKs, to mingle with the small crowd of people who had waited in line for the opening. We also had three helpers, Stephen, Hayes and Ashley as wranglers, who took a number of pictures and helped us out when needed.
It was a small turnout for the store, but by 11:00, a small line had formed, and several people trickled in afterward, while we patrolled the aisles and posed for pictures. The store employees were thrilled to have us, and overall, it was a good, low-key event.
This was the first chance that I had to debut my upgraded armor, which worked fairly well - I had a couple of problems with my sniperplate, but for the most part, the glued sections worked well - I need to work on my shins, because I glued the parts on backwards.

July 25, 2008

Fanboys Release Date & Review

A lot of places are covering the San Diego Comic Con, and a blog I frequent, Cinematical, has posted up their review:

SDCC Update: Cinematical Has Seen 'Fanboys'!

... and, ya know, it's pretty darn adorable.

Last night a special screening of Fanboys was held here in San Diego, and Cinematical was on hand to witness what producer Kevin Spacey (in attendance) called "the third annual screening of Fanboys -- next year, we're going to series!" Director Kyle Newman and writer Adam Goldberg were there -- as well as an assorted number of suits, one imagines -- and they were met by a packed house of nutty Star Wars fans. The theater had absolutely no air conditioning and it was standing room only, so you can understand these weren't ideal screening conditions. Nevertheless, the first words started scrolling up ... and the folks in attendance ate up every minute of the film from then on out.

Opening in theaters (either wide or in limited release -- Weinstein hasn't decided yet) on September 19 (a date announced by Newman last night), this is apparently the final cut of Fanboys. I won't go into the whole two-year-labor-of-love thing because Scott still needs to swing by here and throw out his review. I will say, though, that this is not just a film for Star Wars fans -- it's a film for any geeky dude or dudette who's ever horsed around with their friends, gone on a nutty adventure and inserted random movie quotes into every other line of dialogue. This flick has so many friggin' Star Wars references -- and movie references in general -- that it's just a ball to watch them all hit the screen at warp speed. And the cameos! All I'll say is that when Judd Apatow came on to help things move along, he brought with him a bunch of friends.

Oh, and one more thing: Out of all the dude sweat in this film, Kristen Bell totally steals the show. What a cutey.

Fanboys. September 19.
Very good news! I can't wait!

Events Report - July 26 - August 14

The following events have been reported between July 26 and August 14, 2008. Please keep in mind that all events are subject to change without notice and to contact the hosting garrison prior to attending any event.

Friday Jul 25

Central California Garrison - San Diego Comic Con - San Diego
Redington Balloon Festival - Vader Balloon - New Jersey
Southern California Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Dune Sea Garrison - Toys R Us Clone Wars Midnight Opening Event - Mesa AZ
UK Garrison - TRU Croydon - Toys R Us, Surrey
New England Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Williston, VT
Star Garrison, STX Squad- Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Garrison Excelsior - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - TENTATIVE - Greece, NY
Florida Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Garrison Carida - Toys R Us Midnight Madness sale - King of Prussia, PA
Weird Al Concert - Rama, Ontario
UK Garrison - TRU Medway - Toys R Us, Kent
Florida Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Jacksonville, FL
Alabama Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Mobile AL
UK Garrison - TRU Leeds - Toys R Us, West Yorkshire
Carolina Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Monaco Outpost - Toys r'us Midnight and Madness - Paris -La Défense CNIT 4 temps
Mountain Garrison, Dewback Ridge Squad - TRU Midnight Toy Release - Albuquerque, NM
New England Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Nashua, NH
Midwest Garrison - Party
Carolina Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Bloodfin Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Indianapolis, IN
UK Garrison - TRU Bristol - Toys R Us, Bristol
UK Garrison - TRU Ipswich - Toys R Us, Suffolk
UK Garrison - TRU Oldbury - Toys R Us, West Midlands
UK Garrison - TRU Southampton - Toys R Us, Hants
Southern California Garrison - ESPN Deportes Party
New England Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Framingham MA
New England Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Warwick, RI
Garrison Carida - Toys R Us Midnight Madness - Monroeville, PA
Northeast Remnant - TRU Times Square Midnight Toy Release
UK Garrison - TRU Glasgow - Toys R Us, Glasgow

Saturday Jul 26
Central California Garrison - San Diego Comic Con - San Diego
Redington Balloon Festival - Vader Balloon - New Jersey
70th Explorers - Toys R Us Star Wars Midnight Toy Release - Springfield, MO
UK Garrison - The Entertainer - The Entertainer, Staines
Florida Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release - Boca Raton, FL
Costa Rica Outpost - Expo-Legionarios - San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Costa RIca
Great Lakes Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Florida Garrison - Filming
Great Lakes Garrison - Toys R Us Midnight Toy Release
Florida Garrison - St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa - Tampa FL
Empire City Garrison - Giant Kids Family Fun Day - Bedford, NY
Garrison Carida - Chrome Riders Cooper Fair - Mullica Hill, NJ
Garrison Cardia - Steel City Con - Monroeville Expo Mart, Monroeville PAMonroeville Expo Mart, Monroeville PA
Terror Australis Garrison - Anime Convention
Midwest Garrison - Timber Rattlers Baseball-Star Wars Day *Make*A*Wish* benefit - Appleton, WI
Dune Sea Garrison - Susam G. Koman Breast Cancer Walk Fundraiser - Phoenix, AZ
Weird Al Concert - Greensburg, PA
Pacific Outpost - Midnight Madness - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
MidSouth Garrison - North Stewart Spring Festival - North Stewart, TN
Terror Australis Garrison - Autosalon '08 - Perth, AUS

Sunday Jul 27
Central California Garrison - San Diego Comic Con - San Diego
Redington Balloon Festival - Vader Balloon - New Jersey
Terror Australis Garrison - Autosalon '08 - Perth, AUS
70th Explorers - Camp Quality Greater Kansas City - Excelsior Springs, MO
Southern California Garrison - Armor Party

Monday Jul 28
Dune Sea Garrison - Karen Traviss Clone Wars Book Signing - Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ
70th Explorers - Slackers Star Wars night at GCS Ballpark - Sauget, IL
70th Explorers - Weird Al Concert

Tuesday Jul 29
Star Garrison - Karen Traviss Book Signing - Dallas, TX
Central Garrison - Weird Al Concert

Wednesday Jul 30
Georgia Garrison - Karen Traviss Book Signing - Decatur, GA

Thursday Jul 31
Empire City Garrison Karen Traviss Book Signing - New York City, NY
Mountain Garrison, Dewback Ridge Squad - UNM Children's Hospital Troop - Albuquerque, NM
New England Garrison - Fletcher Free Library Game Day - Burlington, VT

Friday Aug 1
German Garrison - Deutsch Amerikanisches Volksfest Grafenwöhr - Grafenwöhr
Central Garrison - Omaha Royals Baseball Game - Rosenblatt Stadium - Omaha, NE
Weird Al Concert - Calgary, AB
Midwest Garrison - Kunzel conducts CSO in John Williams Tribute - Tenative - Ravinia, IL
Terror Australis Garrison - Star Ball Melbourne - Melbourne, AUS
Northeast Remnant - Toms River Library Event - toms river NJ
Garrison Excelsior - Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally - TENTATIVE - Binghamton, NY
Outpost Venezuela - Avalancha Convention 2008 - Santa Maria University - Caracas
Garrison Excelsior - Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally - Binghamton, NY

Saturday Aug 2
Outpost Venezuela - Avalancha Convention 2008 - Santa Maria University - Caracas
Garrison Excelsior - Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally - Binghamton, NY
Northeast Remnant - Toms River Library Event - Toms River NJ
German Garrison - Deutsch Amerikanisches Volksfest Grafenwöhr - Grafenwöhr
Florida Garrison - Wedding
Midwest Garrison - Party
Connecticut Garrison - ConnectiCon - Hartford CT.
Great Lakes Garrison - AJ's Family Fun Centers Star Wars Day for Make-a-Wish - Grand Rapids
Weird Al Concert - Enoch, AB
Alpine Garrison - Hess Heritage Museum Fundraising Gala - Tentative - Ashton Idaho.
UK Garrison - Keech Cottage Family day - Hen and Chicken Pub, Herts
Florida Garrison - Literacy/Family Day - Clermont, FL
UK Garrison - Entertainer Fun Day ~ Yeovil - The Entertainer Store,
Midwest Garrison - Ogle County Fair - Oregon, IL
Garrison Carida - Library Event with NER - Ewing, NJ
Garrison Carida - Semi-Annual Comic Book Sale - Wilmington, DE
Florida Garrison - Clone Wars Club Party - Jacksonville, FL
UK Garrison - NSPCC Bike Challenge Fun Day - Lampton Worm Hotel, Chester Le Street, County Durh
Florida Garrison - Ancient City Con

Sunday Aug 3
Outpost Venezuela - Avalancha Convention 2008 - Santa Maria University - Caracas
Garrison Excelsior - Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally - Binghamton, NY
UK Garrison - NSPCC Bike Challenge Fun Day - Lampton Worm Hotel, Chester Le Street, County Durh
Florida Garrison - Ancient City Con
Southern California Garrison - Armor Party
Weird Al Concert - Regina, SASK
Florida Garrison - Party

Tuesday Aug 5
Southern California Garrison - Burbank Neighborhood Watch Block Party - Burbank, CA

Wednesday Aug 6
Weird Al Concert - Grand Prairie, TX

Thursday Aug 7
Southern California Garrison - Children's Miracle Network/CHLA-Radiothon
70th Explorers - Weird Al Concert
UK Garrison - Tongwynlais Community Fun Day - Tongwynlais

Friday Aug 8
UK Garrison - RAF Fylingdales Fun Day - RAF Fylingdales, North Yorkshire
Midwest Garrison - Wedding
Midwest Garrison -CHILDRENS CANCER CAMP appearance - Frankfort, IL
70th Explorers - Weird Al Concert
70th Explorers - MDA Summer Camp - Bear River Ranch, Highway EE, Rolla, MO
Dune Sea Garrison - Clone Wars Premiere Fundraising - Tempe Cine Capri
Mexican Garrison -Expocoleccionistas III - D.F

Saturday Aug 9
Dune Sea Garrison - Clone Wars Premiere Fundraising - Tempe Cine Capri
Mexican Garrison -Expocoleccionistas III - D.F
Garrison Carida - Adelaides Place Fundraiser - Collegeville, PA
Canadian Garrison - Balloon Festival, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Star Garrison, Arkansas Squad - Little Rock Comic Book Convention - Little Rock, AR
Weird Al Concert - Springfield, IL
Garrison Excelsior - Rochester Red Wings SW Night - Rochester, NY
Garrison Carida - Clone Wars Screening - Pittsburgh, PA
Garrison Carida - Picnic with National Guard - Sring City, PA
Dune Sea Garrison - Summer Kids Events at Bookmans - Phoenix, Az

Sunday Aug 10
Mexican Garrison -Expocoleccionistas III - D.F
Florida Garrison - Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention - Tampa, FL
Garrison Carida - Corvettes for Kids - Barto, PA
Weird Al Concert - Rockford, IL
Empire City Garrison - Clone Wars Screening - New York City, NY
Southern California Garrison - Armor Party
Garrison Carida - Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh Visit - Pittsburgh, PA
Terror Australis Garrison - Clone Wars Release

Wednesday Aug 13
New England Garrison - Clone Wars Release, Providence Place

Thursday Aug 14
Florida Garrison - Miami Children's Museum - Miami, FL
Florida Garrison - Miami Children's Hospital - Miami FL
Dune Sea Garrison - Clone Wars Release, Cine Capri - AZ

501st Caught on Film

Here's a bunch of pictures from flickr this past week:

Some troopers went to an Applebees:

Garrison Carida at Robot Bloc Party:

Celebration Japan!:

Random ComicCon:


Grainsville parade:

A couple of troopers at Horray for Hollywood:

Midsouth Garrison and Weird Al:

Phone call:

Random troopers:

San Diego Comic Con:

Terror Australis Garrison at concert:

Someone trying out a TK:

Troopers in Tokyo:

501st Caught on Camera

Here's the latest videos from the past week:

501st Weird Al Cincinnati 2008 - 4


501st Weird Al Cincinnati 2008 - 3


501st Weird Al Cincinnati 2008- 2


501st Weird Al Cincinnati 2008 - 1


501st Legion Midsouth Garrison with Weird Al Yankovic. Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN


Weird Al 501st GLG 7-17-08


501st MI GLG/Weird Al Meadowbrook 2008


man in uniform


Sci-Fi Convention in Gothenburg 2006


Star Wars Weekend: Comedic Stormtroopers


stormtroopers at one man star wars


Star wars stormtroopers at Causeway Bay


puebla concierto star wars 3


501 french belgium garrison and rebel legion


501stCast: Episode 20: July 24, 2008: Who Needs an Interrogator Droid?

Get ready for a whole lot of interviews as we put the questions to the creators of Robot Chicken, Star Wars artist Katie Cook, Trooper of the Month Thomas Spanos, Spike TV viral video stars, and R2-KT Coin Project Coordinator Lesley Farquhar. Don’t worry, we’ve also got recent news, mission reports, and the usual 501st goodness. We also make good on a forgotten trivia question from last episode…listen and win!

Show Notes: Episode XX (July 24, 2008)

Hosts: Dean Plantamura (TK-899), Lor (TK-7883) and Jumpin’ Joe Stevenson (TK-6064)

Post-Production: Dean Plantamura (TK-899)

Content Development: Nicky Blum (DZ-8397) and Dean Plantamura (TK-899)

Contributors: Andrew Liptak (TK-3220), Adam Scott (RC-6124)

Recent News

Honorary Member Interview - Star Wars artist Katie Cook

Mission Reports

Trooper of the Month Interview - Thomas Spanos, SL-1876

Rebel Legion Segment

Upcoming Events


icon for podpress Standard Podcast: Download

July 24, 2008

Events Report Update

The events report is going to be delayed again, because of some personal and work related problems that I've had. I'm adding on a second member of the Events Tracking/Reporting team, Mike Anton, TK-2084, also of the New England Garrison.
Over the past couple of months, this list has really grown, and it's getting to be a two person job. Mike's agreed to step up and help me out, and hopefully, we'll be back to normal tracking events and the like. Currently, we're pulling events from 46 different websites and forums, not to mention the e-mails and things like that.
There's still a number of websites that we can't get information from, but just for reference, here is who we do pull from:

70th Explorers
Alabama Garrison
Alpine Garrison
Bloodfin Garrison
Brazil Outpost
Canadian Garrison
Capitol City Squad
Carolina Garrison
Central California Garrison
Cloud City Garrison
Dune Sea Garrison
Dutch Outpost
Empire City Garrison
Florida Garrison
French Garrison
Garrison Carida
Garrison Excelsior
Garrison Titan
Garrison Tyranus
Georgia Garrison
German Garrison
Golden Gate Garrison
Great Lakes Garrison
Hungarian Outpost
Imperial 80th Squad
Italian Garrison
Japanese Garrison
Mexican Garrison
Midsouth Garrison
Midwest Garrison
Mississippi Outpost
Mountain Garrison
New England Garrison
Nordic Garrison
Northeast Remnant
Ohio Garrison
Old Line Garrison
Outpost 42
Pacific Outpost
Philippines Outpost
Polish Outpost
Portuguese Outpost
Southern California Garrison
Swiss Garrison
Terror Australis Garrison
United Kingdom Garrison

It's a long list, and it'll likely grow a bit. But, it's a fun project, and we'll be continuing it!

Upcoming Events

I've had to trim a couple of things recently because of some issues that I've had lately.

7-26 - Toys R Us Midnight Event, Williston Vermont
- I'd originally intended on going to the New York City Times Square event, but that's just not going to work out this time around, so I'm doing the one in Williston Vermont. Far less cool, but it's a troop.

7-31 - Game Tournament @ Burlington's Fletcher Free Library
- We're showing up to troop at a kid's gaming thing in Burlington, which should be fun, low key.

8-9 - Balloon Festival, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
- This is up near Montreal, where the Darth Vader Balloon will be appearing. Can't wait for this one.

8-15 - Clone Wars release, Williston or Burlington, VT
- I'm currently working out which theater we're going to be going to, with some very positive leads. Hopefully, the Majestic 10, once they get their schedule finalized.

9-6 - MS Challenge Walk, Cape Cod, MA
- I might do this, depending on how things are going, although it is a very long drive down to Cape Cod.

9-13 - Walk Now for Autism

9-20 - West Boylston Bicentennial Arts Festival

10-5 - Walk Now for Autism

10-11/12 - Music of John Williams Concert

10-19 - Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism 2008

Oct - Woburn Halloween Parade
Nov - SuperMegaFest

It's looking like the fall is getting crowded too, and I'm thinking that I'll have to ditch the MS Challenge Walk, maybe a couple of the other Autism walks as well... I'm not sure if I'll do Supermegafest either yet.

July 23, 2008

Family Guy and Robot Chicken Sequels!

Not totally 501st related, but it's Star Wars coolness:

There's going to be a Family Guy retelling of the
Empire Strikes Back! The first one was absolutely hilarious, and this one should be just as much fun to watch.

From Wikipedia:

"Something, Something, Something Dark Side" is an upcoming episode of the FOX animated series Family Guy and the sequel episode to the Star Wars episode "Blue Harvest". It will retell the story of The Empire Strikes Back as "Blue Harvest" did with A New Hope, recasting characters from Family Guy into roles from the film. Like "Blue Harvest," this episode will last roughly 45 minutes, without commercials.

Upon release of the Blue Harvest DVD, fans were treated with an easter egg of a brief read through of bits from "Something, Something, Something Dark Side," as well a teaser trailer for the episode as another easter egg. From what can be heard from the reading, Chris, Peter and Lois will be reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia respectively, thus making it very likely that the other characters will be doing so as well (i.e., Stewie as Darth Vader, Brian as Chewbacca, etc.). As for new characters, it has been officially confirmed in a news article that the role of Boba Fett will be filled by the Giant Chicken, Peter's arch-nemesis.[1] A sketch of Fett's character model can be very briefly seen within the last two seconds of the trailer, further supporting the confirmation. Also, Seth Green reportedly let slip in an interview that the role of Lando Calrissian will be filled by Ollie Williams despite the fact that Ollie already appeared as himself in a DVD-exclusive scene in "Blue Harvest."[citation needed]

One line that Leia says to Luke during the reading ("I don't know what it is, but when I kiss you, it's like kissing my brother," which is a quote from Back to the Future) was originally pitched by Seth MacFarlane during the DVD commentary of Blue Harvest.

The title of this episode is a reference to a specific line from the season five episode "Barely Legal," which was used in a cutaway relating to Star Wars. The line is an inside joke relating to the Emperor working out the formula for great dialogue for Star Wars (as long as he reuses the phrases "dark side" and "complete" in his lines, they would be considered gold). The line can be heard in the trailer, and the clip itself can be fully seen at the end of the "Family Guy Star Wars Clip Show" featurette on the DVD.

Okay, so I'm a little behind the ball here, but it's still excellent news!

And, from the Hollywood Reporter:

"Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II" is a go. Days after the Adult Swim show landed a best animated series Emmy nomination for its "Star Wars" episode, the cable network is moving ahead with a sequel that will premiere Nov. 16.

"It doesn't even seem real -- getting to make Star Wars twice!" said "Robot Chicken" co-creator Seth Green, who is set to direct the second "Star Wars"-themed episode after winning an Annie Award for helming the first one.

Many members of the voice cast from the first special, including original "Star Wars" actors Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams -- reprising their roles as Princess Leia and Lando Calrissian, respectively -- are back. Also returning are Seth MacFarlane as Emperor Palpatine, Conan O'Brien as Zuckuss, Breckin Meyer as Admiral Ackbar and Boba Fett, and Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks. Green will voice several characters, including Ponda Baba. Joining the voice cast this time around is Andy Richter.

As for the creative direction in the sequel, "we decided to focus on the bounty hunters a bit and explore their stories," "Robot Chicken" co-creator Matt Senreich said. "It's a geek-fest for us all."

"Robot Chicken" hails from Green and Senreich's Stoopid Monkey Prods. and Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico's ShadowMachine Films.

The first "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" special was released Tuesday on DVD.


Pictures from Weird A!

Finally, we've gotten our pictures from the Weird Al concert:

Hanging out prior to the show:

Practicing our dance moves:

Dion and TK having fun:


Group shot:

On Stage!

On Stage:

Final group shot:

Full event report here. No sign of the video yet, but hopefully, that'll be coming.