Friday, June 05, 2015

Northwood High School Pops Concert

Tonight R2 and some 501st characters helped with an appearance at Northwood High School's Pops Concert in Irvine, CA. The school paid for the rights to play Duel of the Fates as their finale, and the characters were to appear during the performance.

The orchestra and chorale are quite large, with a few hundred students participating. I was told over 90% of the students participate in Fine Arts at the school.

We arrived around 7:00pm and were provided a dressing room. R2 came dressed already, so he hung out int he hallway, where some of the student performers were able to take the occasional picture.



A few of us were also able to sneak backstage and watch some of the performance. I was only able to see a small percentage of the students onstage from my vantage point, but they certainly sounded good.



Around 8:30pm the characters prepared to enter quietly from the back of the music hall. Vader and Yoda were played by the music director and his wife (using non-club costumes).




As the Duel of the Fates started, R2 rolled up the ramp and took his position on the right. Other characters were stationed in other various parts of the theater.



I was told about 700 people were in attendance. It sure looked crowded.



When the students finished playing the piece, they got a standing ovation, and they took a bow.



No sooner did things wrap up on the stage, then people started taking the opportunity to get pictures with R2.




Eventually, I was able to make my way with R2 outside, where he belonged for photo ops with the rest of the characters.



We wrapped it up with a group photo of all of the characters.



It was a really fun night and I'm glad I was able to go.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Special Visit to CHOC

Today R2 returned to Childrens Hospital Orange County a mere two weeks since his last appearance there, to visit a special patient he and I have known through the years. I went by after work, and the hospital was less busy than during our daytime visits, but R2 did visit several patients on the 5th floor.

As always, the staff loves to get pictures with R2.





And the little sister wanted to take a picture for Instagram with her My Little Pony (I think?) figures.



On my way out I took the traditional picture by the CHOC bear. Hopefully our friend's stay won't be too long, but either way R2 and I will be back visiting patients at CHOC in the not-too-distant future.



Wow, April was a busy month! Tons of events, including Wondercon (2 days), Ronald McDonald House Walk, 2 visits to CHOC, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, a wedding & rehearsal, and let's not forget Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (setup day + 4 days)! I think I'm going to take it a bit easier in May. I hope.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mendoza Wedding

Tonight R2 served as ring bearer for Alonzo and Viridiana Mendoza's wedding, at The Links Golf Course, in Long Beach, CA! Al is also a member of the R2 Builders Club, so I was happy to help with this special assignment.

This past Thursday was the rehearsal. Similar to the first time R2 acted as ringbearer, the routine was that the Best Man would be unable to find the rings, and R2 would come to the rescue with them. (I'm starting to think that little droid is a kleptomaniac.)

I arrived nice and early, and fitted R2 with the pillow.



I had Best Man Ramón tie the rings down. I told him he was packing his own parachute, since he was the one that would have to untie them.



I surveyed the scene inside, before the guests arrived. It's okay if I try some of this, right?




I want to sit at the kids' table.



The guests arrived and got seated. I stayed with R2 for a while in the shop from which he was going to emerge.



From my vantage point I was able to take a few pictures as the ceremony started.

Here comes the bride!




Here comes the droid!

Ramón "forgot" the rings, and R2 came to the rescue. Of course, since I was driving R2 I didn't get any pictures of that part, but R2 parked just to the right of the gazebo-thingie after he delivered the rings successfully.



Afterwards, the new couple took some pictures with R2 and me.




And Al shows that R2's bowtie does indeed match his.



Congratulations Al and Viri! Here's wishing you a lifetime of happiness together!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Star Wars Night at Angel Stadium - 2015

Tonight was the very first ever Star Wars Night at Angels Stadium, and R2 and I joined several Star Wars characters to help spread the Star Wars cheer.

Fellow R2 Builder Matthew Henricks wrangled for me. We arrived and went to the area behind the right field wall where the characters were to change into costume.



We went over the plan. Some of us were to be at the Music Garden before the game, while others were to be at the main front entrance where they have a huge brickwork area made out to be a baseball diamond. R2 was to be at the Music Garden, which I preferred because it had less cobblestone to drive over.



We then scouted the areas where we were to be stationed.




Jedi Rally Monkey!



Around 5:00pm the gates opened, and lots of people lined up for pictures with R2 at the Music Garden.





A few of us were selected to walk the warning track with the girls that shoot t-shirts into the stands. R2 was included! We entered near the right field foul pole and made our way around home plate and toward the gate by the left field foul pole.





R2 stopped in front of the Angles dugout for a picture with pitcher Hector Santiago.



We finally arrived at the end of our walk, as the grounds crew tried to cover R2's tracks!



A friend of a friend was in the stands and snapped this pic of R2, Matthew and me.



R2's night was done, but some of the other characters got to participate in the fan contest, Steal a Base.




Finally, we headed to our seats to watch the game. Unfortunately, the Angels ended up losing to the A's, 6-3. R2's record with the Angels is 0-1.




It was a fun night and I hope we get to come back. Thank you to Matthew Henricks for taking a ton of pictures for me.

The full photoset is here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim - Day 4

Today was the fourth and final day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, one last chance to experience the convention and catch up with friends.

Several of the R2 Builders hadn't seen the Episode VII Prop room yet, so we returned right before it opened for the day. I was told the line got up to four hours long at times on previous days! The line was already getting long, and the show hadn't yet opened to the public!



This guy has a little more devotion to R2 than I do. At least the dome doesn't have blinking lights.



In case you didn't know, it appears BB-8 (or one of his brethren) is copiloting an X-wing.



I headed downstairs, where two protocol droids had joined the Sandcrawler photo op area. Neat!



Michael McMaster needed to bring Chopper upstairs. When the freight elevator opened, who should be standing there but none other than Clone Wars and Rebels Director Dave Filoni!



Chopper gave yet another interview, as Michael got some Chopper artwork.




You could tell the day was starting to wind down when the Cincinnati crew were packing up their droids a bit early.



Brian Mix built R1-G4. I am not aware of another one of these on the face of the earth. (Tatooine, maybe.) I loved this thing. Mike Senna and I helped Brian out of it, as he quickly learned he needs to add some ventilation if anyone ever wants to get in there again.



At 5:00pm, our doors closed for the last time. I actually told the very last person that walked in that they were it.



I had fellow club member and Episode VII R2 Builder Oliver Steeples autograph R2's back door.



I headed downstairs to attempt to assist with the Sandcrawler teardown (I didn't end up helping at all), and also took a look at other goings-on.



I guess this is what the rest of Roxy the Rancor looked like after that big door slammed down on her head in Return of the Jedi.



They still don't serve their kind.



The Cantina crew got a group picture.



And finally, time to go.




I had a great time all four days. It was great to connect with both old friends and new, and to experience so much great Star Wars stuff. I'm really looking forward to the new movie, and whatever new adventures may lead up to it. And I look forward to seeing everyone again.

The full photoset is here.