Monday, January 23, 2017

Charter School & Hospital Visit

The started off with rain and hail, but that cleared up just before I hit the road to head to downtown Los Angeles to take R2 for a visit to Dignity Health Charter School and Hospital.



R2 was joined by members of the Rebel Legion and 501st to help spread kindness and cheer, starting with a school assembly. We lined up for our surprise entrance.



The kids screamed with delight as the characters entered the room, and the doctors proceeded to discuss examples of how to spread kindness with the kids.



Next, we headed over to the adjacent hospital to visit some of the patients. While I didn't get pictures with patients, the staff certainly took an opportunity to get pictures with some of the characters.




Toward the end of the visit, R2 encountered the campus' security droid. It looked like some modern mash-up of an R2 unit and a Dalek. I think they got along ok.



Everyone enjoyed the visit and appreciated our presence.

Monday, December 19, 2016

UC Irvine Health Child Life Annual Holiday Party 2016

This evening R2 went to Pretend City in Lake Forest, CA, to help with the annual UC Irvine Health Child Life Annual Holiday Party. We were joined by several other heroes and cosplayers. This event is put on for kids who have been patients at the hospital during the year.



Justine Senna teamed up as Rey with R2.



As usual with these things, no pictures with the kids, but suffice it to say they were quite happy to meet the characters and Santa! Each child got at least one toy (I think they all got multiples.)



As we wrapped up, the UC Irvine Child Life Services staff jumped in for a picture with the characters.



It was another good visit, and hopefully we'll all be back again next year.

Friday, December 16, 2016

KABC-TV Spark of Love Toy Drive - 2016

Tonight R2 participated in his fourth consecutive Spark of Love Toy Drive at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, headed up by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV, and our trusty cameraman Edgar, who has since joined the 501st Legion. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.



Many companies donate a boatload of toys.




The event runs all day, and I did the afternoon 4:30pm-6:30pm broadcast shift. People watching the news are encouraged to drop off a toy for those less fortunate and get some pictures with the characters. It's a great idea, as the characters are directly involved in getting people to come on down and meet them and donate a toy.



R2 was featured in several segments with reporters Bree and Alysha.




An example clip is here (as of this writing): http://abc7.com/society/28-buses-filled-at-abc7s-spark-of-love-toy-drive-at-honda-center-in-anaheim/1648902/

Twenty-eight buses were filled with toys this year, which is great considering it was pouring rain in the morning, which no doubt affected the drop-offs.

As always, I had a great time and I hope to be back next year.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks - 2016

Today R2 was invited back for Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. "Star Wars Night," despite the fact that the game was at 1:05pm. Well, it's night somewhere. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.



I arrived early and was asked to drop off R2 near the Fox Sports broadcast area where we'd be greeting fans, while the other characters changed into costume. Early arrivals were eager to get some pictures.



A little while later, the other characters joined us and the fans started gathering.





Like last year, we were asked to appear on the pregame show.



The Fox Sports crew also asked to do an interview with me for their Ducks Weekly broadcast, and they followed me and R2 around a little bit.




The interview is here:



After that, the group was asked to make a couple of appearances. First stop, the food service crew's Christmas card picture.



Then we wound our way to our next location.



The second stop was a visit to one of the players' luxury suites, where his young son's birthday party was held. After 15 minutes of the boundless energy of a dozen six year olds, we managed to escape with our lives.



R2's commitments were done for the day, so I stowed him in the Ducks offices, by their Christmas tree for photo ops while we watched the game.



And a good game it was! The Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators, 5-1. R2's record with the Ducks is now evened up at 1-1.



This year R2 didn't get to be on the Dance Cam, but some of the other characters were.



But we weren't quite done yet. After the game, we were invited down to the clubhouse(!), and I got a selfie with Ducks Team Captain Ryan Getzlaf.



It was a fun day, and I hope we get to do it again next year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rogue One World Premiere

Tonight I was extremely fortunate to attend the world premiere of Rogue One, along with the red carpet proceedings, and the after-party. I was joined by fellow R2 Builders Mike Senna, Michael McMaster, William Miyamoto, John Boisvert and Carl Cunningham, along with many members of the 501st and Rebel Legions, and several other Star Wars clubs.



I drove to Mike Senna's house, and then it was on to William Miyamoto's place to pick him up, and we arrived in Hollywood around 2:00pm. We joined Gordon Tarpley for a quick lunch.



Around 3:00pm, all the guests assembled and lined up to be given our passes.




Once we had our passes, it was time to head on over to the red carpet. Our path took us right on by X-wing on the red carpet. Cool!



Awesome, front row! Can't get much better than that (although it looks like Mike is trying).



Lots of media were covering the event, and we babbled incoherently.



Let's kick this off with some Stormtroopers!



Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca of course) was one of the first to arrive.



Director Gareth Edwards graciously signed autographs; in my case, I was getting my badge signed.



Riz Ahmed



Diego Luna



Felicity Jones (saying hi to Mike's wife Amy, via FaceTime).



Donnie Yen



Anthony Daniels



and the list goes on...

So after the beautiful people were done strolling the red carpet, we headed down to the carpet ourselves to make our way to the Pantages Theater. (Obsessed followers of this blog might recall that my R2 appeared on stage at the Pantages with Weird Al back in 2011.)





Unlike the premier for The Force Awakens, this time they didn't quite confiscate our cameras and cell phones; rather, they had us place them in bags that only they could open, and we held onto them until after the movie. There was a nice, big mob for that.



And with that out of the way, we took our seats and waited for the movie to begin. The R2 Builders were seated in the third row from the front, on the right side (the first two rows were covered and not populated). It was a little close for a viewing, but we weren't about to complain. A few minutes later, the lights dimmed, the Lucasfilm logo appeared, and our adventure started. (No reviews here, but suffice it to say I liked the movie and look forward to seeing it again.)

A couple hours later, to much cheers and clapping, the movie ended, and we had our phones and cameras liberated from their bags. Next, we headed back out to the after-party at the nearby Avalon.

Feeling blue, but happy too.




Made it! There were some neat displays and photo ops.








We were also able to get up close and personal with the X-wing!






It was a fantastic night, and I am super-appreciative and beyond grateful that I got to be a part of it.

The full photoset is here. A big thank you to Michael McMaster, from whom many of the pictures were pilfered.