Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

For the sixth year in a row, R2 greeted trick-or-treaters for Halloween. R2 was joined for the first time by R5-D4, as I set up before the kids arrived.

A little after sunset, the first groups started to arrive. Some were repeat visitors from last year, while others were newcomers, delighted to meet the droids. Sometimes in their excitement, the kids even forgot to get the candy(!). Meanwhile, parents clicked away.

Some parents even jumped in for pictures of their own.

Another successful Halloween. R2 has a somewhat busy week coming up.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Placentia Heritage Parade and Festival 2012

R2 returned to the city of Placentia's annual Heritage Parade and Festival. I arrived at the early hour of 8:00am for parking and unload. I used the new BBQ smoker cover from Home Depot for R2 to travel (somewhat) incognito.

R2 wasn't in the parade itself, but he got to see a lot of people and other fun stuff that was, as it went by his station.

These large dogs small ponies came by as well.

Lots of people were in attendance, and R2 proved to be very popular.

Mike Senna lives nearby, and he biked on over to watch me in my state of anxiety as the kids swarmed the droid. Mike chatted with my contact Jim as we wrapped up, and perhaps he'll bring WALL•E out one day.

Another successful outing.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

On Stage with Weird Al at The Grove in Anaheim

R2 can't seem to stay away from the Weird Al Yankovic concerts.  Tonight, it was Al's show at The Grove in Anaheim, near Angel Stadium.

I was finally able to bring my friend Patti as my wrangler.  She's a big Weird Al fan, but every time I did the show in the past, she was never available to wrangle (wedding, vacation out of town, etc.).  This time, she was going to get to go backstage and help me out.

We arrived shortly before the 6:00pm call time and I unloaded the Droidmobile.

We did a walkthrough on the stage.  There was a steep ramp for going over the larger cables, and the stage itself was much smaller than those for shows I'd done at other locales.  Still, no problem.

We went back to the changing area ("dressing room" would be a stretch), and this is where things got interesting.  One of the Stormtroopers who had signed up tentatively did not make it, so we were one short. Shawn Crosby brought an extra set of Stormtrooper armor, for either him or someone else to wear in case of such an event.

Patti, welcome to the 501st!

This was really cool.  Patti was excited just to get to go and hang out, and now she was going to be in the show!  The phrase, "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?" was probably never more apropos; but hey, it's all for fun and semi-silliness anyway.  Oh, and you see that hood Patti is wearing below? It is a well-intentioned garment whose purpose is to keep the hair out of her eyes.  We'll get back to that before our story is done.

We were able to watch some of the show from the audience area before it was our turn to go on for the encore.  Because the backstage area was so limited on space, R2 and I were stationed alone at stage-left (audience-right), while the troopers and Vader entered stage-right.

Shortly before 10:00pm, the encore started.  R2 entered the stage from one side, while the troopers and Vader entered from the other.

Here's a shot I managed to get from backstage.

The music started slowly, but as the pace picked up, the Stormtroopers and R2 started rocking out.  Vader stayed stoic, if not slightly annoyed that his troopers were not showing full decorum.

Back to that hood Patti was wearing.  Since she is so much smaller than what the costume is designed for, nothing fit quite right.  Including that hood.  No sooner did she take her position on the stage than it drooped right over her eyes!  She could not see anything, and there was nothing she could do about it (short of taking the helmet off onstage, which she wasn't about to do).  So she just winged it as best she could, and she did fine.

She's the trooper rocking out to the left of Vader in the picture below.  (R2 is rocking out and spinning around on the right, as well.)

The only problem for Patti was getting offstage at the end.  Since she was in front of Vader, he kind of guided her until she made it back safely, at which point she was able to take off the helmet, remove the hood, and see again. Phew!

After the show, the Stormtroopers and Vader posed for pictures in the lobby with the fans.  R2 was pretty much trapped backstage behind equipment and cables, so he wasn't able to join in.

As he always does, Al met up with us after the show for pictures and autographs.

Lots of fans waited in the parking lot for a chance to meet Al as well,  In the meantime, they got to meet R2 as I got ready to pack up and head out.  Another enjoyable evening.

Thank you to Tom Piedmont and Amanda for taking the pictures from the audience area.  Some video of Tom's may materialize as well, and if it does, I'll link to it.

[Update - 10/24/2012:  Tom uploaded the video, here it is:]

The full photoset is here.