Friday, October 31, 2014

Comikaze Expo 2014 - Day 1

Today my R2 and I joined R2 Builders Chris Romines, Gene Arena, Dan Johnson and their droids, along with Ed Perello. WALL•E Builders Michael McMaster and Mike Senna shared the adjoining booth.

My droid and I waited a few minutes for my badge so we could get in.

Once in, it was time to explore before the crowds were allowed in at 1:00pm.

He is pretty big.

Mike, Amy, WALL•E and Eve showed up right before opening. She floats! (Or at least, it sure looks that way.)

Almost 1:00pm. The crowd is ready to pounce.

And they're off. Some miscellaneous pictures.

Fon Davis' booth is next to ours. Cool!

Michael McMaster arrived with his WALL•E, having just come from shooting with ESPN and Chopper.

"I am your father."
"You may be more machine than man, but I highly doubt that."

Around 7:00pm the show wrapped up, and we locked and covered our droids. I took a picture for tomorrow morning's police report.

We do it again tomorrow!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

STEAM Carnival - Day 2

Today R2 returned to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Carnival near the Port of Los Angeles to help bring happiness to those in attendance.

I got to drive over more bridges to get to the location.

Before the event started, I roamed around during setup.

At 11:00am, the doors opened and it got crowded fast.

R2 visited the Disney XD booth, where they had Star Wars Rebels-related activities.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of opportunities for the kids to interact and learn.

And of course, it was pics, pics, pics with R2.

It was a good weekend, and a good tuneup for the weekend to come.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

STEAM Carnival - Day 1

Today my R2 joined Roy Powers and his droid for the first annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Carnival at the Port of Los Angeles.

I've learned that the letters VIP mean there will be unhealthy snacks.

This really was like an indoor science carnival. There were dozens of booths and stations where kids could program computers, interact with exhibits, and do crafts.

Disney XD had a neat display of small stormtrooper helmets that Disney, Pixar, LFL and ILM employees had decorated. They also had a large activity area for kids to do their own decorating of the helmets.

Some random pictures.

The FIRST team that built this robot turned out to be from my high school (Marina High School in Huntington Beach, CA)! If only they had FIRST robotics when I was in school, maybe I would have had an R2 a lot sooner.

On my way out, I was able to catch a glimpse of the battleship USS Iowa, which recently took up residence in the Port of Los Angeles.

And I crossed Southern California's idea of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Vincent Thomas bridge. Which is green.

It was a good time, and I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Video Shoot with Team Unicorn

Today R2 participated in a fun shoot of a spoof music video with Team Unicorn.

Yes, there are droids in that picture.

I'll have more to share when the video is published in a couple weeks or so.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Star Wars Day 2014 at the Corona Public Library

Today R2 returned to the Corona Public Library for their Star Wars Day 2014 event.

"Deliveries Only." I suppose dropping off R2 is a form of delivery.

Outside, Star Wars fans worked on activities, before lining up to take pictures with the characters.

Inside, R2 and Darth Vader each had their own special photo booths. For a $5.00 donation toward the library, folks could get their picture professionally taken and printed with either character.

And as a bonus, they could get a picture with all the other characters for free.

Lots of people came through, many in costume, to get their picture taken with the characters.

It was a good, successful event.

This is just the beginning of a very busy series of weekends for R2!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Queen Latifah Show

Today R2 got to be on the Queen Latifah Show with Chopper! The segment was taped on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 and it aired today (2 days later). The appearance was authorized by Disney/Lucasfilm.

Michael McMaster and I teamed up have the droids help escort Star Wars Rebels voice cast member Freddie Prinze Jr. onstage.

I arrived at 8:30am after fighting 2 hours of traffic. As bad as that was, poor Michael McMaster was fighting cold symptoms, and driving from north of Bakersfield(!).

I arrived first, and was shown to R2 and Chopper's dressing room.

It wasn't huge, but it had its own snacks and bathroom (yea).

I was then escorted on set, which was absolutely huge, to prepare for a rehearsal.

As I waited, I got to watch the band Big and Rich rehearse one of their songs.

We did a few runs of R2's entrance from the tunnel, with the fog machine turned on. On some of the runs there was so much fog I could not see R2 at all!

I also got to watch Queen Latifah rehearse her monologue and some guest intros. And no, we did not end up meeting her (although we came close).

Yea! Michael McMaster and Chopper arrived from their endless journey! We got to rehearse together.

We had a lunch break from around 11:00pm-12:00pm, with the taping set to start around 1:00pm. Around 12:45 the audience arrived and took their seats.

They started the show just a little late, maybe 1:15pm or so. Michael and I watched from the right of the stage (as you face the stage), as our segment wasn't until around the 2/3 mark in the show.

Queen Latifah came out and did a little monologue/joke routine, some of which was cut from the broadcast for time. Next, Tom Arnold came on for a couple segments, followed by female football cornerback Shelby Osborne.

Next up was us! Michael and I were stationed just to the left of center stage, behind a steady-cam operator. You can actually catch glimpse of us in the wide stage shot (if you know where to look; we're all in black). Chopper lead the procession, followed by R2, followed by Freddie Prinze Jr. The droids stopped to "chat" with Queen Latifah and Freddie, and then made their way off to the right. Hopefully this Youtube link will persist; sorry an ad might play:

(R2's beeps were played over the house speakers, I was not playing them.)

As we operated the droids, we had to walk backwards and diagonally to stay out of other cameras' sight-lines as much as possible. It was a bit of a juggling act, but I'd say we pulled it off.

Once Queen Latifah said goodbye to the droids, we drove them off to the right, and parked them beyond Camera 3 (that was our direction, so that's how I'm describing it). Then, Michael and I had to exit the stage, go around the area behind the audience, and emerge on the other side, in order to have the droids make their cameo. As they went to commercial break, the droids came back out on stage to do their thing while Freddie and Queen Latifah lightsaber-dueled.

And then we were done! Phew. Michael said he was going to get going to get something to eat now, and I replied I was going to throw up now. :)

We watched the rest of the show from the right of the stage, and saw Big and Rich play. They played two songs, but again, one was cut from the broadcast due to the show running long.

And after the show, it was pics, pics, pics, as always. The guys from Big and Rich loved the droids.

A staff member took some video of R2 doing his Cantina Dance.

We retreated back to the dressing room, and I got one last pic while Michael fetched his car.

At last we were done, and loaded up our cars for the long drive home.

We had a great time, and were very grateful for the opportunity.

The full photoset is here.