Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker Opening Night at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Tonight, R2 joined Gordon Tarpley as C-3PO, along with Aaron Lane and D0 and Tim Sayre with BB-8 to help usher in Opening Night for The Rise of Skywalker at the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. We were joined by other characters from the 501st and Rebel Legions as well.

I arrived around 3pm for our 4pm appearance. The droids were in one area of the courtyard in front of the theater, while the consumed characters were entering from another area.

The characters posed for pictures with fans for about an hour. The movie itself was scheduled to start at 6pm.

Once it was time to come inside the theater, fans were invited up to compete in a friendly costume competition, judged by Carrie Fisher's brother Todd Fisher. There was also a lightsaber tribute for Carrie.

Finally, 6pm arrived, an the lights lowered, and we were ready to view the final episode in the Skywalker saga...

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. For me, it tied everything together quite nicely.

Afterward, we were delayed in leaving because, this being Hollywood and Los Angeles county, there was a fugitive hiding out in the parking structure, so we had to wait for the police to give the all-clear (that took about 30 minutes).

I was happy to be able to be part of this event. I'm not sure if and when I'll ever get to do something like that again, but it's been fun.

Friday, December 13, 2019

KABC Spark of Love Toy Drive - 2019

Tonight R2 participated in his seventh consecutive Spark of Love Toy Drive, this time at the Irvine Spectrum area, in Irvine, CA. The event was headed up by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV and our trusty cameraman Edgar, who is also a member 501st Legion. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.

The event runs all day, and I did the afternoon 5:00pm-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. Reporter Jovana Lara hosted the event.

R2 was featured in several segments, usually with the other Star Wars characters who were present (and sometimes viewed by my parents, who clicked the pic on the TV).

We weren't the only ones out there.

Various local companies donated hundreds of toys as well.

We participated in a couple more remote updates, including the wrap-up.

Twelve busses were stuffed with donated toys! It was another successful year, and I hope to be back next year.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Hillsides Holiday Visit - 2019

Today R2 paid his second visit of the year to Hillsides, a group home for children who cannot live at home (for various unfortunate reasons). We were joined by many members of the various Star Wars costuming clubs, and each of us brought at least one wrapped Star Wars action figure for the young residents (I bought four).

It was raining very lightly when I arrived around 12:05pm. Where most of the characters were going to march into the room to surprise the kids, I didn't want R2 hanging around outside in the rain. So I did what I usually do when I have to hide him in plain sight, I put a box on his head and a large sheet over him.

Around 1:30pm, the procession of characters started, and the visit with the kids was on.

We aren't allowed to take pictures with the residents, but during the visit each one of them got to pick a character to receive a gift from. R2 was chosen several times (and he did have a droid action figure to give).

After the residents left, we got a group picture before we wrapped up.

This is always a meaningful visit, and it's appreciated by the staff and residents.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks - 2019

Tonight was R2's 5th year in a row helping support Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks, where he was joined by many members of the 501st and Rebel Legions. I was also joined by my former coworker and ardent Ducks fan, Rich Newman.

I arrived at 4:30pm for the 7pm game. Visits with the fans were to start at 5:30pm. There was a bit drizzle, but nothing that made it difficult getting R2 into Honda Center.

While the costumed characters were getting dressed, R2 was asked for a quick visit to the video room.

At 5:30pm, we headed on upstairs to visit with the arriving fans. R2 mostly hung out with Griffin as Han Solo and Alexandra as Princess Leia (we didn't have a Luke tonight).

At 6:45 we made an appearance on the pregame show.

And the view from my parents' house.

With about 10 minutes left in the first period we made our way over to the next activation area, where R2 appeared in a video segment on the scoreboard with the host, a couple of Power Players, and two fans.

Afterward we stowed R2 in his usual spot in the Ducks offices, and watched the second period from some excellent seats.

During the second period, Griffin and Alexandra appeared on the video board, as did Baby Yoda.

As the second period ended, it was time to go fetch R2 for the 3rd period Dance Cam.

And that's a wrap! All that was left is to wait for the crowd to file out, so I could get R2 back to the Droidmobile. Of course, no matter how long I wait, there will always be a few photo requests after the game, and that's fine.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Ducks ended up losing to the Washington Capitals 3-2 (in a game that had several fights). R2's record with the Ducks dropped to 3-2. He'll try to do better next time.

I really enjoy doing the Ducks games, the fans are well behaved and the staff treats us very well. I look forward to coming back!

The full photoset is here.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Hollywood Christmas Parade - 2019

Today, for the fifth year in a row, R2 took part in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

The parade wasn't scheduled to start until 6:00pm, but streets are shut down and parking gets tight, so I arrived around 1:15pm to secure a parking spot in an adjacent parking structure, and met up with Gordon Tarpley (C-3PO) and William Miyamoto, who was driving his Bumblebee car in the parade this year, rather than his Chopper droid. We were joined by Darren Moser a little while later.

Along the way, I spotted a reminder that a movie is coming out soon.

We grabbed some food, did some wandering, and as the clock struck 5:00pm, I unloaded R2 and Gordon got suited up as C-3PO. Then we headed down to the red carpet, where the droids stay on the sidelines, awaiting the other Star Wars clubs that have lined up a couple blocks away. The droids only do the red carpet portion of the parade, not the entire 3+ miles.

Finally, the parade kicked off about an hour late. Near the front are the Star Cars, including William and his Bumblebee.

The Star Wars clubs were 19th in line, so it took a little while before they got to the red carpet. Our cue was to jump in with Chewbacca, so I was only able to take a few pictures before it was our time to go.

I wasn't able to get any pictures or video while we were driving the route, although there is this photo from Getty Images.

Once we got to Hollywood and Highland, we broke off from the rest of the clubs, since our part in the parade was done. There were a lot of very happy spectators (and one Ewok) that wanted pictures with the droids.

Since the streets were still shut down as the parade kept going, William, Gordon and I went to a nearby In-n-Out to hang out for a while. Once the streets had (mostly) opened up, I got on the road to go home, only to have to wait for the very last float in the parade, a blurry Santa!

Another parade is in the books. Hopefully the droids will look good on the telecast, I'll find out in a couple weeks. Always fun to be a part of this one.