Author Archive



Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars at Dragon Con 2013

Amy Ratcliffe | September 6, 2013

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Fans are the foundation of any convention. Without excited ticket-purchasing attendees who want to see their favorite celebrities or comic creators or authors, conventions wouldn’t exist. But Dragon Con takes fandom to the next level: it’s run by the fans for the fans. So, while companies like Lucasfilm or Dark Horse or the typical convention staples didn’t have official presences in Atlanta, you could still attend fun and interesting panels focusing on Star Wars all weekend long. And since panelists were mostly fellow fans, it was often like one big roundtable. It’s unlike any convention I’ve ever attended.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Celebration Memories

Amy Ratcliffe | July 15, 2013

Attending a Star Wars Celebration isn’t like going to your average comic convention. It’s something special to be surrounded by so many people who are present for a single purpose. In a way, it’s like coming home. Don’t get me wrong — getting to see cool exhibits, exciting panels, and exclusive sneak peeks contributes to making the experience all the more memorable, but connecting with fellow fans is a huge part of it for me. You never forget your first Celebration.

Since Celebration Europe is just around the corner, it seemed like an ideal time to talk with people about their memories of their first times at a Celebration.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Building a Better Jedi Brick by Brick

Amy Ratcliffe | June 27, 2013

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Creative is a word you can apply to most Star Wars fans. You just have to walk around a Celebration event for a few minutes to see how enthusiasm for the universe can be funneled into costumes, dioramas, crafts, and LEGO creations. I know I’m not the only one who walks around the LEGO booth in awe, marveling over the number of tiny bricks that go into a life-size statue of Boba Fett. However, my favorite part is walking around the fan-made creations and seeing the time and love poured into all manner of spaceships, signs, and sets.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Scissors Are the Lightsabers of Crafting

Amy Ratcliffe | June 13, 2013

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One of my favorite activities at summer camp when I was a kid was crafting. I wasn’t remotely athletic. The camp’s pond was a muddy brown, and I didn’t like to imagine what was beneath the surface. There wasn’t horseback riding and only a few hikes so I spent as much time as possible making friendship bracelets, creating images with Perler beads, and experimenting with Shrinky Dinks. I sadly didn’t know anything about Star Wars at that age (I’m a late bloomer), otherwise I’m sure I would have been making Leia buns from yarn and paper-mache astromechs.

It’s just a fun way to express your fandom. Tons of fans choose to funnel their passion for Star Wars into crafting home goods and wearables.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Mom, I Just Called to Say “I Know”

Amy Ratcliffe | May 9, 2013

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I’m sure there are holidays on every planet. Heck, even the Wookiees have Life Day. And wherever there are mothers, I’m positive there’s a Mother’s Day. From Coruscant to Tatooine, moms are being woken for a special day when their kids make them homemade cards and serve them blue milk and bantha breakfast steaks in bed. In our world Mother’s Day is just a few days away. Let this be your reminder.

Plenty of lucky kids out there have moms who love Star Wars. I caught up with a few of these ladies to discuss how they’ve shared their passion for the saga with their children.

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Fully Operational Fandom: How to Party Like an Ewok For May the 4th

Amy Ratcliffe | May 2, 2013

Wampa Arm-justjenn_logo

The pages of the calendar have flown past this year like starfighters going to lightspeed, and May the 4th is almost again upon us. It’s a little like Valentine’s Day. You might love someone all year long, just like you celebrate Star Wars all year long, but this is a special day devoted to your passion.
There is no right or wrong way to mark the occasion — you can have a movie marathon, make a R2-D2 cake, or wear a Han Solo T-shirt. Just do something! It’s easier than ever this year since May the 4th falls on a Saturday.

The pages of the calendar have flown past this year like starfighters going to lightspeed, and May the 4th is almost again upon us. It’s a little like Valentine’s Day. You might love someone all year long, just like you celebrate Star Wars all year long, but this is a special day devoted to your passion.

There is no right or wrong way to mark the occasion — you can have a movie marathon, make a R2-D2 cake, or wear a Han Solo T-shirt. Just do something! It’s easier than ever this year since May the 4th falls on a Saturday.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Tatooine Looks Awfully Bright to Me

Amy Ratcliffe | April 11, 2013

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It was a chilly November morning in Death Valley National Park — not as cold as it had been the night before when I was snuggled in a sleeping bag-blanket burrito in my tent — but still cold enough. I’d visited the park before, but I’d returned this time with a purpose grander than sightseeing: I was going to find Tatooine. I’d only recently learned that pickup shots for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi were filmed in California.

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Fully Operational Fandom: All In The Family

Amy Ratcliffe | March 22, 2013

Liam Karpiuk Falcon_logo

One of the best parts about being a Star Wars fan is sharing it with the people you love. The films, comics, toys, books, and television series help the saga reach across generations. You’ll find fans in all age groups. To paraphrase another movie with Liam Neeson, Star Wars actually is all around.

This is evident at conventions and on Halloween when you see so many children dressed up as Darth Vader or Princess Leia. It has to be a blast to pick out costumes for your kids and even more fun when you get to join in the fun and dress up next to them.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Building Tiny Worlds

Amy Ratcliffe | March 7, 2013

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One must have patience to be a Jedi, and one must have even more tenacity to be a diorama builder. Legions of Star Wars fans are devoted to creating miniature replicas of scenes from the films, and I bet most of them could teach Obi-Wan a trick or two. Barry Riddle would surely be considered a master.

Riddle’s work caught my eye a couple of weeks ago. He used 140 square feet in his living room to re-create the Battle of Hoth — complete with stationary explosions and smoke. None of the images in this post are manipulated. I was impressed by the details, the scale, and the beauty of the diorama. If someone is putting in the effort to build a scene like this in his house, he probably likes Star Wars. Just a little bit.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Finding Love with the Force

Amy Ratcliffe | February 11, 2013

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Hello and welcome to my first edition of Fully Operational Fandom! I’m excited about my new column because it’s going to be all about the fans. Star Wars enthusiasts make up the most passionate fan community I’ve ever experienced, and I’m continually impressed with how people channel their love for the galaxy far, far away. A common appreciation for Star Wars has been known to bring people together and for some, it’s meant romance.

Though some believe opposites attract (and that can definitely work), it can be fun to share your love about a given topic with your significant other. Especially when the topic is a major part of your life. It makes for fun debates over dinner, it leads to possible couple-themed cosplay, and it means you always have someone to call when Episode VII news is announced. Even if you have a Hoth-like heart, you’ll appreciate these stories about couples who bonded over their excitement for Star Wars. Some even incorporated the saga into their wedding.

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