Welcome to the second installment of “Heeding the Call,” in which I recount the history of the Mandalorian Mercs fan group. (And a big thanks to everyone who commented and wrote in about part one.) Let’s resume our flashback to 2007, shall we?
Archive for ‘Fans and Community’
What originally started out as strictly a Star Wars event, Fan Days has become something of a pop culture show held each October at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. This is one of three different shows we put on in the Lone Star state each year. Our media guests range from Star Wars to Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica to The Walking Dead, Back to the Future to Lord of the Rings and everything in between from both film and television.
This past October 4-6, we had a great lineup of Star Wars talent for attendees to meet. As usual, I had each guest into the Official Pix autograph office during the show to sign for us on a variety of items in varying numbers. Personally, this is my favorite time with our guests. It’s quiet, the A/C is cranked down, there’s an ice-cold water station and comfortable chairs making it one of the more pleasant locations.
In its third year, Seattle’s GeekGirlCon highlights what fans can accomplish when they put their hearts and minds into a passion project. The convention, which is run by fans for fans, sold out before the doors opened. My experience with GeekGirlCon exemplifies the best thing about conventions: getting to meet new people — specifically, in my case, lots of new Star Wars fans.
Party time! Who among us doesn’t love to hear those words…especially if Star Wars is involved. Well, perhaps the party planner who has hundreds of details to attend to, tight budgets, deadlines to meet, occasional quirky people to contend with — and a reputation to uphold.
We’re just beginning to recover from the Nov. 2 World Record Night at Rancho Obi-Wan, an evening designed to mark our second anniversary as a nonprofit museum and to celebrate our inclusion in Guinness World Records 2014 as the “Largest Collection of Star Wars Memorabilia.” As important, the event was a fundraiser to help us continue our mission of Inspiring through the Force of Imagination, which is a nice way of saying — like any nonprofit — we need to keep raising money to stay alive. More on that later.
One of my favorite things about Star Wars is that it’s the sort of thing you always remember where you were and what was going on in your life the first time you saw it or connected to it. Just about everyone has a very personal story about their early days in Star Wars. For my part, I was a young boy of three years old when I first saw Return of the Jedi in a darkened movie theater.
That moment changed my life forever and for the better.
It wasn’t just my first experience with Star Wars, though. The more I think back, I’m positive it’s my first visceral memory.
That’s the power of Star Wars. We all have that moment.
And that’s one of my favorite things about talking to people on the Full of Sith podcast. I get to talk to all kinds of amazing people about their first experiences or vibrant memories with Star Wars and how it affected them. And it’s a question everyone can answer.
I’ll be bringing you some of the best answers we’ve had on the show here to this space, but I wanted to start with a special one.
I spoke to Wil Wheaton and he agreed to do this segment for Full of Sith, discussing his most vivid memory of Star Wars from his youth and it’s quite a touching story. You can listen to it here (as long as you don’t mind listening to my co-host, Consetta Parker, talk about loaning her Boushh costume to The Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki for San Diego Comic-Con).
The calendar has turned towards fall and for many people that means costumes, candy, spooky decorations, and carved pumpkins. We’ve come a long way from giving pumpkins the traditional Jack-o-lantern style faces though. Those are fun, but it’s not uncommon to see a Stormtrooper or a Rebel Alliance pumpkin on someone’s front porch. You can find templates in stores (I’ve seen Star Wars: The Clone Wars pumpkin carving kits on shelves this year), download stencils, or come up with your own.
Star Wars fans are an incredibly resourceful bunch and several of them reached out to me to show off pumpkin designs based on characters and ships and everything in between. Yes, they are most impressive.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting is returning home from a convention and unloading your loot. Where will the new items find their rightful place? Didn’t I already have this figure? And sometimes, to your delight, you might have even forgotten that you bought a certain item. F.A.C.T.S. (Fantasy Anime Comics Toys and Space) is the largest convention in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg) and this year the organization celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The convention has evolved throughout the years and you could easily call it the “Benelux Comic Con.” F.A.C.T.S. has always been organized in Ghent, one of the largest cities in Belgium (Flanders), and like Bruges, the city is often visited by tourists because of the medieval streets and buildings. For the fifth time the place to be was Flanders Expo, a large complex with several halls near the city.
As one of the original and longest standing Star Wars licensees, Topps trading cards have always been a part of the Star Wars experience. So much so that, even today, it seems strange to me when I see a Star Wars photo and it doesn’t have a distinctive colored border.
By the time I’d discovered these fantastic collectables, they’d done the rounds and were largely absent from candy stores. So the hunt began! Regular visits to jumble sales, school fetes, and the occasional charity shop (remember this was pre-ebay!) occasionally resulted in a solitary warped card or even a selection held together by a rubber band that bent these little artifacts even further. Slowly, I built up a small but cherished image library. I’m still missing card #109 (Ben turns off the Tractor Beam) but I’m still searching…
On September 3, Malala Yousafzai opened a library in Birmingham, England. To the crowd she said, “Some books travel with you back centuries, others take you into the future. Some take you to the core of your heart and others take you into the universe…I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through educating not only our minds, but our hearts and our souls.” Her dream of an education almost cost the young woman her life. Yet she fights backs with books and words, encouraging others to pick up a book as a step toward independence.