Mar 29, 2013

Megacon 2013 - 501st Booth Video

My buddy Brian, who is one of our Darth Vaders and with whom I have trooped in costume many times, created this fun video of the 501st Legion's booth at Megacon this year. He often hosts events and armor parties at his house, which he calls Rancho Vader, and has a jaw-dropping collection of props, toys, figurines, collectibles and, of course, costumes. 

This is a nice video that gives you an idea of how elaborate the 501st booth was this year, and the wok and dedication put into it by members of the Legion, all of whom do this on our own time, and at our own expense.

To see my huge gallery of pictures from Megacon 2013, click HERE. Enjoy!

Mar 26, 2013

Dark Office Series: Two More Prints

Here are two more pieces from the Dark Office series, a series of prints that depict the nihilism and pointlessness of corporate life.

This is a rough pen sketch called The Ecstasy of Monotony, Uniball Vision pen and Sharpie on paper

Below: Consumption, acrylic on canvas

Mar 23, 2013

Tampa Children's Expo

I was asked to organize the 501st Legion's participation in the Tampa Children's Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds. A lot of members turned out for this fun event, and the crowds were enthusiastic and well behaved.

I was not in costume; I took pictures and performed handling duties, and the members in costume had a lot of fun. Coming off of the epic Megacon convention most of us attended (see previous post), this was an easy, light-hearted troop. 

Enjoy the pictures!

Mar 18, 2013

Megacon 2013

Megacon has come and gone, and this year it was better than ever...and also more crowded! It felt like being at Dragoncon on Saturday, there were so many people. It's an event that keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

I was there two days, in costume on Saturday and manning the 501st Legion booth the last day, helping to break down the booth. I have some incredible pictures; you are in for a treat. Enjoy!

Before Megacon opens the walkways are as empty as they'll be all day. They will go from this... this:

Here are some of the awesome costumes that were there. I grew a beard to do Snake Plissken, the same costume I do at Dragoncon, and one that gets a lot of attention from fans of the film Escape From New York.

Left: Another Snake Plissken; we compared costumes

Right: My friend Andrea, the lovely and classy 501st member from Pennsylvania

Snake Plissken fights Roxy, the rancor monster, to the death. There are more pictures of Roxy below

The time-travelling Delorean jumped forward from the year 1985 to join the con, with picture fees going toward the Michael J Fox foundation to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Snake Plissken tried to escape in it.

To see more about Team Fox, and the time-traveling Delorean as it battles Parkinson's disease, check out their website HERE. This is a very cool, not to mention fun way of raising awareness and money for this important cause. 

The 501st Legion had one of the most popular booths, the highlight being Roxy the huge Rancor monster, which generated lines of people who made donations for their picture with Roxy, to help a boy with pancreatic cancer. We raised over two thousand dollars to help the family.

Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, swings by to hang out with some of the costumes, including the one that made him famous

The Death Star garbage masher set recreated with foam trash for people to stand in

By far, the biggest attraction in the 501st Legion area was Roxy, an incredible replica of the rancor monster seen in the film Return Of the Jedi. Roxy weighs 700 pounds, is 17 feet long, and is sculpted out of 2,000 cubic feet of expanded polystyrene foam. People who made donations to have their pictures take n with Roxy raised an incredible $3,300 to help a family whose son has pancreatic cancer!

Roxy even has her own Facebook page! Check it out HERE!

 Below is a short clip where Roxy makes her appearance and joins the Star Wars family:

Here is a video about how Roxy was created. An amazing amount of work went into Roxy's creation

 Few know that Roxy has a soft side. She even has her own pet!

Even the Ghostbusters swung by to battle Roxy

Several celebrities came by to visit Roxy including...

David Prowse, who wore the Darth Vader costume in the first three Star Wars movies

Threepio and R2-D2...

...and Michael Hogan, who played Colonel Tighe in Battlestar Galactica. He was having fun hamming it up with Roxy. This is a guy who likes to have fun! 

The Rebel Legion and R2-Builder's groups had a really impressive booth this year, complete with a Mos Eisley Spaceport bar and lots of Jawas tinkering with droids.

Every Megacon the attending 501st Legion members have a huge dinner where we catch up on old times and talk about the con. This year we took over most of the restaurant and part of the parking lot of Uno's on International Drive in Orlando, just down the street from the convention center.

The Lego display was bigger and better this year, with a whole city constructed that had scenes from various movies and television shows represented, such as The Walking Dead, Ghostbusters,  and Batman. 

Remember this game? Pitfall was one of the most popular games on the Atari home video game system in the eighties, an Indiana Jones-type side-scrolling adventure game.

Left: a screen capture of the actual game for comparison

When the crowds get to be too much, there is a huge outdoor pavilion area in which to get some fresh air, sit and relax before plunging back into the madness. The weather was perfect this year, and it was very pleasant outside.

When The Con Ends

When the con is over the real work begins.

Visitors leave the convention floor and vendors furiously start packing up their wares, wheeling them out the rear loading docks. Vans, trucks towing trailers and box trucks jockey for position as everyone tries to break down, load up and leave as quickly as possible. Forklifts scurry about collecting miles of red carpeting that will be stored until the next event. Boxes are scattered about and booths are taken apart and loaded onto hand trucks and wheeled carts. There is a frenzied energy in the air. 

I stayed to help break down, and took pictures of the process.

The Death Star garbage masher set is emptied of the foam "trash", which were squeezed into plastic trash bags. Then the set itself was taken apart, the pieces carried outside to the waiting trailer, carefully packed away.

The pieces of the Death Star control panel are stacked, waiting to be carried out

Even when we are working we still have fun. Maturity...?? What's that...?!

Taking apart Roxy the rancor monster requires at least seven or eight people, and is a delicate process. This is how it is done.

Update: Here's a cool time lapse video of what it looks like putting Roxy together at Disney's Star Wars Weekends in Orlando:

Left: A knife is used to slice into the adhesive goop that attaches Roxy's limbs to her body, and conceals the joints.

Below: members of the Legion help gently wriggle one of Roxy's hands out of her wrist socket, while other members cling to her tail to prevent her body from swaying too much.

Left: the wooden stump attachment point for Roxy's hand after it's been removed

Right: Carrying Roxy's hand out to the truck

Below: Members gently shimmy her arm out of the socket in the side of Roxy's body. This is a delicate process, and her body has to be stabilized by other helpers while this is done.

One of Roxy's arms is carried away, out the rear loading dock

Roxy is now armless, and is not looking too happy about it. You can see the square wooden recepticle in her side where her arm slides into place

Below: helpers carry Roxy's other arm out of the convention center to the truck

Roxy's head is separated from her body and removed. Special care must be taken not to dislodge any of the teeth, which are delicate

Below Left: support struts hold up Roxy while her legs are taken off.
Below Right: one of the dangers of working with Roxy: rancor poop

Below: poles are slid through the center of Roxy, protruding on each side, so that members can carefully lift the body and carry it. The truck waiting at the loading dock is big, but great care is taken to place the pieces in the truck in such a way that none of the parts will be damaged.

Another con is over, always a sad feeling. It's tough to re-engage with reality and the daily grind after such a fun weekend. Post-con blues is part of the con experience, unfortunately.