Monday, March 2, 2015

Oh, What A Weekend I Had!

So, aside from the very sad passing of Leonard Nimoy on Friday morning, it was a good weekend. I do want to say that I'd never before cried over the passing of any celebrity, but when I ready about Leonard Nimoy passing, I did get surprising teary eyed.

But onto happier things...

This last weekend, I went to my first con ever! I attended the Ring of Fire con in Virginia Beach. From what I'd heard, this was the second year for this con. I was there with the Rebel Legion, so I spent all weekend dressed like a Jedi...Ami-Lyn Kel's gotta represent! Freedom Base!!!! Ring of Fire Con is a multi-genre convention held in southeastern Virginia once a year to celebrate cosplay and fandom of all kinds. I would guess the age range of attendees was from about 7 to 60 years old.

This con was running 24 hours a day for 4 days straight. There were lots of cult movies being shown straight through, as well as video gaming tourneys, as well as the panels. However, at night, that's when the 18+ years panels were being held. A lot about bondage and fetishes. Like I told a co-worker...I was a Jedi in the streets but could have been a Wookie in the sheets, if I wanted to learn that stuff!

For the most part, I was manning the Rebel Legion table, flanked by the droid makers and the Mandalorian Merc's, and then the 501st, or Vader's Fist. But there were times I got away from the table. I had an absolute blast! (And BTW, I was the ONLY female Jedi in attendance, whoo hoo!) Let me tell you why.

I got the chance to meet and talk to some fun fellow Rebel Legion and 501st members.

I met and talked to some really cute cosplayers.

How cute is Flame Princess? She seemed legitimately surprised when I asked if I could take her picture. She's from "Adventure Time" on Cartoon Network, if you're not familiar. I also saw 2 Fionas and 1 little Marshal Lee (his mom was one of the Fionas.)

Here we had Doctor #10, with a very nice suit. I also saw Doctors #7 and #11 there.

You can't have Flame Princess without Finn. This guy pretty much looks like Finn as an adult. He stopped to look at the schedule and I yelled at him, "You know I'm going to have to take your picture, right, Finn?"

Beast from the X-Men

A great Wolverine, made from 3 morph suits and a diving suit, plus various other odds and ends. Some of the younger attendees didn't know this was what Wolverine looked like, back in the day. This guy made huge fins on the cowl, had whited out eyes and fangs. It was an impressive job.

The furries were in attendance. There's also an upcoming furry con they were promoting. I needed this picture, just because of it being a shepherd.

A very pretty Savage Land Rogue: I love her wig!!

A very cute Joker and Harley: these two were having fun together, and that's what counts.

Mr, and Mrs. Deadpool: they kept jumping onto each other and dancing. She jumped into his arms for me and they both yelled, "CHIMICHANGAS!!!!"

Nightcrawler looks like he stepped right out of the tv from "X-Men Evolution."

The most lovely, well mannered Joker, with creepy eyes and a creepy voice to match that would have made Mark Hamill do a double take.

This is a Doctor Who reference for anyone that doesn't understand it: why is this picture blank? What was I doing again?
I met Peter Mayhew! He was the special guest of the con. I was so afraid I was going to scream and flail my arms like Kermit the frog this entire weekend, but I kept it together. I mean, I was going to meet all time favorite Star Wars character! Let me tell you all of the reasons why. :)

Peter had a Q&A panel on Saturday that I attended.

Did you know that Peter was NOT the first choice to play Chewie? He said the first guy they offered it to didn't want to become known as a hairy creature, so he turned it down. That man was David Prowse, who went on to be the physical actor for Darth Vader. Peter said it worked out for him because he got the last laugh, meaning it was Chewie that gets the last line in Star Wars Episode 4.

When they were shooting the Hoth scenes outside in Norway, they were dealing with snow that was 15-20 feet deep, in white out conditions. Peter was very comfortable because he was wearing his Chewie suit. He did say at one point, George Lucas looked at him and said, "You don't have enough snow on you. Roll around in the show." So Peter dropped to the ground and rolled around. Once he was happy with the amount of snow on the Chewie costume, George started filming the scene.

I did decide to get up and ask a question. My question was this: in the original triology, there are close ups of Chewie when he's screaming and growling, and the inside of his mouth looks like an animals mouth. Was that a prop head used for close-ups (like how General Ackbar was used), or did he have a bunch of appliances in his mouth to make it look like an animal's mouth? There were even ridges in the roof of Chewie's mouth like what a dog has.

Peter said that was all him. The face for Chewie did cover his entire face, but it was split from ear to ear for movement. He had dentures in for Chewie's teeth and even had a rubber tongue to control when Chewie howled.

I even got my picture taken a few times that day. I'm not a face character with the Rebel Legion, but rather a generic Jedi, but that's okay because it means I am my own creation.

This is our group picture, taken by Angie Mayhew herself. Such a sweet, nice woman! She treated us all like we were old friends. Of course, she does know lots of these people already, but she was nice to all of us.

Someone even posted a video on You Tube already. You can see us waiting for the above photo to be taken.

VADER!!!!!! A nice guy but it was weird to hear a non-James Earl Jones; voice coming out of this helmet. There were actually two Vaders there that day. This was the first one I saw.

OMG, the man himself!!! I could have peed myself here! I had him autograph a picture of Chewie in the snow on Hoth, and I told him it was because he talked about it in his Q&A. This man personifies the term, "gentle giant." He's a soft spoken man who made time for everyone. When I shook his hand, I realized how big his hands are, and I was reminded of Chewie on the Death Star with Han and Luke, disguised as stormtroopers. Luke goes to put the binders on Chewie and he just loses his shit because he doesn't know Luke well enough to trust him, so he goes to fight Luke off with those big huge paws of his. I shook one of those paws and it was amazing to meet someone who helped to create a character I've loved for so long.

A group picture with the Mayhews.
Later that night, there was even a group supper for the Mayhews in Virginia Beach that most of us were able to attend. I took my husband with me. There was always a crowd around Peter but that was okay. Mrs. Mayhew stopped by our table of eight to talk to us. All she could say was that she and Peter are very happy with the script for Episode 7, and she has a picture of Peter in the Falcon that she can't wait until December to post online.

The next day was a shorter day. By the time 1 PM rolled around, only myself and Aayla in the above picture were left in costume (the blue chick). She wasn't blue anymore. She was dressed as Princess Leia as Boushh the bounty hunter from Episode 7. One of the guys from the 501st asked if we could stay until 3 PM for the closing ceremony. We both said sure but why? Turns out the con staff wanted Star Wars cosplayers to escort Peter on the main stage like they did during the opening ceremony.

Holy shit, could this con get ANY better??!!

So there we were...Cami as Leia/Boushh and me in my Jedi finery. I even broke out the Jedi robe for this one...main stage, flanking Peter Mayhew as he said his thank you's. I might have died and gone to geek heaven. I had the last song from Episode 4 playing in my head the whole freaking time.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am still so excited about it that if I talk about it to anyone, I seriously get a little teary eyed. Right now, my Peter Mayhew autograph is up on my wall in my crafting room, right next to my desk.

It was a good God damned weekend! The only way it could have been any more awe and/or pee inspiring was if the local R2-D2 builder could have brought him out, but R2 was stuck in the house because of the snow, so "Boba Fett" (one of the Mandalorian Merc's)  just brought his head for display. Or if a Chewie cosplayer had shown up. I would have needed to hug him. But I've heard he's working on his costume.

I can't wait for the next con!!! Tidewater Comic Con, here I come!

I was also glad to have worn my Jedi costume so much. I found come things to tweak on it that will make my next outing a little easier. I already made new pants on Friday night when I got home, but I'm going to open up the hip seams so I can add in pockets. The pouches on my belt just aren't enough to hold all my crap. :) I'm keeping my original pants and just altering those a little as a back up.

I love this crap! Thank you, George Lucas for creating it!!!!!