Celebration 3 Day 1
Jacob (otisdodge) here in Indianapolis to give you my perspective on Star Wars Celebration III. I am here with Tommy, from Memphis’ 94.1 The Buzz, and Dale, a friend from Suspicious Mind Trick, the Memphis theforce.net/FanForce chapter. I am so excited to be here at Celebration. Glad I finally made it! This is so much fun and it is a privelege to be sharing my experience with the readers of yodasnews.com. I hope you enjoy my perspective on things and get a peak into the great events and sights and general goings on here at the Con.
We arrived downtown around 10:30 this morning to find that the line already wrapped around the convention center and up the steps of the Dome and beyond. The Hyperspace line was just as bad (or worse). Why they only have two sets of doors for this, is beyond me.
I took the time to speak with the first person in the non-Hyperspace line. Rick, 36, had been waiting in line since 6am and said that at least 20 Hyperspace members were lined up at the other entrance when he got there. Rick is a local, but apparently got his pass and asked off from work six months ago, in order to be here today. I got his picture so y’all could see what this kind of dedicated fan looks like.
I then proceeded, just before noon, to the Hyperspace entrance. This entrance was a set of three double doors at the top of a flight of stairs and the stairs were stacked full of fans waiting to enter. The doors opened just as I arrived, so I wasn’t able to interview the first person in this line, but the ensuing mayhem I then beheld was reward enough for standing there watching. For a moment those who were on the steps mobbed the door volunteers, but once they cleared the doors there was space. The people from the miles long line were all filing through the closest set of doors and two doors were left open with volunteers waiting and hardly any people passing through. This area was not roped off and quite a few people ran the gauntlet and endured the jeers and curses of people in line as they walked right in. This was amazing to me. I don’t know how things ended up later or how things will go tomorrow, but you would think (for the sake of everyone who bothered to wait in line) that the entrance would be roped off or have more security.
Once inside most people were heading to the Celebration Store to get their exclusives. This was also an amazing line. Even people who got into the Con in the first few minutes had to wait for nearly three hours to get their Vaders and other exclusive items.
There was also some confusion as to who got to go in what line. Volunteers told press pass holders and exhibitor pass holders to go to a certain line. More volunteers let these pass holders through the doors to where said line started and told them they were in the right place. However, once in line, other volunteers and staff members proceeded to try to kick press and exhibitor pass holders out of the line and send them back to the regular line. Then they let them back into the line again and others came to try to kick them back out again.
In the end it turns out there was supposed to be a third line for press (I don’t know about the exhibitors). This is another example of poor organization in my opinion. While in line volunteers were looking for people with cash for the cash only registers. Why wasn’t there a cash only line? After you paid for your exclusives a worker went into the stock area to pull your purchases. Why wasn’t there a Vader only line with sets of four vaders with star cases bagged and ready to fast track things?
We regrouped and stashed our collectibles before venturing into the dealer exhibition area. It was packed! Packed with dealers and exhibitors and elbow-to-elbow with fans trying to squeeze their way into the next dealer’s space. What a wonderland! It gave me chills. It is like dying and going to heaven if you are a collector—unless you don’t have enough money, in which case it is hell! I couldn’t take it all in after hours of drooling I still haven’t seen it all. I wish it was open right now (at 1:30am) so I could go peruse some more.
By the time we got there some of the exclusives were already sold out (for the day on some, possibly completely on others?), including the Gentle Giant Sandtrooper bust and the Code 3 three-dimensional ESB Vader poster (edition of only 1980 pieces). The Master Replicas exclusive mini Obi-Wan lightsaber wasn’t quite sold out yet, but when I went back later it was.
Those displays were insane! You will have seen Sergio’s pictures of these things already, but just let me express my awe and extreme feelings of covetousness toward the many fantabulous items in the case. My favorite: Episode 3 Clone trooper helmets!
Also exciting are the Series 4 Gentle Giant Bust-Ups (due out in August apparently) including some clones and Darth Sidious (in Red) with a lightsaber! The General Grievous was also worthy of note.
In the middle of the afternoon we were tired so we decided to find a spot along the hallway in the direction of some of the rooms we were going to visit. We sat down and after a few minutes noticed people looking for the line to wait for seats for the Opening Ceremonies, set to start at 8:30pm. We were amazed that this line was starting so early, but decided that since we had unwittingly secured ourselves a very good place in line we would save it. So we took it in turns waiting while others visited the various ballrooms along that passageway and were shortly joined by more of our friends from Memphis who also took turns waiting.
In the mean time I was able to visit the Fan Fair hall which included booths representing several different fan organizations: theforce.net, several collecting societies, including the Pennsylvania one Yoda is a member of, costuming groups like the 501st, Rebel Legion and The Jedi Assembly, and customizers, to name a few.
I saw JediMom at the The Jedi Assembly table. I love getting to meet my internet friends for the first time! Unfortunately the nerf herder, as Mom likes to refer to her husband, is sick again, and she was expecting to have to leave Friday morning. I hope he is better soon, maybe even soon enough for her to get more out of the Con.
Road Squadron also had a bunch of vehicles parked along one wall and I got to see X-wing25’s X-150. There was also a fan-made, nearly life-size X-wing fighter replica and the Vader Viper that Cingular is giving away.
The Opening Ceremonies were so worth the wait! Steve Sansweet hosted the event, but was joined by several guest MCs, including Warrick Davis. There was a jazz band from southern California college called the Menifee Jazz Ensemble. Besides being introduced to all the celebs that are here (the worst part of the evening was the absenteeism of some of the stars who were supposed to be seen), there were presentations by the 501st, a couple of jedi costumers who correographed a spectacular lightsaber routine to the Duel of the Fates, and apparently it was the job of the MC of each particular ballroom to introduce and promote their activity track.
We got to see a few minutes of “One-Man Star Wars,” a great rendition of the trailer by the Star Wars in 30 minutes troup, a song by the Star Wars musical review crew and Jay Laga’aia sang the Weird Al Star Wars version of American Pie beautifully.
The highlights of the evening however included Rick McCallum coming to promise us exclusive new footage tomorrow, PLUS the music video from the soundtrack DVD, PLUS “tying the Saga together” montage.