Monday, July 20, 2009

Trek in the Park

Last Saturday we made a trip into Portland to see Sand in the City. It's a yearly fund raising event for Kids on the Block where they feature sponsored sand sculptures.

Click on the picture below to go to the web album for more photos.

But this was just a side trip. Our real goal for the afternoon was to go see Trek in the Park. An outdoor production of an episode of the original Star Trek series. This was the first year this group has put this on and they have plans to do it again next year. This episode was Amok Time.

Even with very minimal set pieces they did a terrific job. Also, fortunately, the actor playing Kirk did not channel Shatner but gave his own performance. The acting was great, the audience was great (everybody gave a big cheer at even their very simple transporter "effect"...standing in position while the sound of the transporter played off-stage). And while the pictures show a very full and engaged audience, what you can't see is that the audience was overflowing with standing room only and people even watching from behind "back stage."

They gave us a preview of next summer's performance. That episode will be Space Seed, with...everybody say it...KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Serenity & Empire

Last Saturday I attended the annual Can't Stop the Serenity charity event in Portland. This event was started in 2006 right here in Portland and has caught on worldwide. I didn't hear about it or start attending until 2007, but I've been every year since. It's really fun and is for a great cause.

Unfortunately I didn't take my camera this year so I don't have any pictures of the fun costumes people wore. But this year a reaver actually showed up. He looked great and was creeping people out. Last year we had a couple Blue Hand Men. They also stayed in character the entire time, intimidating everyone around them.

The screening was at Cinema 21. It's an old theater that has been restored. Comfortable seats. Not so great sound system though. Either that or the audio on these film prints of Serenity is just deteriorating more rapidly than the image.

Then on Thursday a friend at work told me that KUFO was having a charity screening of Empire Strikes Back on Friday. I haven't seen Empire on the big screen since it's first theatrical release in 1980. It was so long ago that I don't even remember going, but I must have because I knew all about it before I saw it on TV and video years later. I missed it in theaters for it's special edition release in 1997 (I think I was so disappointed with the special edition changes in Star Wars that I didn't even want to bother with Empire). So this was going to be a special treat for me and I had to go.

Also, the 501st Legion was attending. Nothing could stop me from going!

And this time I took my camera!

The movie was starting at 11pm. Doors opening at 9pm. I was expecting a long line so I got there at 6:30. Nobody there. I was the first one. Unfortunately I didn't want to stand around and I wasn't really sure where the line was even going to form, so I checked out the local shops for an hour. When I returned at 7:30 there were about 20 people in line. So, not first, but a great place in line.

The screening was at the Bagdad theater. A very cool theater that I now want to go back to more frequently. Like the other McMenamin theaters in Portland they serve food during the movie. Tasty food too from the looks of it (I was saving my money and didn't make an order).

Everyone who was in costume at this event was a member of the 501st Legion.

They walked up and down the line interacting with the guests.

Posing for photos.

Hamming it up.

And making every fan-boy (and girl) jealous that we don't have a costume as cool as theirs.

Before the movie started Cort and Fat Boy (who is actually very fit...I don't know why he goes by that name) got up on stage followed by those of the 501st Legion in attendance to welcome everybody and say a few words. According to Fat Boy, they were actually able to secure a print of Empire from Lucas Film because of the 501st. KUFO has midnight screenings of movies about once a month and have been wanting to show Empire for while. But Lucas Film wasn't going to play ball. So they decided to do it for charity, but even that wasn't breaking the ice. But as soon as they got the 501st to attend Lucas Film gave them the print. It's cool that they have that kind of influence.

After everyone came down off the stage they played a few fan-made movies that were absolutely hilarious. I don't know all of what they played but some were:

RVD2: Ryan vs Dorkman 2
Darth Vader Bing An A-hole

And a couple others I don't know the names so I can't find them online.

The theater was packed. Some were rabid fans, others mild fans, and a few who were dragged there by their boyfriend/husband. But everyone had a great time. Lots of yelling things at the screen, cheering, and shouting out lines. Perfectly acceptable behavior at a screening like this. And it was awesome to see it again (or really the first memorable time) on the big screen.

Thanks KUFO and 501st! You rock!