Thursday, December 21, 2017

Children's Miracle Holiday Visit

Today R2 joined other characters and celebrities to brighten the holiday season for kids in tough circumstances at the Foothill Regional Medical Center for their Children's Miracle Holiday event. We were joined by singer Robin Thicke, among others. Shawn Crosby joined as Luke Skywalker from The Last Jedi.

The kids enjoyed R2, but I think he nurses and staff enjoyed Robin Thicke a little more.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Star Wars Day with UCLA Basketball

R2 concluded a very busy week with a visit to Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA Basketball was hosting its Star Wars Day. We were joined by Gordon Tarpley as C-3PO, and UCLA provided their own Darth Vader. Disney supplied an official BB-8, although BB-8 was usually in a separate area from us.

Our first stop was a photo op station. It didn't take long for a line to form.

After about an hour of photos, we were escorted down to the court area, where the characters were shown on the video board and interacted with fans.

I managed to get a quick glimpse of BB-8, but it was kind of like trying to photograph Sasquatch.

Everyone had a good time, and hopefully we'll get a chance to return one day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

KABC Spark of Love Toy Drive - 2017

Tonight R2 participated in his fifth consecutive Spark of Love Toy Drive at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, headed up by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV, and our trusty cameraman Edgar, who is also a member 501st Legion. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.

The event runs all day, and I did the afternoon 3:00pm-6:30pm broadcast shift. People watching the news are encouraged to drop off a toy for those less fortunate and get some pictures with the characters. It's a great idea, as the characters are directly involved in getting people to come on down and meet them and donate a toy.

R2 was featured in several segments with reporter Leslie Lopez.

Companies also donate tons of toys.

When the sun sets, it gets cold but the lights shine bright!

It was another successful year, and I hope to be back next year.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Last Jedi Opening Night at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Tonight, R2 joined Gordon Tarpley as C-3PO, along with other characters, to help usher in Opening Night for The Last Jedi at the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. We were there supporting, which raises money for the Starlight Children's Foundation.

The first order of business was participating in a ceremony, at which Carrie Fisher's brother spoke.

After that, I took the very rare opportunity to line up the droids and Darth Vader, to have them stand in the same footprints that were created back in 1977. I am guessing that this is the first time since then that these three characters have stood in those exact footprints together.

Afterward, the droids posed for pictures and interacted with fans in front of the theater. Thankfully there were barricades, or we would have been overrun.

I had never been inside the theater before. It's quite beautiful, and they had me park R2 inside before the crowd arrived, to have him as a guest of honor during the movie.

(The second pic courtesy of Gordon Tarpley.)

Back outside, Greg Grunberg, who played Snaps in The Force Awakens, was on hand to greet fans and pose for pictures.

Before the show, we had a surprise visit from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, so that was pretty neat. He helped Sideshow Collectibles give away some valuable Star Wars collectible items. I was hoping to score their premium format R2-D2, but as they were only giving out 4 to a packed house, the odds weren't good.

We all watched the movie, and when it let out, more pics with R2.

It was at that point that one of the Sideshow reps saw me with R2, and she had one of their R2 collectibles left. She asked me if I wanted it, and of course I said yes! :)

William Miyamoto and his cos-playing BB-8 joined me at the after-party.

After the after-party, William's BB-8 took up residence in a display case in the lobby of the Chinese theater, where it will remain on exhibit with other fan-made costumes through early 2018.

It was a cool experience to watch the movie in such an iconic theater, and I really appreciate my new display piece.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks - 2017

Tonight was R2's third consecutive appearance at Star Wars Night with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center, in Anaheim, CA. R2 and I were joined by my friend Rich, and many members of the 501st and Rebel Legions.

We arrived around 3:40pm and shortly thereafter were escorted down to the ice, along with a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader. That was pretty cool (literally).

When we left the ice, we took the opportunity to take a picture with the game nets.

After that, we were escorted to the concourse, to greet arriving fans who wanted to take photos.

Around 6:00pm, we were asked to appear on the pre-game telecast.

And then back to the concourse for a little while for a few more pictures before the game.

Once the game began, they had us join the crowd for the "air drum cam," which was shown on the video board.

After that, we stowed R2 in the offices and watched the second period.

Once the third period was about to start, we visited a couple luxury suites, and then headed back down to the ice for photos with the Ducks Power Players.

R2 tried to watch some of the game near the glass, but he was too short. :(

The Ducks won, 3-2, and R2's record with them is now 2-1. The Ducks staff always treats us very well, and I hope to be back again next year.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Last Jedi World Premiere

Let me stipulate up front that this post has nothing to do with my R2 or R2 Building. With that out of the way...

I was lucky enough to be invited to the red (white, actually) carpet event and world premiere of The Last Jedi, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, CA.

I was joined by R2 Builders Michael McMaster, Chris James and Steele Smith, along with dozens of club members of the 501st and Rebel Legions, and other Star Wars fan clubs.

Mike Senna was also nearby, but he had other fish to fry. He did kindly offer to take pictures for fans from the vantage point of the carpet (including the one above).

At 5:00pm sharp, the festivities began, starting with a garrison of First Order Stormtroopers.

They were immediately followed by the droids! Leading off, BB-9E.

Next up, everyone's favorites, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

And by shear coincidence, Mike Senna walked by.

And the last droid, but certainly not least, BB-8.

After that, the actors and crew started to arrive, and most of them autographed our badges and other memorabilia.

Chewbaccas of past and present, Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo.

Yoda himself, Frank Oz.

Director Rian Johnson, whom I met at this years Star Wars Night at Dodger Stadium.

Living legend Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke (and forever memorable as Gollum).

Daisy Ridley as Rey signed lots of badges, and made fellow R2 Builder Keri Bean (in glasses) very happy when she signed Keri's Porg. :)

Warrick Davis and family made their way by.

Next up, Mark Hamill. Mark took plenty of time chatting with people and autographing badges. He also walked away with my Sharpie, but that's ok, I had another. :)

We saw Lupita Nyong'o from a distance, as she was called over for an interview with the Star Wars Show crew.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren almost made it to where I was, but he too got called over and I just missed him.

Gwendolyn Christie as Captain Phasma also got called over, so we missed her too!

John Williams, another living legend, walked by.

John Boyega (Finn) barely made it due to travel problems from Atlanta, so he was running late and had to turbo-sign everyone's badge. Thanks to Mike Senna for nabbing this picture.

And toward the end, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, to whom we shouted our thanks.

Ok, with that out of the way, it was time to make our way indoors to see a movie!

As I write this, very few people in this galaxy or any other have seen the movie, so I won't say anything about it at all, other than we were provided popcorn and drinks, and before the movie started, Rian Johnson brought the cast out on stage and said a few words.

About 2.5 hours later, we emerged for the after party and dinner! We saw Kelly Marie Tran chatting with some of the cast from the show Speechless.

The theme of the party was somewhat like a casino.

Photo ops! Michael McMaster, Mike Senna and I got to have our picture taken with R2-D2. This all somehow seems very familiar.

Michael McMaster and I ventured over to where the rounder droids were standing by for photos.

We chatted with other guests (the celebs were pretty much off limits), and took in the sights and sounds as the evening went on. Toward the end, we lined up to get a special gift.

Once we collected our gift, it was pretty much time to head on out. I took one last look at the massive AT-M6 walker.

Later at home, I was able to get a look at my badge and open up the gift.

It goes without saying that I am super grateful that I got to go to the premiere. It was a memorable evening and I'll always appreciate it.

The full photoset is here.