Star Wars Celebration V Recollections Part One – A GeekDad Looks Back
Five years ago, after returning from Indianapolis and Star Wars Celebration III, I spent a couple weeks chronicling the four-day event in a detailed personal journal. What I was aiming for was to somehow capture not just the moments and pictures and memories, but that energizing feeling of just being among fellow Star Wars fans and geeks. By the time I was done, my diary of the weekend was more than 14,000 words long, and as I’ve re-read it over the intervening years, it’s always been clear just why I had always held up that trip in my mind as one of the best times I’ve ever had.
And yet Star Wars Celebration V just blew it away, start to finish.
Part of it was the location and execution. I was super-impressed with the Orange County Convention Center’s spaciousness and the Reed Exhibition planning which used it so effectively. And every Reed and Lucasfilm person I talked with was nothing but helpful and accommodating. My sole gripe, I’ll admit, was that Saturday’s hyped Main Event – George Lucas interviewed on stage by Jon Stewart – was a one-off session in a 2,600-seat auditorium. Although it was broadcast live on screens throughout the center, it basically meant that the majority of attendees stood little or no chance of catching the event in person. Compare that to Celebration III, where Lucas held three half-hour Q-and-A appearances that 10,000 people got to see directly. Still – knowing the Main Event’s limitations in advance, I didn’t even count on being there, so in the end, it didn’t detract from my experience in the least.
I also felt like I got to see much more of Celebration V as a fan. When Jim Carchidi and I covered C3 for the Tribune Co., we spent a good chunk of each day wholly dedicated to work issues: securing Internet access, writing, shooting, editing and filing all by mid-afternoon. We attended very few panels and spent the last day of the convention running around trying to see all the stuff we hadn’t gotten to check out. In Orlando, we actually found ourselves saying on Saturday morning that if the convention had to shut down for some reason, we could go home right then and still say it had been amazingly awesome.
Not that this year’s Celebration diminishes that 2005 experience at all – it was just That Much Better. So much so that I’m struggling to organize and figure out how to do these recollection blog entries – even while reaching for clarity, I want to write while the afterglow remains, so things may be a little hyper and jumbled for the next week or so while I give it a shot.
Below are links to the coverage I provided for Wired magazine’s GeekDad:
I also sat down at the convention for a trio of incredibly fun interviews which I’ll be writing up and posting to GeekDad in the very near future. And the folks who recognized the blog from my shirt and badge and said nice things about it totally made my day.
I’ve mentioned before that writing for GeekDad has been one of the absolute coolest and most rewarding things I’ve been able to do over the past year and a half, so I need to thank editor Ken Denmead and assistant editor Matt Blum again for supporting the Celebration V coverage idea from the minute I proposed it late last year.
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