Sunday, November 18, 2012

A double Chubby-Chuck, a chili-barb, two orders of French fries and...

...the largest privately held Star Wars collection in the world.

A fitting crossroads...
 Though the California Vintage Star Wars Collectors Club doesn’t get a chance to meet all that often, the get-togethers always seem to pan out pretty well.  Our second meeting of 2012 set the bar much higher with a personal tour of Stephen Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan – a 9,000 square-foot non-profit museum located on the borders of wine country in Sonoma County.  The road to the ranch proved symbolic on several fronts, beginning with a stop in Modesto (perhaps the point of genesis), a drive past Lucas Valley in San Rafael (the hidden fortress), ultimately ending in the small town of Petaluma (where American Graffiti was filmed in the summer of 1972).  As our van full of vintage collectors drove into town and into the path of a Veteran’s Day parade, I got an uplifting feeling that this place really hadn’t changed much since young Terry Fields placed his order at Mel’s drive-in (though the real location for the scene happened to be in San Francisco, I could easily imagine such a place on a street corner in Petaluma).

The Petaluma Veteran's Day Parade
What CAVSWCC road trip wouldn’t be complete without a slight detour?  In an attempt to bypass the hustle and bustle of the parade route, our van somehow ended up in an industrial yard complete with run-down warehouses, train cars, trucks, and a dead end.  As one of us described it, we were on the set of RoboCop.  Luckily, everything had been going so smoothly beforehand and we still managed to arrive at Rancho Obi-Wan within minutes of the other Northern California constituents.  Two new club members were in attendance – Keita of the 501st (who also brought his awesome gear for photo ops) and Dwayne along with fellow Petaluma resident Dan.

Rather than trying to recount the overwhelmingly incredible Rancho experience, I’ve compiled the following slideshow from our 4+ hour tour hosted by a collector whose passion truly has no bounds.

After the official tour was complete, the group embarked on a series of double-takes and deeper investigations with additional commentary from Steve. 
Main Exhibit Hall

Trevor on a quest for bootlegs.
Marty and Keita

Will and a sage

The flag signing ritual and group photo signaled the end of the main event, and what an event it was. 

For a post-game wrap up, the group enjoyed a late-night round of brews and grub at McNear’s – a funky yet classy joint adjacent to the charming Mystic Theater.   

Thus, another successful meeting was adjourned.  Huge thanks must be passed along to Will for getting this event rolling, to Phidias for providing transport, and to Mark H. for offering a much needed place to sleep before the long ride home.

Thanks to Steve, Anne, and the rest of the Rancho Obi-Wan staff for an amazing experience – and hopefully the first of many to come. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Santa Barbara, Born and Raised

Though a few weeks late as far as getting in a second meeting in 2011, the club’s recent Southern CA get-together in Santa Barbara was a very good time. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to start a new collection room completely from scratch (transforming my old bedroom in the home I grew up in), resulting in a real dream come true. This was my first opportunity to share my displayed collection with other collectors in person – people who can appreciate it on an entirely different level from family and friends who understand and support my passion, but probably think that I’ve gone a bit crazy.

A troop from the Los Angeles area carpooled up the coast (thanks for the van service, Phidias!) and Trevor W. (the most recent Northern CA host) made it all the way down from Oakland. Mark E. has been a steadfast attendee and Marty N. attended his third meeting. We also had a first-time attendee in David Carr from Orange County, who has been an active fan and collector for many years. Glad to have you!

Several varieties of beer went along with some fine Rusty’s Pizza, but the appetite was much more focused on Vintage Star Wars throughout the day and into the evening. I have to say it was awesome to see Star Wars take over the house. Several great trades were made, with everyone coming home with something new. From the largest of all store displays and lovely first shots to gorgeous German carded figures and funky Topps cards, the whole gamut of the Vintage Star Wars universe was represented.

On to the photos….

Trevor unpacks his wares.

Some of Mark's vintage model kits.

Bootlegs galore.

Mark, David, and Marty enjoying the growing madness.

Phidias and David converse.

First shots adorn the mantle place.

As does the Micro Collection.

Trevor is intrigued by the ROTJ Space Battle Display...

David and Mark take a look at a vintage poster.

Coins, cards, and other goods.

Some Uzay delights....that calculator's operational!

The blockbuster trade of the day...Trevor's 12" AT-AT Driver for the first item in his hands. (which happened to be a small Lego set from Mark)

Vintage's too bad that Julie bailed from the cardback and the party.

ROTJ and Trilogo MOCs for the second course.

An interesting item Trevor picked up from a recent find.....

Ugliest figures of the day, courtesy of Mexico. Who knew that Yoda and Prune Face were related?

Steve's "Show and Tell" table (just like elementary school).

Steve's new acquisitions. Thanks David and Mark!

A closer look at some truly priceless trading cards.

The Rejects Hall of Fame.

The B-Wing Pilot collection and curator.