Brian's Comics in old downtown Petaluma to meet up with some of the Northern California collectors arriving in town. Located adjacent to the famous alley where Curt Henderson rigged the bumper of a police car in American Graffiti, the shop is owned and ran by a man named Brian Christensen, who also volunteers at Rancho Obi-Wan. This subterranean comic lair was full of character and was as welcoming of a space as any comic book fan could ask for; it almost felt as if we were guests in Brian's decked-out den rather than a place of business, which made it all the better. It was here that we met up with the club's official R.O.W. liaison Dwayne Smith and a few of the newcomers.
|Phidias and Mark E. browse at Brian's|
Once everyone had made their purchases, the contingent increased ranks with a rendezvous at nearby Mary's Pizza Shack to fuel up for the main event.
|Making our way towards shelter|
|Stop 1: the restroom equipped with every Star Wars bathroom product imaginable, including British Bubble Bath (for Space Freaks)|
here), a book of sheet music for children depicting Chewbacca sipping on a martini, and even more bizarre, unlicensed 1980s comic book adaptations from Asia (one of which depicting R2-D2 wearing bright green pants). To give an idea of the depth of awesomeness held within this cozy space, one of my collecting grails sat on a lower shelf behind a box of other volumes: the original novelization in Icelandic (which tells of the saga of "Flame Spacewalker," if it wasn't already cool enough).
From here, the photos mostly speak for themselves, but I'll add some commentary throughout...
One of the rarest Star Wars posters produced caps off a hallway adorned with original one sheets: the 1985 "Triple Bill" for a one-time showing in 9 American theaters (each theater received only 2 of these posters).
|The above warning is adhered to the entrance to the first main exhibit space.|
|"No Bargain Prices" strictly enforced.|
|One of many vintage-infused display sections.|
|Trevor is overwhelmed by Uzays.|
|Carded Hungarians galore|
|Peculiarly hairy wookiee customized in Mexico|
|Vintage Japanese Food Items|
|Prototypes, Sigma Ceramics, and Other Rarities|
|Stairwell view of the Swap Meet|
|Turkish Uzay Cardback|
|Mark E. (of Mortar Heads fame) unveiled his most spectacular piece yet.|
|Is Dwayne the man behind the mansuit? Evidence suggests...|
Any trip to Rancho Obi-Wan isn't complete without some quality time spent in the arcade. The gang tested their skills with a myriad of games to choose from.
|Mark H. and Trevor crank up the Atari versions of Star Wars (how many Death Stars do these guys have?!) and The Empire Strikes Back|
|Meanwhile, Melissa maneuvers her speederbike through the forest moon of Endor.|
|Phidias tries his luck.|
|Tessa flips some pinball with some slick vintage backglass.|
|Just because Don loathes the film doesn't mean he has to loathe its pinball incarnation.|
With that, the evening came to a close and everyone started making their way home. Though I wish it had happened much sooner and that we could accommodate everyone who had missed this round, these events are always worth the wait and there will most certainly be other opportunities in the future. I'd like to especially thank Dwayne Smith for helping coordinate the tour, Anne for going the extra mile to fit in and feed so many of us, and our host and tour guide Steve for another memorable Star Wars collecting journey.
|We unfortunately missed a few folks for the group photo: Katie & Loyal, Matt M., and Shawn B.|
For a small group of us, the adventure continued on the way back down south the following day. Having never been to the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, we decided there was no better time to pay a visit to the current home of Lucasfilm and ILM. The company's offices at the Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center are among several on the impressive campus. Though the interior production offices aren't open to the public, a pleasant stroll around the exterior and main entrance courtyard still provides a nice Star Wars stop if you're ever passing through.
|C-3PO gazes innocently from a Lucasfilm office window.|
|This Stormtrooper guards his office more menacingly.|
|A fitting end to a Bay Area Star Wars trip: one of Lawrence Noble's bronze Yoda statues topping the fountain outside the main entrance to Lucasfilm's Headquarters|