Wednesday, June 29, 2022

We Meet Again, At Last: Celebration Anaheim '22

For several of us, it had been years since we'd last been able to see one another in person. For that to finally be remedied this past May at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim was a small miracle given the continued pandemic state of the world. But it happened...for real!

Here's a quick photographic recap of the club's good times at the show from the friendly confines of booth #2777.

New Cali-themed postcards and matte finish buttons adapted from designs by our own Barth Paine and Tom Corrigan were handed out at the booth!

The club was also a participating member of a multi-group vintage Kenner themed patch set which, as always, was a huge hit among Celebration attendees. Our piece of the 8-character circular rim was none other than Boba Fett and visitors only needed to answer a very basic Star Wars trivia question (some of the best were the random "wrong answers only" wild cards) to snag their bounty. 

Those that were dedicated enough to track down all of the individual border pieces were rewarded with an impressive center piece featuring Luke facing the Rancor (Gamorrean Guard in-claw ready to crunch). But that was a tall order -- all of the center piece prizes were gone by sometime on Sunday morning, leaving the convention's patch collectors to trade amongst themselves to find their missing pieces among the sea of orphaned patches.

Booth volunteers were also granted the beautiful bonus of a rare Rancor Keeper corner piece for their service.

Dora Huber presents the fully set up booth on the morning the show starts. You may notice the glorious FX-7 display she's calling attention to...

This year, the club took part with several other clubs in an extremely challenging collecting hunt for a set of 15 "Fill Echo Base" medallions. This project was developed and finished back before the "Dark Times" of COVID when Celebration was initially slated for August 2020 (as seen on the reverse side text). CAVSWCC members Justin Vidal, Mark Huber, Ryan Savas and Darren Gin all co-sponsored the FX-7 medallion.

But FX-7 was no easy medical droid to come by. Booth visitors had to stop by at a handful of select times over the course of the show to play "Watto's Chance Cube Challenge" for a shot at one of the limited quantity of medallions available. The rules were simple: pick a color (red or blue), roll the dice, and let chance decide (no funny business).

Game masters Mark Huber and Darren Gin brought happiness and despair to many a contestant who tried their luck, and could easily pitch a similar gameshow. 

Darren marks the collector card for a lucky winner.

By the last round on Sunday, Watto (along with everyone else) was utterly spent. Check out this post in the club's Facebook group for some video of the action!

Celebration was a weekend of many reunions and reconnections from all angles of the collecting hobby and Star Wars fandom. Just prior to the show, my mom had dug out my old Celebration II t-shirt last worn twenty years ago in Indianapolis when we attended that convention together. By chance, a fan named Halley Sanchez was wearing the very same shirt when she and her mom visited the club's booth in Anaheim. We both immediately recognized the matching shirts and as it turns out, she had gone to Celebration II in Indy with her mom at age 16 just like I did. It was such a fun coincidence running into one another and reminiscing about being in a similar place with our awesome moms two decades (!) prior. (Thanks for the photo, Halley!)

Original CAVSWCC founder and current New Yorker Skye Paine made the trip west with his two kids for their very first Celebration. Their coordinated Jar Jar jumpsuit cosplay ensemble was understandably a popular photo op for passers-by. Getting to see them sign the club's flag along with our 2 year-old at the same time after all of these years was an enormously joyful and emotional moment for us both.

The kids were among several making their first marks during a group photo session organized by Will Grief. Above, Elon Bartlett scouts for a signature spot.

Marc Deckter finally adds his name to the flag after several years of club membership as others look on and socialize.

Here's another great group shot taken by friend of the club Omar Marshall. Our daughter wasn't feeling quite camera ready for this one. Though we were missing a few faces for the photo, seeing so many of them throughout Celebration was such a welcome gift. 

The shutdown crew of Mark and Dora Huber, myself, Tom Corrigan, and Darren Gin pose for one last shot as the lights were turned off in the convention center. Thanks so much to everyone that contributed to the club's amazingly successful and fun experience this year, and especially to Mark Huber for a significantly increased coordination effort for the booth. We could not have done it without all of you.

Until next time... (give us another year or two, please!)


Friday, June 14, 2019

Return of the Rancho Cucamonga Star Wars Day (2019)

The club's 4th trip to Victoria Gardens for the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library's annual Star Wars day was another success, and on May 25th at that! Stationed in our traditional spot in the main lobby, the vintage display was incorporated into the queue (Q?) for some popular character photo ops this go around, which definitely brought increased traffic (and nostalgic remembrances) from passers-by.

The Victoria Gardens Courtyard, more packed with attendees than ever.
Dora and Tessa prepared for outreach.

Mark H., Mark E., Tom, and Steve helming the table.
Tessa provides BB-8 with an antenna upgrade.

The good.

The bad.
The Booma Ball Toss.
Tessa makes some new furry friends.

Darren T. brought some Retro Collection figures for experimental purposes.
Retro vs. Vintage Stormtrooper
Retro vs. Vintage Chewie
Weapons check.

Thanks so much to Allen Callaci for inviting us back, to everyone that attended and helped out, and to Darren G. (unfortunately not there for the group photo) for capturing the event so well with his camera.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

CAVSWCC at Celebration in the Windy City

Nearly two months later and it still feels like we're in recovery mode (and maybe a bit of withdrawal) from Star Wars Celebration Chicago. This convention was a whirlwind and a whopping 5 days long, but it was an absolute blast. The club had a great contingent and official presence in the main hall for the first time since Celebration Anaheim 2015. Here's a quick photo recap for posterity!

Before the convention was upon us, a good deal of design work was undertaken by two of our most talented artists. One of the last minute challenges was the creation of a new alternate club logo. Barth Paine, the artist behind our original CA state flag themed emblem, ingeniously designed what he described as "In-N-Out meets Tatooine." Our trusty Dewback mascot remains true, as does our Golden State vibe.

With the new logo locked, Ryan Savas got to work revamping our "First Ten Years" logo which manifested in the form of buttons that were handed out to thousands of convention-goers. 

Also a huge hit were a pair of Vintage Star Wars/State Park themed travel postcards. Ryan crafted two incredible pieces of original artwork inspired by California filming locations from the Original Trilogy, integrating Kenner toys with locally significant environments, all the while perfectly capturing the aesthetic of the travel posters of yesteryear. The first design available for the initial days of Celebration featured our ever present Dewback overlooking a droid sale below in Death Valley/Tatooine.

The second design, handed out over the second half of the convention showcased a stunning image of the California Redwoods overrun by Endor's finest. Below are some shots of the postcards on display along with some of their corresponding vintage toy ingredients.

These postcards were immensely popular, particularly with some fans that also happened to work for the National Parks Service or had visited the filming locations depicted. Ryan definitely set a high bar with these!

Over the course of the show, the club booth had a wide variety of visitors ranging from fellow vintage collecting enthusiasts and nostalgic cosplayers who grew up with the toys to the newest generation of young fans having seen and enjoyed them for the first time.

One young visitor staged the bizarre Ewok/Gamorrean race depicted here.
Tessa poses with Vintage Kenner Teebo and his namesake's impressive cosplayer.

A key component of any Star Wars Celebration is the SWCA's Archive Party thrown on the opening night. This year, a number of CAVSWCC members (in partnership with several other great collecting clubs) were involved in making the event the incredible success that it was, with all of the proceeds raised donated to the West Suburban Humane Society.

Poster Key Art designed by Bill Cable
A view of Archive Party IV from the balcony of Row 24 Chicago
Mark and Dora Huber along with Jason Thomas of the Empire State Collecting Club

One of the highlights of the entire convention was a scene that unfolded at the club booth on Saturday. Original club founder and Rochester NY's own Skye Paine (seen below as his alter ego, time-traveling superfan Jasper Nixon) had acquired a rare plush Chewbacca display FULL of stuffed Chewies that had remained unkempt for over 40 years. 

Prior to getting the display encased in acrylic by Collector Archive Services (CAS), a group of us partook in an intense Wookiee grooming session.

As you can see, the results were incredible (Tessa was particularly masterful with the comb). Wookies [sic] indeed need love too.

Photo Courtesy of Narayan Naik (pictured on the left) of the Georgia Alliance of Star Wars Collectors 

Below are a few more group shots of the booth, though a few members who attended aren't pictured.

Photo Courtesy of Darren Gin
Photo Courtesy of Darren Gin
Photo Courtesy of Darren Thomas

Thanks so much to everyone for making Chicago the amazing Celebration that it was. Anaheim 2020, here we come!