Celebration Anaheim Con Report: Fri. Apr. 17

Since I didn’t go to bed until midnight, I got up later than my friends did and they were gone even before I was up to get breakfast. Even after I got up around 7:30 or so, I was not in a rush. I figured there wasn’t much of a point to getting there super early since the Clone Wars Bad Batch thing was at noon. Unfortunately, I made a bad decision while getting ready that came back to haunt me later on. I ambled into the holding pen around 9:30, another noisy, stuffy, smelly room of con goers waiting to get into the exhibit hall and the rooms upstairs. Again the staff expected us to pack in like sardines. Already it had become a tradition for people to cheer and applaud if someone accidentally knocked over one of the poles separating out the lines.

It took so long to march people out, I didn’t get out of the holding pen until almost 10:30. It was like the world’s longest Communion line at Mass. I went up to the second level and saw that the TFA costume exhibit line was already pretty long. I decided to try it on Saturday. So with nothing better to do, I headed up to the holding pen for the Digital Stage. I saw Candy there again and got into line. Unfortunately the line was being managed by the Line Nazi, a young lady who didn’t so much project her voice as she screamed at people coming in. I’m surprised there weren’t barking dogs jumping at them too. She screamed that we were prohibited from leaving the room or else be banished to the “back of the line.” Now, getting something to eat for lunch was no problem. Fortunately I’d thought way ahead and bought a grab ‘n go sandwich in the hotel yesterday afternoon. I kept it overnight in the fridge and brought it with me in my soft-sided cooler bag along with a soda and other stuff to eat for lunch. But forbidding us from going to the bathroom? That’s inhumane. Luckily, the people in line were good about holding spots for people who had to use the restroom. Does anyone realistically expect a little kid to hold it for four hours? It’s tough even for me.

Finally we got into the Digital Stage—I brought my travel blanket with me which was helpful again with the freezing AC. They rolled into the Bad Batch arc, four unaired Clone Wars episodes about an outcast group of clones. The animation was still in its primitive stages, but the sound and voice work were complete. I ate my lunch while watching. The episodes were fantastic. Completed, they would’ve been even better and likely would’ve been ratings gold and a fan favorite. There was lots of action, adventure, humor, and touching moments as Rex discovers one of the Domino Squad was alive after all. After the showing, Dave Filoni, two of the show’s writers, and Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced just about every character in that arc, came out on stage. Unfortunately the Q&A session was along the lines of, “What about this guy who was in that Season Three fifth episode? What do you think he’s doing now?” Finally someone asked if the Bad Batch arc was going to be online, and the answer was, “We don’t know, yet.”

I left the auditorium just before 2 and went down to the exhibit floor to poke around. I’d stopped by Matt Busch’s booth to say hello and saw the March of the Mandalorians. Preferable to the running of the Wilrow Rood or whatever the ice cream guy’s name is the day before. Then I realized it was almost three o’ clock, time for the Ahsoka Lives photo in front of the fountains outside. Of course I was wearing one of my Ahsoka tees and one of those cheeseball floral crowns to bring a little Coachella poseur style to the con. I dashed outside and saw that they had already started with the pictures. I jumped in on the far left, ensuring I won’t be seen at all. Oh well. But Candy managed to stand right next to Ashley Eckstein and I did get to meet another internet friend, Stephanie. I went back in the exhibit hall, pretty much finished with everything, but was still undecided about a couple of things. I’d already bought on Thursday the Her Universe stuff, a t-shirt from the Celebration Store, a necklace from the Han Cholo booth, and an Artoo scarf from another booth. I bought autograph tickets and a thing to hold my autographed pictures. I forgot to mention that on Thursday I found time to get Orli Shoshan’s autograph. I’d managed to get Amy Allen’s autograph on Friday, which I didn’t think I had. So around 4:30 I went back to the hotel room, dropped off my stuff, chatted with Marie for a while, and went out in search of something to eat for dinner so I could bring it with me in line to see ROTS. Since I had no idea of what the lines were like on Thursday to get into the Digital Stage for TPM and AOTC, I assumed it would be fine if I got in line 5:30 p.m. for the 6:30 showing.

There were a couple of problems. First, the Filipino food truck was out of chicken adobo, which nuked my initial plans for dinner (*sadface*). So in desperation, I went inside the Hilton’s little food court and got some spaghetti marinada and a breadstick from Sbarro’s. That slowed me down.

The other problem was WAY more people than I anticipated showed up for the ROTS screening. Instead of the usual room used for penning people for the Digital Stage, I was hustled into another room across from it used for penning up additional con-goers. It was hot, stuffy, and noisy in there. Notice this has become a theme. At first it wasn’t so bad. I figured there was no way that everyone in the other room would fill up the Digital Stage. But I was toward the back of the overflow room and Stephanie had mentioned on Twitter she was lined up out in the hallway and they were told fat chance you’re getting in. Then I noticed it was getting late and nobody had moved out of the room yet and neither was staff coming in to give updated information. We were just stewing there. I am slightly claustrophobic and my anxiety was starting to spike. Figuring I needed to do “something,” I went to the front of the room, stepping over a lot of people, and asked the green shirt at the door what was going on. She said, “They’re seating the other room now and they’ll be getting to this room soon.” She also said the movie was going to start late. Gee, thanks for the update. Sure enough a few minutes later, they started to move out rows by the door. But it was extremely slow. People would move, then they wouldn’t. Finally, I was in a slow moving line to the door when two con-goers came in and said, “Forget it! The room (Digital Stage) is full and the movie already started!” The staff couldn’t be bothered to tell us. Annoyed and frustrated, fans on the way out just knocked over all of those poles used to separate the lines.

The ROTS screening should’ve been on the Celebration Stage, there should’ve been wristbands, and the higher number of people attending Friday along with Ian McDiarmid introducing the movie probably increased demand. It was also the first time ROTS was shown anywhere in 3D. On the way out, I ran into Stephanie. I commiserated with her the poor organization of it all when a guy at the escalator was handing out postcards advertising a party on the nearby outdoor patio sponsored by Pacsun. For those of you who have no idea what Pacsun is, it’s a chain/brand aiming at the young skateboarder and surfer crowd. I don’t stand on boards either on land or sea nor am I young, but with ROTS a bust, I figured what the hey. Debbie and Marie were supposed to go to some dinner with the D.C. Collectors’ Club at Tony Roma, so it wasn’t like I could go catch up with them anyway.

The party had a cash bar, a booth where you can pose for goofy but free pix with toy lightsabers, a small display with some new Star Wars-themed clothing from Pacsun, and a DJ playing rap and hip hop. Supposedly rapper Riff Raff was going to perform later. The highlight of the sparsely-attended event was the totally inappropriate music. The tracks were all uncensored, so n-word this, f-word that, and whatever other vulgarity you can imagine was blasting away at a Star Wars convention. Who thought this was a good idea? I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole thing. Speaking of inappropriate, do you Celebration IV veterans remember the toddler in the slave girl bikini? I seem to recall my reaction at the time was, well, it was unsettling. I spotted the girl, who was about 9 or 10 now and still wearing a slave girl bikini. She was there with her proud pops wearing a t-shirt of his little punkin at age two or three in the bikini from Celebration IV. Oh. My. Gawsh. Cree-py. Thankfully they didn’t hang around long. The sun set over the hills, a nice view I have to admit, I got a free picture (I was crossing two lightsabers a la Anakin in ROTS), and some guy half my age tried to talk me up. Unfortunately for him I did not understand his lingo and I just shrugged. Oh well.

I went back inside and talked with some of the Pro Staff people for a while about how the party was a bust. Then around 8 I thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll check to see if there’s any room in the Digital Stage.” I walked back to the auditorium and a young couple came out through some of the side doors. “They’re unlocked!” the girl said. So I opened the door, went inside, and tried to look for an open seat. One guy pointed me out to one on the aisle and I sat down. Then I remembered I didn’t have any 3D glasses. The glasses I got from TPM/AOTC the night before? I had taken them out of my bag that morning! D’oh! But what could I do? If you squint, it almost looks normal.

After the movie, I went back to the hotel and sure enough the lobby and bar were packed with drinking 501st members.

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One Response to Celebration Anaheim Con Report: Fri. Apr. 17

  1. Pingback: Second And Third Day Celebration Con Reports |

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