When our summer interns go on family vacation, we can’t send them off without an assignment. So our resident Star Wars buff, Kenneth, gave us a rundown of Star Wars Weekend at Disney World.
At the age when most children began watching Aladdin, Hercules and Beauty and the Beast, I was lost in a galaxy far, far away. From those days on, my obsession has only grown. So, as you can imagine, I went to Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends years ago before Disney bought the franchise. People have voiced their opinions, which range from: “They’re ruining the series!” to “They’ll make it too kid-ish!” The list goes on. Opinions on that aside, Disney has been doing Star Wars Weekends for a while, since 1997. From what I remembered as a kid, Disney did a great job — I know I had fun.
Coming back after all of these years, with knowledge and wisdom of the series I’d acquired over the years in mind, I walked into Hollywood Studios half asleep from getting to the park so early. Needless to say, it was far more than I could’ve ever imagined. Disney has always been known for its showmanship and they really came through for this year’s festivities.
Disney had an all-star lineup of characters from the films and animated series, and fans could get autographs and watch them in different shows throughout the day. Just to name a few: Ray Park (Darth Maul), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan in the animated series) Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Warwick Davis (Wicket) and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano from the animated series). The park also had dozens of other characters guests could take pictures with during the day. It was almost guaranteed that around every corner, someone would run into a character from the universe. Whether it was Darth Vader shrouded in Storm Troopers or Tusken Raiders, it was always a treat.
The party carries on through four shows daily Friday-Sunday and change slightly each weekend (this year, the event runs every weekend May 17-June 9). There’s always a show with the special guest of the week like Warwick Davis or Jeremy Bulloch — the talks were just interesting to sit in on. The master of ceremonies and host of each show was James Arnold Taylor, voice actor extraordinaire. He even demonstrated 200 different voices he could do. Impressive, I know. Taylor hosted a talk show as well, where he interviewed the visiting star and Ray Park each day. This could range from being hilarious to quite inspiring depending on the guest. Trust me on that, hearing a story of how Boba Fett messed up his lines on his first day is something to behold.
If a taste for stunts and action are up your alley, Ray Park had his own martial arts show where he went through different fighting styles with an array of weapons. This was also where you learned to loathe the children who got the chance to go on stage and do move sets with the master himself. I’m still seething from that.
Special merchandise could be found at the one stop Star Wars shop near the back of the park: the Darth Mall (clever title if I don’t say so myself). Collectibles, helmets, toys, Disney characters in Star Wars outfits — it was all there. Guests could truly lose themselves in a place like that. If you’re an unabashed fan like myself, you can’t help but spend oodles of money there. I went in wanting something small and spent more than $90. Needless to say, it was neigh impossible to leave without some form of paraphernalia in hand.
Now, to deflect, again, the opinions I may have about Disney buying Star Wars. I have to say, Star Wars Weekends are on par with some conventions I’ve heard of. When Disney gets a hold of something, they’ll flaunt it and make it something everyone can enjoy. These weekends are comparable to a sacred gathering for fans of the series. To see people who enjoy these movies as much as I do having as much fun as me was sublime. The energy there was almost tangible, especially during Memorial Day weekend. The park’s population swelled so much, it almost reached capacity. This weekend was full of characters, big name actors, festivities, themes snacks, souvenirs and ways to immerse fans in the universe itself. Guests could make themselves Storm Troopers — it was awesome. I digress, these weekends were nothing less than magical for me and, from what I could tell, those around me. Where else at this time could you see Boba Fett dance with Princess Leia in her slave outfit?
For this Star Wars fan, Disney did a great job setting the atmosphere of my favorite series. The entire park was flooded with Star Wars music until the park closed. The employees where all nice, the characters excellent and actors incredible, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. The fireworks show was impressive, too — Disney literally ended the festivities with quite a bang.
The Ohio State Fair kicked off in Columbus last week when I realized that I could not actually remember ever attending it. I’ve been to a million church festivals over the years, and even a few county fairs, but it’s been at least 15 years since I have been to the statewide extravaganza. Banking that there would be loads of crafts, gardening and other D.I.Y. goodness to report on, Jason and I headed to Ohio’s capital Sunday afternoon.
This year's Cincinnati Pride Week was surrounded by some controversy as it coincided with Fourth of July and many of the festivities moved Downtown. This Saturday, Aug. 7, Northside reclaims Pride Fest with tons of live music, drag shows, comedy and partying. The celegaytion starts at noon in Hoffner Park.
Eighties mall girl-turned-pop star-turned-Playboy pin-up Tiffany swings through Hollywood Casino's Boogie Nights club Saturday!
This weekend the Cincinnati International Wine Festival is taking place at the Plum Street divider known as the Cincinnati Convention Center. Tickets range from about $55 to like a million dollars. I know some of the proceeds go to charity while the rest goes to cleaning up the puke from the old woman that didn’t know she was supposed to spit out the wine after tasting it (I’ve seen Sideways once), and I’m totally down with giving to charities and doing things to make myself feel better about my privileged life.
So we gave Mixx Ultra Lounge a kind of shitty review when they first opened but this bar/sushi joint/plush-carpeted elevator ultra lounge offers a night life experience like no other place in this city. I went on Friday (12/19) for the Common listening party and was really surprised at how comfortably crowded and friendly it was in there. There are currently three floors although they plan on opening a fourth and fifth (that's where the "ultra" part comes in). There's a sushi bar, drinks and standing room on the first floor, a wooden bar and DJ area on the second and the third floor is for private VIP use (from what I gathered). The coolest part of the whole place is an old elevator they turned into a lounge area. Check out some photos from the Common listening party below and click here or on the image above to enter a full gallery.
While other bars in Clifton and Northside were cleaning up after post-inauguration celebrations, employees and patrons of Fries Cafe, one of Clifton's historic neighborhood bars, were fleeing a fire.
With still no job lined up, I decided to start my own work profile on Myspace. I figure since I don't have a job to buy a Web domain, a free one is just as good. So today I'm going to take the job hunt into my own hands and do the traditional application process. Up front, friendly face-to-face contact.
After watching the Season 7 premiere of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia last night, I decided to do a quick Google search of the many poor reviews I assumed would populate the good 'ol internets today. But when I typed in “sunny in philahdelpha reviews” (spelled it wrong), all I got was a bunch of mopes who apparently really enjoyed the episode.