Friday, March 9, 2007

Chewbacca is the Life of the Party

I went to a party the other night at the LucasArts campus at the Presidio in San Francisco. This past week was the Game Developers Conference, which means absolutely nothing to those not involved in the video game industry. For those involved, however, it’s a big deal. Well, for some people at least.

LucasArts was attempting to recruit and also stoke their egos a bit and decided to throw a party. They piled a bunch of guys on a bus and drove us to the Presidio, gave us a nice tour of parts of the facilities, and had a little music-and-dance shindig in their dining hall.

The facilities are rather impressive. Picture a large, fairly cutting-edge silicon-valley tech company campus smack dab in the middle of the city of San Francisco, and you’ve got a rough idea of what it’s like. I work for a film company, and I was impressed with their screening room, which felt more like a real movie theater (plus wood paneling) than my company’s little screening room (in comparison). In their dining hall, you can look out and see the Palace of Fine Arts across the street, and to your left, the Golden Gate Bridge. George must be pleased with the location and view, to say the least.

At the party proper, they had a number of actors dressed up like (first trilogy) Star Wars characters. No one dressed up as Luke, which made me realize that in all the occasions I’ve seen actors dressed like Star Wars characters, I’ve never seen a Luke. I wonder why that is? About half-way through the party, suddenly people started screaming “Chewie is here, Chewie is here!” and a rather tall person in full Chewbacca costume made his way through the crowd, giving high-fives, back slaps, and generally making his presence known. I watched Chewie cozy up to the few ladies present, use his height to make fun of the many balding men present, and start busting some moves in front of the DJ. I swear at one point Chewie was going to start break dancing. It was funny to watch, because really, no one at the party was having more fun than this guy dressed up as Chewbacca. I hope Lucas paid Chewie well.

At the end of the party, they had a raffle contest. The prizes were mostly Star Wars action figures (supposedly rare, first series figures, I was told). I must say I have never seen a room full of grown men so excited about dolls in my life. In retrospect, it’s a pity I did not win, because I would have been strongly tempted to take my newly acquired action figure and rip open the packaging right in front of the crowd. Chances are I would have been beaten to death shortly afterwards.

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