Star Wars Day of the Dead

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Whenever I think of Dia de los Muertos, I picture ornately decorated skulls and whimsical skeletal scenes.

Even though the holiday is synonymous with skeletons and skulls, Day of the Dead is actually a celebration of life!  On November 1st in Mexico, people gather to remember & honor family members & friends who have passed away.  The idea is that even though the deceased are no longer with us physically, they are with us spiritually.  For those who celebrate this holiday, the memories of past times are alive and well.

For artist John Karpinsky, the same can be said about his childhood memories of Star Wars.  His Guerra de las Galaxias prints are a “tribute to characters of my youth, an invitation to the celebration of that cultural phenomenon that shaped my life so long ago.”  I’ve been an admirer of John’s work ever since I first saw his prints on Tumblr last year.  I loved how beautifully he fused Star Wars with the traditional Dia de los Muertos artistic style.

So when my birthday rolled around this year, my boyfriend surprised me with the greatest gift of all—13 prints from John Karpinsky’s Guerra de las Galaxias collection!  What a guy.  When I opened the box and started looking through the artwork, I was amazed at the vibrancy of the colors, not to mention the incredible detail in each print.  As a lover of Star Wars and a Mexican-American gal, John’s art perfectly encapsulates who I am. Whether it’s the ornately tribal Stormtrooper or the X-Wing Fighter Pilot with roses in his eyes, I’m in love with all of his designs.  In fact, I’ve dedicated an entire wall in my living room to displaying his artwork!

There was also another little surprise in the box from John Karpinsky himself!  <happy dance>

I was so touched by this special birthday card John created for me!  I must admit, I got a little teary-eyed.  The detail in my Death Star costume is astounding.  He even included the tiny stars on my tights!  And the little Ewok piñata…I can’t repel cuteness of that magnitude!  Thank you John for making my birthday so memorable!!!

For more on John Karpinsky’s work, check out his store on Etsy.  The quality of his artwork is impeccable!  If you want to infuse your home or office with a little Star Wars magic, then these are the prints you’re looking for.  No Jedi Mind Trick necessary.  ; )

Star Wars Celebration – Day 4

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It was the final lap of my Star Wars Celebration marathon and although I was exhausted, I was sad to be crossing the finish line.  I started off the day in the Digital Studio with vegetable carver and sushi chef Oki!  He gave me a lesson how to create a parsnip R2-D2.  Incredible!

 

Oki was such a skilled carver!  His creations only last a week and must kept refrigerated.  I asked him how he felt about throwing away his carvings after spending hours working on them.    He said that he has no trouble letting go because for him it’s more about the carving process than the end result.  In fact sometimes, he’ll boil and eat his creation!  I thought his perspective was really insightful and a good life lesson as well.  Here are some of his other Star Wars vegetable carvings:

 

After the craft demo, I got the chance to be a part of the Star Wars Transmissions wrap up show!  The wrap up show was taped in front of a live studio audience and featured Chris Gore, Clare Grant, Milynn Sarley, Casey Pugh, and myself talking about some of our favorite SWCVI moments.  Once the video is up I’ll be sure to share the link!

 

After the wrap up show, I literally ran to the closing ceremony.  It was a packed event and everyone wondered why they gave us 3-D glasses as we entered the theater.  To find out the answer (and the other big announcement) check out my post here!

 

After the ceremony, I finally got some time to go shopping.  Sine I only had an hour and half, I raced through that convention floor faster than the Millennium Falcon.  I picked up shirts, Micro Machines, a Yoda bathrobe, and the list goes on and on.  I wanted to buy these Leia headphones but I resisted.  Mainly because they wouldn’t fit in my backpack!

 

During my Star Wars shopping extravaganza, I happened to come across two Darth Vaders playing Star Wars Kinect.  I guess even Sith Lords like to practice their Force powers.

 

After 4 days of Star Wars heaven, it was time to go back to reality.  Star Wars Celebration was like living out my childhood fantasies.  Never would I have imagined that one day I’d be interviewing Chewbacca, seeing Mark Hamill in person, and meeting so many other fellow fans.  My bucket list is a lot shorter thanks to the epic weekend in Florida.  Many thanks to everyone at Lucasfilm, StarWars.com, and all the people I worked with at SWCVI.  Wookiee hugs to all the people I met—both new and old friends, you guys made the weekend extra special.  Until next Star Wars Celebration…that’s a wrap!

Star Wars Celebration – Day 3

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Day 3 of SWCVI was all about the cosplayers!  I got a little break during the day and I spent the whole time gawking at all the awesome costumes.  There are some seriously creative and talented people out there.  These costumes are on a whole other level.  There was a cybernetic Darth Maul, a screen-accurate Gamorrean Guard, and so many more.  One of the highlights of the day was getting to interview Chewbacca himself!  What?!

 

This Chewie cosplayer was seriously dedicated.  Not only was he on stilts, he also created the entire costume himself!  He even made a mold of his face for the mask.  Like I said, these cosplayers are on a whole other level of awesome.  I got inspired and couldn’t stop taking photos of everyone!

 

It’s a ghost trap!

 

Mini Boba Fett & Ahsoka Tano joined forces in the kids craft room!

 

I didn’t have the heart to tell Jar Jar I blew up his action figure.

 

Jabba captured Hello Kitty!

 

Mother Talzin made a dramatic entrance

 

This cosplayer is my kind of scum.  Fearless and inventive…

 

“Hey Greedo, can I get a shot?  Uh…I mean photo?”

 

Cosplaying kids is my kryptonite.

If you’d like to see more photos from Saturday, check out my Flickr page!

 

I also had a chance to meet my online friends Jon & Piggy in person!  Piggy is a little Gamorrean Guard action figure that travels to conventions and other Star Wars events.  Jon is Piggy’s owner and he’s such a kind person.  It was great to finally meet him and Piggy face to face (and snout).

 

Day 3 was perhaps my busiest day yet!  I definitely loved going around the con floor and interviewing all the cosplayers.  Being a StarWars.com field reporter and getting to talk about Star Wars all day was awesome and surreal.  I wish I could do it everyday!  Guess it’s good motivation for me to get back into vlogging!  : )

 

Star Wars Celebration – Day 2

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I must admit, I’m writing this post on the 3rd day of Celebration.  As you guys know, I’ve been doing double duty as both an on-camera host and a blogger for StarWars.com.  It’s been a lot of fun and it’s meant having an action-packed schedule this weekend.  Day 2 was all about panels, crafting, and a dash of cosplay!  In the morning on Friday, I headed to straight to the “Super Secret Star Wars Panel”.  Since the panel featured both Seth Green and Matt Senreich (of Robot Chicken fame) I figured they might be announcing a new Star Wars animation project.  And boy did they ever!  If you want to know what the super secret was, check out my post here!

 

One of the highlights of the day was getting to craft with one of my favorite geeky crafters, Amanda Jean!  I love AJ’s style and I’m always so amazed by the cool clothes and accessories she creates.  AJ and I filmed a craft video where she showed me how to make an Ewok purse!  Her design was so cute, the process was really simple, and it’s a craft that anyone could make.  Best part?  AJ let me keep our finished little Ewok purse!

After crafting with AJ, I ran over to the Costume Masquerade where they awarded the best costumes at SWCVI.  I caught the tail end of the Masquerade but got a chance to interview some of the winners.  There were some seriously incredible costumes.  One was a Bantha that required two cosplayers to operate.  I didn’t get a photo but hopefully you’ll be able to see the interview on StarWars.com.  I did however see some other great costumes on Friday.  Here are a couple of my favorites from the day:

 

This cardboard Stormtrooper won my crafty, little heart.

 

Cuteness.  Overload.

 

ANIMAL!!!!  Muppet Trooper FTW!

 

After a quick lap around the floor, I headed straight to the Mark Hamill panel.  Little did I know that people had been waiting in line for 6 HOURS already!  But I knew I couldn’t leave SWCVI without seeing Luke Skywalker.  It’s always been a dream of mine to at least hear him speak in person.  And thanks to the kind folk at Lucasfilm, I got in!  The thing that surprised me most about Mr. Hamill was how open and genuine he was.  He shared some hilarious stories including one about his audition for “Pop” in a Rice Krispies Commercial.  I could have sat and listened to him talk for hours.  He has such an interesting perspective about life and the entertainment business.  If you’d like to read some of his stories about Star Wars, I wrote a very extensive post about the panel.  I wanted to include everything he said!  ; )

 

As I made my way through the convention center at the end of the night, it was neat to see how empty it was.  As I walked by the giant AT-AT and hanging Death Star, I kind of felt like I was in Night At The Museum.  If spending the night at the convention center meant seeing the AT-AT come to life…you know I’d bring my Tauntaun sleeping bag.

 

Star Wars Celebration – Day 1

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Gold Five to Red Leader, I’m in Orlando for Star Wars Celebration!  Besides getting the chance to see and experience all things Star Wars, I’m also doing on-camera hosting and blogging for StarWars.com!  I geeked when I saw the callsheet for today.  I felt so official seeing my name next to Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick and G4’s Chris Gore!

 

The first part of my day was spent inside the Star Wars Digital Studio where I got to interview Star Wars crafters and artists.  I fell in love with Linzy Busch’s adorkable Star Wars puppets that she makes herself.  How cute is this mini Yoda?!

 

Check out artist Ken Lashley’s Boba Fett sketch.  He drew this within a matter of minutes, right before my eyes!

 

I also crafted a Huttlet plush toy with Terri Hodges, learned how to fold an origami Jango Fett with Chris Alexander, and Katie Cook taught me how to draw!  Here is Katie’s Yoda (and his pet womp rat) along with the Yoda I drew.

Look how amazing Katie’s drawing (on the left) is!  I got a little carried away in drawing Yoda’s ears so mine ended up looking a little like Stitch.  Regardless, Katie was a great teacher and she’s such a talented artist.  I can’t wait for you guys to see the craft/DIY videos.  I had so much fun chatting with my fellow crafters and gawking at all their amazing artistry.  All the videos will be featured on StarWars.com and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re up!  After a fun day of crafting/drawing demos, I walked around the con floor and saw some awesome cosplayers along the way.

 

It’s everyone’s favorite mog from Spaceballs, Barf!  May the schwartz be with you.

 

Utinni!  What a very tall Jawa!

 

“I find your lack of faith in the Miami Dolphins disturbing.”-Dolph Vader

 

Where else can you witness an impromptu Astromech Droid parade?!

 

Droid dance party!  This R2 unit (R7-C1) was also a boombox that played Katy Perry.

 

Listening to Warwick Davis talk about his experience working on Return of the Jedi was definitely a highlight.

Part of the fun of Celebration is asking for a picture and ending up getting Force-choked.

 

After a long (but fun) first day at the convention, I treated myself to a lobster dinner.  From where else, Red Lobster!  And since it was within walking distance from my hotel, it made the meal that much more enjoyable.  Not to mention their cheesy biscuits are addictive.

 

That’s a wrap on day 1 of Star Wars Celebration!  Tomorrow I’ll be checking out Seth Green’s Super Secret Star Wars Panel AND seeing Mark Hamill in person!  I’ll try to be cool when I see Mr. Hamill.  Just know that I’ll be freaking out on the inside.  Until tomorrow Star Wars super fans!  : )

Gettin’ Crafty at the Renegade Craft Fair

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The Renegade Craft Fair is my favorite crafty event in LA!  The fair takes place generally twice a year at the Los Angeles State Historic Park.  If you’re a fan of DIY and indie crafts, you’ll love Renegade.  Vendors from all over the world come to the event to showcase and sell their handmade goods & original artwork.  And when you’re too pooped to shop, there’s plenty of shaded benches to relax on.  Or you can power up by grabbing a snack from one of the many food trucks!  Oh, and did I mention it’s free admission?  My trip to this year’s RCF was inspiring and fun as usual.  And instead of buying everything I loved (which was practically everything), I decided to take pictures instead!  Here are some of my favorite crafts & artwork from the fair today…

 

Antique Plate Art by BeatUpCreations

 

Chewbacca as a French general?  Très bien!

 

Join the rebellion by wearing one of these Mockingjay pins (by Enchanted Leaves).

 

Me encanta these calavera style Star Wars t-shirts!

 

Artist Jose Pulido creates the perfect mashup of Star Wars & Dia De Los Muertos style artwork.

 

El Plomero y La Princesa

 

Animal Crochet Pillows by Peanut Butter Dynamite

 

Ceramic deer heads by Lizbeth Navarro.  Who knew antlers would be perfect for hanging keys and jewelry?

 

A tote bag perfect for any CAG on the Galactica.

 

X-Wing and AT-AT prints by Marz Jr.

 

Jesse Pinkman would love this illustration of his former ride, yo.

 

Mmm, felt has never looked so tasty!

 

Speaking of noms, I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken strips from the Ludo Food Truck.

 

If you don’t live in LA, there are Renegade Craft Fairs in Austin, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Chicago, and London.  Check out the RCF website for more details.  Thanks for a craft-tastic time, Renegade!