Happy birthday, Star Wars. As completely dorky as it sounds, you’ve changed my life, and I’m grateful for it.
I would not be the same person if not for those fateful few weeks in the 3rd grade when we watched and analyzed Star Wars: A New Hope. I still remember redesigning Darth Vader’s costume and changing it to red–I hadn’t yet seen Return of the Jedi, so I wasn’t aware of the Imperial royal guards and their red costumes. I remember my friend Michael making a diorama using straws that he glided little X-wing figurines along to recreate the Death Star run. I remember being cast as Obi-Wan in the Cantina scene when we did skits in class, and being so excited over being cast as Obi-Wan that I forgot to learn my lines. I also remember other kids acting out the garbage compacter scene, with volunteers pushing in chairs on either side to simulate the walls closing in.
Mom and Dad, if you want anyone to blame for my lifelong fanaticism, you can blame Kincaid Elementary School.
This does indeed relate to Japan, because it’s a common area of interest that many of us have. When Pickles and I were chopping onions at the rugby tournament, the topic of the (then-)proposed marathon came up, and we ended up having a really good conversation about how meaningful these films have been. Genna and Victor and I discovered that we all were pretty hard-core fans of the films and that we’d read the books, and we started throwing around references to Mara Jade and Kyp Durron and others (I also discovered that Victor’s a big Pirates of Dark Water fan and I’ve since converted Genna, but that’s another story entirely). Joey, James, and I were all in favor of doing Star Wars for the musical, but we were outvoted–but we ended up using Chris’s plastic lightsabers as sword/fight-scene props, and Joey came up to me at one of the rehearsals and commented, “I thought we weren’t doing Star Wars: The Musical?”
Another way this relates is that I was very tempted to plan a trip from here to Los Angeles for this weekend, because right now, several of my online friends are over there for Star Wars Celebration 4. It was a pretty foolhardy idea, though (it’d have eaten up too many vacation days, plane tickets would’ve been too expensive, and the jetlag would’ve been brutal), and obviously it didn’t pan out–but it also didn’t pan out for about 80% of the other people I knew were set on going, either, so of our messageboard crowd, only a small number are in LA right now. Still, it would be amazing to be there. I’ll be at Celebration 5 for sure, though.
I may regret posting this publicly, but to celebrate the occasion, I’ve uploaded this one mp3 I downloaded back in university, about 7-8 years ago. It’s a 20-minute medley involving melodies from episodes 1, 4, 5, and 6; it came out in 1999, shortly after The Phantom Menace was released, and a few months after I started school at Georgia Tech. It’s a fan-made medley and very, very well done, and it was really making the rounds for a while. I have space and bandwidth to spare, but please right-click the link and save it to your hard drive, and don’t just listen directly off my site. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. It’s a good retrospective.
So now it’s midnight, very early on the 25th of May, and I’m finally in the clear to post this. Happy Birthday, Star Wars! May the Force be with all of you who are reading this.