Beantown Is Geektown

02-Nov-09 2:22 PM by
Filed under Potpourri, Star Trek, Star Wars; 4 comments.

The passing of Halloween means the holidays are nearly upon us — but if you're a geek in Boston, then there are far more significant festivities headed your way. The biggest and best celebrities of science fiction will be coming to Massachusetts for three different events this month:

• On Saturday, November 14th, the touring "Star Wars In Concert" comes to the TD Garden for both a 3:00 PM matinee and an 8:00 PM performance. The concert is described as "John Williams' breathtaking score from the epic Star Wars saga … performed by a live symphony orchestra and chorus, accompanied by a stunning video montage on an enormous LED screen." Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) has been narrating this concert, though it's unclear if that's only at specific venues. Us Bostonians are no stranger to hearing Mr. Williams' soundtracks performed live, as the composer is also the director emeritus of the renowned Boston Pops Orchestra and often serves as guest conductor, but a dedicated concert to this particular score is a rare treat. Tickets are $32.50, $52.50, or $72.50, plus applicable taxes and fees.

• That same weekend is the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) sci-fi convention. Star Trek headliners include Bostonian Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime) as well as John de Lancie (Q), though the former will be available only on Saturday, competing with the aforementioned Star Wars concert. Online tickets (via a Web site that is remarkably reminiscent of a GeoCities page) are available through November 6th for $45 each, or for $50 at the door.

• NEFX 2009 is held a week earlier than in 2008, avoiding the conflict that occurred last year with the annual Super Megafest, traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving. That means this year, you can attend NEFX one week and Super Megafest the next! The latter is held in Framingham, less than a half-hour west of Boston. The expo — which features an unusual amalgam of sci-fi actors, comic book artists, TV show stars, and pro wrestlers — will this year present Brent Spiner (Star Trek's Data), Ray Park (Star Wars' Darth Maul and, more recently, G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes), and James Marsters (Buffy's Spike). In addition to signings, each star also has a half-hour Q&A session, though the schedule is unknowable prior to the event: an email from its coordinator informed me, "No, panels will not be posted on the site. Most celebs will do Q&A sessions both days. However sat is probably the better day to see more Q&A sessions." Last year I happened to show up just in time to see Jonathan Frakes; otherwise I would've been out of luck. The actual show floor is quite small but packs a lot into it. Tickets for the entire November 21-22 weekend are only $20.

Though the two conventions offer cheaper admittance than the orchestral concert, they also have the most potential to drain your allowance, based on how many celebrity autographs you want to go home with; typical fees range from $20 to $50 or more per signing. This will be my third Super Megafest, and I usually budget $100 for at least three autographs.

If you'll be attending either the Star Wars matinee or the Super Megafest, be sure to say hello to Showbits!

Kiss a Wookie for George

14-May-09 5:55 PM by
Filed under Star Wars; Comments Off on Kiss a Wookie for George

Happy birthday, George Lucas! (And just a week after Star Wars Day, too!)

Whether or not you approve of his coda to the Star Wars movie series (the tenth anniversary of Episode I's release being this coming Tuesday, May 19th), Mr. Lucas is still the man who introduced us all to a galaxy far, far away, leaving an undeniable impact on pop culture and the imaginations of millions.

In tribute, I offer this a cappella rendition of Star Wars lyrics, set to the various tunes of John Williams:

It's worth noting that the above video is not a live performance, but is actually a lip-sync of a song by a quartet called Moosebutter. I'm not sure why this one-man version was the one that became popular, but to his credit, he never claimed the song as his own, giving full attribution to Moosebutter.

Beyond Star Wars, other singers have also proven their versatility in playing multiple roles. For more such fun, turn your attention to Beaker and one Zelda video game fan.

Star Wars Sounds Around the House

11-Feb-09 11:47 AM by
Filed under Star Wars; 5 comments.

I was recently editing an article about how to convert one format of digitized sound effect (rSound) to another (WAV). It's a pretty geeky topic, but one I think will appeal to the right audience.

Despite that esoteric pastime, even I have to say that some people have way too much time on their hands. Translating sound effects via digital means, I can understand — but reproducing Star Wars theme music "on the metal"?

At least this second example was mere happenstance and involved no real work… unless you count the unlikelihood of a Wookie amicably squeezing himself into a cabinet.


(Hat tips to Blake Patterson and TheForce.net)