Saturday, October 16, 2010

R2-LA VIII

We hosted the 8th annual gathering of Southern California R2 Builders at our home. There were about 35 builders plus their guests, about 13 droids on display, plus various parts and props (including a C3PO and a battle droid). A couple of the builders even spontaneously created an R2-D2 out of scrap items found on our side yard. The wacky entertainment this year was a live chicken race, where builders watching the event from the online webcast were able to join the fun and try to guess which chicken would be the first to cross the finish line.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wedding of Andrew & Stacy Weitz, Santa Monica

R2-D2 was asked to make a surprise appearance in the wedding of Andrew Weitz and his bride Stacy at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, on a deck overlooking the sand. R2 came wearing a bow tie, and during the rehearsal the florist immediately outfitted R2 with a boutonniere, as well as a yarmulke hat. It was a beautiful setting. Only the bridal party knew about the big surprise. R2 was the first one to roll down the aisle, accompanied by a soft, melodic Star Wars tune. The audience was overwhelmed with surprise, laughed and took photos. He then rolled back down the aisle, and the rest of the wedding followed. We learned that Andrew is a big Star Wars fan who was called "Android" as a child. He and his brother Richard had so much fun taking photos with R2 after the ceremony. They are both talent agents at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in Beverly Hills, so having a surprise "celebrity" appearance at their wedding was fitting. Richard's children enjoyed the chance to operate R2's remote control. It was an honor to share in their beautiful day.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Hotel

R2-D2 appeared on stage with C3PO at this event featuring host Neil Patrick Harris. The event featured the history of Disney's contributions to storytelling through mechanical means. Through interviews with those closest to the historical development & implementation of mechanical technologies, culminating in Audio-Animatronics, the event gave attendees a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at this unique area of theme park entertainment. Various props were displayed throughout the lobby areas, where R2 also entertained the crowd.

In addition, Mike displayed his latest project, the head and hand he's built for a life-size, fully functional, remote-control Wall-E robot from the animated film. Upon pressing a "demo" button, the eyebrows moved and each side of the head moved up and down. This was a great opportunity to test out the mechanics and electronics as there were over 300 guests in attendance, many who pressed the button more than once. It passed the test!
Automation Video


Here's a video from that event (R2 & WALL-E at beginning, and R2 shown again briefly at end):

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Star Wars Celebration V convention, Orlando, FL

R2-D2 travelled cross country by trailer to attend the Star Wars Celebration V convention in Orlando, Florida. He was part of an R2 Builder's exhibit which featured about 75 fan-built droids. R2 participated in the droid races & droid parade, which were a big hit with the crowds. Mike spoke on a droid builder's panel. His droid was displayed as R5-DD from the fan film, Pink Five.