STARFEST 2010 – WHERE CAN I PARK MY HOVERCRAFT

Free parking is available at the Denver Marriott DTC (there is a charge for Valet Parking) and the Hilton Gardens Inn. The Office Park across the street will be charging $10.00 a day this year if you want to park your car in their lot. The attendants will be there handing out parking passes on Friday until midnight, Saturday until midnight and Sunday until the convention ends. There will be NO OVERNIGHT parking in Office Parks lot. Cars in violation of this will be towed. Getting to the convention early makes even more cents…I mean sense.

StarFest 2010- The Trial of Kraven Bloodthorne

Coming to Starfest 2010: The Trial of Kraven Bloodthorne
It was only a few years ago when Kraven Bloodthorne left Avistrum Academy. He resigned both his position as Professor of Divination and the post of Head of Colubrae House. He left Avistrum Academy at the request of Mordecai Argiletum, to aid another wizarding institution by the name of Timmernak. The school was under seige by the forces of the Dark Witch, Persephone.
Or did he?
Timmernak fell to Persephone’s onslaught and there is evidence that Kraven was actually a double-agent, assisting in it’s destruction.
To make matters worse, Bloodthorne is indicated to be involved in the abduction and possible murders of missing witches and wizards.
Some of these victims are former faculty members of Avistrum Academy.
With the evidence mounting, Senator Oswald Kensington is taking him to trial and is leading the Prosecution.
Kraven’s unlikely defender and attorney is his former rival, Clark Dowling.

Should Kraven Bloodthorne get convicted, he faces a lifetime imprisonment in Alcatraz Wizarding Prison.
Come and watch the trial unfold at Starfest in this unique interactive theatre and film experience!

STARFEST 2010 – Welcomes Actor Gary Lockwood

Open the Pod Bay Doors, Hal. I have to get to Denver!

StarFest 2010 is truly “Full of Stars!”

Gary Lockwood, probably best known to Star Trek fans as Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell  in the 1966 pilot episode “Where No Man Has Bone Before”,  has been confirmed as a guest for the  STARFEST 2010 convention.

Of the many memorable roles he has played in his career, Science Fiction movie fans remember him best as astronaut Frank Poole in the Stanley Kubrick  futuristic epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).  Ironically, Lockwood’s Frank Poole character (from “2001”) learns about Star Trek’s success in the novel “3001: A Final Odyssey”.

One of his most memorable TV roles, and one of the most memorable on the series, was on a 1969 episode of  “Love American Style” (1969) episode  in which he plays a guy who is told his mouth is too small. To test it out, he accidentally wraps his mouth around a doorknob and gets stuck! His co-star in that episode was none other than his wife at the time, Stefanie Powers.

Since we are actually celebrating the real 2010:  Space Odyssey this year, we thought it would be only fitting to have a guest from the movie that started it all.  Unfortunately his co-star in the movie, Keir Dullea, was unable to join him on the journey to Denver.  I have it on good authority, however, that the Monolith might be making a return visit.

We are happy to welcome Gary Lockwood to Denver

STARFEST 2010 – Balcony Challege Competition

Iron Man 2 Balcony ChallengeIron Man 2 Balcony Challenge
Book your rooms at the Marriott now!

Everyone with balcony rooms in the Atrium of the Marriott Hotel is encouraged to decorate their balconies. There is nothing quite like walking into the Atrium during the convention and seeing all sorts of displays on the balconies in that huge open space venue.

StarFest Balcony ChallengeThe last few conventions, we have started handing out prizes to the best decorated balconies. This year, prizes will be awarded for two catagories: "Iron Man Theme" and “Open Theme.” For ideas, you might want to visit the IRONMAN 2 website to get some ideas. The movie studio is putting together some great prizes to give away to winners in the Iron Man division (there’s a good chance that anyone featuring Iron Man in thier theme will recieve tickets to a special advance showing of the movie). Special consideration will be made for subtle and fun design elements creativity counts big in our book. There will be guests from the studio at Starfest, so we’d appreciate it if you go out of your way to impress them.

The “Open Theme” category is only limited by your imagination and good taste, nothing more than PG-13, remember StarFest is a family show. A prize packet will be given to the winner of this category.

Winners for both catagories will have their names announced right before the Costume Showcase on Saturday evening. Complete rules for the Balcony Challenge can be found on the Starland Message Board. Let the challenge begin!

STARFEST 2010 – Meet & Greet Dessert Party & CRO Concert

GREAT PEOPLE
GREAT SOUNDS
GREAT DESSERTS

& A GREAT CENTERPIECE CONTEST

The MEET & GREET DESSERT PARTY starts at 7:30pm on Friday evening. Enjoy a casual reception featuring brownies, cookies, and other yummy desserts with many of our StarFest guests in attendance.

We’ve added something new this year: A Design A Centerpiece competition. This is your opportunity to create a centerpiece that reflects the love you have for your favorite series. A special prize will be awarded the winner. Bring your finished centerpiece to the Convention Information table on Friday evening between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. They will then be placed on the tables before the actual party begins. The centerpieces will also be on display at the Convention Information table following the party so everyone can enjoy your masterpiece. Be clever, creative, and boldly go where no centerpiece has gone before.

After you’ve had a chance to become acquainted with guests and other attendees over desserts and refreshments, you will be treated to a great show.

The Castle Rock Orchestra will be performing in the Main Events Room after the MEET & GREET DESSERT PARTY at 9:00pm. The Castle Rock Orchestra has performed at Castle Rock Elementary, The Grange in the Meadows, The Castle Rock Ducky Derby, The Highlands Ranch Music and Arts Festival, The Philip S Miller Branch of the Douglas County Library and the First United Methodist Church of Castle Rock.The Orchestra will be entertaining us with selected theme music from some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy shows.  Hear the themes from Star Trek, Star Wars, Star Gate, Pirates of the Caribean and more being played by an orchestra of over 40 talented musicians. There just isn’t a better way to start off the convention!

Tickets for the MEET & GREET PARTY and CONCERT are available for $24.95 per person. You are strongly urged to purchase your tickets online or by phone prior to the convention. Seating is limited.

StarFest 2010 welcomes Tim Rose – Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars

It's A Trap!

Admiral Ackbar – Salacious B. Crumb – Sy Snootles

Born in Pittsfield, Illinois in 1956 Tim Rose discovered puppetry while attending University of New York.  His first professional performance was for the student union.  He built a walk-around bag booth and performed The True Story of Prince George and the Dragon.  He was paid $15 for the show and still has the receipt he was given with his first check.

From there he continued to perform his show at fairgrounds, shopping malls and parks all across the northeast America.  He started working at Jim Hensen’s studio where his first job was to design what would eventually be called animaltronics for the Muppet movies.  He was loaned by Hensons to Lucasfilm to do Return of the Jedi.

While at ILM he was designing animaltronics for characters of Jedi.  Once pre-production was finished he was going to fly to England to perform Sy Snootles and Salacious Crumb.   Copies of the script were never given out ahead of time for reasons of secrecy and he had no idea who Admiral Ackbar was.  He had done a lot of the design work for the Admiral’s close-up version and when he asked if he could perform the character, because of his familiarity with the controls, he was told he could.

He also worked on Howard the Duck, Dinosaurs, Alf, The Labyrinth, Return to Oz, Dark Crystal and the tiger in Fierce Creatures just to name a few.

We are happy to welcome him to STARFEST 2010.

Psst… Ask him to tell you about the Salacious Crumb and Harrison Ford incident.

AVATAR – The Reviews Are In

Wanted to pass on this review of the movie AVATAR written by a friend of ours, Tim K.  If you haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet…read on.

Hi All..!

AVATAR is the kind of flick you can write chapters on, but I’ll keep it short and spoiler free.
I’ll also borrow a Q&A format from a friend of mine.

Q: Should I go see it..?
A: YES — as my buddy Kevin said: “Run, don’t walk to see this movie..! Every single dollar spent on this one is up there on the screen…”

Q: Isn’t the story simplistic..?
A: Say rather that the story is simple in its heart, complex in its implications and mythic in its structure.
Its a classic tale of good vs. evil; enlightenment vs. blind ambition and the always popular good guys vs. the bad guys.
You know, like almost every other movie made since the dawn of cinema…

Q: What about the negative reviews I’ve heard..?
A: The scattered negative reviews and comments I have read (apart from those with the fatal flaw of trying to imprint their own private expectations on another artist’s work) largely come from voices who have failed to connect their shriveling soul to any form of understanding for the story that Cameron is trying to tell here. Likewise, comments concerning the perceived “cheesiness” or “dopiness” of the events portrayed can only come from those who have been over-soaked in the brine of cynicism, leeching out whatever small amount of spirituality they may have once possessed, drowning away whatever feeble ability they may have retained to appreciate the pure and innocent wonder of a wholesomely unspoiled world.

Q:
Are the effects the “star” of the flick..?
A: Depends upon your perspective. Were the FX the “star” in STAR WARS or LORD OF THE RINGS..?  Not really — they were only the background against which the environment of the story was framed.
Besides, as far as AVATAR goes, I think that the FX have now moved beyond considering whether they are the “star” of the movie or not.
The kinds of FX that Cameron’s team have created for this story are certainly the magnet that pull you in, but once “inside” the world of Pandora, you forget that your watching FX. You are simply “there…”
As one wag quoted: “This film is a fraud! They didn’t do special effects, they just went to Pandora and filmed the whole thing on location…..!”

Q: At 2 hrs. 40 min. isn’t it too long..?
A: Nope. In fact as the end credits started to roll, my reaction was: “Don’t tell me its over ALREADY..?”

Q: Isn’t the “political” message a little heavy handed..?
A: Not in my opinion — it never gets in the way of story but rather serves to define the motivations of the main characters.
Besides, its relevance is echoed by the whole of our human history and is, unfortunately, appropriate to current events.
As our hero quotes in the film: “Isn’t that they way it’s done..? Someone is sitting on something you want, you declare them to be “the enemy” and it makes it easier to justify killing them….”
If some people are uncomfortable with this theme, it may be time to examine the deeper reasons…..

Q: Isn’t this movie just like a bunch of other SF&F blockbusters..?
A: In its tone, perhaps — as it does address classic themes and character archetypes.
In its execution, no way — as this kind of story has never been told this way before.
And also, this is something new — a fresh and original look at the world of SF&F. This is not a “sequel”, a “prequel” an “adaptation” or anything else other than a refreshingly original view of the larger Universe.

Q: Is Cameron just jerking us around for the sake of ego and/or profit..?
A: Again, it depends upon your perspective. This was the very first time that I felt like I had visited a truly alien planet.
Of course a lot of that has to do with the quality of the special FX, but more so it has to do with the extremely overwhelming attention to detail — from the moss growing on the trees to the buzzing insects in the air to the textures of skin and hide on the various lifeforms.

But it encompasses far more than just the environment. This isn’t simply recreating some stylish clothing and erecting some familiar sets to tell a period piece kind of story. From a production design point of view, this is world-building on the grandest of scales as well as the creation of totally new culture along with all of its accouterments, lifestyles and belief systems.

This is also the first time that I felt I was watching true aliens, not just actors in prosthetic makeup and rubber suits. The subtlety of eye movements, skin wrinkles and body language is unsurpassed and all combine to provide a visceral experience unlike any other film to date. I cannot stress enough the feeling that we were actually inside a completely alien and, at the same time, completely realistic environment.
As Darien noted during the climactic battle scenes: “Gee, not only can you see the texture of the aliens’ skin, you can see the texture of the war-paint on top of that skin..!”

And the amazing FX don’t stop with the biologicals. Cameron is a well-known hardware geek and it shows here in the attention to detail in the movie’s technology. There is a spacecraft design that sports cooling fins for the nuclear power source, glowing cherry red as they dissipate the heat buildup from deep space travel. The military hardware is of evocative design, and the CGI is assembled and used in such a way that its seamless blending with human actors gives it a paint-scratched, bullet-hole riddled presence that screams reality. You can almost bang your hands on the metal hulls and lean against the smoky, abraded and finger-printed windscreens and view ports to peer through to the jungle foliage beyond. And all of it — all of it — exists only in the layered ones and zeros painted on the digital canvas, rendered by master craftsmen of visual storytelling at the top of their game.

Q: Finally, do I have to see it in 3-D..?
A: In my opinion, YES..!!  The creative and artful use of 3-D that Cameron employs here is almost like another actor in the story — not only broadening the scope of the things we see but also broadening our participation inside that world.

Those of us who are photographers know the challenge of very carefully composing and executing a photographic shot, perhaps faithfully capturing the color, the shape and the form of whatever things were viewed through the lens — but feeling somewhat disappointed that the stark presence of the scene is missing something from what we remember seeing with our eyes. Flat 2-D can never approach the “life” of stereoscopic vision.

Cameron is dead-on with this one — a 3-D movie executed the way that AVATAR has been has no rivals for actually experiencing the “life” of an imaginary universe. Here’s to improving that technology so that we may experience , more and better journeys into a myriad of such fantastic worlds throughout time and space.

Will this particular story change the world of cinema..? No, since it is only but another chapter delineating the long twilight struggle of the oppressed against the hired mercenaries of the corporate greed machine.
Will this particular movie change the world of cinema..?  I believe it most certainly will. The bar has been raised a goodly distance, perhaps beyond the reach of many, but then that is a good thing since, as Robert Browning said, “a man’s reach must exceed his grasp.”

>>TimK

Wanted to pass on this review of the movie AVATAR written by a friend of ours, Tim K.  If you haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet…read on.