Star Wars Screen On The Green, Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Every summer in Atlanta Georgia with the help of many sponsors, Piedmont Park hosts Screen On The Green every Thursday night. It lasts for about 5 to 6 weeks.
Since I’ve moved to Atlanta this is an event that I have always wanted to partake in. When they announced that the original Star Wars was to be shown I knew it was time to take advantage of this situation. They were going to show the Special Edition version of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. For those who don’t know, the Special Edition has some restored scenes and enhanced special effects that the original release did not have. When the original date was released for Star Wars Screen On The Green I mentioned to my girlfriend Jane that we had a date in the park.
A couple of weeks prior to the Star Wars show I got news that violence marred a recent Screen on the Green event showing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). I heard there was gunshots and a mini riot. The movie and park had to be shut down 20 minutes in. The organizers of the events postponed the Screen on the Green event for a week to review and upgrade security and safety protocols with the police. It turned out there were no gunshots. The problem was a bunch of unruly high school teenagers that got out of hand when police started arresting some troublemakers. After a week the remaining screen on the green events were rescheduled with only a week delay.
Jane and I made plans to meet up at my place between 5 and 6 pm. The screen on the Green movie starts at dusk but we wanted to get there early for a good parking place and a sweet spot on the grass. I made plans earlier that day to do a three-movie marathon starting at 10 am. I’ll have more on that later in my next movie blog post. After my three movies I headed home and got together some of our picnic items. Jane was bringing most of the food. I got together the lawn chairs, umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, blankets and mini Yoda and R2-D2. I wanted to bring my Sith Lightsaber, but I though due to the recent events I thought they wouldn’t allow a 4-foot sword type object. So I left it at home. I loaned Jane my cooler bag for the food goodies. When she arrived I also added some extra snacks. Jane also brought here Yoda plush pillow that I bought for her daughter but then was adopted by Jane herself.
Jane also donned her classic episode four Star Wars shirt. She’s got a few now; I’ve trained her well. My dilemma was which one of mine should I wear? I have more Star Wars shirts than I can count. But I wanted one fitting for tonight. I narrowed it down to two. One was a dark blue shirt with the date 5-25-77 printed on the front. This was a shirt I bought at Star Wars Celebration 4 convention I attended in Los Angeles California in May of 2007 just prior to my move to Atlanta. 5-25-77 is the release date of the original Star Wars movie and was the name of an Independent film shown during this event. The movie is now known as 77 (2007). Its a coming of age story about a teenager being introduced to an, as-yet-unreleased, film called Star Wars. My second t-shirt choice was the one I ended up taking. It’s a black shirt with “Han Shot First” printed on the front in white letting in the Star Wars style font. I wore this as a tribute to the one scene change that I didn’t approve of in the new Star Wars Special Edition. In the original, there is an iconic scene where Greedo threatens Han Solo in the Cantina. When Greedo threatens Han at gunpoint and mentions he would take Hans ship too. When Han responds by saying “Over my dead body”, Greedo retorts, and Han shoots Greedo from under the table with his blaster. Greedo never got a shot off. This was cool and set the stage for Han’s rogue ways. Well, in the new Special Edition version of Star Wars that was released in the late 90’s, things had to be politically correct I guess. With special effects they added a laser bolt that Greedo shot first but it went wide right, sort of speak. This implied that Han shot Greedo out of self-defence not in cold blood like he did originally. This upset many hardcore Star Wars purist like myself that liked the fact that Han took out Greedo first. So I thought this “Han Shot First” shirt was fitting for this event.
Jane and I arrived at the parking lot to a shopping center within a short walk of Piedmont Park. When we arrived at the park there was a good crowd that had already had set up their blanket spots. Jane and I got a great spot up in the front about 100 feet from the inflated screen. The screen itself is about 50 feet wide. Along the left and right side of the perimeter of the screen was booths set up by the participating sponsors selling and giving away prizes. There was also a first aid tent, water station and a long row of port a potties. It was a fun setting; Jane and I were among friendly people and sallow Star Wars fans. Among the fans were members of the 501st. The state of Georgia has their own garrison: http://www.ga501st.com/ This a worldwide group of Star Wars fans that also volunteers at events in costumes of their favorite Star Wars characters for meet and greets and photo ops. They also do a lot of charity work. The 501 were attending this Star Wars event in costume. There was some Stormtroopers, Rebels and the famous bounty hunter Boba Fett posing for picture ops. Both Jane and I took some pictures with some of the bunch.
My only one small regret albeit a very small one is that I didn’t bring my lighsaber. There were many people who did bring their lightsabers, and when dusk approached it was quite a site to see when the crowd increased substantially. It was a great place to people watch for both Jane and I. We got to know some of our neighbors. And Jane’s Yoda got some fun attention. I also got props and praise on my Han Shot First t-shirt from some members of the 501st and some other event goers. I also busted out my Yoda and R2-D2 action figures which made for some funny pictures to be had. Speaking of pictures, I missed out on an opportunity to take a picture when I saw a couple dressed up as Luke and Leia. What was funny was that the woman Leia costume was black and had a bondage twist to it that included a spiked collar.
As dusk and the movie start time approached Jane and I were having a great time. We both took people watching and booth visit shifts. Jane even had some fun when some police officers flirted with her. I couldn’t blame them for trying she looked hot. Before the movie started we sat through ads showing on the screen from the participating sponsors and a spot about the upcoming additions that will be made to the park renovations. When the movie started I had a flash black to when I saw Star Wars for the first time in the summer of 1977, at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara California with my parents. It was nice to be sharing this with Jane; I could tell she felt the same. The setting was fun. It was a great date with a classic movie. The crowd was fun and there were no problems whatsoever. After the Death Star blew up and the medal ceremony scene at then end where Chewie got screwed out of his own medal, heh heh, people started to get up and go as the credits rolled. Jane and I took our time and left at the end of the credits. We had no trouble with the crowd as we walked back to our car. I think most people parked elsewhere or took public transportation. I recommend this event or any events like it where there is an outdoor setting to see a movie with a picnic type setting. Most major cities have events like this around summer time. Look for one in your area this summer and make your own magic. May The Force Be With You!
Till next time! – Spartan _phoenix