Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ Category

Costumer Video Series 1-3: Sandtrooper, Biker Scout and TIE Pilot Armor

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Summary:  Author, film-maker and costumer James Hannon takes you through the first 3 videos in a series showing how to put on various Star Wars costumes from the 501st Legion’s NorthEast Remnant (NER) Garrison.    Designed to show people all the intricacies that these costumes have that make them look as tho the wearer has just walked off the movie screen and into reality.  Covering the Sandtrooper (TD), BikerScout (TB), and TIE Pilot costumes in these videos with more to come shortly.

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Back in 2009, I joined the 501st Legion. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a volunteer fan organization where its members dress in screen-accurate Star Wars “bad guy” costumes and go out to various comic conventions, charity and corporate events to promote Star Wars.  Lucasfilm gave us permission to do this, and have regularly used us for various events over the years.

Much more detailed info can be found on the 501st Legion website and the Wikipedia entry for the group.

Here in New Jersey, my local group is the 501st NorthEast Remnant Garrison.  I’m currently the Garrison Public Relations Officer (GPR) and I’m tasked with helping to promote the group – which is easy because the group does some great work with charity organizations.

One of the things we decided to do is create a series of videos to show how to put on various Star Wars costumes. Some of the costumes we have are pretty complicated to put on, and these videos were designed as a look behind-the-scenes and see how everything fits together. Many times in the dressing rooms (more…)

So I helped ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock market….

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

On Dec 20th, 2011, author James Hannon helped ring the opening bell of the NASDAQ Stock Market along with his Star Wars loving geek brothers in the 501st Legion‘s Empire City Garrison, NorthEast Remnant Garrison, and the  Rebel Legion.   It was an event to signify the release of the EA/BioWare videogame “The Old Republic” and that Electronic Arts was changing its ticker to EA on the NASDAQ stock exchange.   This is the story of that day.

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Well, I just woke up after taking a well-deserved nap today.   You see, I had to get up at 5am this morning to be in the heart of Times Square in New York City by 7:30am – And I was shooting to be there at 7am since I didn’t want to be late, so I gave myself a half-hour putz factor.  (Remind me at some future date to talk about the “putz factor” dynamic LOL)

Now, for those of you that don’t know me very well, getting up at 5am is usually reserved for something special.  And today was definitely a day that it was worth getting up at 5am…

Today, I got to help ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange in Times Square!

Here’s what happened:

Electronic Arts was scheduled to ring the bell today to signify its changing of its ticker to EA on the NASDAQ stock exchange Also, along with it’s subsidiary company BioWare, it was having a HUGE release event for their videogame “The Old Republic” that came out at Midnight last night.

And EA/BioWare asked the Empire City Garrison (the NYC branch of the 501st Legion – which is the Star Wars costuming group that I belong to) to provide some (more…)

A Tale of Two Comic Cons – Part II – NY Comic Con

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Part 2 of a segment about two consecutive weekends where I got to met THREE of my childhood heroes, and have a lot of other cool things happen at a pair of conventions.  This is in addition to the weekend earlier where it was Superhero Nirvana down in Flemington, NJ– October is a great month to be a costumer!

Well, this one is about the big boy of conventions in the New York City area – NY Comic Con!  Last year there were 96,000 or so attendees – this year 105,000.  According to Wikipedia, its been going up steadily since its inception…It sold out both weekend days this year, so I dont know how much higher those numbers can get…

Year Attendees
NYCC 2006  33,000
NYCC 2007  49,000
NYCC 2008  60,000
NYCC 2009  77,000
NYCC 2010  96,000
NYCC 2011 105,000

Last year, Johnny Rox and I went to NYCC for a first time on the Saturday, and it was MOBBED (I’m not talking supermarket mobbed – I’m talking last train out of the apocalypse-mobbed!)…   We went in normal civilian clothes (as opposed to being costumed) and we had a great time.  Check out our experience last year here  (Lots of pix there too)

Anyhoo, so lets get on with the events of the individual 2011 days!

Friday Oct 14th, 2011 – Day #1 (for me)

Someone mentioned to me that since I was vacation on Friday, I should go to NYCC that day because it would be a LOT less crowded…  Nobody else was on vacation, so I had nobody else to go with, but I knew enough people there – so I headed into the city on Friday sans costume…

I got a call in the morning saying that the lines around the Javitz Center were insane but happily found out that these were people who had to pickup tickets.  Luckily I ordered my tix a few months ago and had them in hand, and didn’t need to wait in any lines..  But I got there after 2pm anyway to avoid the initial confusion that usually happen at these things.

I went in without any maps, or any idea what I wanted to do…  I said I wouldn’t do that again, and I actually created an agenda on the NYCC website, but I never printed it, nor did I remember anything on the list…   There’s a LOT to see, and there’s no way in hell I was gonna see 5% of what there was to see, so I just decided to let Fate be my guide…

So I walked… And walked…  And walked…  I zigged and zagged down aisles dodging human traffic looking for (more…)

SuperHeroes for Hayley event – 10/1/2011

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Hey it’s almost time for another round of WIDOMW (What I Did On My Vacation) posts.  Last year was a flurry of events including events promoting my new book (at the time) – Lost Boys of the Bronx– The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang.  ( c’mon you knew I had to  advertise it at least once LOL),  NY Comic Con, an Irish-American Writers party with some big names, a Halloween Parade, and a few charity events – where one sparked one of the greatest nicknames ever – the Peeping Princess…  Click the WIDOMV category over there on the right to read some of those adventures…

Starting Friday (10/7), I’m starting another 2-week October vacation.   Now if you’re from my regular day-job, I will be in Cuba without phone or email and please stop reading right now however.

Ok, good it’s just my friends now, so I can be honest – I’ve got a few events lined up – NY Comic Con,  the annual Irish-American Writers & Artists Awards party, my best friend Jeff’s show down at the Brighton Bar, and God knows what else…  Check my Facebook or Twitter page to see where I’ll be, and check back here after the fact and I’m sure I’ll have a report of what happened…

But my biggest plans for the next two weeks may not sound thrilling to some, but to me it’s heaven.  For the next two weeks, I’ll be splitting my time between my home-office and the local Scotch Plains library working on taking a big chunk out of my new book.

“What new book?” Well, you may want to check out this link for a little better background on me and my project.  But, the short version is that for the last few months I have been interviewing some really cool & interesting people who get dressed up in costumes for various reasons and finding out what makes them tick.   The reasons people put on a costume are a lot deeper than you would think.

Well anyway, speaking of really cool costumers, I attended a really cool costuming event yesterday (10/1/2011) down in Flemington, NJ called SuperHeroes for Hayley.  It was a charity event set up by HomeTown Club in Somerset, NJ to benefit the family of a 12 year old girl with brain cancer.   The Star Wars costuming group I belong to called the 501st Legion – NorthEast Remnant Garrison was requested by the fabulous Amber Love and we showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning.

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Star Wars at the Cradle of Aviation Museum 6/18/2011

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The 501st Legion visits a really cool museum in Garden City, Long Island called the Cradle of Aviation.

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

If you’ve been following me at all, you probably know that I’m a Star Wars geek, and that I go to local events dressed in a Star Wars costume.  Just check my photo albums here or on Facebook to see visual proof.  You could also read any of my numerous blogs by clicking 501st” or “Star Wars”  over there on the right under Categories=====>

The short version (for me anyway) to get you up to speed, is that I am a member of a group called the 501st Legion.  The 501st is a group of geeks like myself who like Star Wars to the point of spending the time and money of creating professional quality costumes of the “bad guy” characters in the movie.  (I also belong to the Rebel Legion which covers the costumes of the “good guys”.  This particular event, I was a TIE Pilot “bad guy”, so I’ll focus on the 501st angle).

I realize there is a tendency to think of people who costume as loner freaks, but most of the people I’ve met doing this are sane and  productive members of society – We have moms, dads, cops, firemen, lawyers, teachers, programmers, musicians, writers, artists, etc within our ranks.  If we weren’t wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick us out of a crowd.  LOL

One of my favorite quotes lately is “Just because my hobby is different than yours, doesn’t mean my hobby is any dumber than your hobby.”  Plus our hobby has an outlet that helps make the world a better place.  A large portion of the events we attend are charity events, and our costumed groups have helped raise well into the millions of dollars for various charities.   And we bring LOTS of smiles to the kids who come out to our events and see characters magically come off the screen into their world.  It’s a really cool feeling being part of this.

One thing that I should mention here is that it isn’t just Star Wars costuming groups that enjoy these benefits, but most costumers, be it Star Trek, Superheroes, Disney princesses, etc.  (People who know my “wannabe marketing genius” mind are laughing right now because they know what’s coming next)

I am currently working on a new book that will hopefully be finished in early 2012.  It will be all about the various costumers out there -  How they got into it, Why they do it How they got their cool costumes,What their families and friends think, Cool stories while costumed, and everything in between. So basically I am looking to hear from any costumers who are willing to tell their story for inclusion in the book.   So if you are a costumer, and have a cool story, email me at jameshannon@lantern-media.com and let me know. You can be any type of costumer (including anime, re-enactors, mascots, gorilla-grams, etc) – the only exclusion is that the book will be relatively family-friendly, so I probably won’t be using any adult-themed stories.  Nothing against it personally, but as wise costumer Amber Love wrote in her Amber Unmasked blog, “there’s a time and place for everything.”   :)

Ok, sorry for that tangent, back on target about the Cradle of Aviation event.

The Cradle of Aviation is a really cool museum on Museum Row in Garden City, Long Island.  They’ve got a whole lotta exhibits on the history of flight – with a slant towards Long Island’s involvement in it.  Grumman Corporation was a HUGE contributor of exhibits to the museum and there is some really cool stuff there like flight simulators, lunar landers, space suits, planes of all types, etc.  It even has a Fire Dept museum and historic carousel on the property – See the pics below for a taste of it..   HIGHLY recommended by your pal James…

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You’re only as relevant as your next project…

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Ok, so its been a few months since Lost Boys of the Bronx – The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang was published, and the marketing blitz has died down a little bit.   There’s still a few outstanding things there that might catch fire again, but the craziness of a book release is over and I can think straight again…  Or as much as I could do before the craziness anyway… :)

Instead of sitting back and enjoying the free time that I’ve been looking forward to, what does your friendly neighborhood author decide to do?   Get started on another project of course!!!

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Aircraft Carriers, Star Wars, friends and turkey sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

FYI:  I saw some Senator taking crap this morning on the news for sharing an innocent Halloween costume with his staffers, which kinda inspired the mini-rant at the beginning of this.  I’m sure they had something else on him, but I didn’t listen long enough to find out.   Before I saw that clip, I was just going to post a simple summary of yesterdays events on the USS Intrepid… Indulge me for a few paragraphs, and I’ll get right into that.

Outside of my home and work life, there are a couple of aspects to my life lately that people who don’t know me well are surprised by:

The biggest thing right now of course is that I’m the author of “Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Bronx“.  Other things that I do/have done are that I have an MBA (but who cares right?); I’m also a filmmaker who wrote, shot & directed the documentary “Out of Our Dens: The Richard and the Young Lions Story”; and I’ve done music videos for artists such as The Grip Weeds, The RiffSurfers, and Shelly Riff.  If you scroll thru my blog and/or Facebook page, you will find lots of references to those aspects of my life.

But what people who only know me from the aspects of my life above REALLY get shocked about is the aspect that this blog entry will cover.

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WIDOMV 2010 – Part 3- Peeping Princess Leia

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

WIDOMV 2010 = What I Did On My Vacation 2010

Subtitled: Peeping Princess Leia traumatizes a civilian in distress

Ok, this installment will be a bit shorter than the rest.   This covers the first week of my vacation and after NY Comic Con, it was time to rest a bit, hit the beach in the fall (a GREAT time to hit the beach) an do a lot of behind-the-scenes promotional stuff for my  book

No time like the present for a shameless plug for the book…   I wrote a book called Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang – It is about the real-life exploits of the gang that was so terrifying in the 1979 movie “The Wanderers” – they also happened to roam the neighborhood I grew up in in the early 1960s.

You can find more out about the book at its Facebook Fan Page or you can pick up a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  You can also pick up a signed copy directly from me at Lantern-Media.com

Ok, enough with the shameless plug, lets get onto the story you’ve been waiting to hear – How did sweet little Princess Leia traumatize some poor innocent soul at a charity event?

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WIDOMV 2010 – Part 2 – NY Comic Con with Johnny Rox

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

WIDOMV 2010 = What I Did On My Vacation 2010

Subtitled: Spandex babes and getting robbed by the Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno.

Like I said in Part 1 of this series of my blog entries, this was originally going to be one document, but it got really long, and nobody was going to read that much no matter how much they like the way I write LOL

This entry is not so much Ducky Boys gang related, but more about one of my hobbies.   If you don’t know already, I am a member of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion groups which are Star Wars costuming groups.  Now before you write them off as a bunch of geeks and nerds, realize that these groups do a helluva lot of good.   During this particular series of blogs, you will see that I have gone to two charity events to entertain the crowds and help raise money for good causes like the Miracle Walk and Safe in Hunterdon woman’s shelter in NJ.  But you’ll see that in later version of this series of blogs.

Now that being said, this particular blog is purely about geek nirvana…  And getting robbed by Lou Ferrigno…

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RiffSurfers + Star Wars + Smithereens = ANOTHER night to remember!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

(Sorry for the rawness of this note (again) – just got in and had to get the story out before I went to bed)

Ok, do me a favor, and read Part 1 of the Pat DiNizio saga first. This note will make a LOT more sense if you have read that one…

The short version if you dont have time or inclination: Jeff Hornlien of the RiffSurfers and I put together a goofy Star Wars-ish video of Jeff singing the Smithereens “Blood and Roses” while Jeff was dressed in his Han Solo costume See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Gwq_CCg6g ). A week later. we had a night of MANY coincidences, and actually ran into Pat DiNizio – the lead singer of the Smithereens, at a local diner… AND HE HAD SEEN OUR VIDEO.. Long story short, he loved it, and we made it into the documentary on Pat’s, and just had a great time that night… (more…)

Late night tales from a NJ Diner

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Holy Shit – This was a night for the record books. We just got in and its 2am, but I had to write this down while it was still fresh in my mind. It will probably get cleaned up a bit in the near future, but for now, you’re getting rawness.

Lets start at the beginning…

A few weeks ago, Jackie & I were bored watching TV, and I saw that the NJN channel was doing a special on the Star Wars Concert where they perform 16 clips from the 6 movies with a live orchestra. I had heard about it, but didn’t think much about it, but I have to admit the TV special made it look interesting. (more…)

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