“Star Wars and the Power of Costume” at the EMP

It’s been over six years since I last donned a Halloween costume. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve gotten too old for that kind of thing. Or maybe it’s because I’m just too lazy these days to put that much thought into an outfit.

Or maybe it’s because I’m sure will never, ever be able to top this sexy, scruffy, scoundrel-chic masterpiece of a Halloween ensemble from 2009:

Dan Solo
“Dan Solo.” (Settle down, people. I’m married.)

When I was in Seattle last spring, I had a chance to take in the “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibition at the EMP. The show featured an exciting array of original costumes from across the Star Wars saga, along with some memorable wardrobe pieces from a few other fantasy-cinema classics. It was awesome.

Of course I was totally geeking out in the presence of these iconic costumes – outfits actually worn on-screen by the likes of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. I mean, you could practically smell Chewbacca’s enchanting Wookiee musk. And what a thrill to meet the dark, helmeted gaze of Boba Fett as he stares you down like the Empire’s put a price on your head.

Boba Fett
Indulging my “Fettish”

So naturally, I took a lot of pictures, the highlights of which I’m now happy to share with you here (and please forgive my sub-par phone photography). Hopefully they’ll give you a sense of just how sweet this exhibit was, and help you appreciate what incredible works of art these costumes really are.

And who knows, maybe this post will inspire me to up my Star Wars costume game for Halloweens to come.

Happy Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you.

Sand people
Tusken Raiders (aka “Sand People”)

A good outfit for choir practice.


TIE pilot
TIE fighter pilot

There are clubs in New York where this look would totally work.


Imperial officer uniform, Luke’s X-Wing flight suit

Apparently those Empire guys were giants.



“Look, sir. Tourists!”


Leia bounty
Leia’s bounty hunter disguise

“Someone who wants to have your son even though he’ll grow up into an angsty, obsessive emo-guy who will abandon his Jedi training for a path to the Dark Side, fall in with the evil First Order regime, wreak bloody havoc across the galaxy, and eventually murder you in cold bloo … I mean, someone who loves you.”


Leia slave
Leia’s slave bikini

I feel like this one would eventually transition from “costume” to regular beach wear.



I could just quit manscaping. No costume needed.


Han Solo

Dan or the mannequin: Who wore it better? (Answer: Harrison Ford. Always.)


R2-D2 (not sure why C-3PO’s cropped out)

OMG. Totally the droid I was looking for.


Dan Vader
Darth Vader (really wish this one had come out better)

I’ve got mad Force-choke skills.


And here are some highlights from the other films featured in the exhibit.


Proton Pack
Proton pack and ghost trap

The Princess Bride:

Princess Bride
Inigo, Buttercup, Westley
Six fingers
Count Rugen’s glove

I do not have six fingers on my left hand. I do, however, have two belly buttons. (Childhood surgery. Long story.)


The Wizard of Oz:

Wicked Witch of the West’s hat

On loan from Christine O’Donnell.


Witch Guard, Cowardly Lion

Again, I feel like I could pull off the Lion look with minimal costuming.


And finally, Labyrinth:


RIP David Bowie.



Seattle = Emergency Dispatch Nightmare: Impressions from a First-Time Visitor

There’s really no better way to enjoy the city you call home than to do so in the company of a first-time visitor. What better excuse to indulge in all the local delights and quirky trappings of your burg than to show them off to an out-of-towner? New guests can offer refreshing insights into what it is that makes your city special, and renew your appreciation for a place you’d nearly forgotten how to enjoy:

Curious visitor: “Why’s that wall caked in gum?”

Proud local: “Because Seattle!”

Yeah. This place rules.

Last week, Mike and I had the pleasure of playing host to our dear friend Belinda, who was visiting the Emerald City for the first time. By all accounts, her stay with us was a big success. The weather was freakishly pleasant, traffic was uncharacteristically obliging, and we didn’t run out of toilet paper once (wins all around). We took in all the must-see sights, enjoyed some of our favorite local eateries, and snapped a bunch of great photos:

I don’t photograph well in the morning.
Honey Bucket
Nothing but the finest for our house guests.
The rent-a-car folks were PISSED about their vintage Beetle.
Floating houses? The future is now!
Prepped for a day of beauty at the spa. Or was it a chocolate factory tour?

It was a real treat to witness Belinda’s reactions as she took in the sights and, perhaps more importantly, the flavors of Seattle. There was, of course, plenty of basking in the scenic splendor that surrounds our city. Belinda seemed particularly impressed by the rows of snow-capped peaks flanking the city, noting that our home state’s Green Mountains would be mere foothills in their midst:

Mt. Rainier. For perspective, it’s 80 miles away in this shot.

And Belinda learned that when it comes to iconic landmarks, Seattle’s not all Space Needles and fish markets. We also have this:

Pink Elephant
Doubling as Seattle’s gay Republican HQ.

But let’s not kid ourselves: This city’s real attractions come in dessert form. I would be lying if I told you most of our itinerary wasn’t planned around visits to places like this:


And this:

Top pot

And not to mention this, and this.

For such a health-conscious city, Seattle is quite the dessert mecca. As a longtime resident of this Bermuda Triangle of sweets, all I can say is, thank goodness for its many steep hills. “No wonder you’re all so fit,” Belinda observed as I put away my eleventh doughnut. “These hills are just brutal.” Word.

Anyway, one of Belinda’s more spot-on observations about Seattle came from her experience as an emergency-services dispatcher. As someone who routinely directs first responders to emergencies, she’s developed a keen sense of workable traffic patterns. And apparently, there are one or two kinks in the layout of our fair city:

If you stare at it long enough … you might get a migraine. (photo credit)

Unlike, say, Manhattan, with its rigid, numerically ordered grid, Seattle’s street plan is anything but straightforward. If you ask me, it’s more like an Escher drawing, or one of those webs spun by spiders on crack. I’ll spare you the wonky details, but let’s just say that to the unschooled visitor, these streets can get pretty disorienting pretty fast. To quote Belinda’s professional assessment, “this place is ONE BIG CLUSTERFUCK.”

Okay, maybe those weren’t her exact words. But she did point out that this city is “full of emergency-services nightmares.”

As we zipped across our sprawling cityscape, Belinda couldn’t help but marvel at the confidence with which Mike and I navigated this jumbled maze of thoroughfares. How was it possible, she wondered, that we could find our way to cross-town destinations without the aid of GPS, or some kind of celestial navigation? Fortunately, Mike and I are seasoned Seattle veterans who’ve been working this crazy jigsaw puzzle for years. I suppose our ability to navigate the city with relative ease is one of those things we now take for granted.

This is not to say we don’t hit our fair share of snags around town. There are times, for example, when just getting home can be a bit of an ordeal. You see, while Seattle is not without imagination when it comes to naming its streets:

Not pictured: Ogre Boulevard and Gremlin Lane.

One sometimes senses that they’re not even trying:

Not pictured: the actual city of Bellevue.

This in-no-way-confusing intersection is where you’ll find Mike’s and my apartment building (you’re welcome, internet stalkers). It’s tucked away in a relatively quiet corner of our neighborhood, and, as Mike recounted to Belinda, it often requires careful explanation:

Taxi driver: “Where to?”

Mike: “The corner of Bellevue, Bellevue, and Bellevue, please.”

Driver: “No such corner, wise guy.”

Mike: “Dude. I think I know where I live.”

And so begins the comedy routine that is describing our address to locals and visitors alike. Belinda was right – God help us in an emergency.

But thankfully, Belinda’s stay with us was emergency-free. It fact, the entire visit was just about perfect. I’m confident her first impression of Seattle blew away all expectations, and hopeful that a few days with the city’s two funnest gays left her eager to return soon. But until that day comes – thanks to Belinda’s own expert observations – Mike and I can rest easy knowing that if ever there is an emergency, we’ll be pretty well effed.

Thanks for coming, B!