“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.



When It’s Time to “Lego” of Your Stuff

An Imperial AT-ST walker. I call her “Legsy.”

As I mentioned in a recent postMike and I are relocating to New York City later this year. This will be a huge transition in any number of ways, but surely among the most jarring will be the dramatic loss of space that awaits us. We fully expect that after trading in our sprawling, 1,800 square-foot Seattle palace, we’ll be squeezing into a cozy little shoebox somewhere in the five boroughs. It won’t be easy, but we’re resigned to the realities of NYC apartment-living, and we’ll adjust.

In preparation for the big move, we have begun the preliminary purging of stuff, sifting through drawers, cupboards, shelves, and closets for anything unwanted and easily discarded. The prospect of lugging all of our crap cross-country has motivated us to do as much slimming down as possible. And of course, if we hope to actually fit into the new place, this downsizing will be essential. But in spite of having already sold or donated dozens of books and DVDs, piles of clothes and shoes, and numerous other household sundries, we still feel nowhere closer to our goal-weight in stuff. We’re beginning to accept the reality that to achieve this goal, when the time comes, some tough decisions will have to be made. 

Which brings me to the subject of this post: My Legos. 

Among my most geeky, but treasured possessions is a modest collection of Lego Star Wars ships. You’ve already met Legs, but allow me to introduce you to the rest of fleet:

The TIE interceptor.
“Slave I” (Boba Fett’s ride).
The B-wing starfighter (docked).
B-wing in “flight.”
And the rest!

Sweet collection, right?

Anyway, the first time Mike visited my old bachelor pad, this nifty array – on proud display in the living room – was among the first things he noticed (along with a badass pair of working lightsabers). I’m sure it was a curious surprise, but if he was at all troubled by a grown man showing off his collection of Legos to a first-time visitor, he didn’t let on. He would later confess that although this gave him an “interesting” first impression, he was reassured by all the photos of family and friends also on display. “Oh, I get it. He’s not some weird, closed-off sociopath with a toy fetish. He’s just a dork.” (I prefer “Dork Vader,” actually.)

When Mike and I moved in together, it was decided that the Legos had to go. It wasn’t that Mike had any particular aversion to displaying toy spaceships in our living room (the decision was mutual, he assured me). It was just a question of space. The new apartment wasn’t that big, and with the merging of all our stuff, there wouldn’t be anywhere to put the Legos. So, solemnly, I disassembled the fleet, collected its pieces in a drawer, and placed them in the closet for their indefinite exile. 

We’ve since moved into our current, much bigger place, but it’s taken me quite a while to find the motivation to reassemble the ships. It’s a time-consuming and surprisingly painstaking process. I mean really, there must be thousands of pieces involved:

“Ages 8 and up” my foot.

But I was spurred into action when, after the decision to move was made, I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep my Legos. We’ll have no room to display them in our new place – that’s a given. But storage space, too, will likely be a precious commodity for us. True, the sets don’t take up that much space, and their weight, in terms of an apartment’s worth of cargo, is negligible. But when your decisions on what to keep and what to discard are measured down to the individual coffee mug, every little item counts. So I’ve decided it’s time to let them go. Sure, it was a tough call, but this was really only a trial-run for the bigger, tougher ones that lie ahead. I’m just trying to teach my self how to “Lego” of my things. 

So why, if I’m not going to keep my Lego fleet, did I take the time to rebuild it? Well, for one thing, it was easily the funnest way to organize a drawer overflowing with all those tiny, unsorted Lego pieces. I mean, if I’m giving them away (and I’m just sayin’, I know a few kids who are gonna be psyched), it’s probably best to have them arranged into their respective sets, no? But also, I just wanted to give the fleet one last “hurrah” before we part ways. This was a chance for me to take ’em out on a critical final mission: Allowing me to indulge in some nostalgic, Star Wars-geeky playtime. And now that I’ve had my fun, and taken plenty of pictures, this silly little blog-tribute is my way of saying goodbye.

It’s been easy for us to become attached to our stuff. But in the end, it’s only stuff. And next to our dear friends and beloved city, leaving our possessions behind will be the easy part. But by re-building these Lego sets, I’ve been able to build on the countless memories that I will bring with me to New York. The Legos will forever reside among my Seattle-memory touchstones, and whenever I think of them, I’ll be thinking back on my time here. And with this reassurance in mind (and now that I’ve gone and gotten all sappy about Legos), I see that it’s time, and I’m ready to let them go. 

But I’m keeping the lightsabers: