Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« busy | Main | star wars tonight! »
Wednesday
May191999

lining up for star wars

Sorry I didn't blather yesterday, but Jeff opted not to bring a laptop...it pretty much poured rain from about 7 pm through the night! Yes, Jeff, Scott, Helen and I stood in the rain for all those hours. Are we mad? Perhaps. But there was something to be said for standing in line with other mad people. :-) I did send some email messages while in line, via Scott's pager thingy (talk about geeky...Scott and I were getting email messages on our cellphones and his pager).

Quite the party atmosphere in that line-up. People had brought lawn chairs, cards, Walkmans, food. Luisa came by after work to say hi (she and Reid are seeing the movie this morning). Vendors set up stalls nearby, people in chocolate bar costumes strolled up and down the line. Lots of Star Wars costumes about, of course. :-) We got photographed by Toronto Life magazine, interviewed by two radio stations. Lots of media people wandering around.

The theatre/Paramount people went out of their way to keep us happy (it was also opening day of the mega-theatre complex). Some highlights included:

  • Free massages! Volunteers from the Sutherland-Chan clinic were giving mini-massages to anyone who wanted one.
  • Free food: Kraft dinner (one of the sponsors), popcorn, Pepsi
  • Fire juggler (lighted cigarettes for those interested), magicians, acrobats on stilts
  • Occasional free t-shirts, caps
  • A balloon sculpture guy who also did an impressive balloon-swallowing trick
  • A trio of drag queens in outrageous costumes who did hammy medleys
  • Free rain ponchos when it started raining :-) Interesting how the rain seemed to enhance the experience (in a weird, twisted way) rather than putting a damper on the event. I overheard one guy behind us on his cellphone telling a friend, "Every part of me is soaked, I've been sitting here for hours, I'm freezing to death, but you know what? I wouldn't have missed this for anything." We actually missed being rained on, having chosen a location underneath the roof overhang (ok, so maybe it was Jeff's idea which I earlier mocked...turned out to be a good thing after all :))
  • Amazing percussion sculpture thingy. Difficult to describe...it was sort of like a parade float, except that it was covered in colourful pipes and ribbons and drums and bells and other noisemakers. Several people in brightly-coloured costumes were beating out some fun rhythms; some people in the crowd were dancing.
  • Folky guy duo that were actually pretty good; unfortunately, I missed hearing the group name
  • Photographer wandered about taking Polaroid photos (for free) of anyone who was interested...after a minute or two, you got your photo in a cardboard folder labelled with the theatre logo on the back and the words "I Survived The Paramount Opening Line Up May 18, 1999" (I'll post the photo in blatherings once I get it scanned)
  • Free tape... Title: STAR WARPED: MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE TICKET LINE-UP (compilation from Universal Studios)

re: the movie itself...I'd rather hold off on comments until all of you have had a chance to see it. Jeff took some pictures of the theatre and line-up events on a digital camera; I'll post them later today if I can.

Anyway, we ended up getting home about four hours ago. What am I doing up? Because I have an appointment later this morning, and also have to get some work done.

3:52 pm: Hey, the ducklings in the little pond across the street (beside Roy Thompson Hall) have hatched! Each year around this time, you can usually see clusters of business people pressing their faces against the glass hallway that runs along the side of the pond, checking out the progress of the nest (a pair of ducks nests on the pond every year). Anyway, looks like the ducklings hatched very recently...there are nine of them, very fuzzy and VERY cute. They were swimming around the pond when I went by about an hour ago (yes, I was one of the people with my faces pressed against the glass). :-)

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