During this Thanksgiving long weekend, I thought I would do something to re-introduce myself to the culture of the Great White North. After so many years away, I was in need of a brief refresher, and what better weekend to do it? The sky was high and blue, the leaves were red and yellow, and the turkeys were running for their lives. All I needed was some sort of cultural activity.
And then I was offered a ticket to the Star Wars Identities exhibit at the Aviation and Space Museum. Perfect!
Tickets in hand, my friend Alison, her Dad, and I waited in line with the other Star Wars dorks. I was intrigued to notice a list of rules on the back of the ticket. Among the usual rules was “No masks, helmets or toy/replica weapons.” How disappointing! This seemed like a prime opportunity for Star Wars fans to dust off their Wookie suits.
I wonder if there was some sort of advanced warning on a website somewhere? Imagine if you’d spent all morning spit-polishing your best Storm Trooper uniform only to show up and find out you wouldn’t be admitted if you wore it? Would you go home and change? Or would you persevere wearing whatever you were wearing underneath? What do Storm Troopers wear under their armour anyway?
The exhibition was very well attended which quite frankly, was astonishing. Who knew there were so many Star Wars fans in Ottawa? And you would have to have more than just a passing admiration for the films at $24 (+ tax) a ticket.
There were people from all walks of life. It was fascinating, and made for prime people-watching opportunities. There were parents introducing their children to the wonders of Star Wars; there were girlfriends and boyfriends, and husbands and wives who were there because they dearly loved their partners; and there were people like me, who had grown up with the movies, and remembered playing Jedi and Ewok in the school playground.
And then there were the True Geeks, usually dressed head to toe in black. Perhaps they were mourning the loss of an opportunity to dress as a droid. I overheard one gentleman telling his friend that this was his sixth visit. Another man said that he had been to the exhibit in three other cities in he was disappointed that the layout wasn’t the same. Jeepers.
We followed one Asian man for a while who puzzled me. He had a very expensive camera, and he took pictures of everything. No detail escaped his lens. Every painting, every drawing, and every costume was photographed, as were the accompanying explanations. Was English not his first language, and he was going to study using the Star Wars exhibit as motivation? Or was he an uber geek who was going to recreate the entire exhibition in his basement?
Just look how excited I am to meet Darth Vader! 😀
LucasFilms very cleverly devised a way to prevent people from whizzing through the exhibit. Each visitor was issued an interactive wristband which would enable to wearer to create a Star Wars Identity. There were stations throughout the exhibit where you could watch a brief video about factors that influence people’s personalities. It was a bit like attending a Psych101 lecture.
It was a moot point though because behind this wall, was a room where everybody ended up, regardless of your morals. I didn’t pause to ponder this potential philosophical message because I was in urgent need of a bathroom. Apparently neither the Dark Side nor the Jedi ever need to pee because there were no restrooms in the entire exhibit.
In that communal room of mixed morals, you could scan your wristband one last time, and your character would be visible for all to see. Introducing Carrie, the bounty hunter! I’m not quite sure what that says about my personality. 😀
I spent the rest of the weekend soaking up actual Canadian culture, and counting my blessings. This Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful to be close to my family and friends. I was so thankful in fact, that I managed to have Thanksgiving dinner twice. I may never eat or move again. 😀
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everybody!