(My) Star Wars and the Power of Costumes - Discovery Center NYC

Tuesday, April 19th

I don't know how I found this exhibition.  I mean, I'm sure the cookies on my computer tell the tale of a Star Wars Person.  It definitely tells the tale of a nerd.  I can't deny that one.  And really, I wouldn't want to.

It's way too dark of a pic, but still.  Han!!
That being said, I'm not an insane Star Wars fan.  A fan who knows all of the side characters from the books, cartoons and video games and serious history of the wars and planets that we never saw in the movies.  But I'm not giving any crap to those people who know all of this info.  I just couldn't keep up.  I read the books in the early 90's.  I'm down with the cartoons, started with Rebels early on, still working my way through the Clone Wars.  But really, I was all about the movies.

In the winter of 1983, I was seven years old.  We were the house on the block with all the toys.  We had the swimming pool.  We had the Atari.  We had HBO.  On a random Saturday night, Dad was excited.  He was going to introduce Joanna and me to a movie.  That movie was Star Wars.

Princess Leia was my girl
I didn't know anything about the movie.  I was two when it premiered.  I was five when Empire Strikes Back was released.  But at seven, it must have been the perfect time to see this movie.  A year before, I was watching the double feature of Poltergeist and Raiders of the Lost Ark at the drive-in, so Dad must have thought I could handle this.

There are a few things I can remember about that night.  I remember the lights were out and the TV was on.  That was always pretty cool as a kid (and probably is the reason I keep the lights off at my house now).  The rust colored 1970's couch was against the window next to the front door.  I'm sure one of the dogs was on the floor at someone's feet.  I remember the opening credits to the movie.  I remember Princess Leia.  I remember watching the movie with Dad.  I remember being in love with the movie.  That had to be the moment when I became my true nerdy self.  The person I was always going to be.

My boys!!
ARWWWWWWWGH!!  MWARGHHHH!!
Later that year, we went to see Return of the Jedi in the movie theatre.  We saw it twice.  And that was unheard of for this family.  Though, the second time may have been during a re-release a few years later.  Now remember, this was 1983.  Movies didn't show up on video six months after it was released in the theatre.  It was a dark time to be alive.

Leia's Return of the Jedi Costumes.  Even THAT one.
That also had to be the year when we would go play at Joanne's house.  She had the record of the Ewok Song and we would hang out in her dining room (I think), listening to the song over and over again.  I can still hear that song in my head.  Along with Electric Avenue.  That one sticks out from her house as well.

Yub Nub
As a kid, I remember looking for Princess Leia action figures at the Toys R Us.  And as they are now, girlie action figures were not easy to find.  Somehow, Joanna and I were each given one of Leia from Empire Strikes Back.  With the braids hanging in a looping fashion.  She had a cloak.  Until we lost both the cloak and her, I'm sure.

Boba Fett
We would play Star Wars with Matt's vast collection of action figures.  The character with the face of a butt in A New Hope never had a name for me.  He still doesn't (see, I don't know the auxiliary characters!!).  To me, he's always been Buttface.  Matt's mom once said, "How would you like it if that was your name??"  I didn't care.  I didn't have a butt for a face.  It wasn't my problem.  It was his.

Yoda, there he is.
Star Wars was the gateway drug for my Sci-Fi addiction.  And as the years went on, my penchant for Sci-Fi didn't wane.  I would find the one weird TV show with aliens or some sort of Sci-Fi element and latch on like a lifeline.  The show would be cancelled after a few months, and I would be depressed, wondering why TV would hurt me so.  This feeling has not changed in the last 30+ years.

It's like the anti-Bat Signal
I can't tell.  Is he reaching for me??
In college, Star Wars was re-released into the movie theatres.  We found the best theater in Des Moines to see the movies.  The single screen, giant theatre.  And like they did in the first release, we waited in line for a significant amount of time.  We battled crowds and snowstorms to see the movies how they were meant to be watched.  On the big screen.  And it was the best.

Phantom Menace Time!!
In 1999, I was working in Raleigh.  The new Star Wars movies were ready to be released.  And I was so excited.  I was 24 and working in a job that was well over my skill set.  I'm sure I jokingly said to someone, "Let's go see The Phantom Menace during our lunch 'hour'.  No one will know."  I'm sure no one did know.  Though I don't remember who that poor bastard was that I saw the movie with so many years ago, I do know it was the first time I really skipped out on work to play hooky.  I still don't feel too comfortable ditching out on work for vast periods of time just so I can screw around.  What can I say??  I'm a square.

Good against evil.  I'm pretty sure evil won that round.
Now, we all know the second trilogy were not the best movies in the world.  But for me, they didn't destroy the goodwill of the first trilogy.  Plus, Ewan McGregor in Episode 3??  Yes, please.  And if you watch the movies in order (1-6, not 4-6 then 1-3), they tell a story that does weave through the flicks.  Episode 1 through 3 are not unwatchable.  And they help bridge a gap to Episode 7 (said as I did watch all six in order to get ready for The Force Awakens).

Queen Amidala and her Ladies in Waiting
And then there's This Guy!!
Awww...Padme and Anakin's wedding day...
The Force Awakens...what can I say about this one??  I saw it on opening night (Thanks, Screenvision!!) and again during Winter Break.  I would have seen it another time or two, but I knew it would be on DVD soon enough.  And when it was released on DVD, I was at Target that night.

Do you think they'd know if I tried to take BB-8 home with me??  Cause I'd really like one for my very own.
I say all of this because when I saw the Star Wars and the Power of Costumes ad somewhere in my research for my New York trip, it wasn't a question that I would go.  It was more of a question of when I would go.  I bought a ticket early (Travel Tip - buy your tickets early.  It really does save time) and I made my way to the Discovery Center.  There, I was led into a room with maybe eight other people.  We watched a short movie and went into the exhibition.  The completely uncrowded exhibition.  Because 215p on a Tuesday afternoon in April is the BEST TIME to go to a museum.  No crowds at all (Second Travel Tip - the tickets are good for a 30 minute window of time.  I got to the building at 215p.  Had I gotten there at 2p on the dot, I think it would have been more crowded.  So utilize that full 30 minute window).  We walked out of the holding area as a group and almost didn't see each other afterwards.  Though I did keep running into the family with the two year old who ran screaming through all rooms.  That was awesome.

This is the closest I'll ever be to Oscar Isaac.  And Rey would have made the seven year old me so happy. 

The costumes were amazing, with details you wouldn't notice in any movie.  Most costumes were from Episode 1-3, but there were also props that came from the original trilogy.  For the most part, it was surprising to see how small the costumes were.  Or maybe it was just the women's costumes.  And you know Carrie Fisher and Natalie Portman are teeny tiny people, but it is really drilled home when seeing the costumes in person.

Actually, one of the cool takeaways from the exhibit was how different the costumes were between the trilogies.  Episode 1-3 took place pre-war.  So the costumes were much more elaborate.  There was money and power happening during this time.  The outfits that Padme wore were based on her status as both a Queen and a Senator, with lush fabrics and intricate details.  Episode 4-6 was after the Clone Wars, taking place in areas that would have been decimated by the fighting.  There was (seemingly) no money on Tatooine.  So Luke's clothing would have been functional and not about fashion.  Cool, huh??



Tickets cost $27.50 without tax, but do an online search for coupons first.  I found a code that worked for a 5% discount.  Yet another reason to buy tickets early.


If you're a Star Wars person, you'll want to see this exhibition when it comes to town.  This is just the type of event that will probably tour the country before eventually settling into the Lucas Museum when it finally arrives in Chicago (YAY!!).  Overall, I stayed in the museum for about an hour.  I could have hustled through quicker.  I could have slowed down.  But the time was just right for me.  I had my Star Wars fix.  And I may or may not have gone back to the hotel room to watch The Force Awakens again.  You know.  Just because.

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