One year ago today in Seattle, Washington, started one of the most impressive Star Wars collector events to ever take place. I.C.E. (International Collector’s Event) Seattle was organizes, for the most part, by members of SARLACC and on Labor Day weekend 2013 they put on an exclusive 5-day “convention” for a handful of lucky collectors from around the world.
Among the many highlights of the event was the release of The I.C.E. Star. Obliviously taking after the vintage international cardboard version of the Death Star Playset, this star features the collections of many of the collectors who live in the Seattle area. Designed by SARLACC member Curt Hanks, it also features a very youthful looking Gus Lopez on the box. Within the halls of The I.C.E. Star you’ll find the following collections:
Lake Kathleena Cantina
The Death Star Theater
The Empire Strikes Bock
Here is a better look at the panels which consist of both actual pictures and artistic depictions of the four world-class collections.
The I.C.E. Star was not the only 3 3/4″ action figure inspired item at the event. The overly generous members of SARLACC produced a large amount of free giveaways and incredible swag bags. Here is just a fraction of the collectibles given over the five days.
A Kenner style mini catalog was given to each attendee as a guide to parties over the long Labor Day weekend. Coins resembling those found in vintage The Power of the Force line were created and given at each party. Pin trading, room sales, craft fair and exclusive memorabilia sales made this a truly collector-focused event.
To read more coverage about this (so far) once in a lifetime event; click the pics below:
I.C.E. Seattle may have been a year in the planning, included a large amount of coordinated design work by Mike Demaine, Curt Hanks, Amy Sjoberg, Earl Bergquist and more, personal funds to produce memorabilia and long hours of volunteered time but in the end it was worth every last minute and dime of effort. While it may be sometime before SARLACC will once again play host, they are hoping optimistically that other collector clubs and regions of the world will be inspired to open their homes and collections to host the next International Collectors Event.
After visiting Death Valley and the Redwoods, few US locations remained for us to visit. As a result a group of SARLACCians clamoring to return to Endor and a few that hadn’t been before decided to do a camping based summer adventure in the redwoods. We called it ‘The Ewok Adventure!’.
Earlier in the summer a few SARLACC members gathered to make their own life sized ewoks. As a result, the Ewok Builder club was born. Seven ewoks were built (one was a wearable costume) and 5 ewoks went on the camping trip. Yes, the ewoks were finally going to return to Endor over 30 years after Return of the Jedi was filmed.
Tom and Michal Stewart secured a transport the group. Special magnets were used to ensure everyone on the road knew we were Star Wars fans tried and true!
We left Seattle in the morning and arrived in Portland just in time for some fresh Voodoo donuts and Star Wars shopping at Billy Galaxy. In true Portland style we were told by a passer by that we should have cracked the windows open in the van so the ewoks could breathe. Tom took us to visit his mother’s home for lunch. She showed us her impressive pharmaceutical history collection, soda fountain basement and Snow White display. I guess collecting runs in the family.
Full from lunch and great conversation, the caravan picked up another passenger before overnighting in Grants Pass.
After a campfire meal of spaghetti, we awoke to the sound of a hot air balloon rising just before sunset. It was a picture perfect morning but we didn’t have time to waste. We were due to arrive in the Redwoods that afternoon. Lotor the ewok found Bigfoot after passing the California border on the 101.
Earl’s ewok Garrish ran into some new friends Babe and Paul Bunyan and commemorated the event with a selfie.
After lunch we arrived at the Redwood National Park visitor center and found a fellow Star Wars fan in Ranger Josh. He escorted us to Stout Grove on his lunch break and we had a great photo shoot with our ewoks. In the Wicket costume was Chris Stone’s son Luc who was a great sport and had a ton of fun romping through the redwoods with us.
By sunset we were settled in our campground at Prairie Creek. And there was just enough time for the ewoks to play before dinner.
Today was the day to visit the filming location for Endor, the Owen R. Cheatam grove near the Grizzly Creek redwoods. It was a bit of a drive but there was plenty of time for pictures when we got there.
After packing up our campsite, we visited Fern Canyon filming location for Jurassic Park 2 before heading back north.
We made the stop at the Fort Dick market ‘home of the ewok rock’ Tom Berges has mixed expectations before heading in.
The sun was out along the drive up the 101 so we broke for lunch at the beach before we made camp the the Beach State Park in Oregon.
With a change in scenery, we explored Newport and found Star Wars! It was definitely cheesy and worth seeing for that factor alone.
The ewoks got loose somewhere south of Newport and ran rampant in the aquarium village shops. Here Cubby the ewok tries to decide where to head next.
The ewoks had some time on the beach before the trip back home. Cubby and Garrish buried Lotor in the sand or so they thought. As Vardek discovers, Lotor’s body is left above ground.
The ewoks supervised the final packing of the van.
Tilamook was our destination for lunch. We picked up a new friend, a puppet cow. We offered up our finest car snacks but she wasn’t interested.
What trip to Oregon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach.
And if you go there and are film enthusiasts like we are then you must visit Astoria to see the Goonies filming locations! Which we did next.
Ryan Beise obliged us with a reenactment from the film before we arrived home.
Emerald City Comicon, which as grown to become the 3rd largest comic convention in the United States, is taking place this weekend. From Friday, March 29th, to Sunday, March 31st, fans of all types will descend upon Seattle to indulge in their fandom of choice.
Star Wars Action Figures: Collect all 3000?!? Room: HALL C (610) Time: 4:20PM – 5:10PM
Join us as we take a historical look at the toy line which changed action figure collecting forever from the Kenner days, through Power of the Force 2 and on into the current Black Series. Great for advance collectors as well as those new to the hobby.
Gus Lopez, Tom Berges (igrewupstarwars.com) and Ryan Beise will also be hosting a panel on visiting Star Wars filming locations…
Touring the Galaxy: Visiting the Star Wars Filming Locations Room: TCC 302 Time: 2:00PM – 2:50PM
From the deserts of Tunisia to the redwood forests of California, our panelists have visited Star Wars locations all over the world. We will share photos from the actual filming locations and explain how to plan your trip to a galaxy far, far away…
SARLACC Road Trip 2013 Death Valley shirt design by Curt Hanks
In November 2013, SARLACC disembarked the Seattle area the second year in a row to visit a galaxy far, far away a.k.a. Death Valley, California.
The purpose? A 3-day weekend adventure to find all the filming locations used for Star Wars and Return of the Jedi.
We were pretty excited when we left Seattle. After a few imperial entanglements, we knew we had secured passage on a fast ship that could guide us safely to Tatooine.
An unexpected rainfall for the Death Valley area had us looking for locations that didn’t require blue skies to screen match photo shots. SARLACC member Chris Stone brought out his exceptional Sandperson costume and we trekked out to the canyon floor in search of Banthas.
Of course, being Star Wars collectors we brought only the best toys with us to assist with matching screen shots.
When the weather cleared we found ourselves at Artists Palate in time to watch the sun set and look for R2.
Across the parking lot from Artists Palate is the location for the backdrop of the Jawa sand crawler. Gus Lopez and Jim Mulkens brought with them screen shots and note books of information to compare and find all the locations used in Jedi and Star Wars.
As the sun had set and night had fallen in Death Valley the crew stopped at Furnace Creek for a home cooked meal before heading back to the hotel.
The last day of our journey and we got the weather we all expected from Death Valley. We started our day early on the sand dunes with our vintage R2 action figures.
Next stop ‘Jawa canyon’ with Chris’s son Blaine. Blaine was a great sport and wore a Jawa costume. Not only helping us line up shots but also pleasantly surprising park visitors who had no idea Star Wars was filmed in Death Valley.
We’d seen a lot of Star Wars locations in two days but the two most exciting ones were still ahead of us. 20 Mule Team road was the location used to film the scenes where R-2 and 3-PO traveled on the road to Jabba’s palace.
Luckily Jabba wasn’t home and we were able to visit Mos Eisley spaceport overlook.
One final group shot from Tatooine before we packed up and headed back to Seattle. Another film location trip checked off the wish list for SARLACC.
This past Labor Day weekend Seattle played host to a one-of-a-kind Star Wars event: I.C.E. Seattle 2013. This International Collector Event was, for the lack of a better description, a 5-day “convention” for Star Wars collectors the world over. Unlike the typical convention which is open to the public and heavily advertised, I.C.E was a tightly kept secret by those involved in or with the collecting community. It was not publicized and was by invitation only because of the locations that the convention took place.
Seattle and the surrounding area was the destination for the approximate 200 collectors who attended because of the regions high concentration of world-renowned Star Wars collectors. Many of the I.C.E. events took place at the private homes of these collectors hence the reason for such guarded secrecy and lack of promotion. Seattle also plays home to one of the oldest, most diverse and dedicated regional Star Wars fan clubs: S.A.R.L.A.C.C. The club’s acronym which stands for the Seattle ARea Lucasfilm Artifact Collectors Club is made up Star Wars fans who collect toys and action figures, movie props and high-end collectibles, in addition to fans who craft, cosplay, podcast and customize. The fan club’s members not only planned, designed and funded many parts of the I.C.E. events but also provided volunteers who worked each and every event.
It’s important to note that even though there are 100’s, and if not 1,000’s of prolific collectors who did not have the chance to attend I.C.E. Seattle; it was not by any means an exclusionary event. Each attendee had a connection with either the S.A.R.L.A.C.C fan club or the host collectors and no one in attendance was there without an invitation.
In addition to the numerous hours of planning, graphic designing and organizing the committee members of I.C.E. chose to include “swag bags” at each of the already free events. These give-away bags included incredible fan-made Star Wars collectibles.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss was privileged to have attended this event and the following is a brief run-down of the events that took place over the five days.
The first night included a kick-off party for fellow collectors to meet and greet each other. Here collectors began the holiday weekend event with a round of button trading, appetizers and free drinks provided by Star Wars collectors Don and Randi Weidner.
As the evening turned into night many collectors navigated to a local hotel and took over the tables in it’s bar section for an impromptu round of “room sales”. Pre-production items, bootlegs, foreign memorabilia and good ‘ole Star Wars discussions dominated the room into the wee hours of the night.
Saturday Morning – Toy Run
This organized toy run provided guided trips to two of the regions more prominent toy stores. The first stop was to Lynne’s Toy Stable in Tacoma, WA to view the amazing toy store which features not only vintage Star Wars collectibles but many other brands of the eighties. The second stop was in Aberdeen, WA at Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop. Being the largest Star Wars focused shops on the West Coast, if not the country, more then one interesting item was found and purchased at Sucher and Sons.
Saturday Evening – Lake Kathleena Cantina Bottom’s Up Bash: A Party and Tour of Tom Stewart’s Collection
Held on beautiful LakeKathleena, this party included the most unbelievable and delicious action figure scaled Sail Barge and Sarlacc Pit cake created by Jim Gibbons. In addition to the Craft Show and auction taking place the night also included a bon fire started with a near life-sized stuffed Darth Vader. And of course no Rebel celebration/funeral pyre would be complete without a firework show over the lake.
Sunday Morning – Kessel Run Tour
The third day of the convention began with a tour of local S.A.R.L.A.C.C. members Star Wars collections and memorabilia. This was a unique way to see the diversity of collecting by taking mini-tours of the about ten the fan club collector’s homes.
Sunday Evening – Bobacabana Grand Re-Opening Party: A Party and Tour of Gus Lopez and Pam Green’s Collection
After the Kessel Run tours, attendees spent the night dinning and touring Lopez’s immense and amazing collection. On display in every room of his four-story home was original movie props (including the original Death Star from A New Hope), cereal boxes, vintage toy production pieces, full set pieces from Mos Espa and a complete carded and boxed vintage action figure collection.
Monday Morning – 30th Anniversary Return of the Jedi Screening Party hosted by S.A.R.L.A.C.C.
What Star Wars event held in 2013 would be complete without a tribute to the 30-year-old film? Movie prop aficionado Brandon Alinger supplied a 35mm print of film which allowed all in attendance to view the film as it originally debuted three decades ago. Preceding the event was a secret screening of 42 minutes of Brain Stillman’s rough-cut edit of his documentary Plastic Galaxy – The Story of Star Wars Toys. The documentary was extra special as many of the collectors present were featured in the film. In addition to the secret screening was a tease from Rancho Obi-Wan president aka former Luscasfilm fan relations director aka owner of the largest Star Wars collection in the world; Steve Sansweet. Sansweet withheld all details but mentioned that there would be a big announcement out of Rancho Obi-Wan in mid-September about an upcoming November event.
Monday Evening – The Death Star Theater Open House: A Party and Tour of Vic Wertz and Lisa Stevens’ Collection
Collectors were treated to yet another one-of-a-kind collection and experience upon visiting The Death Star Theater. Wertz and Stevens’ residence is home to: an arcade which contains a complete collection of playable Star Wars arcade and pinball machines, a two-story museum featuring action figure prototypes, movie props, statues, posters and high-end replicas and mostly notably a large home movie theater which resembles the bridge of a Star Destroyer created by designers from the prequel trilogy. During the party many attendees stopped into their two-story Indiana Jones inspired library to be interviewed by the cast of The Galaxy of Toys Podcast.
Tuesday Morning – EMP Museum featuring the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
The final day of the event offered a chance for collectors to visit Seattle’s museum under the Space Needle. The Science Fiction Museum is home to many classic film props and up until recently had Lopez’s Death Star on display.
Tuesday Evening – The Empire Strikes Bock Closing Night Party: A Party and Tour of Lauren Boch’s Collection
All good things must come to an end and so did I.C.E. Seattle. Mega collector Lauren Boch opened his home/collection to all in attendance for a final time to both awe in amazement of his massive collection and say good bye to all the hosts of the weekend’s events.
With all the planning, coordination, time and money that went into creating I.C.E. Seattle 2013 it is difficult to say if there will be another like this one but S.A.R.L.A.C.C. and all of the hosts hope that if so, the bar has now been raised for a new era of collector gatherings.
Galaxy of Toys Podcast has just released their podcast taped live at the Star Wars International Collectors Event (I.C.E) held in Seattle, WA over the Labor Day weekend. Our very own Jake (4LOMKUSS himself) makes a guest-appearance on the show which also features major Star Wars collecting celebrities such as Gus Lopez, Arnie and Marjorie from Star Wars Action News, Duncan Jenkins, the cast of The ‘Chive Cast, Steve Sansweet and more.
If you enjoy hearing from some of the world’s most prolific Star Wars collectors, then this is a must listen episode. Taped mostly at Vic Wertz and Lisa Stevens’ Indiana Jones/Skywalker Ranch inspired library this episode does a great job of painting a complete picture of what occurred at I.C.E. Seattle.
To listen to the show simply click on the pic below.