There was a truck parked near the doors to the stadium complete with a little smoke and periodic sound effects which startled me as I waited in line for the security screening. Once inside the stadium we picked up our complimentary concessions and proceeded back outside to our seats.
Chris McKay, director of The Tomorrow War, and star Chris Pratt said a few words of thanks to the studio, producers, and the crew prior to the screening starting. Being outdoors in June required the screening to start later than most screenings after 8:30pm. The movie is a bit long so I was quite grateful for the cushioned seats at the Banc of California Stadium. These seats were unexpected for an outdoor sports complex, and they were very comfortable. My only complaint about the seats is the way they are designed/installed caused your seat to move whenever a person in your row within 3 or 4 seats of you leaned back, forward, or even shifted around.
Overall, we found The Tomorrow War to be an entertaining alien movie, and we had a great time attending our first post-COVID premiere. It also gave us a chance to see inside the new Banc of California Stadium.
Note: Photos of the actors on the red carpet taken from 150-ish yards away on a Samsung Galaxy S21+
After the screening we were sent across the street to after party at Highland Park Bowl. Highland Park Bowl is basically a bag with several bowling lanes. I loved the historic and vintage vibe. There was a small selection of pizza flavors to choose from for our free slice, and it was pretty good pizza. They also had themed cocktails the bars and our punch cards gave us two cocktails. The entire place was themed and decorated for the Hunters show including photographs on the staircase. I apologize for the blurry photos of the staircase photos. I was trying not to block the stairs as they led to the busy restrooms.
There was also a sword swallower performer in a side room where another bar was located and a cotton candy maker. Across the hallway there was a photo booth area where we were given mustache disguises. The photo booth took a photo and a gif, which were emailed separately. I received the emails within 10 minutes of taking the photos. We stopped by the “merchandise” booth located near the entrance/exit of the bowling alley and collected our free “bowling” sock, which was part of our punch card. The lady working the booth asked us if would like a t-shirt, too, and gave us each one. It’s the same shirt all of the bar/bowling alley staff was wearing and wasn’t part of the punch card freebies.
The last Star Wars Line Up to date was for Solo: A Star Wars Story. We returned to our Line home at the TCL Chinese Theatres Imax forecourt for a two day line which began at 7pm on May 22 and ended with the screening at 7pm on May 24, 2018. LiningUp.Net organizes shorter lines for the off-shoot films of the Star Wars franchise. Rogue One and Solo were both 2 day long Line Ups, and longer Line Ups being reserved for the core Star Wars films.
The shorter Line Ups work differently than the longer Lines. Instead of accumulating hours in Line to pick your seats, we were given a raffle ticket when we checked-in for the Line. The raffle takes place on the first night, and that’s when we get to select our seats. We also paid for our tickets and badges, and t-shirts (if we ordered one) in advance of the Line starting.
Here are the logistics for how the Line Up is run for the longer Line Ups in the time of internet pre-purchased tickets. You sign in with the organizer manning the check-in table. A release is completed and signed when you first sign up/check-in at the table. You can leave the line for a short time (to smoke, go to the bathroom, get food) as long as it’s a short-time, I think about 20-30 minutes. If you leave for a longer time, you need to check-out with the check-in/out table. So it’s easy to run home to take a shower, get more clean clothes, etc. The organizers tabulate the amount of time each person spends in line. The person who has the most hours gets to select their seats/tickets first, the person with second highest time selects their seats/tickets second, etc. I believe it was the Star Wars: The Last Jedi line they added a QR code to our name badges to use an app to tabulate the hours. It was easier for the organizers and for the rest of us, because there was more than one person who could check us in/out.
Before the opening night screening the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax hosted a plaque dedication ceremony for Carrie Fisher. The idea of the plaque was revealed on opening night for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and you can read more about that event here. The plaque was installed into the concrete in the forecourt during night of May 23, 2018. There’s nothing like the sound of a saw cutting into concrete at 2am. At least I remembered to bring my earplugs. Todd Fisher and his wife, actress Catherine Hickland, were present for the ceremony.
A couple of us mentioned an error in the plaque to theater management who was not happy. See the photo of the installed plaque. Do you see what it is? I believe it has been corrected from a recent photo I saw, but I haven’t been to the theater in a long time to see it.
After the ceremony, we milled about and did any press interviews requested for a few hours before having to clear the area. About an hour before show time, the forecourt is cleared of people and the barricades are placed between the forecourt and public sidewalks. All ticket holders get into a literal line along the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard. After the screening the Lining Up group heads up to the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on the third level of the Hollywood and Highland Center for our after party.
Information on the amazing work the Starlight Children’s Foundation does can be found here, and you can donate to our cause here.
You can join us for the next Line Up at the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax in Hollywood from December 10-19, 2019. Help us raise money for a wonderful charity, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and have fun meeting fellow Star Wars fans! Check out the Facebook event page for the next Line for more information.
The LiningUp.Net Line for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was fun-filled to be sure. The Line Up started on the evening of December 7, 2017 with a number of the Line being given seats for the 200th Episode of Fatman on Batman (now called Fatman Beyond) being held in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatres Imax instead of Scum & Villainy Cantina. Scum & Villainy was present to provide non-alcoholic Star Wars themed drinks for donations to Starlight Children’s Foundation. The TCL Chinese donated a 55-inch TCL 4K HDR television to be raffled off. The raffle tickets were $10 each and all of the proceeds went to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. I bought two raffle tickets and got a blue milk drink.
Kevin Smith & Marc Bernardin
LiningUp organizer, Sameer Bakhda
Grimlock telling Kevin Smith & Marc Bernardin stories
I managed to get a seat in the front row for the podcast. You can watch the video of the podcast here. Spoiler: I won the tv!! I was in need of a new tv as I had recently moved and didn’t take my old one with me since it was near its end.
That Justice League popcorn tin has the winning ticket!
My brand new television!
I gave myself a craft project of making some felt and yarn Princess Leia headbands for Line members and whomever else would want one. Using hot glue in cold weather made this project a little difficult. I used some scraps to make a mini headband for the Porg plush of one of our young Line members. The headbands also doubled as earmuffs to keep us warm.
As usual, there were press around doing interviews and taking photos of the Line. One of the nights, Red Robin made a generous donation to the Starlight Children’s Foundation and provided the line with free dinners of burgers and sandwiches. Skywalking Through Neverland podcast brought the inflatable At-AT and hosted Star Wars trivia with prizes.
Some of our late night shenanigans included all night Cards Against Humanity session and trapping a Line organizer in his tent. I didn’t sleep in a tent the night they did the tent thing. I woke up to giggling and saw what they were doing. I took a couple of pictures and went back to sleep.
A celebration for Carrie Fisher was held the in the afternoon on the last day of the Line Up, December 14, 2017, prior to the screening on opening night. An image of a plaque which will be placed in the forecourt in honor of Carrie Fisher was revealed. The forecourt was closed to the public during the ceremony and only press and the Lining Up group were allowed to be inside the barricades. There was also a cake which was cut after the plaque announcement ceremony which included some words from Todd Fisher, Carrie’s brother.
There was an after party for the Lining Up group held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres after the movie where we ate pizza to our hearts content and played some games provided by Dave & Busters which has a location at the Hollywood and Highland Center, too.
My BB-8 drink cup and straw
BB-8 in a trash bin & R2-D2
Go to LiningUp.Net for more information on past and future Star Wars Lines. You can also follow them on Instagram (@LiningUp_net) and Twitter (@LiningUpNet), and be sure to check them out on Facebook here.
Get information on the amazing work the Starlight Children’s Foundation does here, and be sure to donate here.
Nerd Expo was held on September 21, 2019 at the Pasadena Convention Center. I only stayed for a few hours, but I really enjoyed the live concert by Ragnarock on the lower level. They played some great songs from the 80s including the theme to The Neverending Story which you can watch here.
My primary intent for attending Nerd Expo this year was to add Ray Park’s autograph to my Darkside hockey jersey. The room he was in for signings was on the lower level where the Nerf shooting was happening, too. Some of the kids were rapid firing and hitting their targets with ease. It was a very popular spot with the kids at the show.
Matty Cardarople was another special guest doing signings and photos, but he also made an appearance on the Main Stage prior to Ragnarock’s performance. You may have seen Matty on Stranger Things as the arcade attendant in season two and as the video store manager in season three. He seemed as shy and awkward, but very nice, on the stage as he does on screen.
Nerd Expo is organized by Nerd Bot, and it’s a small convention which had some good live music, special guests, and fun cosplays.
James and Oliver Phelps at Silicon Valley Comic Con
October 10, 2019
James (Fred Weasley) and Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) from the Harry Potter films appeared at Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, California on August 16-18, 2019. They had a great panel talking about the practical jokes the cast played on each other, and they gave a detailed account of a prank they played on the intern in the hair and makeup department.
The twins did clarify a rumor that they had once switched characters for a day which required reshoots. They said that there are hundreds of cast and crew on set each day, and they would never intentionally do something to cost the production time and money. I remember reading about this joke a few years ago, and I’m glad to hear that it isn’t true.
I think it’s great that they received a copy of the book when filming each film which the cast would sign. The books became school yearbooks in that way. Oliver tells a fan that he has George’s missing ear. James thinks this is a bit weird and tells the audience that Oliver has the ear prosthetic displayed on the plaster mold of his head in his (Oliver) house.
Tom Felton always gets their names wrong even now, but they don’t correct him because they think it’s funny. When they first started the first film and did the table read they still didn’t know who was playing Fred and who was playing George. They had to ask the casting director, but they don’t know if the director/producers even knew who was playing who until that moment.
James and Oliver talked about the wide reach of Harry Potter around the world even if people haven’t read the books or seen the films, they still get recognized for Harry Potter.
I’m not sure how I heard about the line for Star Wars : The Force Awakens, but I know I signed up on Eventbrite. The line up was organized by LiningUp.Net. I had already bought Star Wars marathon tickets for an AMC Theater for my niece and myself, but I wanted to see what the line up was all about. I signed up on the first day in the forecourt of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre Imax. I brought my folding camp chair and a bag of snacks and found a spot to hang out. The line event began on December 5, 2015 and ended on December 17, 2015 with the first show of The Force Awakens followed by an after party inside the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on the 3rd level of the Hollywood & Highland Center.
You’re immediate thought may be “It’s going to be stinky with all those unwashed people.” That’s not true. Here are the logistics for how the Line Up is run in the time of internet pre-purchased tickets. You sign in with the organizer manning the check-in table. A release is completed and signed when you first sign up/check-in at the table. You can leave the line for a short time (to smoke, go to the bathroom, grab food) as long as it’s a short-time, I think about 20-30 minutes. If you leave for a longer time, you need to check-out with the check-in/out table. So it’s easy to run home to take a shower, get more clean clothes, etc. The organizers tabulate the amount of time each person spends in line. The person who has the most hours gets to select their seats/tickets first, the person with second highest time selects their seats/tickets second, etc. I believe it was the Star Wars: The Last Jedi line they added a QR code to our name badges to use an app to tabulate the hours. It was easier for the organizers and for the rest of us, because there was more than one person who could check us in/out.
It was easy to make some friends, but I began the day by just hanging out with myself and observing the crowd. I read a little, played on my phone, and people watched. In case you are unaware, the block of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orange is very tourist heavy. Many of these tourists come into the forecourt of the Chinese to see the famous hand and footprints. The weather was nice for December around the mid-70s, but I brought a lap blanket, scarf, beanie, and warm gloves. There were other newbies like myself as well as veterans from past lines (beginning with Episode I) some of whom hadn’t seen each other for several years. The purpose of the line is obviously to see the newest Star Wars film, but with pre-purchasing of tickets, it isn’t necessary. LiningUp.Net uses the line up as a way to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The forecourt of the TCL Chinese Imax Theatre is private property which is “fenced” off from the public once the theater closes for the night. They have their own security personnel stationed in the forecourt to keep people out. The staff of the TCL Chinese was fantastic in supporting the Line Up group, allowing us to use the restrooms throughout the day and night. Being able to sleep on top of the hand and footprints of Hollywood’s famous past and present is an amazing opportunity. We had fun calling “dibs” on certain celebrities’ hand prints each night. I’ve slept on Natalie Wood’s prints and Marilyn Monroe, but I sat on Denzel Washington’s prints a lot during the Line.
Tents being set up for the premiere
Tents being set up for the premiere
I didn’t camp overnight the first weekend and worked the following week, but I took some vacation time so that I could camp out all day and night for the second weekend through to opening night. Of course the temperatures dropped significantly the second weekend of the Line Up, and I hate the cold. I’m a Southern California native, of course I hate the cold. It was also raining off and on so that didn’t help me to keep warm. I had packed the free rain poncho I had received in my swag bag from the Oscars bleachers in 2013, so I put all of my stuff onto my chair and placed the poncho over everything to keep them dry. I then went to the “$10 souvenir store” (in reality everything is $5—every single day so don’t believe the hawkers they have outside) to see if they had any umbrellas as I had left mine at home. I did go home after 2 days to take a shower and grab my regular umbrella for the rest of the week.
There are a lot of news outlets who came to cover the Line Up, so be prepared for that. You don’t have to do press if you don’t want to, but you may be on camera which may be an issue if you called out of work saying you’re sick as some people have done. We also had some special guests stop by the Line Up such as Anthony Daniels (C3-PO) who spent quite a bit of time taking photos with us and telling us a story about C3-PO footprints in the forecourt. Ray Park (Darth Maul) stopped by when it was raining a little (it had been raining off and on all day), and did a little lightsaber “sparring” with a few of the Line members. I may put some short (and shaky) video of that on my YouTube page.
Taking a photo of the Star Wars footprints with Anthony Daniels
Anthony Daniels telling a story about the Star Wars footprints.
There was a lot of noise from the tents being set up on Hollywood Boulevard for the Red Carpet Premiere which was scheduled for December 14, 2015. We had to clear the area by 6am the day of the premiere, and we were all given time in line during the premiere festivities until we were able to return. The premiere had closed off 3 or 4 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard to traffic. On the day of the premiere, there were security stations with metal detectors on every corner. This made it impossible to line up on a side street during the time we were cleared out from the forecourt. I didn’t return to the Line Up after the premiere except for a brief visit to say hello on my way to the Star Wars marathon at the AMC Theatres in Burbank. I made some great friends during my first Line, and these became deeper friendships during the following Lines and beyond.
Ray Park visiting the Line
Ray Park lightsaber sparring with Line members.
You can get more information on the Star Wars Lines at LiningUp.Net. Like their Facebook page here.
A group of us managed to get tickets for the Starcourt Mall pop-up to celebrate the release of season 3 of Stranger Things in Los Angeles this past weekend. The pop-up was only open Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7, 2019. The free tickets were for time slots spaced 30 minutes apart. There was no description of what this pop-up was about except a mention of it being an immersive experience and photo-ops.
Starcourt Mall exterior 1
Starcourt Mall exterior 2
Themed wall signs
Flash studio ad featuring Eleven and Max
Free Scoops Ahoy ice cream
Free water and New Coke
Scoops Ahoy Boat
Me with the Scoops Ahoy Boat
We had a total of 8 people, but we split up our for the photo ops. We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment time, which is what was recommended by organizers. Once checked-in and wristbanded, we could get a free scoop of the new Stranger Things themed flavor U.S.S. Butterscotch ice cream (by Baskin Robbins) from the Scoops Ahoy “boat.” They also had free bottles of water and a large character wall for photos. There were restrooms behind the character wall.
Then we got into another line where we could get a free can of New Coke from a vending machine. There was also a pressed penny machine where each person could get a free pressed penny (pennies provided) of a Stranger Things image of their choice. In total, we waited approximately an hour and a half before getting inside the “mall.” There was a DJ playing 80s music while we waited in line, and we were in the shade provided by the building so the wait wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
They took us in small groups inside the mall, and our group was eight people so there were only a couple of others taken inside with us. Once inside the building, you see a central court complete with planter in the center of the room and store facades. The first actual room you go to is the Flash Studio where they had various 80s era shirts, jackets, and accessories to get you glammed up for a Polaroid photo. You could also take or have the staff take photos on your phone/camera. The next room couldn’t take all of us so the others went into the Hawkins Community Pool and our personal group stayed in Flash Studio and took more photos on our phones.
Once we got into the pool, we played with beach balls and Hawkins swim tubes and took lots of pictures. There were two “lifegaurds” in the pool to make sure we obeyed the pool rules posted on the wall, and they posed for pictures, too.
From the pool, we go into Eleven’s bedroom complete with replica props from season three. We were only allowed to spin the bottle, play with the CB radio, and sit in the chair at the desk. This room is small, and we took our own photos before we taken in our “photo group” into next room.
It was a black room with a bathtub in the center. I climbed inside the tub for the photo and wore a blindfold. They took a photo and GIF length video and both were emailed a few minutes later to the address I provided.
The next room was the Russian laboratory, and there was one man inside yelling at us in Russian when we touched the controls on the consoles (which our guide, Andy, told us to do), and Andy played along, too, ordering a pizza from the phone on one of the consoles. Two more “Russian” looking (if you’ve seen season 3, you’ll know what I mean) men walk into the room from another door and lead us to another room. We’re now on a “hill” for a photo-op. I got really excited to see the Mongoose bike photo prop I got to stand with. There were a few photos taken of each photo group. We had two in our photo group so we were given two printed copies, and we provided an email address where they would send all four photos to us. Once you leave this room, we are back in the central courtyard area where we had entered the building. I took more photos of the street-facing side of the building while we waited outside for the rest of our group.
This was a great immersive experience which lasted about 45 minutes, and I wasn’t too annoyed with the hour and a half wait. They did allowed a few people in via standby, but I heard those lines were over two hours. This is something I hope would be at San Diego Comic Con next week, but it would also really need to have reserved appointment times.
On Friday, May 17, 2019 Cinespia hosted a free screening of the first episode of the new Amazon Prime Video / BBC2 show, Good Omens. Good Omens is based on the book of similar name (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Anges Nutter, Witch) collaboratively written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The television show stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen and is written by Neil Gaiman. Miranda Richardson, John Hamm, and Frances McDormand help round out the series cast. The series is six episodes and were released on Amazon Prime on May 31, 2019 in the United States, but it is being broadcast weekly in the UK on BBC Two later this year. There isn’t an official date for BBC Two, but it’s been said that Neil Gaiman has said Good Omens will begin broadcasting on BBC Two in November or December 2019.
As mentioned above, we attended a free screening of the pilot episode hosted by Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I hadn’t been to a Cinespia screening prior to Good Omens, but absolutely look forward to attending another screening this summer, scheduled permitting. Cinespia usually hosts screenings of movies during the summer. The films are projected onto the side of the mausoleum, and there is usually a DJ playing music before the film and a photobooth or two. Bring a low chair and blankets, pack a picnic or you usually can buy food and drinks there, and watch a movie under the celestial stars near dearly departed Hollywood stars. Check out Cinsepia.org for more information and this year’s scheduled films.
Because the Good Omens screening was free, it was especially crowded, but we were also given free concessions, and there were plenty of photo booths and photo ops around the area. There was a large section at the front and center of the mausoleum reserved for VIP, and there were security there. I recognized the security staff from red carpet events around Los Angeles, so I knew this was a section for invited celebrity guests. I did manage to spot Josh Groban arriving to that area. They had seats and blankets along with large baskets of goodies supplied. They also had a dedicated bar in their section. Neil Gaiman came and gave an introduction to the show prior to the screening. I was a bit surprised they only showed the first episode as screenings for television series usually consist of two episodes, but with only 6 episodes for the series I can understand why we only got to see the pilot.
Card for free concessions
I enjoyed the episode, but I won’t go into detail since it hasn’t aired in the UK, yet. I haven’t watched the rest of the series, yet, either. It was really funny, and I love the friendship between the demon Crowley (portrayed by David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (portrayed by Michael Sheen). (Note: There was a full moon the night of the screening.)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald Fan Event
By Veronica Nunez
We got up at 3am on a Saturday morning to attend a special fan event at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park on November 3, 2018. We were wristbanded and given tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood upon check-in.
Complimentary Voodoo Donuts and Coffee
Wristband and Universal Studios Ticket acquired
The event began with an Imax screening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald at the AMC Theatre at Universal CityWalk.. There were donuts from Voodoo Donuts and coffee and tea available for us before the event as well as gorgeous tote bags containing buttons and keyrings. There were costumes from the film’s characters on display while we waited to be allowed to enter the theater.
After the screening we walked to Universal Studios and enjoyed riding some rides prior to the press event with the cast members of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald being held in front of Hogwarts Castle. We had been told that our wristband may get us into a viewing area for the press event, but that wasn’t the case even though there was room in the roped off area.
Front of the tote bag
Back of the tote bag
I did get a few photos of Eddie Reddmayne while he was giving interviews in another area of Hogsmeade prior to the main press event.
We ended up leaving shortly after not getting into the press event as the weather had gotten warmer than we had expected and we were tired since we’d been up since 3am. It was a really fun fan event, and it was completely free!