Star Wars Style - A May the Fourth Be With You All Dressed Special
With this post I either win you or lose you.
You’re either a freakish Star Wars fan like me or utterly disinterested and possibly downright hostile. If the latter, I won’t be hurt if you just stop reading.
For me, Star Wars goes deep. I first saw it in 1977, the summer it came out, when I was nine years old, the perfect viewing age. My family had recently moved, and I went with my father and my sister to a theater on east 86th street near our new home. We three sat transfixed by the fully formed universe George Lucas had created, one that seemed both of the future and the past. I loved the camaraderie of the characters, and the simple delight of watching good overcome evil.
Two scenes were immediately imprinted on my brain: Luke looking out onto the setting of the two suns over Tatooine with John Williams’ soaring music in the background; and the thrill of the penultimate scene – the blowing up of the Death Star, when Luke shuts off his targeting computer and lets the force take over.
The force is strong in this one. Don’t we all want to believe that we have a latent superpower?
The late 1970s was a time without Blockbuster or home VCRs, let alone pay-per-view or Netflix, but my father performed the magical trick of snagging us a private screening of Star Wars at his office. I repeat, this was during the Dark Ages when the only way you could see a movie was when it was screening at a theater. I will never forget my excitement as I sat in that conference room chomping down on candy as my sister and I watched those famous opening words begin to unfurl.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
My obsession only grew with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In sixth grade, I wrote the script for “Jedi Versus Empire” my own contribution to the Star Wars galaxy. I named characters for friends from school, and I was Aim Skywalker, adopted daughter of Luke. I submitted my play as part of an “All About Me’ project and my friends and I performed it in school.
In my teen years, Return of the Jedi came out and I wrote in my diary: Yesterday I saw Return of the Jedi. It’s sort of depressing, it’s the last of the Star Wars movies. I wrote this at a time when my parents were divorcing, and it seems that my grief at the ending of the Star Wars trilogy was greater than that at the crumbling of my parent’s marriage. I needn't have mourned. Little did I know the years of inanity to come.
Yes, I have seen all of the other films. Multiple times. I went to the midnight screening of The Phantom Menace at midnight the day it was released and was bitterly disappointed. (The bizarre, racially tone-deaf characters. Those over-the-top special effects. ) I do have some grudging respect for episode 8, The Last Jedi, as well as Rogue One. But for me these are a separate species, from a different time and a galaxy far, far away.
There have been so many moments in my life when Star Wars lines have run through my brain or popped out of my mouth. Stay on target when driving upstate and my husband wants to go off road and hunt for LPs. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master, when I beat my sister-in-law at Bananagrams or Scrabble. Once at work, following a particularly long and prickly meeting, I said, Many Bothans died to bring us this information. The group had finally came to agreement, and I was channeling rebel leader Mon Mothma in Return of the Jedi, trying to indicate that it had taken a lot of effort to get to this place. As you can imagine, everyone at the table looked at me blankly.
My husband Matthew tolerates my obsession. I always thought I would marry a Luke, but in Matt I married a Han. He even had his version of the Millennium Falcon, his beloved AMC Eagle in which we journeyed all over the country. Sadly, the Eagle lives no more.
Anyway, as Matthew points out: Amy, you’re Luke, right? You’re a seeker and a fighter, teetering between the light and the darkness. Often when we’re playing tennis and I overhit, he taunts me using a Palpatine voice: Yeess, Yeess, I sense much anger in you.
For our May the 4th Stars Wars screening, I knew exactly who to ask to join us – my neighbors Nat and Melanie and their daughters Pia and Oona. Nat is as cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs about Star Wars as I am, and his daughter Pia, at seven, is a skilled Padawan in training. (All us adults are fully vaxed.)
Nat greeted us at the door dressed as Obi Wan. He wore the same hooded robe his father wore every Halloween when he would take Nat trick-or-treating. (So, the circle is now complete.) To get the evening rolling Nat played Star Wars Galactic Funk by Meco (do yourself a favor and hit the link) and we enjoyed a dinner of my famous potato chip chicken.
Melanie – my most stylish neighbor who one day will have an All Dressed story dedicated to her – rocked Hoth Leia, donning a fur vest, velvet top, pants, every item thrifted and all in shades of icy ivory. Plus, those boots! Best of all was her Leia headband which she braided herself with brown yarn.
Pia made a fierce Chewbacca!
FYI: beneath the hood, she's got some Rey hair going.
Oona resisted any costume that evening, though as a baby she was the most adorable Yoda.
I went for Luke which meant layering on the earth tones and wearing my old karate Gi from fifth grade. Melanie styled my hair in Leia buns (you can see the process above) so I kind of evoke both Luke and Leia, brother and sister. Even Matt joined in the fun! Doesn’t he make a dashing Han Solo?
Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not: May the Fourth Be with You...Always.