Backstory: The 501st is, as they say, "The World's Definitive Imperial Costuming Organization." "Imperial" refers to the "bad (or soon-to-be-bad) guys" in the Star Wars universe - Stormtroopers, Clone Troopers, Biker Scouts, vehicle pilots, military personnel, Bounty Hunters (as employed by The Empire), et. al. and of course the top dogs, Sith Lords such as Darth Vader and the Emperor. Being not only a geek but a Star Wars geek, I joined the 501st years ago, specifically the Southern California Garrison by reason of living, as I did at the time, in Southern California. When I moved to Romania it was assumed I'd carry the flag of the 501st onward to the Balkans. My first meeting with "Outpost Romania" was quick and efficient. I met the commander, the officers, the technicians, heck, even the janitor and cook all at once. By looking in the mirror. Yes, folks, I wasn't in Outpost Romania, I was Outpost Romania, alpha to omega, a lone soldier in a country with, probably, better things to do with their time and money than dress up as Star Wars characters. Not that I could blame them... after all, the 501st does require a level of geekiness, leisure time, and (most importantly) disposable income - with which the locals are still just becoming reacquainted after their long history of repression. Heck, I'm not even acquainted with (2 out of 3 of) these things anymore. So, after a few years on the back of the shelf, my 501st activity recently picked up in an unexpected way...
From: Alina @ Turner Broadcasting
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4:23 PM
Cc: Mary @ Lucasfilm
Subject: Star Wars:The Clone Wars, 2nd series - Romanian release
Dear Mr. Huegel,
As you might already know, the Lucasfilm superproduction Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a huge success amongst young Star Wars fans and we are now preparing to launch the 2nd series on Cartoon Network in Romania.
We would love to see the Romanian journalists become more familiarized with the Star Wars universe, therefore we were thinking you might like to help us delivering the press releases to a couple of journalists, dressed in your Star Wars costume.
How could I refuse?
From: Alina @ Turner Broadcasting Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 12:00 PM To: Mary @ Lucasfilm Cc: email@example.com; Varadi, Adrienn Subject: SWCW - succesful press packs delivery in Bucharest
I am writing to express my gratitude for the help we received in Romania in delivering the SWCW press packs. As you recommended, we got in touch with Ken Huegel (cc), a great 501st fan and an enormous help for us.
Together we managed to deliver press packs to 11 of the most important press partners in one day. The visits we made at the offices of newspapers, magazines, TV guides and web portals were really successful, and you can find some images attached. We can expect a wonderful coverage at the launch of the new series and a constant coverage for the weekly new episodes.
Once again thank you very much!
From: Mary @ Lucasfilm Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 5:16 PM To: Alina @ Turner Broadcasting Subject: RE: SWCW - succesful press packs delivery in Bucharest
Wonderful! Thank you for the great pictures. It looks like the event was a great success, and Ken looks awesome.
Mary F. Senior Events Lead Lucasfilm Ltd.
Sometimes it's good to be bad. In costume, that is.
UPDATE: Here is how the event was reported by one of the press houses we visited. It is a typically semi-good-natured poke at SF geeks by those who consider themselves less or differently geeky. But don't they say that bad publicity better than none? :-)