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Tonight, the eighth movie in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, will open for special fan showings at theaters around town. But with a cultural phenomenon this big, it’s more than just about popcorn and movie tickets.
If you’re looking to get into the Star Wars spirit, there are several ways to do this in the Fresno area.
1. Toast the franchise with a themed beer
Last week, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. released its Star Wars-themed beer during ArtHop. They covered both the light and dark side with “Darkness Rises,” an 8% black DIPA, and “Light To Meet It,” which is an “8% Hazy West Coast DIPA hopped with Simcoe Cryo and Citra.”
Also, the House of Pendragon Brewing Company is unleashing its Star Wars series of beer this week.
From Monday, Dec. 11 to Saturday, Dec. 16, they are releasing a new beer each day. (I hope this makes you HOPPY.) Tonight at House of Pendragon’s tasting room in Clovis, there will be a special “Steal the Glass,” the release of Qui Gon Jinn and Juice with Pineapple, and your chance to take pictures with a few special guests. You can find out more about this on going event on their Facebook page here.
2. Catch costumes at Maya Cinemas
Tonight, the The 501st Legion Central California Garrison will be on patrol during showings of the film at Maya Cinemas, located at Campus Pointe near Fresno State. The 501st Legion is a dedicated group of Star Wars fans who celebrate the series by dressing up in really elaborate and realistic-looking costumes based on characters representing the Dark Side in the Star Wars universe.
Basically, you can expect to see a large assortment of storm troopers patrolling the area if you go to a movie showing where the 501st is (they’ll also be at showings in Modesto and Tulare). And, as a bonus, they are happy to pose for photos!
You can catch up on the adventures of the 501st Legion by following them on Facebook here. They will be at Maya Theaters for select showings throughout the weekend—you can find their appearance schedule on their website. And as a side note, if you’re interested in joining rebel forces, there’s a volunteer organization for that too, which you can find here.
3. Pick up some Star Wars-themed merch
The combination of comic books with cupcakes hits a cultural sweet spot worthy of a new Star Wars installment. If you’re wondering how The Last Jedi came to be last, or whatever (no spoilers here!), head over to Legends Comics and Games in Fresno and ask for Captain Phasma comics.
Once you’ve procured your comic book, all you need is a themed cupcake from Frosted Cakery. The bakery is making Star Wars-themed cupcakes this week while supplies last, but you can also place an order for pickup next week if you want to make the Star Wars season last longer. (Feel free to wash down your comics and cakes with one of the beers mentioned above).
4. Enjoy space-y music at the Sequoia Symphony
If you really want to keep the Star Wars party going, plan to attend a couple of Sequoia Symphony performances in 2018.
In January, the Symphony will perform Gustav Holst’s The Planets, which is a seven movement orchestral suite written in the early 1900s that will sound shockingly familiar to Jedi fans. That’s because it was a major influence in John Williams’ composition of the Star Wars soundtrack. It’s even said that George Lucas listened to The Planets when he wrote the script. (You can compare the compositions yourself with this YouTube video.)
Speaking of Williams, the Sequoia Symphony will dedicate its February 10 show to the composer, who also did the music for the Indiana Jones movies, as well as E.T. And guess what? The 501st Legion will be on hand for this performance, so if you miss them this weekend, you’ll have another chance.
There you have it, four fun and exciting ways to catch Star Wars fever. So grab your light saber and your droid and make the most of a new installment in the Star Wars universe, and may the force be with you.