The 4th Awakens

CJ and the Stormtroopers

Sometimes I wish
I was a child again,
Seeing magic
With new eyes

The Stormtroopers

I was out shopping earlier and passed some of the Southern Cross Garrison outside The Empire Coffee Co at Charlestown Square.

One of the cafe’s lovely staff took the photo with me in it and the stormtroopers were kind enough to pose for a quick snap afterwards too.

It was was great fun seeing them there and fantastic seeing so many kids going up and chatting and taking photos. Definitely brought a big smile to my face.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Stormtroopers in Black and White

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Revenge of the Fifth

A long time ago
In a shopping centre
Not so far, far

Yesterday was May the Fourth, or Star Wars Day for fans of the series. It’s a fun day where fans show their love for the series and generally just embrace their inner geek (myself included).

In that spirit I was out shopping yesterday afternoon and came across some of the Southern Cross Garrison of the 501st Legion in full costume outside 2012 Tattoo in Charlestown Square. 2012 Tattoo were having Star Wars-themed events all day and the 501st were there posing for photos for a gold coin donation for charity, so I gave them a couple of dollars and took this.

For just a quick portrait I really like it and it was nice meeting some of the members of the 501st. Their costumes are absolutely fantastic and they do great work for charities and helping to bring cheer to sick kids in hospitals etc. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when Episode VIII opens and maybe see if they ever need a photographer to cover any events for them, it looks like fun!

I meant to post the photo yesterday for the 4th but ran out of time. So I’m posting it today instead – on the Revenge of the Fifth! 🙂

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Star Wars: Episode X – The Dark Side Rises

Just a bit of fun to go with all The Force Awakens hype this week. I know people are starting to think about Episode VIII now but I thought I’d turn my attention further ahead, to the next trilogy. And I think I already know who the villain might be…

(Warning: there are a couple of mild spoilers for The Force Awakens in the video if you haven’t seen it yet).

Apologies for the audio by the way. I used the creator to make this but for some reason the share/export isn’t working so I did a screen capture instead. It made the audio a little tinny.

What did you think of The Force Awakens? I’m going to do a post after Christmas touching on it and nostalgia in general but basically I enjoyed it. I liked it but didn’t love it I guess – I thought it felt too familiar and nostalgic at times. It sets up Episodes VIII and IX well though and hopefully they will be more original.

A Trip to the Powerhouse

One of my favourite parts of Sydney is the Powerhouse Museum. Sydney has many interesting museums and galleries but there’s just something special about the Powerhouse. It’s existed in several forms for over 130 years (once even sharing a room with a hospital morgue) and it’s full of history. I could lose myself for hours just wandering around if I had enough time.

Recently there have been a couple of new exhibitions at the Powerhouse I’ve wanted to see, including one from the Star Wars films. With my health I hadn’t felt up to going earlier but I finally managed to go a few weeks ago with MQ, just before the Star Wars exhibit closed. It was interesting seeing the costumes; they’re actually very detailed, much more than you can see on-screen. And seeing Darth Vader was fun.

The other exhibit was the Inspired! Design Across Time exhibit, which was excellent and free. It looks at the history of art and design through different eras and has some wonderful displays. I enjoy studying design; some people may remember I designed my library units, so I found it fascinating.

I took some photos of both exhibits to share. Some came out better than others; I’m still learning how to use my camera and the damn flash keeps getting in the way. But they’re not too bad overall. Hope you enjoy them.


Wooden Bench & Fabric DisplayHandcrafted Table & ChairArtwork MosaicClassic Pottery & VasesEdwardian Table & SilverwareEdwardian Armoire

Edwardian SideboardSilver Table CentrepieceEpergne PlaqueVintage Dress & CorsetEgyptian Renaissance DaybedLiberty Catologue (1920s)

These are all from the Inspired! Design Across Time exhibit. The photo of the bench is my favourite; it’s from the crafts revival and there’s just something very rustic and Australian about the display, blending with the background.

I also like the mosaic. It was made by Pierre Cavalan from recycled materials and each panel is embossed with a stylised face in a different expression. It’s very beautiful and must have been painstaking to create.

What was particularly interesting about the exhibit was following the evolution in design, particularly the rapid advances toward contemporary art. Art and design have changed so much over the years but what was obvious was how the same influences keep reappearing, just in different forms.

Princess Leia, C-3PO & R2-D2

Millennium FalconHan Solo & ChewbaccaWampaSnowtrooperAnakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan KenobiMaster Yoda & Mace Windu

Wookiee CostumesTusken RaidersYoung AnakinJawaLandspeederPadmé

Darth VaderVader's HelmetStormtrooperNaked C-3POTorture DroidPrincess Leia, C-3PO & R2-D2

These are from the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. It had a mix of costumes and props from the Star Wars films, as well as displays of real world technology similar to the science from the films.

Seeing the costumes and props was interesting; you get an appreciation for the detail that goes into creating them that you can’t really see on-screen. But it was a little disappointing overall. The exhibit was quite poorly lit (which also made the photos darker) and the idea didn’t feel that plausible. Star Wars isn’t really about science.

Probably my favourite costumes were of Princess Leia and the droids, which were still in good condition. And Vader’s but that seemed to have aged more.

Pavlova (before)

Pizza (sauce)Pizza (veg)Pizza (ingredients)Pizza (after)Pizza (plate)Pavlova (before)Pavlova (after)

And what’s a day out without a nice meal to go with it? These photos were actually from a few weeks earlier as I didn’t get to photograph it in time but it was the same meal, except with more veggies on the pizza – I’d run out here.

And yes, I made it myself. I can cook quite well, believe it or not. The meringue was lovely too. 😉

10 favourite movie moments

Usually when I think of a movie, there’s always a scene that comes to mind and brings back how I felt; even if I don’t remember the rest of the movie, that scene is enough to bring it all rushing back. A joke, an action scene, a kiss… there are so many great moments, but here’s a quick list of my favourites. I wonder how many would be on yours? 😉

10) Steve McQueen’s vault for the Swiss border
The Great Escape
One of the best WWII dramas, the whole motorcycle chase, the final jump and Elmer Bernstein’s score always stand out for me. It’s probably Steve McQueen’s greatest performance and the image of McQueen on the motorcycle is indelible.

9) The chariot race
When you think of epics you can’t go past Ben-Hur. I always found it a little too long, but the chariot race is one of the most spectacular and thrilling sequences ever filmed. And Miklos Rozsa’s score is stunning.

8) The construction site
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting
is one of my favourite movies; it’s such a realistic portrayal of friendship between two young men, and this scene (where Chuckie says he hopes one day he’ll knock on Will’s door and he won’t be there) sums up the whole film for me.

7) The farewell scene
One of the great love stories mainly because of the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman, this is the scene most people remember best. The foggy atmosphere, the plane in the background, “We’ll always have Paris”… even if you think the film’s slightly overrated, this scene is a classic.

6) Indy shoots the swordsman
Raiders of the Lost Ark
I still think Raiders is the best adventure film that’s been made, mainly because of the balance of action, character and humour. This scene has all three and it’s one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen – all the more so because it wasn’t scripted.

5) Somewhere Over The Rainbow
The Wizard of Oz
Still one of the best children’s films of all time, I love the song and Judy Garland’s voice. It’s just a quintessential scene, and all the more amazing that it is when you think the song was almost cut because it slowed the pace of the film.

4) The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
In my view LOTR is the greatest trilogy ever filmed and Gandalf’s fall into the abyss looks like it’s come straight out of the books. It’s a beautiful scene, particularly in the moments after when we see the loss on the faces of the other characters.

3) Darth Vader reveals he is Luke’s father
The Empire Strikes Back
The best of the Star Wars films, the first time you hear Vader’s revelation it just overpowers the rest of the film. Of course it’s actually quite obvious, but I was stunned at the time and watched Return of the Jedi the next day to see if it was true; I can’t imagine having to wait three years to find out.

2) The shower scene
If the shower scene in Psycho isn’t the most iconic scene in cinema history, I’m not sure what is. Bates’ murder of Marion Crane is masterfully done by Hitchcock; with little gore, it’s the build-up that’s so scary, set to Bernard Herrmann’s violin-screeches.

1) The Normandy landings
Saving Private Ryan
The D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan is wrenching and incredibly difficult to watch; it’s brutal and hellish, but it’s one of the most emotional, affecting scenes I’ve ever seen and it’s the scene that, more than any other, brings back the whole film for me. To say it’s my favourite scene is probably wrong (it would be the shower scene in Psycho), but it’s the scene that stays with me more than any other, so it has to be #1.