Jedi Grind Tricks: March 2011

Jedi Grind Tricks: March 2010
By Scooter Newell

I’d like to send a shout-out to all my topics that never make the cut, some of which managed to become almost a 1,000 words on my technicolor screen before I SELECT ALL and DELETE that garbage. Or was it garbage? Sometimes I think the “grind tricks” are too small a format to properly address certain issues within skateboarding — like skate career politics, non-environmental friendly manufacturing of products, or any other skate dirt.

Contests and demos are nice and a sort of no-brainer. They’re fun to write about, and that’s why we’re here. However, sometimes coming up with new topics an be more difficult. Some call it “writers block” (or is it “rider’s block”?). Lucky for me, I’m not a writer — or a very good one anyway. But I am a Jedi, so usually when I get rider’s block and can’t think of a topic I do what the Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School Fine Arts Department does: I use the Force.

The poster drew me in. Darth Vader in a chorus line kick stepping with evil Stormtroopers? I’m there. I’m sure to get a few slaps in the facebook when this is printed, but… did we even have a drama/fine arts department when I went to CBHS? If so, I’m sure they worked hard. But in this day and age things are different.

The voice on the PA said, “Welcome to our final production of ‘Star Wars: The Musical!'” and the crowd cheered and we were off to revisit the world created by George Lucas over 30 years ago. The rebels were under attack, and I have to give props to the crew that played the rebels that lost. They remained motionless for the second half of the scene as well as the next. On Tatooine, we were reminded of Lucas’ original vision of Luke as a farmer. His parents, dressed straight out of “Deliverance,” were pushing the comedic limit, letting us know that we were going to have fun with this production. The story moved almost scene-for-scene with R2 getting lost, Sand People attacking Luke and C-3PO, the Ben Kenobi rescue, and on to the Mos Eisley Cantina. At one point (poking fun at George once again), Kenobi says above the knocked-out Skywalker, “It’s hopeless, he needs mouth-to-mouth,” and the whiny Luke instantly scrambles to consciousness.

The production value was top-notch, with great backdrops painted with detail, cued lights, and orchestral sound effects sounding strong and on time. Quality and comedy came together when Leia’s holographic message was depicted by painting the actress in blue light for the famous delivery, which transitioned into the first musical number. Leia and several “Leia-ettes” took the stage to sing the message “I need a Jedi” set to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” When we meet Han Solo for the first time, he belts out “Dead or Alive” to the tune of Bon Jovi’s mega hit. Again, there were funny lyric changes (“I’ve got a Wookie on myyyyy siiiiide/I’m wanted/Dead or alive…”) and shortly after, someone asks if the Millennium Falcon is a fast ship and it’s off to another musical number set to “Greased Lightning.” Han had us cracking up and their entire creature cantina cast was perfect.

In the second act, Princess Leia and Tarkin sing a duet about the destruction of Alderan set to “A Whole New World” (“A Blown Up World”) with excellent stage direction and timing in evidence as the inflatable planet over the actors’ heads was popped by a pool cue with a pin attached. My favorite number though, was “Putting on the Ritz,” as performed by Han, Luke, Chewy, and Leia. Great singing was followed by an arrangement of Stormtroopers who began a hypnotic dance to end the song. This was the dance that did it for me — all spin moves with cane choreography performed in unison and in those classic helmets.

The “Stormtrooper Dance” has caused me to smile numerous times over the last few days. These students and their instructors kept us wanting more and they kept on dishing it out. The classic battle scene, set to “The Final Countdown,” had the place back in an upbeat mood before closing with an outstanding version of “Don’t Stop Believing,” cued by the line: “Hey, at least we made it through this whole show without any ‘Glee’ references…” Afterwards, the entire cast joined together on stage, dancing and singing. There were actors rushing up into the crowd clapping and bringing us all right into the moment. As they took their bows and we all stood up clapping, I began to realize that my face hurt. I’d been laughing out loud for so long that I had smile soreness in the cheeks.

Bravo, students and faculty! Great performance! And thanks for giving us another way to look at a movie that shaped and inspired sci-fi filmmaking, cinematic special effects, and of course this skateboard journalism mega-column.

So just what do all these dancing Stormtroopers have to do with skateboarding? Well, the Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School Performing Arts Center is located right next to the skate park. And that’s good enough for me.

May the Force Be With You.

News Rants:

Congrats to Dan Brown on getting married recently!

The Grind for Life Vintage Store is now open in Cocoa Beach.

Timmy Knuth’s “It’s Your World” video part is out and insane. Check out the World Industries web page.

Graffiti is hosting a two-park event later this month at the PBFP and GSZ! Check out Facebook for details.

Check your local park for skate camp details and dates. Cocoa Beach Skate Park Spring Camp is held March 28-April 1 from 9 to Noon with free skating all day after.

Productions of “Grease” and “Cinderella” are coming up from the CBHS Fine Arts Department. Check the school for details.

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