Yesterday Sawppy attended Yuri’s Night Los Angeles 2019 as a roaming exhibit to help entertain the audience who all have an enthusiasm for space and science. As part of the volunteer event staff, we had to arrive at event venue California Science Center an hour ahead to get checked in. I noticed the signs and logos actually combined the second and third words into “California ScienCenter” but it’s not clear if this is just a bit of artistic license in graphic design or if they’re actually working to rename themselves.
Once checked-in, Sawppy’s assignment was to roam and entertain guests waiting in line to enter.
Sawppy was not the only robotic entertainment present.
Sawppy was occasionally stopped in its tracks when challenged by an Imperial AT-AT.
I was surprised to learn this was sold as a popcorn bucket sold at Disneyland. The owner gave it additional surface treatment and added LEDs, but he said almost all of the physical detail (including legs that could be posed) were part of the original bucket. Sadly, it was not motorized and did not walk.
Once people in line got in and the front entrance crowd thinned out, Sawppy went visiting other front entrance displays. Largest by far was Mister Fusion, which I first saw on TV in the first episode opening of Amazon’s The Grand Tour. There, and also on its web page, it was advertising for iHeartRadio. It is now advertisement for a mixed-use development project in Las Vegas called Area 15. The sales pitch for this “experiential retail and entertainment complex” sounded interesting, once it opens it might be worth a stop on my next Vegas visit.
Model of real Earth probe sent to space meets model of fictional Martian probe sent to Earth: Sawppy and a very shiny UFO.
At one point there was discussion of a display of Star Wars cars, which was the context of how I originally got involved with my RXBB8. That was removed from the plan at some point, but Sci-Fi cars still had representation with one of the Back to the Future DeLorean replicas.
Main space for this event was in the Space Shuttle Endeavour room, where photography was difficult but I wanted a picture of Sawppy with a real spacecraft.
Lots of people loved Sawppy and asked many interesting questions about Mars rovers. The event had everyone from “I don’t know much about the Mars rovers but I want to hear about them” to JPL engineers who are actively working on building the Mars 2020 rover. My discussion topics with people fluctuated wildly to suit.
At the end of the night, guests for the event were directed through the kelp forest tunnel to exit.
After a full night hanging out with other space fans, Sawppy headed home.