Space Invaders IRL
About the artistArt curated by We have something different today. Instead of interviewing our staff artist, we interviewed bretinflorida, a Teefurian who got to spend time with a few Star Wars actors while rockin some Teefury Star Wars shirts!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm 35 and live in Southwest Florida. After years of playing in bands (I play guitar), I now run a real estate brokerage. If the market doesn't pick up, I might just try to be a rockstar again. ;)
I heard you recently visited Tunisia. What brought you over there?
I'm friends with a guy named Mark Dermul who lives in Belgium. He wrote a book on the Tunisian Star Wars filming locations, including photos, GPS, maps, etc. and had led two prior group trips to visit them. This was his final voyage so I knew it was now or never - I chose now. There were 18 of us from all over the world, including England, Canada, Austria, Germany and Holland. One of the travelers was a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" fan and had mapped out the locations shot in Tunisia for that film, including the Tanis dig site, the "Well of Souls", the "Map Room" and the Cairo scenes (which were shot in Kairouan) so we visited those as well. It was a week long trip all over the country so there were plenty of non-film site locales to be seen. My favorite of these was probably staying at an oasis in the Sahara and taking camels out to the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress - that was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.
In preparing for the trip, the first shirt I saw on TeeFury and bought specifically for it was the "Shawarma" Initiative shirt. I'd planned to wear it for a photo duplicating the scene from "LOST" where Locke had turned the donkey wheel and ended up in Tunisia but it's one I never remembered to do. Additional shirts followed, including the Han as Popsicle and the Cantina "Cheers" shirt. That one I wore to the building that WAS the Cantina seen in the original "Star Wars" so that was a lot of fun that day. We did shots of Malibu rum at the Cantina to honor the occasion.
The other photos were taken at Disney's "Star Wars Weekends" in Orlando this month. Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett in the films, loved the "El Boba" shirt and the Mickey Vader was a big hit as well.
How long have you been a Star Wars fan?
I'm a lifelong fan of the movies. I grew up as a blonde kid in Kansas, so naturally I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. I've always loved the films but didn't really dive into the whole "fan boy" aspects until the first prequel was released. So much hope and promise - oh well, you can't win them all.
Do you have any cool/rare SW collectibles? Anything particularly obscure?
I used to collect a lot of different things but now I focus on autographs. I have over 2000 in my collection, with about half of those Star Wars related. I concentrate on the original films and have most of the main cast, including a lot of the harder to get signatures and behind the scenes crew. My posters are my pride and joy - both my "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back" posters have over 50 signatures on them each, including deceased cast members. After you've collected the main cast you do tend to get obscure bit players like Claire Davenport who played Jabba's fat dancer or Bill Hootkins who played the infamous "Porkins". Thanks to the trip I now have quite a nice prop collection, including pieces of the sets/buildings, sand from the locations, a bit of Krayt Dragon bone and some other odds and ends.
What color would your light saber be, and why?
If I had a lightsaber, I think I'd go with burnt orange, almost fire-like. The rest have all been done to death, though I do like the idea of a purple blade perhaps reflecting our duality....the red of the sith meets the blue of the Jedi. We all tend to operate in that middle ground.
How did you discover Teefury, and what's your favorite shirt you own?
Aside from being a Star Wars geek, I love the show "LOST" and am a beer snob/microbrew junkie. I discovered TeeFury when Ian Leino's amazing "Polar Beer" shirt was for sale on the site. Sadly I missed out on the shirt that day by a half hour, but I ended up buying it from Ian to wear to the Raleigh World Beer Festival (photo attached). It remains a favorite as does my "Shawarma" shirt - but I think the one I wear the most is my "King Pong" shirt. Love the artwork, the fact that it's not square in the middle of my chest and the shirt color is awesome. I probably own at least a dozen Tee Fury shirts if not more. I visit it every day without fail - in fact, while I was over in England prior to heading out to Tunisia my wife picked me up the "El Boba" shirt as she knew I'd love it. That's love!
Any final words of wisdom?
As I've grown older I've learned to just be yourself and don't compromise or hide who you are for anyone. My first tattoo I got was the Star Wars logo - but I got it in Japanese so people wouldn't know it said Star Wars. I didn't want to be labeled as a Star Wars Geek. Now I can say I watched the sunset at the Lars Igloo, woken up in the courtyard of the Lars Family Homestead, sipped blue milk in their dining room and downed a shot of Malibu at the Cantina. And I don't care what anyone else thinks of it - I made the trip for me as I've dreamt of being "in" Star Wars my entire life. Likewise, I think the TeeFury shirts are another great way to express who you are, what you like and how you tick. Some are conversation pieces, some are funny, some are abstract. Find your fit and wear it proudly.