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The ultimate Star Wars fan

January 09, 2005

Today I visited the Star Wars super-fan Jeff Twieden.

Sometimes when you read the paper or a news Web site, you'll see a story about a guy that seems just a little bit different. Generally the article makes fun of the person and you the reader will have a tendency to laugh at the person or agree with the article without ever getting to know the person. I do the same thing.

Jeff Twieden is a guy that people are making fun of in many ways. He is what you might consider an ultimate Star Wars fan. He is waiting in line for the next Star Wars movie which is due to be released 22 weeks from now.

When I read some of the recent headlines like the guy that shocked his penis with the stun-gun, the guy who tried to cut off his own head with a chain saw in Prague, or the guy who was run over by a car in Hungary with the .9% (not .09, .9%) blood alcohol level, I have a tendency to think these guys might be slightly nuts. And most of these people, I don't think I want to meet in the first place.

But Jeff I could meet since he was just a few miles from my house. So after brunch at Beths Cafe, I headed down to meet Jeff at the Cinerama Theater to see what was up with this guy who is waiting to see Star Wars more than just a little bit early.

Have you ever spent an afternoon just hanging around with friends, killing time with no particular place to go? That's kind of what Jeff is doing. People come up and talk to him all day long. They stop by and visit for a while, bring him coffee, drop off supplies and talk. The distributer of some juice water company dropped off a case of juice for him. A pizza company delivered him a pizza. He passed it and the juice out to anyone who wanted any.

He works on his laptop when he is otherwise unoccupied and designs t-shirts and other projects much like he would if he was back at his home. He feels the time waiting in line for the movie over weeks goes by more pleasant than the wait in line for a movie goes by if you have to wait an hour. Think of it Jeff's way, in the back of that line, you stand there and you are bored. Meanwhile there is an actual party going on at the front of the line with Jeff and the rest of the fans who will start trickling in over the next 21 weeks.

The hotel across the street lets him use their bathroom and anything else he needs. Nara, the high-end Japanese restaurant next door is the same way. About the only neighborhood business that doesn't really support him is the one he is camped in front as he waits in line, The Cinerama Theater.

For those unfamiliar, The Cinerama is one of the finest movie theaters in the world. Originally built in 1963 it was purchased by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and fully restored in 1999 as one of the most technologically advanced theaters in the world.

You can find Jeff on his couch in front of the theater about 20 hours a day for the next 21 weeks at 4th & Lenora in Downtown Seattle. Stop by and chat with him, he's actually a really nice guy.


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