Liveblogging LA Star Wars III Premiere with napkincam

7:05 — Arrive at Mann Village Theatre, Westwood. Premiere of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith. Benefit for Artists for a New South Africa. Movie to be shown digitally using projectors with Texas Instruments DLP chip (not reels of film).

7:10 — VIP tickets come with memo which states: "Cameras of all kinds (including camera phones) are prohibited at all event locations. Anyone in possession of cameras or camera phones will be refused entry."

Fuck. Without my Treo, I am naked. Not wanting to risk banishment, I go naked. They can take away my phonecam — but they can't stop the phonecam in my MIND. Grab eyeliner from the purse and a napkin from the bar and — voila! I will liveblog the evening's proceedings (with 3-hour delay) on the napkincam.

7:11 — Red carpet flanked with paparrazi, wookies, stormtroopers, smiling publicists waving purple light saber toys. As it is at Grauman's some five miles east, here too, there is a Star Wars line. This one's defined by a police barricade, and consists largely of male UCLA students looking for Netflix signage, craning their necks for possible Bai Ling sighting. Read the blogs, guys. So two weeks ago.

7:18 — Ice Cube enters theater in front of me, beautiful woman on arm. Also present: Jimmy Smits, Billie Dee Williams, Morgan Fairchild, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx. Much popcorn in theater — highest carbs per capita ratio in all the westside. Phonecams everywhere inside theater, a pattering of french-manicured fingertips is heard as celebutantes tap blackberries. Fuck. Coulda brought the phonecam.

7:31 — Guy from Lucasfilms thanks crowd. This is a charity event, ticket proceeds benefit ANSA, of which Episode III star Sameul L. Jackson and wife LaTanya Richardson are longtime supporters. Lucasfilms guy: Bla bla proud bla Star Wars bla bla PIRACY. "Many of you have paid a lot of money to be here but your ticket price does not include an illegal copy of the movie with a video camera or your cellphone." Note to self: find out which US carrier sells cellphones so sophisticated, they can shoot cinema-quality video inside a dark movie theater. Lucasfilms guy: "We have monitors everywhere inside the theater tonight, looking for prohibited recording devices, and when I say we have monitors everywhere, I want you to remember, we are the people who invented the Evil Empire." Dude. Way to kill the love.

7:35 — Mrs. Jackson pissed at Mr. Lucasfilm for mispronouncing her first name. Introduces videotape: Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks eloquently about the need for support in the fight against AIDS in South Africa. Followed by lots of b-roll of celebrities. Not so eloquent.

Then, Samuel L. Jackson, who is in NYC working on a film tonight, appears on video, welcomes crowd, thanks them for support. Compares the battle of Jedi against Sith in Star Wars and the civil rights movement; fight against apartheid and then AIDS in South Africa. Ends with: "Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and George Lucas all have something in common — the fight against evil, and the struggle for the greater good." WTF.

7:45 — Main screen turn on. We get signal. Much clapping and screaming. If you go see this movie, really — go see it in a digital movie theater. Many of them around the country showing it with 2K digital projectors built around TI's DLP chip. Sweet. No crackles, no shift, no scratches, no out of sync sound. Bright brights, deep darks, color gamut that pops. This is exactly how movies should feel.

8:15 — The antipiracy clauses of my VIP pass prohibit blogging what happens in the movie. But nobody said anything about an encrypted report. Quick! Hold your Jedi decoder ring up to the blog to read secret review. Warning: spoilers.

gej oirjq9503 [uq90rj qoimoe oq3i9t[09 3q94tq 0398u40 i3jfroe nk;vjsd nfoi qieu[50 t93]p44ok omdw herptq3 y55t 9i oqjerofij elknqo ijq3 9u50q9i jeiuqh3p 9tuu q09= 0ei'peorkgj oliejfg poiqeu[roiq jrgoii jrnkurwt[ oy9wprot m;lk snfvvpiq uhr 9q3h

10:30 — Movie over. Three guys in suits run around the lobby with a plastic lobster and a small digital camera, trying to take snapshots of the crustacean with celebrities. Again with the prohibited recording devices. Much grabbage of VIP Gift Baggage upon exit. Kellogg's was a sponsor: will schwag bags contain Frosted Flakes? Update: tchotchkage included boxes of Apple Jacks with Yoda on the box and light saber spoon inside.

The end of the costumed extras' shift approaches, and the descent toward open bar begins. Wookies eat jujyfruits. Stormtroopers chomp sno-caps.

The almost-famous and their trophy dates hobble out into warm smog, arms interlocked tighter than the DRM on a DVD. Driving home down Sunset Boulevard, I wish my car were a spaceship. And the circle is complete.

(Thanks for the cereal update, Robert Moritz!)