Name: Lou Platania
City/state: Brooklyn, NY
Family: Mom, Dad, Sister, Wife, 2 cats
Tell us a bit about your riding, years riding (on and off etc) type of riding...
I started riding in 1986 after seeing "RAD". I always loved riding my bmx bike and doing wheelies and endos, and after seeing RAD it opened up a whole new world to me. Flatland was so cool to me i just had to learn it. I remember trying to emulate the beginning and end credit tricks, and that pretty much snowballed into me getting the magazines, BMX plus, freestylin, american freestyler etc. Which had how to´s and such and that got me on my way.
I started riding flatland on a 1980 Mongoose racing bike with added pegs and rotor which i eventually swiched out for a gyro. Then i got my first freestyle frame, an 86 Haro master. I rode that for one summer until the 88´s came out and then rode an 88 haro master religiously for the next couple or years.
I got pretty good for the style of riding that was around back then. Firehydrants, boomerangs, decades, randy rolls, cherrypickers, miami hoppers, tailwhip, etc. were all in my lineup of tricks.I also got very inmto the "Dorkin in York" series of videos and that style of riding. But the sport died out fast back and all my riding freinds either moved away or stopped riding. So by 1991 i was riding alone and i slowly drifted from the sport as it wasnt as fun riding alone.
So i was out until 2003. After seeing what the sport evolved to, i was eager to get back into it. i rode till 2007 pretty regularly, but then life got in the way alot so ive been riding on and off since then. "life" also included a new hobby, which ill get into a little later
What do you do for work?
I work at a college art supply/bookstore. It kinda sucks, but with the economy the way it is, i´m glad im working at all lol.
Fave foods: Pizza!
fave movies: Star Wars original trilogy, Alien trilogy, Friday the 13th series, Halloween series, Jurassic park, Supertroopers, Paul etc
fave music: Punk rock, Pop-Punk, Industrial, Synth-pop, EBM, 80s new-wave
fave sports: I actually dont like any "traditional" sports. I like to watch Skateboarding and of course, Flatland BMX
Some people already know, but tell us about your star wars garrison and the charity events they perform?
The other hobby i mentioned earlier would be this. I am a member of the 501st Legion. I am in the NY chapter of the legion, the empire city garrison and am actually the member liaison that clears the costumes for our garrison. the 501st legion is the worlds largest Star Wars costuming group with over 5,500 active members worldwide, and over 7,000 total worldwide. We are known for having the most authentic/accurate costumes in the world based on the Star Wars Universe. We are LucasFilms preferred costuming organization, although we are not directly sponsored by them. We are a fully fan based organization. We are also the worlds largest fan based charity organization.
Most of the time if you see Stormtrooper, or Authentic looking Star Wars characters at a comic convention or sci-fi convention, TV commercial, Star Wars product ad on TV, it is usually 501st legion members.
We have rang the stock market bell, appeared at baseball games, appeared on the Today show in NYC, we have been on stage with Weird Al during his concerts..we actually do that every year with him...and we actually have a filming coming up for a popular tattoo show that im not allowed to say right now
We also sometimes meet famous people as well. Ive met Seth Green twice, Jeremy Bulloch(the actor who portrayed Boba Fett in the original trilogy),Jason Mews, Kevein Smith and a bunch of others. There are actually some famous peopl that are active members of the legion as well. Including Jeremy Bulloch, who actually does events with the UKG (UK garrison).
Aside from doing that kind of "just for fun stuff", we also do alot of charity work. We go to a childrens hospital every year to visit sick, and sometimes terminally ill children. We do events in association with childrens charities including the make-a-wish foundation. We have done events to support breast cancer research,Cystic fibrosis research, Autism research, special olympics etc.
How does it feel to give dying kids their last wish and put smiles on sick kids faces, including terminally ill kids?
I think this little story would sum it up: I was recently contacted by an old friend for elementary school on facebook and was told his sons best freind was diagnosed with brain cancer, pretty much out of nowhere. She said he was a huge Star Wars fan and wanted to meet Boba Fett. So i got a few us together and visited him. We brought him a bunch of toys and really made him happy. I got to portray Boba Fett, and cant even describe how happy he was. His mom said she hadnt seen him smile and laugh like that in months.Unfortunately about a month later, he passed away. We were all very glad we were able to make it out to him and make him happy, even if just for the day, and in the end, he got his dying wish to meet Boba Fett.
There is nothing quite like being a kids favorite character they always wanted to meet. They get so happy and it really is a great feeling.
But dont think its just the kids that get excited either! We´ve had cops pull over to take pics with us, and the adults get just as excited as the kids..sometimes worse! LOL!
Its a great hobby thats alot of fun, and can do alot of good for the community. It is expensive though! I also make some of the costume parts to sell to other members, so that helps me pay for the stuff i dont/cant make. To give you an idea, my stormtrooper, when all said and done, cost about $1,200. My sandtrooper is about $1,500, and my Boba Fett is just about at the $5,000 mark.
Any last words to sum up, Lou?
Just do what makes you happy in life, no matter what others may think. I "ride kids bikes" and dress up like a stormtrooper..and ya know what, im having a great time!