The worlds of art, technology and politics intersected in San Francisco on Saturday as big names from each world met to fete the new home of "Star Wars" director George Lucas and his 1,500-person company, Lucasfilm.
An estimated 2,000 guests attended the opening of the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the city's Presidio, including Washington representatives Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" film producer Saul Zaentz and singer Chris Isaak. Lucas himself sponsored the event, which Pelosi referred to as "a wedding."
Guests sat on the lawn eating gourmet food prepared by famed local chef Alice Waters and listened to music by Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt and Metallica's Lars Ulrich. The event quickly emerged not only as a party for the opening of the digital-production facility but also as a tribute to San Francisco and its high-tech surroundings. Local companies such as Apple Computer, Intel and Sega "have changed the face of entertainment...and part of the celebration today is to say, 'I love San Francisco,'" Lucas said.
Lucasfilm's 23-acre wooded camp, of which 17 acres is public park, features four low-rise office buildings with colonial-style architecture and views that include the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and the Palace of Fine Arts.
The campus will be home to Lucasfilm, visual effects specialists Industrial Light & Magic and game creator LucasArts. It houses a 300-seat all-digital theater and two 65-seat theaters for simultaneous digital and film production. The campus also has a fitness center, a 15,000 square foot child care facility with a jungle gym and an in-house Wells Fargo ATM. According to the company, the campus boasts the largest data network in the entertainment industry, with more than 300 10GB ports and 1,500 1GB ports.
Newsom called it the "epicenter of the digital arts."