For 'Star Wars' fans, Yoda statue is a draw

08/08/2011 3:39 AM

08/08/2011 3:39 AM

Within sight of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge lies another landmark cherished by a small but fervent group of travelers: a full-size replica of Yoda , George Lucas 'master of the Force.

Since the statue of the Jedi sage went up amid the Presidio's landscaped lawns in 2005, Star Wars fans have made a pilgrimage to take pictures with their beloved character and take in Lucasfilm Ltd.' s sleek headquarters.

In "The Empire Strikes Back," Yoda builds Luke's confidence to harness the Force, an energy field that Jedis use to perform supernatural feats. "You must unlearn what you have learned," he tells Luke. "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you."

Some visitors to this corner of the park hope to absorb such lessons as these through sheer proximity to the statue, poised atop a rushing fountain.

Given the franchise's huge impact not only on pop culture but on the tourism industry, the Yoda fountain is just one of dozens of location shoots and special sites visited by Star Wars acolytes. Others include Luke Skywalker's desert home in Tunisia, Guatemalan pyramids and a Tuscan lakefront villa.

Rapper Big Boi arrested on drug charges in Miami

Grammy-winning OutKast rapper Big Boi has been arrested in Miami on charges of illegally possessing drugs including ecstasy and Viagra.

The rapper, whose real name is Antwan Patton, was charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia on Sunday. According to the Miami-Dade County Corrections website, the 36-year-old Patton was also carrying MDMA, which is the main ingredient in ecstasy.

Big Boi is best known as half of the groundbreaking rap duo OutKast, which includes Andre 3000 . The Atlanta-based group has won six Grammys and churned out six platinum-plus albums, including "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," which sold over 10 million copies.

'Desperate Housewives' to see its last season

Wisteria Lane is facing a dead end. ABC is confirming reports that "Desperate Housewives" will be starting its eighth and final season come fall.

"We want to make sure it has its victory lap," ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said in making the announcement on Sunday.

"Desperate Housewives," a glossy prime-time soap opera with an ensemble cast including Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria , made a pop-culture and ratings splash when it premiered in 2004 but has since seen a fall-off in the ratings.

Another year older

Today's birthdays: Actress Esther Williams , 90... singer Mel Tillis , 79 ... actor Dustin Hoffman , 74... actress Connie Stevens , 73... actor Keith Carradine , 62... TV personality Deborah Norville , 53... rock musician The Edge (U2), 50... singer JC Chasez ('N Sync), 35... singer Drew Lachey (98 Degrees), 35... actor Ken Baumann ("The Secret Life of the American Teenager"), 22

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