Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adventures in Star Trek 2011


Today was my trip downtown to the annual Star Trek convention. Because I spent my “con budget” on other things during the year I could only go to one day of the three day con. I picked Saturday because Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were featured. Friday was Conner Trinneer and Dominic Keating. I've seen more of Dominic than I ever needed to (just kidding Dominic!) and I saw Conner at a Stargate con a couple of years ago.

I also had a limited budget for spending at the con itself. I had trouble deciding if I wanted 2 autographs (Nichelle & George) or one photo op (George). Yesterday I learned that Nichelle & George were doing a photo op together but at $79 it was out of my budget. If I had known about it earlier I could have taken money out of somewhere else but by yesterday all that “discretionary” money was gone. Sigh.

I have no idea why I started getting autographs. I guess I just got caught up in it all when I went to a Star Trek con in Vegas (2001). Then a couple of years ago I volunteered at a Stargate con and as a perk I got photo ops with Amanda Tapping and David Nykl (Radek was my favorite character). As a surprise, the volunteer coordinator also got a lot of the actors to sign photos for me so at the end of the weekend I was handed an envelope full. I had decided that I was NOT going to collect Stargate autographs and all of a sudden I was on my way to the store to buy an album to put them in. If you're interested you can see my Stargate and Star Trek related pictures on Facebook.

Anyway, back to today. Sort of. Last night I could not sleep. I finally drifted off around 4 am. Then I had a nightmare and woke up two hours later. The last time I remember looking at the clock was 8:15. My alarm went off at 9 am. I've said it before but I'm one of those people who doesn't function well on less than 8 hours of sleep. When my alarm went of I thought about turning it off and trying to go back to sleep. There would be other cons. Eventually I did drag myself out of bed.

The thing about Star Trek cons is that they're a lot of fun if you know other people there but they're kind of dull if you go alone. I ran into two other conventioneers on the bus (one in a blue TOS dress). Neither of them had been to a con before. I highly doubt either of them were born when TNG was on the air. Sigh.

My first stop was the dealer's room because on the way I'd decided that I wasn't going to get the photo op or autographs. I'm going to spend the money on a “It's Okay to be Takei” t-shirt. So I had a little money I could spend on “stuff.” The dealer's room was a huge disappointment. There were only 4 vendors other than Creation. One of the vendors was Lightspeed. They're the official “artists” for Paramount and others. They have a gorgeous picture of the Enterprise NX-01 crew complete with all the autographs. They only want $2200. They're willing to do lay away with $100 and $100 every month. It's really a nice picture but I could buy a great computer for that price. I thanked the nice man from Lightspeed for his time and went to look at the t-shirts. I guess I had t-shirts on the brain.

I decided to buy a “Property of Utopia Planitia Shipyards” t-shirt (above). I heard the woman behind the table tell another conventioneer that all the shirts were $20 so I had my money ready. She looked me straight in the eye and told me it was $25. I could have complained. I could have put the shirt back. I didn't have the energy to fight and I wanted the shirt so I fished out another $5.

Just one more reason why I hate Creation. I really wish they weren't the only game in town.

I managed to catch part of Richard Arnold's (Gene Roddenberry's assistant) talk. I learned a couple of things:
After Gene Roddenberry died, everyone who worked with him, including Arnold, was fired by Paramount. Arnold threatened to sue and the studio gave him money. They made him agree not to write a book. 
After a visit to J.J. Abram's Star Trek set, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry told Arnold that she was happy that Gene's baby was in good hands again. She passed away a few weeks later and Arnold was asked to speak at her memorial. He was about to repeat what Majel had said when he realized that Rick Berman was in the front row. He ended up say that she was happy the franchise was in good hands.
I'm just glad to have one more person on the anti-Berman side of the fence.

After Arnold they played a video compilation of Uhura then Nichelle Nichols came out. She is incredible. She's well spoken, kind and generous. I would even say she is regal. She told some stories I'd heard before (I saw her in Vegas in 2001 – she had just come from visiting a very ill Jimmy Doohan) but there were others that were just as good. Especially stories about the reaction she got when she walked onto the set of Abram's Star Trek.

After Nichelle I had 3 hours to kill until George Takei took the stage so I went for lunch and a walk around downtown.

I talked to George at a charity event in Vegas but I never saw him on stage for some reason. George is the only person I've ever given the “Vulcan salute” to and I only did it because he did it to me first. Today he came out doing the salute and most of the audience did it back.

I could sit and listen to George's voice all day. That's a good thing because he loves to talk. He'd talked a lot about his upcoming musical Allegiance but also about his new TV show Supah Ninjas.

Someone thanked him for his activism on behalf of the LGBT community and he talked about why he came out to the media in 2005 and how he uses humor to show how ridiculous homophobes are.

He also told a touching story about being asked to give a talk after a showing of Wrath of Khan. He got on stage and told the audience how he felt when he saw the names of all the friends who were involved with the film who are gone now: DeForest Kelley, Jimmy Doohan, Merritt Butrick, Ricardo Montalban and of course Gene & Majel Roddenberry. I think more than a few people in the audience teared up when George spoke of his feelings of loss.

The funniest story of the day has to be how George introduced Jimmy Doohan to sushi. Next time you see him at a con ask him to tell it.

I could go on and on about George because I'm totally in love with him but I'm sure there are lots of con reports all over the interwebs. I debated about asking him if he'd tried one of Vancouver's famous Japadogs but decided against it. Maybe I'll tweet him tomorrow.

After George was finished I came home. Now I'm just waiting for it to get dark enough to sleep and then I'm hitting the hay. To sleep perchance to dream.


Note: Sorry the picture of George is so crappy. Part of it is lack of skill but the rest is because I am not pushy enough to shove other people out of the way so I can get closer. I'm also not so inconsiderate that I will block the view of others. There are some good pics at Star Trek Infinite Space.

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