Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Musings about the Star Trek Convention

Here are some comments about the Star Trek Convention:

There doesn't seem to be a future for the Star Trek: Experience. We went by Neonopolis, and while there was a building, there was absolutely no activity or construction.

Stephen Collins (Seventh Heaven, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Star Trek: The Motion Picture): "I did see a Klingon at a slot machine last night." No kidding. They were all over the place, particularly on Thursday when Martok and Gowron were in full regalia. Stephen has joined the twitter world: bassisland. I think I'll follow him. I just hope he doesn't talk too much about fish.

I was really impressed with "young Spock," a 10-year-old actor named Jakob Kogan. I think I'll watch his movie from 2008, "Joshua."

Leonard and Bill were quite funny on stage together. They really are good together, and you get the feeling they are close friends. I was quite taken with emotion, though, when Leonard said he was worried about losing his memory. I have a feeling it's why he "retired" a few years ago, only to be offered more and more parts. He was on his way to Vancouver to do "Fringe" a few months ago, and they got him his lines while he was in the airport. The airline printed it out for him. He was sweating that he wouldn't be able to get the mouthful of speech he had to make. How interesting. How heartwarming and understandable.

Christopher Lloyd was terrific on stage. I really enjoyed the story he told about how Eric Stolz lost his part in Back to the Future to Michael J. Fox. I had always wondered what happened. And hearing Lloyd's take on why was the interesting part.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can't a Klingon Get a Buffet Around Here?

The three Klingons strolled quietly into the Las Vegas Hilton buffet line, each grabbing a plate as they went. We didn't pay any attention, but several tables full of people stopped to stare, laughing and pointing. It's new to them, but not to us. We've been watching Klingons try to get something to eat for years.

When Debbie and I decided to go to the big Creation convention at the Hilton in August, we knew there would be changes. For instance, we said goodbye to the Star Trek: Experience last August, and knew we would miss it. There is nothing to replace it, despite Creation's efforts to move some of their events to the nearby Stratosphere hotel and include their roller coaster rides in the gold ticket. But we were more interested in living in the land of Star Trek one more time. And we wanted to take note of the changes. Some things were the same, and some things were definitely different.

Thursday started out pretty much normally. In 107-degree heat, we made our way on the monorail to hear those on the stage, and to attend the Klingon lunch. For the first time, Creation had two of the actors -- J.G. Hertzler and Robert O'Reilly -- dress in makeup and costume to assume their Klingon identities, "Martok" and "Gowron," respectively, each of whom had been Chancellor of the Klingon Empire in Deep Space Nine. In truth, neither one looked like the roles they played, as Michael Westmore certainly wasn't applying their makeup, but they indeed look like menacing Klingons. J.G. and Bob good-naturedly visited with each table and made disparaging comments about our "live" food, and then the rest of the actors came in: Tony Todd, Spice Williams-Crosby, William Morgan Sheppard, Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson.

I was shocked at Michael Dorn's appearance. Yes, he's bald now, but even more than that, he's many pounds lighter, and almost appears frail. He noted when he sat down at our table during lunch: "All the things I can't eat," pointing to the pizza and pasta. He told us that he became a vegetarian three years ago. More importantly, he related that he's writing now -- he has something on YouTube that he hopes to expand -- and that he wants to go back to directing.

I had attended Borg Bingo last year, but found that resistance to bingo was not futile when I discovered that the ticket was a whopping $169. So we skipped that event and every other breakfast and luncheon. The prices have just about doubled.

It was great seeing a lot of the Trekkies wandering around -- JoBeth, Freddie, all of the A and B row people that have been coming for years. I heard from someone who attended the parties that the parties are getting to be a bit late for those of us who have been around a bit. We're getting older, and we can't stay up that late! Some of the parties, I noted, didn't even start until midnight, and at another hotel, which means travel time.

But while we're on the subject of age, we were entirely shocked on the weekend. We entered the convention area and were astounded by the long lines to get in. In fact, Creation had so much walk-up traffic on Sunday that they had to delay Zachary Quinto's appearance on stage. And these folks were dramatically younger. And in general admission for the most part. The place was absolutely packed, the first time I have ever seen that at the Las Vegas convention. Is it the new movie? Yes, I think so. Many of these folks said, also, that they're watching the TV series -- classic, Next Gen, Voyager, Enterprise -- for the first time just because of the new movie. My God, this franchise might actually survive! And with a whole new fanbase.

I liked what Christopher Lloyd said to us as he greeted us conventioners for the first time: Perseverance is the key to acting. It's also the key to being a fan for more than 40 years. We have faith the ideals of Star Trek will survive. It also helps to have a kick-ass movie bring in more like us.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hail to Rickey!

I went to the Coliseum today, 3 hours before the game, to get there to say farewell to Rickey Henderson. I think he's finally realized that he has to retire. After all, he joined the Hall of Fame of Baseball last week. It would be rude to try to play again.

He mentioned the word "humble" a couple of time, but gave us a passing Rickey-ism, a poem that wasn't a poem, but one that mentioned himself in the third person a few times. That is absolute Rickey.

One wishes one could distill his greatness, use it in the present-day A's team. They could use his spark. His will to succeed. His overwhelming confidence.