Fans from around the world (and Alpha Quadrant) beamed down to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts for CREATION ENTERTAINMENT'S annual OFFICIAL STAR TREK CONVENTION over the weekend of June 8-9, 2013. Everyone was in an upbeat mood with the ongoing gala celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Due to take part over the weekend were much of the TNG cast as well as other notable Trek luminaries, including intrepid Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner.
The Hynes Center is a world-class convention facility in the heart of Boston, not far from where the tragic act of terror occurred recently during the Boston Marathon, and Creation Entertainment hoped to bring some much-needed happiness and good cheer to the city. The show opened to a huge crowd on line, but Creation seemed ready for them, as a battery of registration people and kiosks made the initial processing procedure move briskly and functionally. Two large vendors’ areas housed exhibitors with an impressive array of merchandise: fine art prints, autographed framed collectibles, licensed Trek apparel, drinkware, patches, model kits, action figures and so much more. The huge foyer would be the site of the TNG cast signing autographs for their fans, and the vast Veterans Auditorium was where Creation was staging all the theater presentations.
Theater programming opened with a brief but enthusiastic welcome from Creation Co-CEO Adam Malin, half of the Creation founding team that also includes Co-CEO Gary Berman. These two have navigated live events for more than four decades and their energy and love for the genre in general and Star Trek in particular is obvious to Creation's huge worldwide audience.
Then it was time for first guest of the day, Morgan Gendel, the writer who conceived the story for the seminal TNG episode "The Inner Light." Gendel provided an audio-visual commentary on the conception of the episode, considered one of Patrick Stewart's tour de force performances. The episode also famously features segments of composer Jay Chattaway's gorgeous “Inner Light Suite” for full orchestra.
After, it was time for the Creation Costume Competition, which host Adam Malin noted was a Creation tradition dating back to their very first event in 1971! They welcomed a 60-entrant field, and the winners included Zefram Cochrane, a DS9 Kai, and a remarkable Scotty from "Relics" look-a-like.
And then came the star-crossed lovers Worf and K'Ehleyr, Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson. One attendee wanted a Captain Worf TV series on board the USS Defiant, and Michael said the first thing he would do was bring K'Ehleyr back to life! Asked to choose between TNG and DS9, Michael said he couldn't. About getting Worf's ass kicked every week, Michael asked the producers during the first year to keep that from happening all the time, and they listened. One fan protested that the Federation doesn't protect or act as advocate for plants, only advanced animal species. Suzy said they would look into it! Michael indicated that "I am NOT a married man!" He says he felt like a Klingon pimp in that episode.
Next up was Creation's famous No Minimum Bid Auction. Some of the notable items that went for ridiculously low prices included a Best of Both Worlds Collectible Plate (out of print edition), banners signed by all the celebrities at the convention, collectors trading cards, a commemorative plaque signed by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and some notable lots of signed photos from different Trek series.
Following was George Takei, who was greeted by a huge standing ovation and wasted no time in noting that we are only three years away from the 50th anniversary of TOS. George celebrated Boston's illustrious history, including its notable architecture, food and culture. He touched on his new musical, Allegiance, which recounts the traumatic experience of his parents in internment camps during World War II and recently ran in San Diego (it won several awards). His favorite Trek film: Star Trek VI! He wants Capt. Sulu to get his own film or TV show. Regarding having gay/lesbian characters on TNG: Gene wanted to do an episode that dealt directly with the issue, but passed away before he had the chance to see it done.
After George, Gene Roddenberry's longtime assistant Richard Arnold came on stage to celebrate DS9’s 20th anniversary with a slide presentation. Some striking shots included scenes from the Dax/Worf wedding and the bringing on of Nicole deBoer to replace Terry Farrell in the seventh season. Morn the bar regular (based on Norm from Cheers) was seen in more than 90 episodes and never uttered a word. Michael Piller, DS9’s late co-creator/producer, was celebrated for his stewardship of Trek and embracing Gene's vision for Trek storytelling.
The final guests of the day show were the dynamic duo of Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner, who were greeted with a tumultuous welcome. They fondly recalled their scene where Crusher was teaching Data to dance (she choreographed it). Gates, in fact, is a master choreographer, having directed choreography for a number of productions, including the Jim Henson film Labyrinth. One of the highlights for both of the actors was the continuing cast of visitors to the set; Mercury 7 astronauts, Dr. Stephen Hawking, Buzz Aldrin, Ronald Reagan. One day on the lot, Dr. Hawking passed Brent (he beat Data in cards on the show) in his wheelchair, and in his automated voice, called out "where's my money?!" Gates had her infant son on the set much of the time and watched him grow up over the seven years of the show. Her son Jack is 22 years old now and 6'3" tall. On why Brent was cast as Data: he claims it's because you can open any part of his body to access his parts!
And with that Day One came to an end and the room was cleared in anticipation of the TNG Reunion Event that would be hosted by the inimitable William Shatner himself. Shatner acquitted himself beautifully with his spot-on repartee and comfort with the attending celebrities: Denise Crosby, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton. Various hysterical stories and bawdy commentary made for a witty and enjoyable evening.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for a recap of day two’s events.
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