The lines were deep and started early, and there was no mistaking the excitement in the air at the Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas as day one of Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention kicked off on Thursday. Countless fans of all ages, from all over the country and the world, many in costume, seemed as thrilled to see each other as they were to check out the galaxy of stars Creation had brought together for the extended weekend.
The event basically unfolds in three rooms, a dealers' room packed with vendors offering all manner of Trek wares, from uniforms to autographed photos, tee-shirts to handcrafted jewelrey, and more. More than 20 actors and actresses and behind-the-scenes Trek figures offered photos and autographs at their tables, among them Deep Roy, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden, Beverly Washburn, Sean Keney, Max Grodenchik, Chris Sarandon, Eric Pierpoint, Barry Jenner, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Picardo, Gates McFadden, Armin Shimerman, Crystal Allen, William Wellman and Anthony Montgomery. Then there's the Main Theatre, a giant ballroom in which the Trek guests participate in panels; some autographing takes place here, too, on the sides/in the wings. And finally, there's the Secondary Theatre, called the DeForest Kelley Theatre, a less cavernous space used for star appearances, panels and Creation's popular no-minimum auctions.
Among the events in the DeForest Kelley were makeup guru John Paladin plying his craft, turning a fan into a Klingon. Richard Jefferies, brother of Trek's legendary art director Matt Jefferies, shared memories of his late brother's work.
StarTrek.com One Trek Mind blogger Jordan Hoffman hosted the first of several planned One Trek Mind LIVE sessions. He led fans in selecting the franchise's best supporting cast member. The winner? Garak!
Keenser nearly made the list, with Hoffman at one point insisting, "I know Jar Jar, and Keenser is no Jar Jar." Aron Eisenberg surprised the crowd, fighting for Nog, and eliciting a big cheer.
Later, in the same room, David Gerrold took the stage, as did veteran assistant director Michael DeMeritt and then Deep Roy. At the end of Deep Roy's presentation he was thrilled to receive a pre-release Team Keenser tee-shirt. "I love it," he raved. "Any more presents out there?" During the weekend's first auction, Creation co-CEO Gary Berman sold a Jane Wyatt autographed photo for $100, a Joel Grey banner for $50 and signed Trek cast photos for several hundred dollars each.
Another highlight was a StarTrek.com panel called The Universe Revealed, in which CBS Consumer Products exec John Van Citters and author Larry Nemecek, with help from moderator Jordan Hoffman, introduced the upcoming coffee table book STAR TREK: Stellar Cartography - Starfleet Reference Library. "It's not all book," Nemecek explained. "It's half very cool pull-out maps." In fact, there are ten 2 foot by 3 foot maps that double as gorgeous artwork and depict the Romulan Star Empire, The Dominion War, Cardassian Space, the Alpha Quadrant and more.
Meanwhile, throughout the day, Creation co-CEO Adam Malin welcomed to the stage a variety of Trek stars. First up was Judson Scott, who played Khan's son in The Wrath of Khan. He paid tribute to Ricardo Montalban, calling him "a wonderful man, a great actor, a humanitarian and a warm spirit."
Next up was Rick Worthy, who recounted his many Trek appearances. He was followed by a group panel featuring Joanna Cassidy, Chris Sarandon and Sally Kellerman.
Later, Connor Trinneer and Anthony Montgomery had people chuckling and... dancing the Harlem Shake. Check it out on Instagram.
Then there was Trek designer and StarTrek.com blogger John Eaves, followed by Alexander Siddig, who generated a tremendous response during a rare convention appearance. A great observation from Siddig: "If they say the script is funny, you MAKE it funny."
And, closing out the guests on day one was Nichelle Nichols. Near the end of her time on stage, a fan asked about being directed by William Shatner in Star Trek V. "Oddly enough and surprisingly to all of us," she said, "he was a good director. He also became this interesting person who was interested in you. And he was interested in our characters. Everyone was like... who is that man?"
Nichols talked about the legendary Kirk-Uhura kiss. Was it good? "Oh, yes!" And "it changed the face of television forever." Finally, Nichols took a bow and sang the Star Trek theme for good measure. "Thank you," she said as the curtain closed. "I love you."
Of course, the fun went on into the night. There were ongoing photo ops and autograph sessions. And there was a karaoke night, as well as a party for Gold Weekend Patrons at the Voodoo Lounge, with Gary Graham, Suzie Plakson and Anthony Montgomery providing the entertainment. In fact, it's going on now, as midnight on Thursday approaches. So forgive us as we hit save on this story to join the festivities.
Be sure to visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for our recap of day two at Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention and follow the team live-tweeting at www.Twitter.com/StarTrek . On tap: John de Lancie, Tim Russ, Linda Park, Grace Lee Whitney, Catherine Hicks, Alice Eve, Walter Koenig, Martha Hackett, Suzie Plakson and many more guests, as well as several StarTrek.com/One Trek Mind LIVE panels.
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