Zombies made quite the impression during Thursday's kickoff of Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention here in Las Vegas, but day two was made at least as memorable by the presence of a Who's Who of Trek figures appearing from morning to night.
A Friday morning breakfast featured Garrett Wang, Dominic Keating, Connor Trinneer, Alexander Emberg, Patti Yasutake and Hallie Todd. Each star sat at a table with fans for several minutes, chatting about anything and everything, the rotated to the next table. Fans had a blast. "I feel like my brain cells are waking up now," Hallie Todd joked. "It's that first sip of coffee. I need that." Wang arrived late, but made a grand entrance when he got there. "Hi!" he shouted to cheers, "I'm George Takei!" And his Takei imitation was spot-on.
The morning started with Grace Lee Whitney, The Original Series' Janice Rand, on the main stage followed later by Ira Steven Behr. Behr was a producer/writer on TNG and the Executive Producter/Writer of DS9.
The boys of Enterprise, Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating, shared some of their favorite moments on the set including a prank on Scott Bakula by the entire cast. One female fan though had the comment of the morning when she thanks Trinneer and Keating "for doing so many scenes in your underwear."
One actress every fan was looking forward to seeing was Diana Muldaur, Chief Medical Officer Katherine Pulaski in TNG's second season. Asked how she ended up on TNG years after her TOS appearances, Muldaur said, "I got a phone call. Mr. Roddenberry thought I should be doing it." She'd also starred in the pilot Planet Earth for Roddenberry. Her TNG stint only lasted a year. Of that she said, "I was there for Gene. I'm not sure they were that happy with me. I worked very, very hard. I think you could see how hard I worked."
Two fun afternoon sessions brought together Star Trek's favorite supporting actors and guest stars. The "Making History" session included Andy Robinson (Garak), Alexander Enberg (Ensign Vorik), Eddie Paskey (Lt. Leslie), Patti Yasutake (Nurse Ogawa), Michael Barrier (DeSalle), Arlene Martel (T'Pring) and Elizabeth Dennehy (Lt. Commander Shelby). Paskey told a great anecdote about the TOS cast and crew pulling a prank on Leonard Nimoy by putting his bicycle in the rafters above the sickbay bed before a scene he was about to film. Rather than get mad, Nimoy laughed. Robinson thought he'd over-humanized Garak by the end of DS9. "He should have been someone you never believed or trusted," Robinson said, "if you had half a brain."
Later, the "Star Trek Guests Celebrity Panel" featured Virginia Madsen (Kellen), Lycia Naff (Ensign Gomez), Hallie Todd (Lal), Lisa Wilcox (Yuta) and Michael Snyder (Crewman Dax). A major Star Trek fan, Madsen had one request of the producers when she finally appeared on Voyager. "If I have to been an alien can I be beautiful like the women Kirk wanted?" Todd shared that she passed three times on the role of Data's daughter, Lal, before finally taking the role. "I was afraid of it and I didn't want to be bad. Now I love it." Fans also learned that Todd's stepfather was an alumni - the bartender in the infamous bar scene in "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode. Lycia Naff fondly remembers prepping lines with Levar Burton in advance of their first scenes. However, it was quite different when they arrived on the set because she couldn't look into his eyes because of the VISOR!
Naff still has nightmares from her famous scene with Sir Patrick Stewart. She was just an inexperienced actress when she was cast to appear with the legendary actor. Her scene require Naff to 'accidently' spill chocolate on Picard. Unfortunately, she never threw the chocloate high enough onto Picard requiring multiple takes. Stewart's delivery of his line still scares her today. Finally, Michael Snyder revealed that he got the role on Star Trek VI by contacting Leonard Nimoy. They had appeared together on Broadway and Snyder really wanted the chance to work on a major film.
StarTrek.com hosted a terrific -- if we say so ourselves -- panel called "Trek Girls: Who Is a Trek Girl and How Did She Become One?" Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe led the discussion, engaging guests Mary Czerwibski, Charity Wood and Kayla Iacovino, and the crowd, which also featured some men, in a lively debate. Czerwinski noted the influx of new fans thanks to the J.J. Abrams movie. "There are more women, people of all ages," she said. "That's really hopeful. Definitely the fan base has shifted." Eckstein pointed out to those assembled that "Fan input does make a difference. You should know how powerful your voice is."
Frequent StarTrek.com guest blooger Alec Peters was involved in two panels. In one, he updated fans on the Galileo 7 Restoration Project. Later he led the StarTrek.com event "Trek Treasures: What's the Value of Your Trek Collectible?" He talked about who could provide quality used props... and who couldn't (check out his blog for details). The moment his session ended, 25-30 fans followed him outside the room to show him photos of their collectibles or their actual collectibless, eager to hear about their actual value.
In the dealers' room, an elderly lady in a wheelchair secured an autograph from and a picture with TOS guest Don Marshall. He wouldn't accept her money. She smiled, said "Thank you" and then noted, "It's so funny. As many of the actors are asking to take pictures of me as I am of them." Nice moment. Over in another room, Creation co-CEO Gary Berman emceed a very well-attended auction. The best bargain: autographed 8x10s of Shatner, Nimoy, Koenig, Nichols, Takei, Doohan and Kelley, the seven of which sold for $700. That's a deal we're sure Alec Peters would approve of.
Later, a panel entitled "Exploring the Star Trek Music Renaissance" attracted a sizable crowd. The panel featured an announcement of the ultimate 15-CD The Original Series Soundtrack Collection (see trailer here) coming this fall including never released before music.
Jordan Hoffman closed out the day's event's with "StarTrek.com Presents One Trek Mind LIVE." The topic: The Best TNG Episode. Hoffman invited audience members to name and state their case for their favorite TNG hours, with the choices posted on a grid behind him. Some choices got shot down; "Rascals," for example, and "Starship Mine." After 45 minutes of debate, good-natured shouting and tough elimination choices, fans finalized the top 10:
Here are some of the fans we spotted on Friday and don't forget to checkout Saturday schedule below.
Saturday's events include:
9:40 am The DeForest Kelley Theatre - Brasilia Ballroom
StarTrek.com presents One Trek Mind LIVE
StarTrek.com's humor, nostalgia and list-making columnist Jordan Hoffman invites fans to join him for four fan-centric sessions. Together they will debate and determine new "best-of"s for various Trek topics. Today's topic is: The Original Series - Best Episode. With luck, the session will confirm your most closely held beliefs and enrage you with their wrongheadedness – most likely at the same time.
11:00 am The DeForest Kelley Theatre - Brasilia Ballroom
STAR TREK ONLINE: DISCUSSION WITH THE DEVELOPERS
TrekRadio.net and Massively.com are proud to host a Q&A session with the developers of the wildly popular free-to-play video game Star Trek Online! The developers will be answering your questions and presenting exciting audio-visual tidbits for the convention crowd; including trailers and a few "sneak-peaks" of upcoming game content.
1:20 pm The Roddenberry Theatre - Pavilion Ballroom
Professor Anthony J. Rotolo's course, "Star Trek and the Information Age," taught at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies is an exploration of issues related to current technology, as well as societal and leadership challenges as viewed through the lens of Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi franchise. Using episodes of Star Trek as launching points for discussion, the course employs an innovative mix of social media as a primary method of student engagement, including collaborative blogging at The Collective, named for the Borg and its infamous "hive mind." Like Star Trek itself, the class seeks to spark a passion for pursuing science and technology. It has even become a featured blog on CBS's StarTrek.com, written monthly by Professor Rotolo. At the convention he will offer a mini-version of his class featuring clips from TOS and TNG which are then tied to hot topics like changing attitudes and/or fears toward technology ("The Ultimate Computer" or the Borg), retraining workers for a knowledge economy (Scotty in "Relics"), the Millennial Generation vs. Baby Boomers in the workplace (Using Riker and Shelby in "Best of Both Worlds" to illustrate this), and a lot more…
Click HERE to read our recap of day one and visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for our recap of day three's events.
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