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Las Vegas 2011 - My First Convention


GROUP: Members


Report this Aug. 17 2011, 3:32 pm

This is my first post and my first convention, so wow, where do I start?

Firstly the venue.  The Rio turned out to be a great choice, plenty of room and good amenities.  My concerns about 2 mile long taxi lines were completely unfounded and the throngs of trekkies blended in with other revellers not associated with the convention, although the Klingons certainly got a few confused looks from people unaware of the event.  As regular Vegas visitors, the Rio is no stranger to us if only because we regularly eat at Gaylords Indian restaurant, although the bout of food poisoning I had on Saturday night was far from the fun that Vegas normally promises visitors, but fortunately short lived.  I bounced right back on Sunday morning with the assistance of 6 Mimosas courtesy of the attentive bar staff at the Bouchon.

We had decided to go to the convention just 2 weeks ahead of the event itself, and my tickets arrived promptly through the mail from Creation Entertainment.  I reserved photo ops with Brent Spiner, Kate Mulgrew, and Chase Masterson, more on those later.  We arrived early on Saturday and I started snapping some great photos of the people in costume.  My wife accused me of a distinct bias towards the girls (guilty), after all those outfits from the original series were very short, and the well-timed swipe on the back of my head reminded me of that fact as I attempted to photograph one smiling beauty from the kneeling position.  I wish I could upload some of the pics, but this newbie can't find the "attach photos" button.  In spite of the stunning girls, the guy in the black and red crushed velvet "Q" outfit stole the show for me.

So on to the vendors room.

It wasn't as big as I was expecting, but there were some great items for sale, especially the portraits and framed photos.  I got my first glimpse of Chase Masterson and snapped a photo of her which she graciously posed for me (she really is a nice person), and then moved along to the other booths.  Richard Kiel was next along, and it saddened me to see one of movie greats sat there looking so old and frail with only the occasional customer interested in his signed photos, many didn't even know who he was.  Then there was Richard Hatch aka Captain Apollo of original Battlestar Galactica fame, he sported a pleasant smile and a pair of indoor sunglasses, that was pretty cool for me as I'm an old BG fan.  We also stopped and chatted with a blonde haired lady who was one of Kirk's first love interests, still very attractive in spite of her advanced years, wish I could remember her name.

Now to the photo opportunities.

First for me was Brent Spiner.  As we filed in from the waiting area (which was stifflingly hot) he was having some fun with Denise Crosby which ended with her giving him a full on smoocher of a kiss to the delight of all present, Denise was certainly full of life and energized all present with her whoops of delight.  Brent just came across as a really nice guy, someone warned me that he wouldn't shake hands, but he did, twice in fact.  He has an easy going nature and was just naturally friendly, I thanked him politely and didn't make a fuss, alas, my composure didn't last long.

Kate Mulgrew was next, and as I got closer my heart started to race as if I was about to deliver a major speech.  Then there she was, perfectly poised in a little black number, looking older but no less attractive than she did in her Janeway days, and while Brent Spiner was Brent Spiner, Kate Mulgrew was Janeway, the impulse to stand to attention and call her captain was tangible.  As I stood on the taped "T" waiting for my turn, the composure I had so carefully maintained during Brent's photo op disappeared, and as she turned towards me I felt my knees quiver and my lips mouthing the word "Wow !" as I lurched towards her with an outstretched hand.  Her expression as she regarded me is still etched in my mind - she looked slightly confused, almost as if she recognized me from some previous encounter, but we had never met.  I stood, smiled, and "click" we were done.  I was so completely in a daze that I walked away without even thanking her, and she called after me - feeling like an idiot, and a rude idiot at that, I turned around and thanked her profusely.  I must have looked like a star struck little girl.

Finally there was Chase Masterson, resplendent in a revealing little red number.  Her line was remarkably short, perhaps only 20 or so people, almost entirely male (go figure), and having regained my composure I was once again the perfect gentleman, Chase however, was having none of it.  "Hi !!" she exclaimed with a squeal, "where are YOU from, and what an awesome sparkle you have in your eye" - so much for me trying to be calm and composed as I promptly turned bright red and did my "aw shucks, you're so purrrdy" routine, with that she practically curled herself around me and pouted alluringly at the camera - judging by my wife's reaction, that particular photograph could be the basis for divorce proceedings, but it was well worth it !!!

A couple of general observations.

The volunteers were generally very nice, with the exception of one older lady with a limp and wearing a photographer's jacket who appeared to be in charge of the photo opportunities and was determined to ruin the experience for as many people as possible.  On the flip side I only witnessed one unfortunate piece of attendee behavior when a couple of guys swilling beer from a bottle were asked to leave the photography area and protested loudly by calling people various parts of the human anatomy.  Otherwise the attendees were just the nicest people you could wish to meet.

I couldn't help but notice the number of disabled people in attendance, particularly the physically disabled.  I'm not so presumptive as to attempt any explanation for their large numbers, as far as I'm concerned they are just nutty Trekkies like I am, and god bless them for being there and having fun with the rest of us.

And then there was Leonard Nimoy's farewell speech, dear lord I'll never forget it.  He started with a funny little vignette he had filmed about a day in his life where he wants to just laze around the house, and then moved on to his personal stories about his early life and career.  We were spellbound, and completely wrapped up in his words.  He spoke about when he was a taxi driver and JFK stepped into his cab offering words of wisdom (a great story), then the one about the girls who tracked down his hotel phone number (hilarious), and how he attempted to shrug off his Spock persona only to now accept the reality that he really is Spock, and always has been (moving).

And then he began to wrap up his presentation.  When he got to the part about how, after some 40 years, this was to be his last ever Las Vegas Star Trek convention, his voice trailed off and he quietly broke down.  For one brief second there was a seemingly endless and painful silence in the auditorium, then suddenly, two thousand voices erupted in unison.  There I was, a normally quiet, reserved middle aged individual with a professional career screaming my love and adulation for him along with every single person in that room.  Leonard regained his composure and struggled to be heard over the tumult, yelling out to us "live long and prosper" to which thousands of hands were thrust aloft displaying the Vulcan farewell, and the cacophony grew even louder.  We cheered, we yelled, we sobbed, and the tears streamed down our cheeks.  We yelled out our love for him and how much we will miss him, some broke down and slumped sobbing back into their chairs, it was chaos, it was adulation, it was wonderful.  He raised his arms one last time and slipped slowly behind the curtains, and then he was gone.

We were left to filter slowly out of the arena, everyone wrapped up in their own thoughts, and as for me I knew simply that I had just witnessed a small piece of history, and it will always remain a profound memory in my life.  Perhaps not significant to others, but epoch making for me.

Only one other thing seemed certain - I will be there next year, I will be there every year.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.


Star Trek is a living piece of history, it's impact on the way we see the universe and our goals for the future cannot be overstated.


GROUP: Members


Report this Sep. 01 2011, 7:40 pm

Thank you soooo much for posting this!

It brings back so many memories.... I had the best time ever!

Enjoy next year!


GROUP: Members

POSTS: 537

Report this Sep. 05 2011, 5:06 am

Leonard Nimoy's farewell was a very emotional moment. I had tears in my eyes. I've waited almost 40 years to meet him (it was my first convention also) and know i will never see him again. I will at least have a picture of him and me (and my wife) to remember. God bless you Mr. Nimoy. Live long and prosper.

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