Fans from around the galaxy descended on Music Town, USA -- Nashville, Tennessee -- for Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention, held at the amazing Gaylord Orpyland Resort. This hotel is one of the most-prestigious venues in the world, with more than 3,000 luxury rooms and suites, gargantuan state-of-the-art convention space, formal theaters with curtained proscenium stages, and gorgeous climate-controlled atriums filled with exotic plants and flowers. Creation outdid themselves this time in the site selection, and their convention space was stunning.
Once the show opened, fans were treated to a spacious vendors area with some great Trek and sci-fi merchandise on sale. Then it was on to the giant theater for day one of programming. Fans weren't disappointed with the first area appearance by the notorious Klingon sisters Lursa and B'Etor. Spitting, cursing and generally threatening the human attendees, the Sisters growled and sneered their way through a terrifying (and hysterical) appearance. Actresses Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh were transformed by makeup guru John Paladin into their characters, and with regal Klingon uniforms they looked essentially the way they did in Star Trek: Generations. The Sisters opened with their rendition of "I'm A Klingon" (to the tune of "I'm A Woman") to huge applause. Then, they summoned a Canadian member of the audience up to the stage (both actresses are Canadian). He was clearly unnerved by the Sister's "feminine" wiles! They then summoned another attendee, and caressed his hair seductively only to banish him back to his seat! Barbara went on to talk about their backgrounds on the stage, including work with some of the excellent Shakespeare repertory companies in Canada. Gwynyth complained that her Mom always used to tell her that she looked so ugly as a Klingon (most fanboys will admit to finding the Sisters attractive in a dangerous, perverse way). They described the process of making casts for the Klingon teeth (drooling over a sink for 10 minutes with molds shoved in their mouths). They also spoke about their first meeting with Gene Roddenberry, a fun encounter in which he remarked how much he liked their look. Then Lursa went into the audience and pulled a poor gentleman ("Tom") up on stage. Ordering him to kneel, they started stroking his head and sniffing him (very freaky). After this humiliation they exiled him back to the audience. Finally, they were asked if Klingons breast feed their young (they do not, but the Sisters wouldn't say how the young are fed). Clearly the audience loved the notorious Sisters.
After a selection of wonderful music videos from the Creation Music Video vaults, Richard Arnold, longtime assistant to Gene Roddenberry, took to the stage for a spirited presentation on 45 Years of Star Trek. This audio-visual segment featured rare behind-the-scenes production shots from the filming of TOS. Some shots were amazing, like how they composited the special effects sequences, matte backgrounds and models. During the Q&A, Arnold discussed several topics. He noted that Susan Oliver, the actress from "The Cage" ("The Menagerie"), was a solo airplane pilot with several world records.
After a short stage reset, Creation Co-CEO Adam Malin offered an entertaining and fast-paced no-minimum-bid auction. Malin came packing some impressive signed collectibles from all five Star Trek series. Of particular note was a set of out-of-print William Shatner hardcovers, a photo signed by all five Star Trek Captains and a lithograph signed by moon astronaut Alan Bean. Some of the prices on sold items were scandalously low.
Next up, Enterprise actor Connor Trinneer took to the stage to huge audience applause. This fan favorite entertained with some funny stories, including his description of a commercial he filmed for Club Med. Based on the success of that spot, he got a gig as the Marlboro Man for a Japanese cigarette company. Interestingly, it was a reverse psychology commercial in that he is portrayed as having quit cigarettes, yet the purpose was to sell them! These commercial reels were how he got L.A. casting agents to test him for Enterprise, and then boom, he got the role. He told his agent that he wasn't sure he wanted the role, being afraid that it might typecast him. But he ultimately took the job, much to the delight of his legion of fans. Soon after, he was invited up to Vancouver to shoot Stargate: Atlantis. His role was considered a throw away at the time, a one-off, but it turned into 15 appearances as Michael, the hybrid human-Wraith (a big hit with SG fans). On the subject of being an actor, he urged people to reconsider the job unless they are totally driven to act. He also suggested learning to wait tables! He revealed that he is currently the voice of Nike Golf, "the gift that keeps on giving." On the topic of sci fi, he claimed to be somewhat of a newbie to it until he got the role of Trip. This reporter found that a contradiction to his brilliant analogy of the Gaylord Opryland atriums, filled with tropical plants and trees, to the botanical domes of Bruce Dern's film Silent Running. Connor said he was looking for Huey, Dewey and Louie (the forward thinking drones of that film) at the convention! In closing, he stated modestly that he isn't always satisfied with his work, and that the key is to keep a positive attitude and keep trying to do your best. To that, he got a standing ovation.
Next up was an audience participation session in which several fans were invited to offer their ideas for a future Trek feature film. The winner proposed a visit from Harry Mudd to the new J.J. Abrams Enterprise crew, something that met with universal approval.
Creation wrapped the day with some more memorable music videos, including a poignant tribute to the late Jerry Goldsmith (Jerry composed scores to five Trek feature films). All in all, a fitting cap to a great starter day at The Official Star Trek Convention in Nashville.