Sunday at Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention in Nashville, Tennessee (at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Resort) opened with a riotous appearance from those notorious Klingons Gowron and Martok (Robert O'Reilly and J.G. Hertzler). In booming voices, they began by complimenting Creation for the music selection for their opening music video. It seems Creation's previous musical selection was deemed too sissyish for the larger-than-life Klingons, and the convention organizers were clearly looking to avoid a similar humiliation. A mere human member of the audience was brought on to the stage for further taunts and insults (very funny). Then the pair launched into a thunderous rap song ("We Are Klingons"), marching, popping and clicking their way through several stanzas. Gowron noted that "Klingons don't have to be nice to anybody!" He also bragged of having whipped his sister! Martok noted that he had two sisters. Gowron said, "I'm sorry!" Then they went on to perform their infamous "chicken joke." George the rooster was getting old and a younger rooster came on the scene, trying to steal his mojo with the many cute hens in the roost. The two roosters decided to do a competition to see which could "service" the hens the quickest. Watching the two Klingons scoot across the stage squawking "Thank you lady" multiple times is something this reporter found outrageous and hysterical. The punch line is something that must be seen, not heard! Martok (J.G.) then blew everyone away with a Shakespearean monologue (both actors are classically trained), and then they departed the stage to a standing ovation.
The program continued with some clips from the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek Vegas Celebration, featuring a wide spectrum of celebrities, production people (like Michael Westmore) and fascinating fans. During this period, many fans went out into the large vendors’ area, which by now was hosting sales of all sorts of Trek and sci-fi collectibles. Some of the things viewed for sale included matted and framed autographs from sci-fi series like Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5 and Doctor Who; Star Trek metal lunchboxes (virtually antiques at this point); original fan artwork and prints; buttons, pins, dog tags, patches, jewelry and other small items; comic books and more.
Meanwhile, Richard Arnold, Gene Roddenberry's longtime assistant and Star Trek historian, came on stage to present part two of his 45th Anniversary of Star Trek slide presentation. This one focused on more recent events, and featured Richard's experience being turned into a Romulan for J.J. Abrams’ film. It also touched on Majel Barrett Roddenberry's last visit to a Star Trek set and her meeting with J.J. Abrams. She’d complimented J.J. for how he works with his team of actors and production people, and noted that J.J. passed all praise on to his co-workers. Richard commented that deflecting praise to co-workers was a strong character trait of Gene's as well, and a noble one. The truth is, however, that without guys like Roddenberry and Abrams there would be no Star Trek, nor a world class re-imagining of it. Arnold also spoke about the filming of Bill Shatner's documentary The Captains for Epix TV. Some of it was captured at the 2010 Creation Las Vegas Convention, and in a whirlwind, over the July 4th weekend, separate interviews were conducted with Scott Bakula (on a ranch in Moorpark, Ca), Kate Mulgrew (on a Broadway stage in Manhattan), Avery Brooks (at his home in Princeton, N.J.) and Patrick Stewart (as his home in the English countryside). Bill also caught up to Chris Pine on the lot at Paramount. The result was a fantastic, personal look at the professional and personal experiences of those actors on their Star Trek journey. Arnold also had some high praise for J.J. Abrams, whose personal conviction to live up to Gene Roddenberry's vision for Trek was fairly obsessive and reverential.
After that, Creation co-CEO and show host Adam Malin joined Arnold on stage for a heartfelt reminiscence of their many years working with the Star Trek talent, including those that have passed on. Clearly emotional and with deep affection, they remembered Deforest (and Carolyn) Kelley, James Doohan, Ricardo Montalban and some of the others who have graced Trek down through the years. Malin recalled a concert with Nichelle Nichols at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim where the power went down and electrical trunk lines had to be brought in from Disneyland next door. Nichelle was stoic throughout the delay and the performance got back on track without her breaking a sweat. Arnold noted that Ricardo Montalban was proud of how he looked in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Some fans thought Khan's beefy chest was a prosthetic of some sort, but it was all manly Montalban. Malin recounted the early Creation Star Trek events, and in particular Deforest Kelley's wonderful poetry ("Big Bird's Dream") that he would read at the conventions. This segment was way too short.
After another music video (the insanely funny "Duck Dodgers in The 24th Century"), Malin returned for a session of Creation's famous "Stump the Experts" Trivia Contest. This one involves bringing three fans from the audience on stage, taking audience trivia questions and trying to rack up five points correct in a row. The questions from the audience ranged from easy to incredibly difficult, and the experts pulled from the audience fared well.
Then they offered their final No Minimum Bid Auction of the weekend, where collectibles went for ridiculously low prices. Highlights included an out-of-print series of William Shatner Tek War hardcovers, a complete Star Trek card collectible series in looseleaf, and signed cast shots of the TNG and Voyager casts.
With the completion of that, the great "Austrian" curtains dropped down to the stage and a music video heralded the arrival of our Captain, James T. Kirk. To a thunderous standing ovation, the curtains lifted, revealing William Shatner, looking fit, healthy and dressed smartly in a handsome collared shirt and jeans. Bill was clearly excited about the arrival of his documentary The Captains, and spoke at length about the challenges and rewards of the shoot. He also noted that actors can sometimes forget their lines, and they count on each other for prompts to help remember the next line. He also revealed that he has completed a book called "Shatner Rules!" that is coming out in October, and he lamented the cancellation of his recent series. He also spoke of an upcoming music project called "Seeking Major Tom" (alluding to the David Bowie song), which is based on a series of songs with sci-fi and space travel as a theme ("She Blinded Me with Science," "Walking On the Moon," etc.). He's even taking on "Bohemian Rhapsody"! Bill spoke at length about his collaboration with Ben Folds (who is from Nashville). The studio that they recorded "Has Been" in is the same one in which Elvis recorded many of his hits. Bill also validated what so many other Trek actors have said: that Trek is Shakespearean in dimension and many Trek actors cut their teeth on the Bard.
Shatner then left the stage as he arrived, to a standing ovation -- a glorious end to a great weekend for Star Trek fans.