Friday has come and gone at Creation Entertainment's Official 45th Anniversary Star Trek convention, and it was a day to remember. More than 100 DS9 fans started the festivities bright and early, at 7 a.m., joining Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman and Kitty Swink, Terry Farrell, Nicole deBoer, Max Grodenchik and Casey Biggs for a reunion breakfast. Speed-dating style, the actors sat at each table for a few minutes, engaging attendees in amiable conversation. At our table, for example, there were folks from New Jersey, Colorado, Germany, Nebraska and California. And, during down tables, attendees could check out the items -- action figures, Trek ships and autographed photos -- available as part of a silent charity auction.
Best t-shirt of the day: Yes, I'm a Trekkie. No, I don't live in my parents' basement.
At 9:15, in the main room, a DS9 Aliens Panel convened. Jeffrey Combs, Armin Shimerman, Casey Biggs, Nicole de Boer, Max Grodenchik, Chase Masterson and Vaughn Armstrong swapped war stories about countless hours spent in makeup chairs, and then they answered fan questions.
At 10:30, Walter Koenig took the stage to a huge ovation from an adoring crowd in the main room. He filled everyone in on his current project, a graphic novel about... vampires. He talked about his decision to appear in Generations. He'd made suggestions to the writers about fleshing out Chekov's scenes. Some of the suggestions made it into the script and were even shot, only to be excised during the editing phase, much to his frustration. His fave TOS feature? The Voyage Home, because of the environmental theme. And he thanked the fans profusely for helping him earn the upcoming honor of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Moments after exiting the stage, Koenig settled into a chair at a table to sign autographs. He cheerfully signed photos, posters, collectibles and more. He was clearly fascinated to see a stack of authentic TOS scripts, one of which had his name inscribed at the top. Opening it, Koenig saw his own handwritten notes scattered on a few pages. "That's definitely me," he said, smiling. "Amazing that it was 44 years ago." About 10 feet away, meanwhile, Nana Visitor is at another table signing for fans in advance of her stage appearance with Rene Auberjonois.
At 10:30, Tim Russ took the stage. He recounts some Voyager experiences before taking questions from fans. Ethan Phillips, he says, considered it his "sole mission" to make him break character. Russ also pointed out that more people recognize him these days for his three appearances on iCarly than his seven seasons on Voyager.
Up next were Rene Auberjonois and Nana Visitor, who played off each other like an old married couple, teasing and cajoling each other. Rene reveals that he'll be back on Warehouse 13 this season and Nana told everyone that she's just relocated back to Los Angeles to get back in the acting game. Later, Visitor and Auberjonois will team up again for their well-received show, Cross Our Hearts, in which they read poetry and even perform scenes from DS9.
Over in the secondary room, Creation co-CEO Gary Berman presided over a no-minimum bid auction. Someone paid $200 for a banner of George Takei and Nichelle Nichols, as well as cut-the-line tickets for their autographs. A framed, autographed TOS cast photo went for $1,800; it's worth about $3,000. And a Leonard Nimoy banner/cut-the-line ticket-for-Nimoy's-autograph combo fetched $675. The auction was followed immediately by a screening of the legendary TOS blooper reels, which still elicit laughs decades later. And at 3 p.m., Larry Nemecek led a rapid-fire trivia challenge.
Up next in the secondary room, in an appearance sponsored by Monopoly: Star Trek Klingon Limited Edition by USAopoly, makeup guru John Paladin picked a fan from the audience to be transformed into a Klingon. The woman he picked was Trish Marcin, from Washington State. She was dressed in full Klingon regalia, minus makeup -- and Paladin promised to finish the job. Over the course of 45 minutes, cracking jokes the whole time, Paladin plied his trade. He explained that fans eager to dress as Klingons want an experience that's "fast, easy, fun and inexpensive." By the end of the session, Marcin looked ready to rumble.
At 3:30, Jonathan Frakes ambled out onto the main stage, where he charmed the crowd, recounting his Trek days and talking about his current projects, which include directing multiple episodes of the just-renewed Leverage. Soon after he departed, The Star Trek Rat Pack elicited cheers, applause and laughs as they perform for a packed house.
And so it went for several more hours, deep into the night, actually. Among the subsequent events and highlights: more than a dozen photo opportunities and autograph signings, Inge Heyer taking fans on "A Journey Through the Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope," "A Leonard Nimoy Photo Seminar," Tim Russ and his band performing at the Captain's Chair Celebration Party at the Rio, and more.
Check back tomorrow for a recap of Saturday's sights, sounds and events.