“Live long and prosper”
And we all say…
“Peace and long life!”
Some of you knew this was coming. I announced at the beginning of September that as part of a month-long birthday celebration, Natasha and I would be attending a Star Trek Convention in Chicago on the 15th.
We went, we saw, we laughed (a lot) and we bought a T-shirt. Here are the details:
Tickets for a Star Trek convention can be very pricey. There were attendees that paid around $600 for three days of admittance, the right to sit in the front row of the main convention room, attend special parties and have the opportunity for photos with and autographs from their favorite Trek celebrity.
Natasha and I were cheap and paid for the $30 no-frills general admission. We passed on the $50 autograph from Brent Spiner (Data), although it was fun to see him and Daniel Davis (Dr. Moriarity) up close. Many additional celebrities were there on Saturday (Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Nichelle Nichols, etc.), and I imagine there were more Trekkies in costume as well.
I’ll let the photos and my comments speak for the costumes.
I know, not many costumes on Friday. I wanted to take a photo of Seven of Nine, but she kept eluding me. Probably commiserating behind closed doors with the Borg.
Upon entering the large ballroom, the first speaker was Suzie Plakson, who played K’Ehleyr on Star Trek: TNG. She was accompanied by Michael Paladin, the show’s make-up artist, who transformed Suzie into K’Ehleyr right before our eyes. Very cool. This was followed by a game of Star Trek trivia and a 30th TNG Anniversary presentation, complete with off camera photos of the TNG cast and a few funny stories.
Our favorite speaker was John Billingsley, who played Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise.
This guy was hilarious. He could have been a stand-up comedian. He started out by saying he was part of the cast that almost killed the Star Trek franchise. Yeah, the Enterprise series didn’t go over very well and lasted a mere three years on network TV. He believes the “five people” that were watching the show were probably sad at it’s cancellation.
John didn’t talk about characters and episodes. He thought that would be boring. Instead, he encouraged the audience to ask him “the most embarrassing questions” we could think of to keep his forty-five minutes entertaining. There were prizes involved. John ran around the ballroom to talk to audience members and would do the Captain Kirk “tuck and roll” back onto the stage before answering another question.
Natasha and I did not ask any questions. We were laughing too hard at the shenanigans.
Natasha and I were somewhat disappointed by the vendor area. We thought it would be bigger and there would be more than one vendor selling a variety of T-shirts. We also failed to find a Star Trek coffee mug and earrings that suited our tastes and budget. Nevertheless, we both went home with a T-shirt and bumper stickers (that we’re not adhering to our bumpers) and had a fun talk with Dan at the Gaaays in Spaace booth.
Dan’s group came to fruition a year ago, named after The Muppets “Piiigs in Spaaace!” They were hosting a party offsite, open to any convention attendees. Natasha and I had other plans – to have dinner and head back to the convention for Friday night karaoke.
Yes, we sang karaoke. On stage. While my performance of “That’s the Way (I Like it)” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band was okay, Natasha rocked the house with Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” She got a high-five from emcee John Billingsley. He continued his comedic ways by offering commentary after each performance, including telling Natasha “that’s your shit,” but he didn’t know what that had to do with bananas.
Sorry, no photos or video. Nothing to see here.
Natasha and I decided two things: 1) If we had to do it over again, we might have bought a ticket for Saturday instead of Friday. More celebrities and more costumes. Then again, we would have missed John Billingsley and karaoke. 2) Unless we manage to get to the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, we’ll probably not go to a Star Trek convention again any time soon. This was a one-time “bucket list” item. I know…bad Star Trek nerds.
There are those who take this Star Trek thing very seriously. They plan their vacations around the conventions. They plan their costuming a year in advance. Their living room looks like the bridge of the Enterprise. Natasha and I don’t take it quite so seriously. Yes, we have our Star Trek pajamas and T-shirts and Star Trek key chain, but we can’t quite get to the point of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on fandom. It’s not in our psyche or our budget.
Still, this was a fun experience, one that we will not soon forget.
Live long, prosper, and peace people.