We couldn’t wait to get to Las Vegas to experience the Creation Star Trek convention and then, suddenly, it was over. Like so many other significant events in life, our whirlwind tour of all things Trek passed far too quickly; as did our visit to Santa Barbara afterward. Yet we managed to squeeze in a great many things in five days and we’ve come away with so much that mere words cannot adequately describe.
Perhaps the greatest thing we got from the trip was a lasting memory to be shared by a father and son. At 13 years old, my boy is rapidly approaching the period in his life when hanging out with Dad will undoubtedly be pretty low on his priority list. So it was with great satisfaction that I brought him on this journey with me – not just because I love his company but to allow him a unique opportunity to experience so many things on such a grand scale: the plane rides, the hotel stay, the convention with its myriad activities and galaxy of stars, the drive to California afterward, staying with cool relatives he had never met, and so much more. I like to think the convention was a high point of our trip but really the whole trip was one big high point! I hope my son feels the same way. I’m pretty sure he does.
In any case, since this is a Star Trek blog, it would seem that a summary of the final day in Vegas is in order. If I haven’t completely crapped out when I finish typing, I may recap the con as a whole also.
Our Sunday began even earlier than our Saturday did. The biggest difference, however, is that we were well rested. So we managed to get out of bed and dressed in ample time to make our 7:00 am “Classic Trek Breakfast”. This is a continental breakfast attended by a half dozen actors who appeared in the original ’60’s Star Trek TV series – some regulars, some guest stars. It’s a great concept. 50 or 60 fans have breakfast, seated at round tables in groups of 7 or 8 each. The stars in attendance come and sit down, sip coffee and eat croissants, and talk to the fans. After a while they rotate to different tables. When an hour or two have elapsed, all the stars have ended up sitting with all the fans. We had the great pleasure of dining with George Takei, Nichele Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, Charlie Brill, and two actors who appeared as gangsters in the episode “A Piece of the Action”. It was a terrific way to start our final day and it immediately put us in a good mood.
After a brief return to our hotel for check-out, we proceeded back to the Rio and hit the dealers’ room one last time. So many family members deserved souvenirs that we felt like we were on a mission to find something special for each of them. Of course, we were so successful that I had to make a trip to the car with all of the items we had bought. Meanwhile, my son decided to wait for me in the unmanned “Star Trek – Infinite Space” booth and he saw Patrick Stewart while I was gone. As luck would have it, Sir Patrick left the room almost right behind me – had I stopped and turned around I’d have likely bumped right into him! Oh well. It didn’t bother us that much because after I returned, we found the incredibly talented David Gerrold sitting alone at the tribbletoys.com booth and we were able to spend a good 15 minutes talking to him about the excellent seminar he had conducted the previous day and about my son’s interest in writing. Mr. Gerrold, of course, remembered my son and called him by name. He also autographed a copy of his book and two Star Trek scripts for us which had us walking on air for the remainder of the morning.
We wandered around a bit more and ran into some very nice fans dressed as Yeoman Rand and Captain KIrk. We took some pictures with them and then finished our last little bit of shopping, stopping to say hi to Lawrence Montaigne (“Stonn”) along the way. After a break for lunch, we went to the main theater to find our seats for the upcoming appearance of Patrick Stewart. Once we got situated, I stepped out of the theater for a moment and ended up bumping into Don Marshall (“Lt. Boma”)… he really is a nice guy whose acting career apparently fizzled after the ’70’s and he does the cons as a way to make a little extra cash. It was the second time I had a chance to talk to him at length and I thoroughly enjoyed his company.
When I returned to my seat, the house lights were just coming down and an instant later Sir Patrick Stewart was stepping onstage to a rousing ovation. He did a very abbreviated presentation before going directly to Q&A with fans who had lined up at microphones on either side of the stage. This is standard fare at the cons and most actors who take the stage will answer questions from some fans. I had experienced this in New York City when I saw Patrick Stewart in the early ’90’s. His answers were entertaining and, in some cases, led to the telling of wonderful stories. Then, out of the blue, he called out to Adam (the Creation Entertainment rep who oversees the stars’ stage appearances) and said, “Adam, I thought you told me this guy wasn’t going to be allowed at any more of your conventions!”. We were a bit taken aback at first until we realized it was Brent Spiner standing at the mic waiting to ask a question! Mr. Spiner hilariously poked fun at Mr. Stewart – the whole time in character as nerd who pesters the star to the point of aggravation. It was obviously improvised and side-splittingly funny!
About 30 minutes into his appearance, Sir Patrick was joined onstage by Kate Mulgrew and William Shatner. The three Star Trek captains did a great shtick and kept us entertained for the better part of the next half hour. It was really the most exciting stage appearance of the whole con in terms of sheer “wow factor” and both my son and I were fairly well blown away by it – so much so that we didn’t feel it necessary to stay and hear Ms. Mulgrew and Mr. Shatner speak individually. We really felt that nothing they could say or do alone would top the camaraderie they exhibited when together and we had a 350 mile drive ahead of us! So we left the Rio Suites and headed for Santa Barbara, CA to visit relatives but we felt completely satisfied doing so as we had gotten more than our money’s worth out of the whole experience.
A Star Trek convention is, after all, so many wonderful things all under one roof. There are countless activities other than the ones I’ve touched on here: trivia contests, cabaret performances, music videos, costume balls, and more. There are so many unique opportunities for fans to feel connected to their beloved Star Trek and its actors & creators, Mostly though, there is the pervasive attitude among all the fans who get together there that our future, as depicted in Star Trek, is one that is worth looking forward to, aspiring to, and making happen. I have had two lovely days on the shores of sunny California to mull over what a wonderful experience it was to be with so many other people whose outlook (and love of Star Trek) is so much like mine and my son’s. Now that it’s time to begin the voyage home, I know those great feelings will stay with me and make this part of the journey a memorable one.
NOTE: For a visual recap of the events at the con, follow the link below to the Las Vegas Sun website for photo coverage of many of the events (including a shot of the humble author and son taking a much needed lunch break!)