Creation Star Trek Boston 2013 convention report

On Saturday, 8 June 2013, I met former co-worker and fellow blogger Ken G. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston for the Creation Star Trek show. While I’ve been to several genre entertainment events in the past few years, this was the first purely Trek gathering in some time.

There were relatively few vendors at the con, partly because the space opera franchise hasn’t had many new installments lately, the Star Trek: Into Darkness reboot sequel notwithstanding. Most of the fans we met preferred the original continuity, from the short-lived 1960s television series through Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise.

We went to lunch at Café Jaffa, from where we could watch people gathering for Boston’s Pride Parade, for which Star Trek: the Next Generation alumna Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar) was the marshal. I may have been in a Deep Space Nine/First Contact uniform, but I felt underdressed amid the colorful costumes.

Back at the con, Ken and I sat in on writer Morgan Gendel’s panel on the Next Generation episode “The Inner Light,” which I appreciated more after learning how the show won a Hugo Award. As I’ve noted before, The Next Generation is still my favorite TV Trek because of its professional but idealistic crew that became a surrogate family. “The Inner Light” was a good example of the strength of allegorical and episodic storytelling, compared with today’s arc-dominated dramas.

We also attended the costume contest, where numerous Trekkies or Trekkers showed off their creativity in representing various series. I cheered the cosplayer dressed as an Andorian, but I have to admit that the fan dressed as Capt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott was a ringer for the late James Doohan.

After that, Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson regaled the audience with stories from their time playing ill-fated Klingon lovers Worf and K’Ehleyr. They also politely but firmly declined to return to those roles, saying that too much time has passed.

We hung out for a short time during the auction, and then enjoyed seeing George Takei, a.k.a. Capt. Hikaru Sulu. He responded to a question about his favorite movie featuring the original series cast with Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country, in which Sulu got to be in the opening and closing scenes as captain of the Excelsior. Takei also noted that John Cho did a fine job in J.J. Abrams’ recent films.

In addition, Takei acknowledged that he has help with his popular Facebook posts, which cover sci-fi, humor, and politics. As an Asian-American and a speculative fiction fan, I appreciate Takei’s activism and roles. Trek continues to have a fan base that’s wonderfully diverse in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity, and I hope that the movies can become more heroic and restore the franchise’s popularity.

Brent Spiner and Gates McFadden then took the stage to talk about their time as android Data and Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: the Next Generation and various theatrical roles. I had seen most of the actors at this con before, but never so many in person together.

Ken and I grabbed dinner at Tossed in the Shops at Prudential Center. Back at the con, we had photo ops with Mr. Takei and LeVar Burton, a.k.a. Geordi LaForge. I didn’t get autographs this time around, but the photo ops were personalized souvenirs.

With Geordi LaForge
Ken, LeVar, and Gene

I was glad that we were able to get tickets to the headline event of the con, a reunion of much of the Next Generation cast, with William Shatner serving as moderator! Apparently, Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Capt. Will T. Riker), and Wil Wheaton (En. Wesley Crusher) weren’t available, but I’d seen two out of the three before anyway.

Shatner may have a big ego, but he has aged surprisingly gracefully and has been a good interviewer. His charisma and sense of humor helped the unruly crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701D and E in conversation. Everyone made fun of Sir Patrick’s initial pretensions as a Shakespearean actor.

Crosby, McFadden, and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi) talked about their struggles with sexism in the first season of the show in 1987. Despite creator Gene Roddenberry’s humanism, The Next Generation had a less-than-auspicious start, leading to McFadden and Crosby’s departures. McFadden eventually returned, and Crosby made some memorable cameos.

Snarky Spiner and deep-voiced Dorn demonstrated how they and Frakes would joke around with their costars on the set, leading to several frustrated directors. With prompting from Shatner and Sirtis, who vied for control, earnest Burton and Dorn recounted how the “Code of Honor” episode was terribly racist, but they stuck with the show, which gradually improved. All of the actors said they liked fond spoof Galaxy Quest.

Ken returned to the convention the next day to get more autographs. Also in attendance were Nichelle Nichols, the original Lt. Nyota Uhura, and Deep Space Nine‘s Rene Auberjonois (Odo) and Nana Visitor (Maj. Kira Nerys). The only living members of the core casts of the original series and Next Gen whom I haven’t yet met are Leonard “I’m not Spock” Nimoy and Wheaton.

The convention might have been pricey, but I enjoyed it more than Into Darkness and was pleased to learn that Creation plans on holding it again next year. In the meantime, live long and prosper!

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Storm season, 2013 edition

Just over a week ago, the U.S. Northeast was hit by a blizzard after a relatively mild winter so far. “Nemo,” as some dubbed it, dumped about two feet of snow on Boston between 8 and 9 February 2013. Fortunately, we had ample warning, and Janice and I were able to work from home on that Friday.

Found Nemo
Clearing up after February blizzard

It took several rounds of shoveling to clear our patio and cars, especially since Janice’s car got buried in the 12-foot-tall pile at the end of a row in our apartment complex’s parking lot. Still, hardy New Englanders were back to work on the following Monday, even if my face-to-face tabletop role-playing game was postponed again because of narrowed roads and difficulty getting quorum.

On Friday, 15 February 2013, Janice and I traveled to Chicago for the wedding of a daughter of one of my maternal cousins. We had visited them a few years ago. At Logan Airport, we had breakfast at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Janice and I had an uneventful flight, picked up our rental car, and checked into the Hyatt Place in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

We then joined my parents and my brother’s family for a filling lunch at the Lucky Monk brewpub. After a brief rest (since large gatherings usually involve eating), we went to Margie & Joe’s wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner at Bankok House & Shanghai Restaurant in downtown Elgin, Ill.

The next morning, I watched cartoons with my brother and nieces, who also follow the strong but underrated lineup of Young Justice, Green Lantern: the Animated Series, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. We returned to Lou Malnati’s for proper deep-dish pizza.

My second cousin’s wedding was conducted at the Highland Church of the Brethren. The groom’s step-grandmother officiated at a ceremony that Margie & Joe designed themselves, gathering a diverse set of traditions. The reception was held at the Seville, a large hall that can apparently host several such celebrations simultaneously.

We ate, conversed with fellow guests and family members, and danced (even if we didn’t join the younger folks for “Gagnam Style“). The partying went on late into the evening, and a good time was had by all in Chicago. I’ll try to share some photos when they get uploaded.

Our return to Boston was delayed by only an hour by the latest snow. I finished reading Redshirts, which I enjoyed — it’s similar to the movie Galaxy Quest as a loving riff on Star Trek, but it was a little meta for my taste. On the way home, Janice and I got sandwiches at Charcoal Guido’s, a new eatery on Moody Street in Waltham, Mass., for “linner” (lunch+dinner).

After a few weeks’ interruption, the games resumed last night with Jason’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars.” I’ll try to post an update for the planetary romance session soon.

Tonight, I’m meeting some former co-workers for dinner at Little India and the latest “Escapists” book club meeting. We’ll be discussing the magical realist graphic novel Daytripper, which I enjoyed. So much to do, so little time!

Looking back at 2012 and ahead to 2013

I hope that you and your family had a very happy holiday season, and I wish everyone a healthy, peaceful, prosperous, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2013
Happy New Year!

2012 was a difficult year for many people, with a lingering economic recession, armed conflicts abroad, and political polarization and uncertainty in the U.S., as well as devastating weather and mass murders. Janice and I each have an uncle who is very ill, and no fewer than three of our friends in their 40s are fighting cancer. Let us hope that 2013 is better!

My job as an editor at a journalism company near Boston is OK. I’m still splitting my time between managing a Web site and editing technology-related content for custom online publishing. Janice has gotten settled in after Oracle bought her start-up employer last spring.

As you may recall, I got a new Honda Fit hatchback late in 2011, and this past spring, Janice and I moved from Needham, Mass., where we had lived for about eight years, on relatively short notice. We ended up moving to Waltham, Mass., about 15 miles northwest of Boston. It took us a while to find our bearings and get unpacked — our new apartment is a bit smaller — but our commutes are still mercifully short. There are lots of good restaurants in a variety of cuisines nearby.

While Janice and I didn’t get to go on any big trips this past year, we did get down to metropolitan New York for informal reunions of some of my friends from high school and college. It was great to reconnect with former roommate Frank D.!

In August, Janice’s and my families met for the first time since our wedding (back in 1995). We also attended several craft fairs, seasonal festivals, and comic book/genre entertainment conventions.

In addition, we spent a weekend at a nice bed and breakfast in Bennington, Vermont. I hope to catch up with friends in the Washington D.C. area in the coming year. Byron V.O., Ben P.S., and other friends also plan to visit New England.

We spent Thanksgiving with Janice’s family in Upstate New York and Christmas with mine in Virginia. It was nice to see my nieces and nephews, even if the drives were long. Janice plans to visit her extended family down in Pennsylvania in the coming month.

While I’ll no doubt be busy with work and the usual games in the coming weeks, I hope to post roundups of the past year in genre entertainment and things to look forward to. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to discuss!