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 CafĂ© 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!

Belated weekend outdoors

On Friday, 19 April 2013, Janice and I worked from home, partly because Waltham, Mass., was among the communities under lockdown because of the manhunt after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. After a tragic and tense week, we were relieved when the second suspect was caught. I hope that justice will be served.

That evening, college chum David I.S. arrived from Upstate New York with his lady friend Sandra K. Even though the Boston Comic Con was postponed indefinitely, we resolved to make the most of our weekend together.

On Saturday, April 20, Janice, Dave, Sandra, and I went into town for sightseeing. On the way, we visited Outer Limits Comics and had a buffet lunch at Kabab & Tandoor in Waltham. We parked at my office in Newton, Mass., before catching the “T.”

We walked from Back Bay, through the Public Garden and Boston Common, to Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall, and the North End. Lots of Bostonians and tourists were enjoying the nice weather and recovering from cabin fever.

We later met Thomas K.Y. and some of Sandra’s friends for dinner at Nourish in Lexington, Mass. The food was good, but conversation was difficult because a musician was competing with Dave’s stentorian voice.

Although we didn’t get to watch any movies or genre television together, Dave, Sandra, Janice, and I enjoyed discussing travel, food, work, relationships, and religion, among other topics. If just Dave and I had met, we would have stayed up even later analyzing comics, games, and more.

The next day, we went hiking in the Blue Hills Reservation after Janice’s weekly stint at the animal shelter. I was the slowest of our foursome. After stopping by Pandemonium Books & Games and Cambridge Bicycle, we met Thomas and more of Sandra’s friends for a good dinner at the Asgard. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Thomas’ girlfriend Kai-Yin H., who was returning from a conference.

Hiking trails south of Boston
Blue Hills Reservation

Dave and Sandra left on Monday morning, and I’ve been catching up on work and other stuff since then. This coming weekend, I’ll be traveling to central New York for a wedding. So much to do, so little time!

Labor Day 2012 — restaurant weekend

On Saturday, 1 September 2012, I met Thomas K.Y. & Kai-Yin H. and college chum Stuart C.G. and his family. Stu and his wife Zoe and their sons Sammy and Benji were in Boston for a wedding. On the way, I stopped by the Compleat Strategist and Pandemonium Books & Games. We went to Hei La Moon in Chinatown for a dim sum lunch.

After that, we took the “T” to the Museum of Science to let the boys “burn off some of their excess energy” (their own words). We headed back downtown for dinner at Oishii, the best sushi and sashimi restaurant in the area. The food, presentation, and service were all very good, if also very pricey. Janice didn’t join us because she doesn’t like seafood.

Sushi and sashimi
Sushi and sashimi at Oishii Boston

After dinner, we hiked back up to No. 9 Park on the Boston Common for dessert. Zoe took her kids back to their hotel, and Thomas and I shared several tasty cheese courses. Unfortunately, service was slow, and even with Thomas giving me a lift back to my car in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I didn’t get home until midnight.

After Janice’s usual shift at the animal shelter on Sunday morning, we went to historic Lexington, Mass., for American food at Lexx. Although most towns in New England have an ice cream parlor, I was pleased to find a few shops in Lexington that serve frozen yogurt because of my late-onset lactose intolerance. We even picked up a container at Rancatore’s to bring home.

On Labor Day 2012, Janice and I returned to Central Square, Cambridge, to meet Thomas & Kai-Yin, Stuart & Zoe, and rambunctious Sammy and Benji for an “Asian-style tapas” brunch at Moksa. Since Stuart and his family had gone to Harvard Square on Sunday, Janice and I headed to the bookshops there while Thomas, Stu, and company went to tony Back Bay.

In addition, I ran my “Vortextelecom space opera game on Sunday night, and I participated in Brian W.’s fun Fiasco scenario last night. I’ve still got some big projects coming due at work, so more role-playing updates and genre entertainment reviews will have to wait for now. Here comes autumn!