Day two began a bit uneventfully. I put on my Star Trek Discovery cosplay, which consists of a “Disco” t-shirt, black sweats and exercise shoes.
Before I continue, I wish to say thank you to the producers and particularly the costume designers of Star Trek Discovery for creating what has got to be the easiest Star Trek uniform cosplay imaginable. Today’s outfit of mine was the ‘mirror universe’ version of the Disco exercise wear; a black t-shirt (instead of Starfleet-issue navy blue), with the evil ‘Terran Empire’ symbols instead of the benign Starfleet emblems. I also have the prime universe version, and I plan to wear it on Sunday when I (hopefully?) meet several members of the Discovery cast.
One of the things on my agenda today was to attend the Star Trek: Voyager cast panel this morning. To be honest I’m not the biggest VGR fan, but the cast members are always hilarious to watch whenever they get together. Seeing Jeri Ryan (“Seven of Nine”), Garrett Wang (“Ensign Harry Kim”), Ethan Philips (“Neelix”), Tim Russ (“Tuvok”) and Robert Beltran (“Chakotay”) onstage was a lot of fun.
Wang does insanely funny impersonations of his fellow cast members, and Beltran had an unexpected talent for accents. Jeri Ryan lights up any room, and Ethan Philips is wonderfully bonkers. Tim Russ has a dry sense of humor that is almost Vulcan in its sardonicism (maybe Tuvok rubbed off on him?).
I stayed for most of the panel, but I had something else of importance to get to…my interview with author/screenwriter/producer/director Marc Scott Zicree.
The interview was an embarrassment of riches. Zicree was so affable and optimistic that his can-do vibe was downright contagious. He answered each of my questions in such depth, detail and with such enthusiasm that I’m planning to devote a 2-part post of the full interview as soon as I’m back from Star Trek Vegas. Zicree wrote “The Twilight Zone Companion” (the definitive book on TZ), as well as the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “First Contact” (not the same-name 1996 Star Trek movie, but the thoughtful, intriguing 4th season episode). He also wrote the story for what became one of the greatest episodes of Deep Space Nine ever produced; season 6’s “Far Beyond the Stars.” Zicree also wrote and directed (along with his wife Elaine) the excellent Star Trek: Phase II fan film, “World Enough and Time,” which gave George Takei‘s “Mr. Sulu” a depth he’d never had been truly afforded in either the original Star Trek series or the movies. This so-called ‘fan film’ was nominated for a Hugo award. It is unquestionably Takei’s finest turn as Sulu, and a must-see for any Star Trek fan. The ending will leave you reaching for the Kleenex, I promise.
Currently, Zicree is working on his crowdsourced space epic, SpaceCommand. Donations to complete the 12 hour series for future sale can be made at Kickstarter here. He was friends with the late Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon and so many others. His stories are truly fascinating. My interview with Zicree went on a bit longer than either of us anticipated since there were fans of his coming up to his table seeking autographs. I was more than happy to pause my iPhone voice memo recording to allow him to interact with his fans because, well, that’s why he’s there, right? But the full 2-part interview is coming soon…
I also caught up quickly with Aron Eisenberg (“Nog” on Deep Space Nine), whom I’m interviewing for Trekcore.com this Saturday.
I also ran into actor John Billingsley (“Dr. Phlox” on Enterprise), whom I’d met before in 2016. Like before, we had a conversation about something we’re both fiercely passionate about… politics. I won’t get into specifics here, as I try my best to keep this blog somewhat apolitical. Suffice it to say he and I are very much on the same page. In fact, he gave me his email address regarding a political fundraiser he’s hosting at his home (to which I was invited!). Phlox was one of my favorite characters on Star Trek: Enterprise and I see that a lot of that charm and humor comes from the actor himself. Later on, I observed him warmly interacting with his former cast-mates Dominick Keating (“Lt. Malcolm Reed”) and Anthony Montgomery (“Ensign Travis Mayweather”); both of whom I’d met at earlier conventions. I didn’t take any pics, as it seemed a private greeting of old friends. Discretion and such…
Also had a brief glimpse of actor Jason Isaacs (Captain Gabriel Lorca of “Star Trek Discovery” and Lucius Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” movies), but it was from far away; there was a guy standing near him to make sure iPhone shutterbugs like me couldn’t get too close. At one point, Isaacs stepped away from his autograph queue (and his shadow guy) to take a call, and that’s when I tried my best…and pretty much failed. I was much too far away. Not my best paparazzi effort. Apologies.
Afterward I managed to take a couple of quick pics of the Deep Space Nine “Ferengi Family Reunion” with Chase Masterson (“Leeta”), Max Grodenchik (“Rom”) and the aforementioned Aron Eisenberg (“Nog”) in costume and full makeup for the panel. I didn’t get a chance to watch too much of it, but it looked like fun.
Oh, and I also took a lot of cosplay photos today…
Later in the afternoon I decided to get out my “Stone Trek” mashup cosplay (Star Trek/Fred Flintstone) and have a whirl at it this year as well. This morning four people recognized me as “that Fred Flintstone guy” from Comic Con and from last year’s Vegas convention, even though I was wearing my “Disco” exercise wear (and with my glasses on, no less!). I used to be utterly incognito out of my Flintstone costume, but after nine years of playing Fred at various conventions, I guess I’m becoming a bit of a fixture at these things now (?).
I had to cut it short after about an hour or so, because the sandals I brought with me for the costume were cutting into my toes (ouch!). They weren’t the same sandals I’d worn at previous conventions, and unfortunately I soon remembered why. I posed for about 20-30 pics in and around the convention area before I called it a night.
So, I went back to my room on the 13th floor. Yes, the 13th floor (insert bad luck joke here). The ’13th floor’ superstition may explain the broken bedside lamp in my room when I checked in, and a seemingly permanent cigarette aroma in my ‘non-smoking’ room. The smell has even permeated my sheets. One thing I truly do miss about California; no cigarette smells indoors at any public place or hotel.
Oh well. It’s a relatively small price to pay for the absurd amount of fun I’m having here at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018…and it’s only Day Two! I’ve still got my upcoming meeting with Aron Eisenberg, as well as my autograph session with George Takei. I’m also covering an event for Star Trek Online, with Discovery cast member Mary Wiseman. And I’m sure I’ll see a LOT more cosplayers!
Two down, three more days to go…
Thanks for reading. Live long and prosper!