Star Trek Las Vegas, 2019: Reverse angle on the viewer…

My wife and I spent much of last week (July 31st-August 4th) attending the “Star Trek Las Vegas” convention. My friends Nick and George were there this time (flying in from all over the country) as well as my wife, who couldn’t accompany me on the previous two Star Trek Las Vegas conventions, so I had a lot of company this time around! Anyway, rather than a lengthy prologue, I’ll just let my pictures (and anecdotal captions) do the talking…

Viewer ahead!

After a long, winding walk through the casinos (and down a very LONG corridor) of the Rio hotel, you see a familiar Starfleet delta under a large dome light to tell you that you have indeed arrived at “Star Trek Las Vegas!” This is the main assembly area for picking up badges, as well as many photo op gatherings…

The largest theatre at the Rio, dubbed the “Leonard Nimoy Theatre” for the convention, is where most of the biggest events take place, such as concerts, or cast member panels from the various Star Trek TV shows. During the 5-day convention, there were also other events taking place there, such as makeup demonstrations, or screenings of certain episodes.

The main Dealer Hall (renamed the Roddenberry Hall for the convention) where most of the merchandise, autographs, books and other bits of memorabilia are sold; even emergency sewing service/repair for costumes! On the first day we arrived (Weds. July 31st), my wife desperately needed a sew-on Starfleet insignia for her costume, and (of course) we found one relatively quickly. If it’s remotely related to Star Trek in any way, you will most likely find it within these walls.

Chronicle Collectibles booth was selling a gorgeous miniature of starship USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-D. This ship was the Federation’s 24th century flagship of the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994).

At the Anovos booth, a beautiful replica of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (no bloody A, B, C, D or E) as reimagined for “Star Trek: Discovery”‘s 2nd season. The redesign is a subtle but sleek reinterpretation that is quite faithful to the Original Series’ aesthetic.

Beautiful handmade Spock portraits from artist Kavita Maharaj (standing alongside her husband) for Retrospect Studios. For more information: kavita@retrospectstudios.ca
www.retrospectstudios.ca

Breakfast at Quark’s; the renamed bar where one can grab a quick breakfast burrito, afternoon snack, or a wide variety of drinks. There was often live entertainment in the small, nearby Brazilia theatre, including karaoke, or a few of smaller panels. Chase Masterson, who played “Leeta” on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993-1999), would often sing torch songs onstage as she hosted Happy Hour from 6-7 pm. Unfortunately, Chase lost her voice about halfway during the convention, but she stayed on to sign autographs and promote her non-profit, anti-bullying charity Pop Culture Hero Coalition (https://www.popculturehero.org ).

In the corner of Quark’s was a gorgeous, fan-made 8 ft. miniature of the starship USS Enterprise 1701-E, which was seen in the Star Trek feature films “First Contact” (1996) “Insurrection” (1998) and “Nemesis” (2002). This miniature was internally lit and magnificently detailed. It never ceases to amaze me how much fan creativity is (literally) on display at these conventions. This was a true labor of fan love.

Another angle of the gorgeous, fan-made USS Enterprise-E miniature.

An exquisite (if not perfectly screen accurate) version of the USS Enterprise’s main bridge. Some parts of this set I recognize from the Star Trek Exhibit (from 2008) when I saw it in Long Beach, California. Dimly lit when not being used in cast photo ops, the set is still impressive, even in minimalist lighting. This bridge replica took my friend Nick’s breath away, as he literally gasped aloud when he saw it! I’ve used my own photo of this bridge as my home page graphic for this site, in fact.

Welcome to the Captain Jean-Luc Picard “First Duty Starfleet Museum” exhibit, which I also saw touring at San Diego Comic Con last month. The banner above was supposed to be a banner made by the Enterprise D’s children for “Captain Picard Day’ in the 7th season episode, “Pegasus.” Also on display are Picard’s duty uniform (the post-third season design), two Klingon bladed weapons and a Mintankan tapestry given to Picard in the third season episode “Who Watches the Watchers?” and was also seen draped over his ready-room chair in the last few Star Trek TNG movies.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s old command, the USS Stargazer NCC-2893. This miniature (a kit-bashed version of the NCC-1701-A miniature from the Star Trek movies), was seen in TNG’s “The Battle” and was referenced several times through the series.

The USS Enterprise-E, a smaller miniature made solely for the exhibit. Jules is in the background, checking out the detail on Picard’s screen-used uniforms….

The Starfleet utility uniform, first seen on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (and later on “Star Trek: Voyager”) also saw a brief tour of duty dressing the USS Enterprise-D crew in 1994’s “Star Trek: Generations”, one of my sentimental favorites of the Star Trek movies. This uniform was screen worn by Sir Patrick Stewart.

The redesigned Starfleet uniform (minus jacket) as worn by Sir Patrick Stewart in “Star Trek: First Contact” (1996). This design was used on the next two TNG movies (“Insurrection” and “Nemesis”) and was carried over to “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” during the series 5th season until the end of the 7th. If you’re interested, I took pictures of nearly every piece in the Picard “First Duty” Exhibit when I saw it last month at Comic Con San Diego: https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2019/07/27/star-trek-picard-trailer-and-the-first-duty-starfleet-museum/

My friends and I get ‘assimilated’ by the Borg…

Parked outside the Rio hotel was a little three-wheeled vehicle converted into a cute version of the shuttlecraft Chaffee (named after the late Apollo 1 astronaut Roger Chaffee). The Chaffee belonged to the starship USS Defiant NX-74205 from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” The Defiant was introduced in the show’s 3rd season to give the space station-bound series a starship for added action. In my opinion, Deep Space Nine was the absolute best of the Star Trek spinoff series.

Warrior Women of Star Trek panel, including Amy Imhoff, Caltech/JPL’s Dr. Erin MacDonald, writer Grace Moore and actor Michele Specht. Specht, whom I’ve met many times, played prototype ship’s counselor “Dr. Elise McKennah” in the fan-made series “Star Trek Continues”, as well as a villainous “Vorta” in “Star Trek Online.” A later addition to the panel was Rekha Sharma, who played Commander Landry in “Star Trek: Discovery” as well as guest roles in “Star Trek Continues” and a supporting role in the 2003-2009 reimagining of “Battlestar Galactica.”

After the panel, I ran into Michele Specht in the Dealer Hall. Specht (a comedian as well) is a total crackup. She was in her “Terran Empire” dress from “Star Trek: Discovery” and I was in my “Stone Trek” mashup cosplay; a cross between the original Star Trek and The Flintstones. If you ever see Michele at a convention, do yourself a favor and say ‘hi.’ She is a real sweetheart who has great affection for her fans. Check out Star Trek Continues as well. Star Trek Continues is an amazing 11 episode ‘final season’ that the Original Series never had (until now…): https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2017/11/18/star-trek-continues-finishes-the-original-five-year-mission/

A panel of “The Q Continuum”; the Q are a race of near omnipotent super-beings who exist in another dimension. They were first introduced in the 1987 pilot of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” called “Encounter at Farpoint.” The original “Q” was played by John de Lancie (left), and he became a recurring character on the show. His Q returned to wreak havoc on “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager” as well. To his right is Olivia D’Abo (TV’s “The Wonder Years”) who played “Amanda Rogers”, an unknowing member of the Q continuum from the 6th season episode “True Q.”

Other members of the “Q Continuum”: Corbin Bernsen (“L.A. Law”) who played a Q in TNG S3’s “Deja Q.” Suzie Plakson, who originally played Lt. Worf’s lover Keylar in TNG also played a Q in Star Trek: Voyager’s “The Q and the Gray.” On the right is Gerritt Graham, who played a suicidal Q in Voyager’s “Death Wish.”

Had the chance to meet and get the autograph of Terry Ferrell, who played “Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax” for 6 seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sadly, her character was killed off during a unfortunate misunderstanding with the producers that quickly turned ugly, which convinced Ferrell to leave. Ferrell’s Dax was, by the time of her departure from the show, a favorite character of mine. I was grateful to finally add her autograph to my “Deep Space Nine Companion” book.

The “Ferengi Family Reunion” reunited actors Aron Eisenberg (“Nog”), Chase Masterson (“Leeta”) and Max Grodenchik (“Rom”). Their characters became a family on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” when Nog’s father Rom married Leeta in the show’s final season. The three of them wore recreations of their original makeup and costumes onstage, and even improvised a “Sluggo Cola” song together! They put on a delightful show!

Coming to the convention on Thursday morning, I saw Chase Masterson coming from it in the opposite direction. She saw that I was carrying her Pop Culture Hero Coalition charity’s tote bag with the “Be Kind” catchphrase. She silently gave me a hug, and pointed to her throat, indicating that she’d lost her voice! After a few days of hosting Happy Hour celebrations at Quarks and moderating multiple panels, her voice has simply given out. But because she is a trouper, she stayed at the convention (sans singing), signed autographs and tirelessly promoted her charity: https://www.popculturehero.org Chase and I have met several times at various conventions, and I even did a phone interview with her for Trekcore.com a little over a year ago: https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2018/05/24/deep-space-nines-chase-masterson-trekcore-interview/

During the Ferengi Family reunion, actor Aron Eisenberg (“Nog”) expressed his, um, single-digit displeasure with his character Nog being killed off from “Deep Space Nine”’s hypothetical 8th season during a writers’ reunion session in the recent documentary “What We Left Behind” (2019; produced by Ira Steven Behr and David Zappone). Behr, re-teamed with his old stable of writers (Rene Echeverria, Ron Moore and Hans Beimler), imagined what an 8th season of the series (taking place 20 years later) would look like. They decided that the first episode of this imaginary 8th season would see “Captain Nog” and the starship USS Defiant being blown up in full sight of the reassembled Deep Space Nine crew, who are brought to the space station. My full review of “What We Left Behind” is here: https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2019/05/14/what-we-left-behind-looking-back-at-star-trek-deep-space-nine/

I caught up with the affable Aron Eisenberg later on in the convention for a follow-up interview to one I’d done a year ago for this site. Aron has reunited with his former Deep Space Nine costar Cirroc Lofton (“Jake Sisko”) for a new podcast called “The 7th Rule” (in accordance with the vaulted Ferengi “Rules of Acquisition”), along with Ryan T. Husk (‘the incredible Husk’ as he is jokingly nicknamed). It’s great to hear the two DS9 buddies reunited! The 7th Rule podcast can be found at YouTube here (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeOkK1-VmHA0k6bxVz0KQ8Q) and at their main site here: https://podtail.com/en/podcast/the-7th-rule/

My previous interview with Eisenberg is here: https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2018/08/07/the-man-behind-the-mask-an-interview-with-star-trek-deep-space-nines-aron-eisenberg/ The new interview will be coming to this site VERY soon, so check back here in a day or two.

The 40th Anniversary panel for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979) featured Michael and Denise Okuda (longtime Star Trek graphic illustrators and authors of “The Star Trek Encyclopedia”), artist Rick Sternbach (longtime production artist for Star Trek) and LEGENDARY special effects producer/artist Douglas Trumbull who, aside from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, also worked on such classics as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) and “Blade Runner” (1983). He was also director of Natalie Wood’s last film, “Brainscan” (1983).

After the Star Trek: The Motion Picture 40th anniversary panel, Douglas Trumbull and the Okudas were signing complementary autographs for assembled fans. During a long wait in a series of increasingly confusing queues, I finally got the chance to meet Trumbull; the man whom I’d read about in the pages of Starlog magazine since I was about 12 years old! This was a pretty big deal to me, personally, as the movies he’s worked on are some of my favorite films of all time.

At a panel for Star Trek Online (the continuing video game, which grows in complexity and popularity with the new Star Trek shows) featured a visit from actor Anthony Rapp, who plays Lt. Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery (2017-present). Rapp will voice Stamets for the new extension to the game (“Awakening”), as his 23rd century character is recreated as a hologram in the 25th century to consult on a spacetime calamity with the ‘Mycelium Network’ (a hypothetical spacetime dimension which allows starships to instantly appear from one point in the universe to another). The Mycelium Network falls into disuse by the 25th century but it would seem that someone is trying to resurrect the technology. Rapp confesses to being a avid gaming fan himself. I had the pleasure of meeting Rapp last year at the 2018 Star Trek Las Vegas convention.

After the Star Trek Online panel, Rapp poses with the development team of Star Trek Online. Rapp seems like a genuinely nice guy.

Earlier in the convention, I’d also attended another panel for Star Trek Online, this one for a new extension to their “Age of Discovery” line, which features characters from “Star Trek: Discovery,” including Rekha Sharma returning to voice her ill-fated character “Commander Ellen Landry”, who died in both the Prime and Mirror universes of Star Trek. The clips from the game at the panel revealed that Landry’s ill-tempered Landry was embittered following the death of her fiancee Lt. Patel, who died on Landry’s orders during a firefight on an alien planet. After the panel, Sharma posed with the development team for Star Trek Online.

I had the chance to interview actor Rekha Sharma for Treckore.com during the convention. Sharma was kind, and had a memorable laugh. She also had a few anecdotes about filming on various sci-fi series, such as “Star Trek: Discovery” and the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” (2003-2009), where she played a villainous Cylon who poses as a human. Sharma also recalled working with her now-friend Charles Mesure (“Kyle Hobbs”) on the reimagined “V” (2008-2009), where she played a duplicitous human-eating reptile from outer space. Her ‘friend’ had to torture her to death on the show (!). For some reason, Sharma seems to have an unerring knack for playing shady or villainous characters, despite her good-humored nature. It also amazed me that she looks exactly as I remember her from Battlestar Galactica, which ended 10 years ago (!).

I got to stop by and meet actor Garrett Wang, who played “Ensign Harry Kim” from “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995-2001). Wang called me over to take my pic because he liked my “Stone Trek” Flintstones/Star Trek mashup. Wang is truly gifted mimic (he told me Rich Little was his idol), and he does masterful impressions of his former cast mates, including insanely funny impressions of Kate Mulgrew’s “Captain Janeway” and Robert Picardo’s “Doctor.” I later took my friend Nick over just to hear his impressions of Janeway and the Doctor.

On Saturday morning, I went into the Nimoy Theatre for a morning screening of the classic Star Trek 30th anniversary Deep Space Nine episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations” (1996). The episode featured clever special effects and meticulously recreated sets and costumes to blend the Deep Space Nine cast with footage from the classic Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” (1967). I’ve seen the episode a dozen times or more, but I get a kick out of it every time…and it was even more enjoyable watching it with a live audience!

In my “Stone Trek” cosplay with author/Trekspert Larry Nemecek, whom I’ve met many times at various conventions. Larry is author of “Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion” as well as many other insightful Star Trek books. Currently he hosts the “Portal 47” podcast: https://larrynemecek.com/portal47/ He’s always a good sport, and it’s nice to see him whenever I can.

On the final morning of the convention, there was the Cosplayers’ Parade; any cosplayer could participate. Various groups of cosplayers posed for different cosplay events. In this particular event, the cosplay gathering was for those dressed in both Original Series costumes and blue-skinned antennae-sporting “Andorians.”

My wife Jules came as a Star Trek-accented version of “Muriel”, from the 1990s cartoon series, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” (1996-2002), and I was in my Star Trek/Flintstones-mashup I call “Stone Trek.” Jules and I posed in our costumes surrounded by a giant pile of tribbles…

Actor/writer/producer Vic Mignogna (“Star Trek Continues”) poses as Captain Kirk in his spacesuit from the Original Series episode “The Tholian Web.” The transporter mockup was a very popular spot for cosplayer gatherings!


The Enterprise beams aboard a landing party of Starfleet and Klingon “Minions” from the “Despicable Me” animated feature films. The Minion cosplayers are wildly popular at Star Trek Las Vegas!

Star Trek cosplayer Blair Imani, who did a brilliant “Geordi La Forge” cosplay at San Diego Comic Con the month before, elegantly blends her Islamic faith into her cosplay designs. Here, she poses as “Guinan”, the character played by Whoopi Goldberg in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” She and I talked for a few minutes about faith, cosplay and Star Trek. We then hugged, and I wished this innovative young cosplayer all the best. Blair Imani is a delightful human being, and I love how she adds her own unique vision and insight to the diversity of Star Trek.

Two cosplayers posing as Amanda Grayson and her Vulcan husband Sarek… the parents of Mr. Spock.

An amazing “Borg”cosplayer (from Star Trek: The Next Generation). He had built all of the gear and gadgetry himself! In person, this cosplay looked even more spectacular and impressive than this photo can adequately convey.

A cosplayer posing as Captain Christopher Pike, one of the earliest captains of the starship USS Enterprise, as he appeared during an Orion fantasy in the pilot episode “The Cage” (later incorporated into the two-part episode “The Menagerie”).

That same Captain Christopher Pike cosplayer plays the character as he appeared in the beginning of “The Menagerie”; as a horribly disfigured, mute shell of a man confined to a bulky electronic wheelchair through which he can only express binary thoughts of ‘yes’ and ’no.’ This man built this rig himself, which also incorporated lights and even sounds from the original episode! The back of his wheelchair also had a funny little sign saying “Talos IV or bust!”

A cosplayer poses as the ill-fated android “Lal”, the ‘daughter’ of Lt. Commander Data from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “The Offspring” (1990).

Two Santa Claus “Gorns” (very) loosely and humorously inspired by the classic episode, “Arena” (1967).

A cosplaying pair pose as the Cetacean Probe and Humpback Whale from the 1986 Star Trek movie, “The Voyage Home” (aka “the one with the whales”). If you look carefully near the whale’s ‘eye’, you’ll see a tiny Mr. Spock figure attempting to mind-meld with the aquatic mammal. This cosplay was one of the most clever of the convention!

A cosplayer cleverly poses as a freak transporter accident involving a human, an Andorian, Vulcan, Orion and Ferengi!

A well done cosplay depicting one of the “Vorta” from the Dominion of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999). I tried to catch her photo earlier, but she was rushing to arrive on time for a photo op, so I understood. Later on, I caught her near the elevator going up to my floor, and she kindly asked if I still wanted her cosplay photo, and I did. Her contact lenses, as well as the subtle mauve accents in her makeup, really sell the character!

Two Vulcans perform a somewhat disastrous mind-meld, while a human Starfleet officer looks on.

A rare “Twilight Zone” cosplayer as one of the grotesque doctors from the classic episode, “Eye Of The Beholder” (1960). I didn’t care that this was a Star Trek cosplay or not, as I am a huge fan of the classic Twilight Zone series as well.

“Star Trek” meets “Planet of the Apes” mashup! There was an IDW series involving both franchises, but these two take it to another level, with a blue-skinned Andorian variation on the Apes’ makeup!

The Starfleet Cheerleading Squad add a bit of perky cheer to the last day of the convention!

Things begin to wind down a bit in the evening of the last day of Star Trek Las Vegas.


That about sums up my experiences at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019, but for more photos (all 243 of them), please feel free to check out my Flickr album of the convention here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18703657@N03/albums/72157710052307011

Live long and prosper!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael Melton says:

    Great article!!!
    And thank you for the pictures of my two Pike costumes. I’m honored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your Pike costumes! You are one of my favorites of the entire convention. Hope to see you there next year as well!

      Like

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