Monday, October 28, 2019

StarPodLog #14

Dragon Con's Joe Crowe gives us the scoop on why so many movies of 1979 became classics. Alien, Black Hole, Life of Brian, and more! Cartoon expert Mark McCray tells us why everyone still loves Scooby-Doo after 50 years. And you'll have sweet dreams about our introduction to Neil Gaiman's Sandman!

Topics geeky, Alien, Scooby-Doo, Sandman

Star Trek
Buck Rogers
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Black Hole
The Warriors

Publication date-Stardate 2019.10.28
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Monday, October 21, 2019

StarPodTrek: The Naked Time

How about 5 more bars of "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen"? Sulu as a swashbuckling swordsman. Spock crying like a baby. A science officer who takes his glove off in a contaminated area and starts everyone's problems. Join us for a discussion of one of the more fun episodes that had great character development and even begat a sequel!

Topics geeky, sci-fi, fantasy, Star Trek

Star Trek
Naked Time

Publication date-Stardate 2019.10.21
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Monday, October 14, 2019

StarPodTrek Episode 11

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Picard, from growing up on the family vineyard to becoming captain of Starfleet's flagship, as Ladies Trek Library returns with the Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard. Our special heart felt tribute to DS9's Aron Eisenberg. Nog was more than just a Ferengi kid. Learn all about the Bloomington Collective and how you can contribute. Captain Janeway forever!

Topics geeky, sci-fi, fantasy, comics

Comic Books
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Star Trek: Voyager
Captain Janeway

Publication date-Stardate 2019.10.14
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Monday, October 7, 2019

Cincinnati Comic Expo 2019: Holy Star Trek and Superheroes, Batman!

      Cincinnati Comic Expo was September 20-22, 2019 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH. The programming was pretty full with celebrity and fan panels. Like all corporate cons, there was a huge vendors room that included comic artists and celebrity autographs. The venue was just the right size for the amount of people at the con. It was pretty crowded, but not too crowded. The vendors room and registration were on one floor, while the panels were on another floor, with an escalator in between. The rooms weren't as spread out as they are in a lot of convention centers. For once, I didn't do so much walking that my feet started hurting.
Mostly what I attend cons for are the celebrity Q&A panels. Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Brent Spiner is always a thrill to see. Of course, at this con, everyone already knew that he is going to be on the new Star Trek: Picard series. He said he signed a Nondisclosure Agreement, so he wasn't allowed to say much about it. Dangit! He did say that he is not in it a lot, but he is in it for more than 1 episode. He said everyone on TNG was given a TNG pinball machine of their own when the show ended. He also said that if there was ever any emotion in his performance as Data when he didn't have the emotion chip, the audience painted that emotion on him. In other words, we see what we want to see. Then he delighted the audience with his impersonation of Patrick Stewart. He has always been able to do Patrick's voice spot-on!
                Ben McKenzie was unexpectedly joined by his wife Morena Baccarin for the first half of his panel. Since their show Gotham just finished up, they could speak candidly about it. When the show started, it was supposed to look like New York in the 1970s, but the producers quickly changed their minds about that and made it a little more modern looking. Morena didn't like when her character was with Nygma at first, but later it all made sense. She loved any scene with Professor Pyg. Her favorite Batman was Michael Keaton. Ben was always a big Iron Man fan growing up. He is kind of stoic like his Gotham character, Jim, but much more fallible. He would definitely do the next Batman movie if asked. He loved directing some episodes of Gotham. He said directing uses a different part of the brain than acting. Directing is more analytical. And it made him a better actor.

Gotham panel notwithstanding, the con also happened to fall on Batman Day, a day to celebrate Batman comics' 80th anniversary. I was wearing a Robin (as in Batman and Robin) t-shirt. It also happened to be another day I celebrate annually, National Dance Day. So I recorded myself doing the dance routine while I was at the con. National Dance Day is a day to celebrate dance that was started on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. The show doesn't fall into the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but I've always been a fan. They post instructions for a different dance routine to a different song each year. This year the song was Electricity by Dua Lipa, and the dance was choreographed by Matt Steffanina. Now it's time for my little rant. I was at a panel at a con several years ago (I don't remember what the subject was) when one person said, "Other people watch stupid shows like So You Think You Can Dance." Needless, to say, I was ticked off. The geek life is supposed to be about INCLUSION and acceptance of everyone's innocuous interests, even if your interests aren't the same. So You Think You Can Dance is a show that promotes art, talent, fitness, self-improvement, tenacity, sportsmanship, and individuality.

Well now, that's the perfect segway into Wil Wheaton's talk. Wil doesn't do a lot of cons. This was only my second time seeing him, as opposed to the fifty-plus times I've seen a lot of the other Star Trek actors! Wil, of course, played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Very few people ever named Wesley as their favorite character. But Wil is a very straight-up person who has overcome a lot of adversity. He was a child actor who didn't grow up with many kids his own age. He has had mental health problems due to parents who weren't too good at parenting. He would make an awesome motivational speaker. He said you should find your tribe, as he finally did in the world of gaming. He has made an lot of friends and found a home in the gaming community. His favorite episodes of Star Trek were when he got to work with others his own age. But the regular cast of the show also became great friends to him. The loved him unconditionally.

One of the guests I was really excited about was Jessie Usher, who played A-Train on The Boys. In case you don't know, The Boys is a show on Amazon Prime based on a comic book. I never read the comic, but I loved the show. It's very edgy, and portrays superheroes in a way that no other show or movie has ever dared. A-Train is one such character. He is so self-important that he kills without remorse. But the actor Jessie was nothing like that. He seemed a very nice guy. It was too bad there weren't a lot of people there to see his panel. I guess the show hasn't quite reached that level of popularity yet. Jessie has been acting since he was 5. He started graduate school at 15. Wow! He was always a fan of comic books. The producers of The Boys gave all the cast members digital copies of The Boys comics, but Jessie went out and bought the hard copies, because that's what he's more comfortable with. He admits that Karl Urban, the star of The Boys and veteran genre actor, gave him advice on doing cons and dealing with fans.

I went to a panel on action figures that was pretty cool. The panelist was Greg Autore, a toy designer and toy marketer who has worked for a lot of big toy companies and happens to be a toy collector himself. He said very few collectors actually work in the industry like he does. He talked about how the first toy action figures were the green army men. They were tiny plastic figures that were shaped in different poses and had no articulation. Sure, I remember them because my cousins had them. Greg had lots of action figures with him, such as Spider-man and Black Panther, to show how they were made with different articulations and different features. Some didn't really have mobile arms and legs, but had great features, such as wings.

The Harp Twins did a beautiful concert. They are identical twin ladies who play their harps all over the world at cons and in their own concerts. They play geek tunes, such as Doctor Who and Star Trek themes, and other tunes by popular artists. They also do some nice banter in between pieces. "Who here saw our concert last night? Notice anything different? We changed places." Yeah, real easy to notice with identical twins who even dress the same. LOL! I've seen some of their videos on YouTube, and they are always a pleasure to hear.

One thing I always have a problem with is that some cons, like this one, don't have printed schedules. Yes, I printed a copy beforehand, but I always like to get an updated copy at the con that's nice and neat, preferably with a nice map of the venue and nice bios and pictures of the guests. The people at the information booth told me to download the app. My smart phone doesn't have enough space for a new app, plus it would use up the battery faster. I know I'm old school, and cons are adapting more and more to a younger crowd.
                The fan tables were pretty neat. The had some backgrounds set up where you could do some cool fan photo-ops, such as a wampa cave or climbing up the side of a building like Batman. There was a nice Lost in Space display from the classic show that was totally the bomb! They even had mannequins in screen-accurate Lost in Space costumes. And I ran into some friends and had dinner with some people in my Starfleet club. It was a very laid back con where you could hang out and meet people or shop or do panels.

-by The Honorable Kavura


Saturday, October 5, 2019

StarPodLog #13

Dragon Con's Gary Mitchel joins us for a discussion of the TV shows of 1989. Yes, it's been that long since your favorite shows Quantum Leap, Alien Nation, and Seinfeld first came on the small screen. We continue our coverage of Tolkien's The Hobbit with Kelli Lynch. Our interview with the owner of Crazy Ed's Comics is insane!

Topics geeky, sci-fi, fantasy, Dragon Con, Alien Nation, Quantum Leap, comics, Tolkien, Hobbit

Dragon Con
Comic Books
Alien Nation
Quantum Leap
The Hobbit
Headbangers Ball
Doctor Who

Hobbit intro music:

Publication date-Stardate 2019.10.05
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Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Star Trek Meeting, A Star Trek Courtship, and a Star Trek Wedding

       My mother bought an ornate tea set for each of her five sisters in 1971 when she went abroad with my father, who was in the Air Force. Many years later, my mother passed away, and eventually, so did all of her sisters. When her last sister died, my cousin asked me if I wanted the tea set that my mother had given my eldest aunt. By that time it was practically a family heirloom, and we had always been a close family. I said Yes, I would most certainly like to have the tea set. It was made of fine China and very old, and I treasured it. It was a wonderful keepsake, not to be used, but to be admired. It did remind me that I loved drinking hot tea, something I picked up in my adulthood as one of the great pleasures of life. And of course, after Star Trek: The Next Generation, I had an affinity for Earl Grey tea!
My mother and her oldest sister, Thelma
Tea set that my mom bought for my Aunt Thelma
I was in some "geek girls" groups in Atlanta, where I lived at the time, that held several tea parties. They were such fun and elegant events, enjoying fruit, chocolate truffles, crackers, or whatever dainty foods that went along with tea parties. One day after coming home from a geek girls tea party, I decided to post a picture of my fine China tea set on Facebook. I got a lot of comments about how pretty it was. Then, one of my friends whom I had met at Treklanta commented, "Bring it to Treklanta. We can have a Romulan Tea Party." Oh, a Romulan Tea Party at Treklanta, you say? Treklanta was a local Star Trek convention that I had been going to for several years, and it was coming up in a few months. So my friend and I made all the arrangements, and right before the con, I spoke to someone on staff about getting a room across from the con suite and setting up a time. We were told we could put up signs, since it wasn't on the convention schedule. I made signs and told everyone at the con that my friend and I were having a Romulan Tea Party. My little introvert self was pretty excited about this and not at all afraid to invite strangers and friends alike. I was wearing my pointed ears and a dress that was reminiscent of TOS Romulan uniforms. I called it my Romulan Tea Party formal dress.  Little did I know that one of the people I invited was my future husband, Nayr.
Kavura in Romulan Tea Party formal dress

Nayr and Kavura at Treklanta
Nayr was one of the new faces at Treklanta that year. He was from Nashville. I remember him looking interested and smiling when I invited him to the tea party. I thought he looked handsome with his crewcut and Star Trek t-shirt. I thought he looked a little young, but I didn't really know how old he was. Then, uhm, when it was time for the tea party...he never showed up. We had a good turnout for the party anyway, so I wasn't that disappointed at the time. I did talk to him later at the con. He apologized for missing the tea party. He told me he missed it because he had the time wrong, since he lived in a different time zone. He gave me a Star Wars Collectors Club pin. I didn't really know why he was giving those out at a Star Trek convention, but I told him I was a member of a light saber group, so I liked Star Wars too. I was still in my Romulan costume. He wanted to take a picture of us together looking at a MAD magazine that had Kirk and Spock on the cover. I was happy to oblige him.
            We became Facebook friends and kept in touch after the con. We never really thought about dating back them, maybe because we lived 5 hours away from each other. Two months later he messaged me about being in an Andorian cosplay group at Dragon Con. We had both been going to Dragon Con in Atlanta for several years. He said he could provide the antennae and wig, and his friends could provide the blue makeup. I could just wear my own black shirt and pants. I thought it sounded really exciting. So I said yes. We saw each other several times at Dragon Con: a light saber group photoshoot, the Star Trek group photoshoot, and we marched in the Star Trek section of the parade together. But, just like we didn't see each other at the tea party, we didn't do the Andorian cosplay, because his other friends that were going to do it got sick and left the con early. But by that time, we had seen each other enough and talked enough that we really wanted to see each other more. I found him very polite and respectful and passionate about his fandom like I was. He gave me a toy gun that he and made for the Andorian cosplay, which I thought was really cool.
              After Dragon Con, we spoke on the phone a few times. I was amazed at how easily I could talk to him, as making conversation doesn't always come naturally to me. We had a lot in common. We both loved Star Trek and were interested in getting more involved in fandom. We were both already members of Starfleet International. It turned out that we were both about the same age. Then, two months later, he invited me to be in a Star Trek fan film shoot in Alabama. He had a speaking part in it, and it was open to anyone who wanted to be a background character. It was about the same distance drive for both of us. We met for coffee before the film shoot. Then we had a lot of fun at the film shoot. I think everyone there thought we were already a couple. Well, not quite. 
    The film was "A Gathering Storm" by Potemkin Pictures. View the film here
At the Star Trek fan film shoot, we played an elf-like race
After the film shoot, we had dinner together at a Chinese restaurant. It was there that we decided to officially start dating. We got married the following year at Treklanta. Oh yeah, baby, we were married at the same con where we met! Now, two years later, we are still going strong. We still tell each other how awesome it is to have a life partner we can do things with that we enjoy so much. We go to a con or two every month. We love to cosplay as a couple. We hosted a Romulan Tea Party together at Treklanta last year. We started our own Star Trek Meetup group together. We now have our own Star Trek podcast, StarPodTrek. We have put on Star Trek panels together at cons, most notably Treklanta and Dragon Con. And Nayr still tells me he is so happy that I invited him to the Romulan Tea Party and that I had those cute little pointed ears.
Wedding Picture

by The Honorable Kavura