Saturday, December 28, 2019

Docking at Starbase Indy 2019

Docking at Starbase Indy 2019
Mission Event:     Starbase Indy
Stardate:              11.29.19 -- 12.01.19
Location:              Wyndham Indianapolis West in Indianapolis, Indiana

Activity: Q&A Panel with Tracee Lee Cocco
                You may not recognize the name, but Tracee Lee Cocco has appeared numerous times on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. She was a background character, usually a Starfleet officer, and sometimes an alien. In person, Tracee is the nicest, funniest, most loveable person you could ever meet. She was also seen several times on Ten Forward as Picard's girlfriend. Hey, that means they should have her on the new Picard series. Well, we actually have a petition for that! Nayr and I started a petition here
to get Tracee back on Star Trek. Tracee has expressed to us that she is thrilled about the idea, and thanked us for starting it! We already have over two hundred signatures.

Activity: Janeway Project Panel

                The Janeway Project is a movement to have a monument of Captain Janeway displayed in Bloomington, IN, the future birthplace of Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. The founders of the project, along with some of their friends on the project's committee, did a wonderful panel at the con. They had already started a public fundraiser on Patronicity. They were very close to their goal at the time of the con. At this time, a few weeks after the con, they have reached their goal! This project was also supported by Dr. Erin Macdonald, astrophysicist and guest at the con, who spoke during the panel. She said that Janeway was a huge inspiration for her to become a scientist, which she even mentioned in her Ph.D. dissertation. The unveiling has now been set for May 23, 2020.

Sighting: Moxie Anne Magnus
Oh, and who could forget Moxie Anne Magnus? She’s a comedian drag queen who appears at many cons in the Southeast. She did her own variety hour, had a guest table at the Dinner with the Stars, and was a host for the Opening Ceremonies. She’s always hilarious! You can also find her walking around the con. You can't miss her, with her Janice Rand hairdo and her high heel boots. She’s great fun to talk to.

Around the Con:
                Even with all of our excitement, we still found time to walk around the con. There was a large room with fan tables and celebrity autograph tables. There were also fan tables for Starfleet Command and the Janeway Project. There was a silent charity auction that had some cool stuff. We got a "Balance of Terror" t-shirt at the auction that we just love. There was a lady vendor in the vendor's room that always has stuff we like. We bought several books from her. The most popular thing I saw in the vendor's room was a crocheted Star Trek shawl. I saw several people wearing them around the con. One guest that was missing was Chris Doohan. His mother died right before the con, so he had to cancel. We all signed a card for him and bestowed our condolences. The con promoters announced that he will be a guest at next year’s Starbase Indy, so we look forward to seeing him then.
Mission Log: Starfleet Command             
                One of the highlights of Starbase Indy is always the presence of Starfleet Command, an international Star Trek fan club based in Indiana. Nayr and I have been members of SFC for several years now. The club had their annual meet-and-greet dinner Friday night. We had awesome food and Trek'd out with all our friends. Right at the end, when we were posing for a group picture, con guest Tracee Lee Cocco happened to be walking by and got in the picture with us!
                The next morning was the annual SFC awards ceremony. Nayr got the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Award. Then he got a promotion to Ensign, just minutes afterward. Then came the big announcement I had been waiting for. A new ship was commissioned: the USS Athena, with myself as the Commanding Officer and Nayr as the Executive Officer. We had been working on getting a new ship for several weeks before the con, so this was the long-awaited culmination of our hard work. We had already been trying to get new members, so at the time of commissioning, our ship already had eleven members. The next day, because the rules didn't allow it to be done on the same day, I was promoted to Lieutenant. So, yeah, it was a huuuuge weekend for us! It will be great having our own Starfleet Command ship--our own fan group in our area!

-by The Honorable Kavura

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Not Too Long Ago, In a GalaxyCon Not Too Far Away

 GalaxyCon Louisville 2019

                "GalaxyCon" is a string of sci-fi/fantasy/comic cons that take place in several states. My husband, Nayr, and I attended the one in Louisville, KY this year. We also went to the one last year, only then it was called "Louisville Supercon". We heard they sold the name "Supercon" to another conventioneer. It was a really cool name, but then "GalaxyCon" is a much better descriptive name for a con that attracts fans who are into space and the fantastical.
                One of the guests, Lou Ferrigno, is a staple at many cons. Many of us know him as the star of The Incredible Hulk. His panel was described in the program book as being about fitness, even though fans could ask questions about anything. I love hearing him talk. I was a gym rat many years ago, and I am still into fitness. He did a little intro, saying that he grew up poor. He couldn't afford to buy weights when he was a teen, so he lifted stacks of comic books. Someone asked him how to keep from gaining weight over the holidays. (This con took place in November.) He said you can eat holiday food, if that's what you want. Just don't do it every day, and try adding twenty minutes of cardio the next day. He said staying in shape takes consistency and a connection of mind and muscle. His best line was "your health is your wealth", which I think is very true.
Lou Ferrigno

             One of the guests I was most excited to see was Christopher Eccleston, the ninth star of Doctor Who. He doesn't do a lot of cons, and this was my first time seeing him. He said it was great working with Billie Piper, who played his Companion on the show. She was known as a pop singer before she did Who. He said she was as much a reason for the show's success as he was. He was also a fan of the British star Sean Connery as James Bond. If you watch how Chris fell down when on the the Tardis, he was very much trying to imitate the way Connery took his great falls in the Bond movies. Chris admitted that he had a tough time on Doctor Who behind the scenes. The producers were trying to make a true comeback for Whovians, but Chris was treated badly by the show's producers and the British press. On a positive note, he said the writers noticed he used the word "fantastic" in his everyday speak, so they wrote it into the show. He worked with the current Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, on the play Antigone back in 2012. He said his favorite part of playing the Doctor is doing cons. He said he would redo a lot of the first season if he could. He would take out some of the zaniness. That garnered a lot of disappointed sighs of "aw!" from the audience, so he immediately said, "I would not take out ANY of the zaniness!" Chris was an absolute joy to see. He was very appreciative of his fans.

Christopher Eccleston

             Brent Spiner is another who is always a thrill to see. If you follow my blogs and my Facebook page, you know that I've seen Brent lots of times. I love his sense of humor, and of course, his Patrick Stewart impersonations! He again mentioned, as he did at Cincinnati Comic Expo where I saw him two months before, that he signed a Nondisclosure Agreement, or NDA, for the Picard series. He did have some reservations about doing Picard, because he knows he is a little too old to still be playing Data. He always gets asked about how hard it was to play Data. He said it was actually pretty easy to get into character. It was also pretty easy for him to not use contractions as Data. It was also not hard for him, believe it or not, to go a long time without blinking. The learning curve for Data's character development was more an issue for the writers than it was for him as an actor. He praised Jonathan Frakes, saying that Jonathan was not only a good director, but an underrated actor. Brent said that going from Star Trek: The Next Generation television series to the movies was great, because they had a much bigger budget. As he put it, "Our moms didn't have to make our costumes any more!"

Brent Spiner

               J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, was the guest I really wanted to see at this con. His con appearances are very rare. This was my first time seeing him. Babylon 5 was always one of my favorite shows. Nayr was the first to ask Straczynski a question at his panel. It was basically a question about the similarities between Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9. Straczynski looked very distraught and made it obvious that he didn't welcome that question. He said he pitched B5 for 5 years before it and DS9 ever got made, and that DS9's showrunners almost killed his show twice. He didn't go into details about that. Someone asked him about the chemistry between Londo and G'Kar on B5. He said that was a surprise. It turned out that Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas, the actors who played Londo and G'Kar, respectively, were such good actors that they could do anything the writers wrote for them, and their chemistry just developed naturally. He definitely had an "out" in mind for all the characters, in case anyone had to leave, such as Michael O'Hare leaving after the first season. He was good friends with the late Harlan Ellison. He said Harlan wasn't really such a bad guy, as his reputation suggested. Straczynski said that he himself is not good with people, and that he wants to be alone more and more as he gets older. He sees himself as a writer first and foremost. He feels most alive when he is writing. He spends 12-14 hours a day writing.

J. Michael Straczynski

                Not only did we attend panels, but Nayr and I also hosted two of our own panels at this con. We did "Star Trek 101" for people who are looking for a starting point to jump into Trek.  There were some teens in the audience who were just getting into Trek, which was the perfect audience for our subject matter. Our other panel was "Exotic Aliens of The Original Series", another Star Trek panel that has always been a big hit for us at cons. The Louisville chapter of the Star Trek fan club Starfleet Command, the USS Hunter S. Thompson, had a fan table and did their own panel on Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and the late Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog on DS9.
                Kirk Thatcher, the punk rocker in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, was also a guest I wanted to see that I had never seen live. We spoke to him at his autograph table, and he told us some neat stories. He wrote and sang the song that was playing on his character's boom box in Star Trek IV. He also wrote the Vulcan questions and answers that were playing on Spock's video screen in the movie, i.e., the ones about T'Plana-Hath and Kiri-kin-tha. He said he derived the name "T'Plana-Hath" from Star Wars, the-planet-Hoth. "Kiri-kin-tha" is an anagram of his name, Kirk Thatcher. Cool! Not only that, but it was actually his voice asking those questions in the movie! Furthermore, he wrote all the lines in the background of Starfleet headquarters when the probe was approaching earth. Also, it was his idea to have Scotty talk into the computer mouse. Whoa! Talk about a creative genius who created some of the movie's best and most memorable moments!
                We did a few other things to round out our convention experience. We spoke with Star Trek novelists Keith DeCandido and Peter David and got them to autograph more of our books. We had a lively conversation with Howard Chaykin, comic book artist and writer. We had dinner with our Starfleet Command friends. We even attended a Star Trek photoshoot, where we met many more Trekkers. This was a very large con, and it was amazingly well organized. We were more than pleased that they let us put on our Trek panels. It was truly a five-star convention!

-by The Honorable Kavura

Monday, December 16, 2019

StarPodLog #16

Our good friend BJ Savage tells the ins and outs of Star Wars action figures. The Imperial Castle Toy Shop has all the vintage toys you could imagine. The comic books of 1989 rocked with Batman and X-Men and so much more!

Topics: Star Wars, comics, toys, action figures, Doctor Who

Action figures
Star Wars
Comic Books
Doctor Who

Publication date-Stardate 2019.12.16
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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Rhode Island Comic Con 2019

          Rhode Island Comic Con is a big media convention with toys and comics and...Well, you know what's always on my mind. Uhm...Are there any Star Trek guests? Why, yes, they did have some Star Trek guests! Even though the one I was most looking forward to, Karl Urban, had to cancel at the last minute. (What can you do? He's a real WORKING actor and doesn't always have time for convention appearances.) The event took place the weekend after Halloween. Needless to say, it was cold. Well, not as cold as I was expecting, but still pretty cold. It was in a big convention center, and the most conveniently placed doors were closed off, so every day we had to walk halfway around the building in the cold to get from the parking lot to the entrance.
            The biggest surprise happened before my husband, Nayr, and I even got to the con. When we got to Providence, Rhode Island, we walked around town looking for a comic book store. We were walking down the sidewalk, and Nayr saw this man in sunglasses and immediately recognized him and said, "George?" And the man said, "Yes?" And then I was like, "Whoa! It's George Takei!" He actually stopped and spoke to us for a few minutes. He told us how horrible his plane ride to Providence was. The plane had to fly through a storm, and then the airline lost his luggage. He asked if we were there for the con, and we said, "Yes!" He was very nice and gracious. He even let us take a selfie with him!

             When we got to the con, one of the highlights was seeing Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, who is always a pleasure to see. She's very elegant and appreciative of her fans. She mentioned that she is 64 years old and the oldest of 8 children. Nayr asked her if she knew about the Janeway Project. Unbelievably, she did not. He told her it's a project to put a statue of Captain Janeway in Bloomington, IN, the future birthplace of Captain Janeway. She said she thought it a wonderful idea. Nayr told her it will be next to a children's science center, and she said it was great that Janeway helped inspire so many females to get into science as a career. Even so, she said there were some scenes as Janeway that she would redo if she could, but she had no regrets. It was all part of meeting a challenge. She said she looked forward to being a guest on the Star Trek Cruise next March.

           Aside from Star Trek guests, these corporate pop culture cons can have the most surprising guests from your childhood that you could ever imagine. Felipe Rose, the Indian from the Village People, was there signing autographs! Who would have thought you could see anyone from the Village People so many years after the height of their popularity and after the group is no longer together? Nayr and I spoke to Felipe at his autograph table, and he was very cordial. He seemed very energetic for what I would call an "older" guy. I asked him if he was ever a dancer. He said he trained as a dancer for six years before being discovered and being asked him to join the Village People. Most of the other members of the group had to audition. Randy Jones, the cowboy from the Village People, had an autograph table right next to Felipe's. Randy was one of the people who had to audition. He told us he spent some time as a model and actor after the group disbanded.

            Walking around the vendors' room, we found the Mego table. This table had their latest dolls, or "action figures", as they call them, for sale. Of course, we had to ask about any upcoming Star Trek action figures. "Doctor Mego", the resident Mego rep, said they were trying to make an action figure of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Brent Spiner hasn't approved it yet. He said they were also seeking a license for Discovery and the new Picard series, both from CBS.
           Another Trek guest was none other than Captain Kirk himself. William Shatner was still going strong at 88 years young. At his panel, he said he recorded a country music album at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN last year. He also said had a new blues album coming out in a few months. I don't think he's really anyone's favorite singer, but his albums must be selling well. He didn't know if ABC will make another season of Better Late Than Never, the television show he did with Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman. It was an expensive show to make.

            After Shatner, it was off to see another panel of actors from a beloved cancelled show of mine, Gotham. This esteemed panel had Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee, and David Mazouz. I was so glad to finally see Donal Logue. I was a fan of his on Gotham and Law & Order: SVU. He has been so busy on Gotham that he didn't get to do any cons until after Gotham was cancelled. He said that when the producers were casting the show, he was offered the part of Harvey Bullock outright. He was THAT GOOD an actor. He also recalled that he was in the movie Blade right at the time that Marvel Comics was on the verge of bankruptcy. Blade was the movie that set Marvel on the right path. David Mazouz, who played young Bruce Wayne, talked about growing up while starring on Gotham. It was hard for him to make friends growing up while spending so much time on the show. Even though being on the show took a lot of time, his mother always made sure he put school and his education before his acting job.

             So there are a few other noteworthy things about the con. As usual, the vendors' room was huge, and the cosplayers were awesome. We ran into some friends and had dinner with them. We made some new friends. Nayr's brother and sister-in-law were also there, and we had a nice dinner with them too. The con was sponsored by a furniture company, so the guests got to sit on some pretty nice living room furniture during their Q&A panels. So maybe that's why they were so nice! I'd have to say that my first con in the northern United States was a big hit!

-by The Honorable Kavura

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Halloween Up North

              Travelling up north for Halloween can be terrifying for a Southern girl, but I guess terrifying is what you want for Halloween, right? I was expecting it to be so cold I would freeze my toes off. It turned out that during this particular Halloween week, it was warmer up north than down south. As a cold front was going through Georgia and Tennessee, I was wearing a heavy winter coat in New York and almost sweating.

            Travelling with my husband, Nayr, our first stop was the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY, the perfect place to visit for Halloween. It's a huge cemetery with over 40,000 interments. It was established in the 1800s and has many famous people buried there, including Washington Irving, the author of Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Famous families were buried there too, such as the Chryslers. The whole cemetery was large enough that we drove through some parts and walked through other parts. We didn't get to take the "scary" night tour, but our daylight walk was immensely gratifying. Seeing the beauty of the autumn trees with their multi-colored leaves was a soulful experience. There were many old style mausoleums with unusually striking architecture.
          Next, we went to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. We had heard it's all the rage to the locals. "It's a must-see", we were told. Well, we weren't disappointed. It's an annual event they have around Halloween. They had thousands of hand-carved pumpkins that were all lit up from the inside. They were arranged in great shapes like a dragon, a train, a grandfather clock, and many other wondrous things, and with different carvings such as zodiac signs, faces, and animals. We walked along the lit-up path and saw all the displays. Knowing that everything was hand-carved, it's amazing to think how much work must have gone into it all. It took roughly two hours to walk through and see everything, "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" and taking pictures.

         After leaving New York, we made it to Salem, MA and had dinner at Flying Saucer Pizza. It's a geek-themed restaurant with all kinds of movie posters on the walls for Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and other sci-fi/fantasy movies. There was even a Locutus of Borg statue. "Vulcan Pizza" was on the menu! Later, while walking through town, we saw a statue commemorating the beloved television series Bewitched, one of my fave shows growing up! 

          We saw some great seasonal shows  at the Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, and Witch History Museum. All of those places had live shows and displays concerning the Salem witch trials that happened in Salem, MA in the 1600s. It was all very entertaining and educational. We also visited the New England Pirate Museum, which commemorated the pirates who were around New England years ago. The tour guide who took us through the museum told some very amusing stories about pirates. There were many people walking around town in costumes such as Elvira and The Addams Family or general witches and warlocks, and so many other imaginative things.

So there you have it. There were so many things to see and do. If you are a tourist, all you need is a rental car to get from New York to Massachusetts. We did all of this over several days. It was the best time of year to visit, because it wasn't too hot or too cold. Halloween in the Northeast can be so much fun!

-by The Honorable Kavura

Sunday, December 8, 2019

StarPodTrek Episode 13

We discuss legendary Star Trek writer Dorothy Fontana. Her contributions to Trek will live on forever. Mego's Marty Abrams gives us the scoop on Star Trek: The Motion Picture action figures, the awkward toys you just had to love.  Star Trek comic series "Hive" from IDW was captivating and memorable, bringing together Picard and Seven of Nine in a new tale about the Borg.

Topics  sci-fi, fantasy, Starlog

Action figures
Star Trek
Comic Books
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Dorothy DC Fontana

Publication date-Stardate 2019.12.08
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

StarPodTrek: Charlie X

Charlie X was one of the best episodes of the first season. Oh, Charlie's our new darling! He's a mysterious teenager who can do anything he wants, except get the woman he wants. Uhura sings. And Kirk is shirtless again!

Topics geeky, sci-fi, fantasy

Star Trek
The Original Series
Dorothy Fontana


Publication date-Stardate 2019.12.03

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