by Sara Van Cleve
The 2012 Official Star Trek Convention has kicked off at the Rio in fabulous Las Vegas, and it’s already been a fabulous time.
The fun started Wednesday night when fans could wander the vendors’ room after registration; basically, if someone wants something related to Star Trek, or nearly any sci-fi franchise really, the vendors’ room is the place to find it. The amount of merchandise is unbelievable, even after attending conventions and seeing the same room in the past.
Highlights of the day included appearances by John de Lancie (Q), David Gerrold (writer of the classic episode “Trouble With Tribbles”), Chase Masterson (Leeta of DS9), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura of TOS) and Robert Picardo (Voyager’s Doctor).
de Lancie updated fans on his most recent projects, which includes recording a voice for My Little Pony, which, as he found out, is not a show for little girls like his wife said. de Lancie said not long after he found out about “Bronies” when his friends asked him if he wanted to make a documentary about them. At first he declined, but then he saw something familiar, he said.
Bronies, much like Trekkies and Trekkers, are viewed by mainstream society in a different way; once de Lancie met “Bronies,” he quickly grew to like them and decided to work on the documentary.
de Lancie started a campaign to help fund the documentary and raised more than six times what they needed, totaling more than $300,000.
Gerrold was a lively guest, telling stories and talking to fans during his time on stage in the DeForest Kelley Theatre, the secondary theater.
“If you’re a writer, you’re job is to change the way people look at the world,” Gerrold said in his closing remarks.
He talked about how Star Trek affected his career, his other works besides Star Trek, and answered fans questions.
Immediately following Gerrold, Masterson took the DeForest Kelley stage. She expressed her gratitude to fans for their support and shared some of her favorite stories from the set, which included the first time she met Avery Brooks in the hair trailer, at which point he referred to her only as “Kathy” because of a commercial she had done years beforehand, and her time spent working with the unpredictable Robert Picardo.
She also discussed the development of her character during the series and Leeta’s various relationships. She said the goal of Rom and Leeta’s romance was to create a happy, interesting couple on television; and she really liked their relationship.
“Dr. Bashir and Leeta were the Ken and Barbie of Star Trek; Rom and Leeta are the Lucy and Ricky of Star Trek,” she said.
During fan questions, one fan asked her to sing a few songs from her new album, Jazz Cocktail, to which she happily obliged. The music started and she sang one new song and her rendition of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which she dedicated to Star Trek fans because they “get it.”
Later, back in the main theatre, Nichols took the stage with Creation Entertainment founder Adam Malin. During their time on stage, Nichols shared a variety of stories from past and present.
Nichols shared her recent meeting with President Barak Obama. She had wanted to meet him to ask him one question: Was the rumor of him having a crush on Uhura while he was in college true?
As she found out, yes it was. She said, after meeting different people connected with people in the White House, she was finally able to meet him, but for only five minutes because of his busy schedule. She was waiting for him in the Oval Office when she heard the double doors open.
“I’ve had a crush on you since college,” she heard the President say.
She then spent 20 minutes talking with him and gave him an autographed poster of her famous character. She is now working to help register people to vote for the upcoming election.
The final guest of the evening was Picardo. He shared some of his recent projects, including a musical recording of Scrooge and an audiobook recording of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for which he wrote his first song. He wouldn’t sing the song for the crowd, which was titled “Jekyll’s Lament,” but he did read the lyrics for fans, giving his best Mr. Hyde impersonation at the end. And he did end his stage time with his rendition of the Scrooge song “I Like Life.”
Both Picardo and Nichols received a standing ovation from their adoring fans as they left the stage and the sun set on the first day of STLV 2012.