Thursday, August 10, 2017

STLV 2017


The big annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas is akin to a celebrity cruise: Even though you're confined to the same space with the same 5000 people for five days, you're never bored thanks to a jam-packed schedule of activities that include panel discussions, interviews, trivia contests, costume competitions, photo opportunities, and lively nighttime entertainment. Plus there's always the chance you'll share an elevator ride or two with your favorite stars.

Karen and I enjoyed last year's convention, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek (ST) TV show, so much that we decided to return again last week. This year's theme: the 30th anniversary of our favorite and arguably the best of all the ST series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). Even Tim decided to tag along and took many of the photos below. 

 TNG anniversary logo

Arriving at the con
Convention highlights included: a museum of costumes and artifacts from the upcoming new TV show Star Trek: Discovery; behind-the-scenes slides narrated by ST creator Gene Roddenberry's assistant; an early morning program featuring concept art for new ST starships (I was one of the few women in the audience!); Klingon karaoke; a panel discussion of my favorite TNG episode, "The Inner Light;" a mash-up costume contest, where cosplayers cleverly used iconic non-Trek elements to create new ST characters (see several examples below); competitive compilation of Sir Patrick Stewart's top-ten non-Trek roles (our nominations did not win); and a closing night concert by the Rat Pack, several "minor" ST actors who wear tuxedos and sing standards with a special—and usually very funny—twist. And, yes, we did get to ride the elevator with a couple of our fave ST actors: John deLancie, who played Q on TNG and Star Trek: Voyager, and Robert Picardo (twice!), the Doctor on Voyager.

Celebrating ST:TNG

Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard)

Michael Dorn (Klingon and security officer Worf)

LeVar Burton (Geordi) and Brent Spiner (Data)

 TNG costumes: Guinon and Data

Borg Queen's skull and spine (cool!!)

Wearing my Ten-Forward t-shirt in front of a replica of
Ten-Forward, ST's first intergalactic bar

Other Celebs

 William Shatner (Captain Kirk)

Kate Mulgrew (Voyager's Captain Janeway)
 Star Trek: Discovery

Klingon armor (made on a 3-D printer!!)

Klingon helmut

Klingon uniform

 On the bridge of Discovery (replica)

 Favorite Costumes

The Gorn (Tim's fave)

Guinon (bartender extraordinaire
on TNG)

Klingon females: the Duras sisters (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Klingon (original series)

"Plato's Stepchildren" (original series)


Green Orion women and Ferengis

Vulcan ambassador

Kermit as starfleet officer

Captain Cruella deVil and commander Spot

The "away team" (Wrath of Khan)


(Can't remember its name!!)

Best Mashups

Santa Gorn and ST Jack Sparrow (left)

Miss Gorn


ST Elvis

Snow White and the Seven Worfs

Klingon Jedi

Wookiee Klingon

Steampunk science officer

"Walking red . . ."

All the Rest

Up early to see the costume parade

Parade participants

Even dogs cosplayed!

 Great signage

In Klingon as well as English

Klingon karaoke: Duras sisters singing "Killing Me Softly" 
(in Klingon!)

Live long and prosper. . .

Sunday, July 16, 2017

D23 Expo 2017

Costume from the movie Maleficent—Disney archives exhibit
D23, the Disney fanclub, has held its big three-day convention in Anaheim every two years since 2009.  What began as a low-key, rather amateur event eight years ago has evolved into a mega-media extravaganza comparable to a mini-Comic-Con and not in a good way. Attendees have to wait on line for hours to see their favorite Disney celebrities and/or shop in one of several exclusive pop-up Expo stores. One young man told me he waited three hours to get into the on-site Disney Store to buy a special "convention-only" set of Mary Poppins tsums-tsums for a friend. He kept his fingers crossed the entire time, hoping they wouldn't sell-out by the time he finally got inside. (Luckily, they didn't.) I commended him on being a truly good friend.

 Waiting, in what I call "the holding pen," to see Pixar animators

The fifth D23 Expo was this weekend. Tim and I have attended every one and, though, I often threaten to never return, I always do because, despite the lines and the crowds, it always ends up being a memorably fun time. We even got a hotel room, this time around, making traveling back-and-forth to Orange County a lot less stressful.

 Photo op with pile of books
The first major event on Friday was the induction of this year's Disney "Legends"—a prestigious hall of fame for celebrities and other talented Disney employees who have made major work contributions to the company. This year's group included several animators, as well as Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. The Legends ceremony is always a highlight for me, so we arrived especially early to wait on line. It took two hours to get in; but even Tim had to admit the event was wonderful once we were inside, celebrating each person's accomplishments.

 Waiting for the Legends ceremony. Can you find Tim?

The other highlight was seeing the huge 3-dimensional model of the new Star Wars Land, called Galaxy's Edge, currently under construction at Disneyland. Though I resent how much the recently-acquired Stars Wars franchise now overshadows the more traditional Disney universe, even I'm excited to see the park's expansion into a world far, far away. It's scheduled to open in time for the next D23 Expo in 2019.

 Panorama of the new Galaxy's Edge, the largest land ever
to be added to any Disney property

Galaxy's Edge detail

More detail

One of the "other-worldly" characters to
populate the new land

Visitors will be able to fly the Millennium Falcon
Besides events, exhibits, and things to buy, the Expo lets fans release their inner Disney personas through costumes and other creative means not usually allowed in the parks.  Lots of adult princesses and villains, of course, But the most amazing was a young woman dressed as Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain ride, complete with a running model train! 

 Big Thunder Mountain costume

A fan dressed as the villain Ursula 
from Little Mermaid
When we're lucky, we even see real-life heroes wandering around the convention hall. I was gazing lovingly at my new Groot coin-purse, when I heard Tim say, "Babe, there goes SHAG!"

Sure enough, our all-time fave artist, SHAG (i.e., Josh Agle), was walking through the exhibits, unnoticed, with his children. We followed behind, until someone stopped him for a photo. We then we leaped in. SHAG was extremely gracious while I gushed about loving his work, etc. I then asked if that was him depicted in his 50th-anniversary painting of Disneyland's Frontierland and he said, "yes," pointing to his daughter, adding that she's in the picture, too. I was beyond thrilled and completely forgot how grumpy I was, just a few hours before, about not being able to see a panel discussion on upcoming live-action Disney movies because the line was too long! Hands down, meeting SHAG was the best part of this—or anyyear's Expo.


The Frontierland 50th-anniversary print that hangs above our bed
Since we were spending the night anyway, we decided to go to the Angels baseball game just a mile from our hotel. Our seats were good, but the team not so much. Still, we did get to take a photo with staff characters from Disney California Adventure's Guardians of the Galaxy show, one of the sponsors of that night's game.

 In front of the stadium

With Peter Quill and Gamora
The perfect ending to this year's D23 Expo experience. Back to reality tomorrow . . .