Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy 94th, Gene: Would you have been @trekmaker?

Gene Roddenberry would have been 94 today. I could just leave you here with this simple, backyard LA Times photo I came across (at right, with the now-missing three-foot 1964 Big E).... or reiterate some thoughts I had a few years back about "GR" and me and us ...

We've had so much fill in in recent years for rank-and-file fans on the full story of the "godhood" versus all the man's human's foibles.... much less the workhorses who also brought the Star Trek vision about: Bob Justman, Dorothy Fontana, Gene Coon, Matt Jefferies, and more ... then Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer who popped up the movies so that Rick Berman and Michael Piller could come along and restart the sequel machine...and many more with them all.

But I've been thinking lately about Gene, and what he would have been like living in a 24/7 social media world. I think he would have loved the chaos and messiness, but most of all loved the empowerment of fans, the increased communication and the increasing channels of fan creativity—even as the holders of the copyright deal with it as a monster of popularity and thoughtfulness and try to let that leashed beast run as freely as possibly.

He may have been a visionary, but he did know how to access and wield some pretty powerful hands-on tools. He saw a paradigm or two come along in his own life as media monopoly power broke up for TV content and delivery, and would be delighted that even so many more options exist now for producers and their ideas.

Most of all, I believe the vibrant, sprawling geek-is-mainstream sensibility he helped ignite would just tickle him. I'm betting.

What about you? How do you see Gene Roddenberry today, after all we now know and measure since the early days?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New 'On Speaker': The '95 VGR voices of 'Caretaker'!

If it's August and Vegas Khhaaann is past, that can only mean one thing: 

The latest TREKLAND: On Speaker remastered audio collection from my archives... is now out!  Fresh from its annual STLV debut,  I'm very proud of my latest deep-dive Trek interviews on collectible CD.

For our fourth annual volume, we continue marking anniversaries—and for 2015 that means the 20th birthday of Voyager's premiere, and thus the title: "Taking Care of 'Caretaker'."

On this disk you'll get the On Speaker debuts of the one and only Jeri Taylor (lower right), the co-creator, exec producer and mentor-creator of the Kathryn Janeway character... as well as Trek's other production designer and leader of 13 seasons of Trek art departments—the Emmy-winning Richard James (top right), who got to do this one from scratch. There's also segments from  VFX producer Dan Curry (lower left) and the late, great TV Trek director Rick Kolbe, who reveals why he got exec producer Rick Berman's hiring call for "Caretaker" in the middle of the night… in a Georgia swamp.

As always, you get the three-panel liner notes, my original photography, an audio introduction and intros to each segment, a maxed-out 1:20 of actual voices …and the option of an autograph on the cover panel.  

And, as always, it's all graced by the audio and art design talents of my friend and podcast network founder-czar Chris Jones (or @cbryanjones for all you Tweetsters).

Check out the page, and even get a deal on prior-volume CDs in multiples—all of which I'll likewise be happy to sign.  Vol. 1 is sold out, but it's still on my to-do list to get up as an iTunes download and get started that library. Each CD after Vol. 1 will be limited to 100 disks, then kept up for digital downloading as well. 

I hope you enjoy our latest in this series of incredible e audio snapshots in time—fresh in the day, and yet fresh today too! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Five years since Barrow: Will Rogers, and Trekland

I can't believe it's been FIVE YEARS since we were in Barrow, Alaska, on the 75th anniversary of the death of my hero and fellow Okie-turned-Callie,  Will Rogers… and an incredible trip of a lifetime, a real bucket-list event, that I realized later had a Trek connection of sorts.

Very proud of those reflections!

Now, we are hip deep in 80th anniversary events at Will's state park ranch in the Palisades, and I invite all SoCal'ers over to see: Friday night was the annual Movies in Will's Backyard, where instead o a 1930s classic we saw the 1987 HBO special doc Will Rogers: Look Back in Laughter... and a wonderful panel of its production team, plus host Robin Williams' insane outtakes as various tourist guises—a rarity to be sure. The Dog Iron Polo Match, which benefits the WR Ranch Foundation, is today with a memorial flyover for aviation booster Will, as we had at several key cities to his life story in 2010.

What does all this have to do with Trekland? I fleshed out my thoughts on this five years ago, when I realized that both entities struck a chord in me—the ol' "better future" expectation, and one with a sense of humor—especially when viewed through the prism of Leonard McCoy,  on Star Trek's side of the ledger.

It all makes sense to me—whether spoken in 1935, 1965, 2015 or 2065. RIght?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Vegas Khaaann! Here's my stuff and MY NEWS!

UPDATE: The room site (Masque Rm 4020) and Facebook Event page for Saturday's "Dr. Trek Show" for The Con of Wrath are now posted (more below).

The big Creation Star Trek #STLV Las Vegas KHHAAANN! faces the same challenge as Star Trek itself: How do you do the same fun thing year after year, but have something new as well?

Everyone from Creation, CBS and all the actors, crew and fans on down face that challenge and meet it swimmingly each year.  For so many folks it's just a big reunion  There's already more of the new photo op and stop-in features around the con site you saw last year ... but for ME here in Trekland, this year is fresh on two counts:

FIRST, we'll have the WORLD DEBUT of the fourth entry in our TREKLAND: ON SPEAKER themed and remastered archival CDs—this year for the 20th anniversary of Voyager's launch, and it;s titled "Taking Care of 'Caretaker' " with the 1994-95 voices of Jeri Taylor, Dan Curry, Richard James and Rick Kolbe. At the table, and available for signing! Plus, some Vol. 2s and 3s.

And SECOND—the all-new debut of my PORTAL 47 backstage beam-in pass, the all-new Star Trek insider "savvy fan" home experience I've been talking about developing for years. You can hear about it and get the info sheet at any of my events this long weekend —or the table. (Stay tuned for more here soon, too).

Best of all, the new On Speaker edition and/or a three-month pass through PORTAL 47 will be among the prizes at several of my events this weekend! 

So what's the TREKLAND DAY BY DAY?

First up: This year I'll be returning to posted TABLE HOURS at my booth, which will not be a 24/7 affair!  So check the table for final hours posted by Day 1.

Just know I will be there 4-5 hours a day at least… especially with both my brand-new offerings as well as the latest breaking news about ENTERPRISE IN SPACE,  the Con of Wrath, Star Trek Continues, 

Look for a few "live" TREKLAND TRUNK items with me on-site, for those interested, who'd like to save postage or even freight. (Watch for updates at table and at the Trekland Trunk Facebook list.) We are already planning a "T-Trunk Regulars" meetup, with about a dozen or so of them on hand.

I"m sure we'll also try for a LA2Vegas tour alumni photo as well!

But my big agenda of course begins before the actual con starts:


7 am sharp, Rio front doors: We'll be loading up the SUVs for our second annual "Kirk Memorial" Valley of Fire adventure (and lunch) with Geek Nation Tours—check to see if we still have any of our 20 spots left. This is the "off year" for the big week-long tour, but for the Big 5-0 in 2016 we already have the "LA2Vegas" planned to feature some all-new sights AND also include our first-ever "SFx2" option —location sites and stops around SAN FRANSISCO! Teras of GNT will be at his booth all weekend for more info … But on Wednesday, we'll be back by mid-afternoon for plenty of time to rest up, cool off and get ready for ….

9-Midnight?, Masquerade Bar/Rio: The FIFTH ANNUAL LANDING PARTY co-sponsored by Trekland along with the Roddenberry MIssion Log podcast, Glue Guns and Phasers,—Games, trivia, prizes … and my first real public unveiling of PORTAL 47. At the Rio's Masquerade Bar, of course—since the Rio's  Irish pub space is STILL closed. But everyone will be there! 

For the first time in ages—aside from table hours, I'll have no scheduled events this day…aside from meetups  and gladhanding. Which means after all these years I might finally make it to karaoke!

—9:55 AM, Secondary Stage: The STLV debut of CAPTIONS LOGGED, where I preside over a goofy blooper image caption contest based on part of my official Trek magazine column. Compete against your fellow fans, winners by audience choice! Prizes and fun, for 35 minutes. so don't be tardy.

NOON, Main Stage: Leonard Nimoy Memorial:  Not sure the exact time yet, but one of the emotional highlights this year has to be Adam Nimoy's appearance and update on his documentary about his father. Creation's Adam Malin asked me to join him and Richard Arnold to reminisce during a slide show, either before or after his interview with Adam.

11:30 pm,  AMC Town Square 18 off-site6587 La Vegas Blvd.: A special FREE screening of Star Trek Continues' Ep. 4, The White Iris, with much of the cast and some fellow crew (see the link)—just like last year. This actually follows a 9-11 pm screening and panel of Star Trek Renegades, with specialty Trek drink-drinks in-between.  FREE tickets will be distributed by  AT THE SCREENING SITE to the first 250 people in line!

9-11 pm, Rio Masquerade Tower RM 4020: Yes, of  course it's another DR. TREK SHOW crowdfunder party for THE CON OF WRATH—you now the drill: Kick in $20 or more for your screen credit (or add to past gifts), and live we'll have trivia, prizes, rare Trek video AND doc clips—including this year's latest from Laura Banks and Nichelle Nichols!  This may overlap some other nightlife still not announced, but hey—having 15 or 20 is just fine. Of all the live cons where I gratefully host this event, there's none like STLV! 

Again, a day I'll be "off the grid" aside from tabling.

So, tell me again what's so big about a five-day Khaaaann is in 2016?

Well, that's my end of it. Lighter this year on hard-core talks, so more for me to focus on of "mine"—and to just enjoy seeing everyone. Aside from the official Creation schedule, check out these boards on Facebook — like Unofficial STLV and STLV After Hours.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

STV: Mimi Craven tells tales of the Voyager Vaadwaur

After 18 years, you bet that a lot of faces have appeared across the "modern" Star Trek TV incarnation, not to mention the whole 50+ year saga. By now, even those with a one-off guest role, especially with a long credit list elsewhere behind it, get sought out by fans. It's all part of the sparkling Trek tapestry. 

One of those gems is Mimi Craven—she of many fan-favorite roles over the years even outside of Trek. At a recent signing show in Burbank, I chatted with her about her unusual turn on Voyager as the ill-fated female Vaadwaur, Jisa, in "Dragon's Teeth."

The Vaadwaur were designed to be a new culture with much backstory, intended to be a leading face in the last year of the show and launched with a two-parter—but those plans went for naught. 

Mimi wore it proudly, though, and has some great moments to share as she was the test case for the makeup, even before shooting her scenes. Find her at a con and she can add insider stories from the original Nightmare on Elm Street, and many more. Good stuff! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yo: My TV Academy piece on 'Astronaut Wives Club'!

It's on my website bio... and any of you Enterprise in Space supporters have heard me say it as well: I was a NASA kid long before I was even a Trek kid. I know a lot of you guys-n-gals are big space nuts, too—it's the mutual Trek/NASA reality that's always been around.

I was also a legit and trained journalist in the lay world before Trekland ever stamped my passport full-time.

Why is why I'm doubly proud of an interview piece of mine just published, and want to share. And it's not even Trek.

It was commissioned as an original feature for the sleek website of the Television Academy (the Emmy folks) and is not a reprint from their magazine—the first of more to come in a new site section.

And, two: Did I mention it's not Star Trek? I talk with Stephanie Savage—the adapter and show-runner of this summer's cool ABC mini-series The Astronaut Wives Club, taken from Lily Kossel's living history book of the same name—in what amount to the female mirror of The Right Stuff: the saga of the original Mercury Seven astronauts' wives.I doubt that rarely will these new web chats of mine for the Academy site be so selfishly space / sci-fi oritented—but what a way to start! If you haven't been watching TAWC, it truly is a hoot, an eye-opener, and the period production is right on—and you can catch up on the episodes in full on

Meanwhile, having a connection to today's Hollywood output, in productions set sooner than 200 years from now, is refreshing, again! And such a classy boss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In Seattle? See this summer's Outdoor Trek, 'Amok Time'

If it's Trekland in the summer in Seattle, then it must be time for "Outdoor Trek"—a live Trek-in-the-park by the homegrown Hello Earth troupe that plays for donations as a non-profit, and offers an innovative, fun, Shakespeare-esque approach to minimalist staging, the Redshirts backing band, and "blind-sex" casting.

Here's my impromptu vidchat (below) with director Joy DeLyria and Kris "Kirk" Hambrick at Emerald City Comic-Con in 2014 (just before my panel!) and their goals and history—but the keys are all the same as they are for this summer's offering, "Amok Time". Listen for their intriguing thoughts about Star Trek's boldness, then and now, and translating that via today's cultural and gender points of view.

The group, with assistant to the producers Phillip Duff along (and standing just off-camera here), took their cue from Portland's "Trek in the Park," which since has run its planned five summers and ended. The Seattle crew has received good press and support locally, as well as around the fandomosphere, and has no plans for stopping with a similar five-years-only mission: The tell me that show number six is due to follow for 2016, and audience-goers once again vote by coin and cash for their choice among finalist titles for the next year's TOS script.

Check the links to the website and their Facebook for more details, both under Hello Earth (Twitter too) ...but "Amok Time" performances are 7 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sundays in Blanche Lavizzo Park, with pre-show musical guests an hour prior (Marc Okrand helped kick off opening weekend!), and food trucks on hand an hour before that. See the video for images as well from past and current park-TOS moments (Photos by This Apeture, Phil Duff, and others).

OH—and I love the live stage transporter beams.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Star Trek Beyond's machine finally peeps—for charity!

I was just saying on Facebook & the Twits how this has been the quietest Star Trek
launch ever, especially of the Social Media age.

Perhaps it was just to get beyond a no-show amid the noise of San Diego Comic-Con (for STB, anyway)... because this popped up today.

Good on you, Paramount/Bad Robot, and entire cast. (Looks like the bridge made it to Vancouver, anyway. Maybe with a little less plexi, hmmm?)

And Make a Wish, always one of Gene's and Majel's fave causes, is in the mix, too:

And yes... stay tuned: with a few weeks to breathe, here, I WILL attack my own backlog of recent and new vids to post before Vegas Khaaann. Really.