Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Seattle rush! Emerald City in my rear-view mirror


Before I get back on the road:

I just had an awesome time in Seattle over Emerald City Comicon—special thanks to Jim Demonakos and Mike Byers! And after five straight years, I think my little colony of Treklanders there is really growing—a hoot for me, since Seattle in 2012 is the very first place I tried out my "Con of Wrath" crowdfunder meetup idea. The prior two years I had cut my chops doing 8 a.m. fan meetups with Shannon and Matt and their once-and-current Seattle Geekly podcast! ECCC itself is just booming and selling out, as are most comic-cons.

I wasn't tabling this year, so panel-less Saturday felt odd with no bags and no show to weigh over me: I got to just attend! Friday had already been great, even with my "Between the Cracks" audience a bit drained from going up against the lovely mainstager, Eliza Dushku. I did get to meet Cat Roberts (left), one of our Star Trek Continues Kirkstarter donors generous enough to land a walk-on role in the Mirror Universe Episode 3....whom I'd missed on opposite ends of the shoot. As a doctor, she was especially sad not to catch McCoy #1 ( or #2, depending how you number vignettes. ;-) ) But at least we swapped snaps.


Friday night was dinner hosted by Huston Huddleston of New Starship, staying in town after meeting with A Major Museum —and then Saturday I was the dinner guest of Oren Ashkenazi (left) , Grace Moore and Bob Collins of All Things Trek podcast of Seattle (right), who'd just had me on their show. Selfie time!





And somewhere in there I even squeezed in another visit to catch up with Wende Doohan, to be featured in The Con of Wrath speaking for Jimmy, and their Sarah (left). (Guess who was the Adventure Time fan?)






Now, little did I guess that panel-and-meetup Sunday would be an even more hoppin' day than I'd planned: A pretty full crowd greeted us for our fan forum "State of the Trek," and a lot of passionate, feminist, activist, pro-and anti-corporate  views of Trek were voiced...and I think I added a little insight as well. Our Q&A speakers were lively, with everything from feminism and untapped diversity to "Hollywood factory" disgust versus JJ's franchise-saving put forth—and I think I threw out a few insights folks might not have considered, too.


But the adrenalin was already pumpin' thanks to TWO shocks right before that, in bang-bang order...






With about 45 minutes to go, who comes up to say hello but three honchos from Seattle's own Outdoor Trek theatre group (inspired but he now-ended similar group in Portland),  Joy DeLyria (left) and Kris Hambrick—plus Phillip Duff (who took this snap, right). I'd only read of their productions of TOS Trek—treating the classic scripts like Shakespeare with free-form and free-casting choices meant to showcase the stories, like those of the Bard's as timeless. In fact, with 20 minutes to go til my panel, I grabbed the Canon and we SHOT a 10-minute interview for TREKLAND STV that you'll see here before their season starts in July.

I might not have cut it so close (look at that line!) ... but what else happened on my panel countdown, RIGHT THEN? To my typical reminder tweet about who's reading my hashtags actually AT the con, lo and behold Uncle's Games from over in the gaming vendor's area across the street tweets me back to offer a prize for my panel to give away. While I'm in the terlet! Holy Terok Nor, Batman!

 So that's why, why before I chatted with Kris and Joy, curting it close.... I accepted this $180 value DS9 tabletop gameplay station model from Stephanie Fields and Sarah Tolsma of Uncle's Games of Seattle/Spokane, who ran it over to me just so I could give it away. Easy come ...

... And easy go. After teasing it sitting out all panel long and thanking and plugging the
store profusely, still amazed myself, we did a trivia question fior it. Dave Kosin, whose energy we practically had to restrain, actually won it fair and square. My thanks to front-rower SarafinaCosplay.com for hopping up to give me a second set of eyes once I launched the trivia question. Good job, Sarafina—we did not need a run-off!

But I needed a breather. Our post-panel throng was wonderful... but thanks to Seattle fan and follower Umberto Lenzi I eventually got out of there and up the hill three blocks via rollerbags for our third annual "Dr. Trek" crowdfunder-meetup for The Con of Wrath...back in the Six Arms pub where it all began. 

And that I'll save that story for later this week...

Oh, and one last word—which I tweeted at the time:

To the young lady in the brown, "Inevitable betrayal" Wash Firefly TShirt who so elegantly defended J.J. Abrams and his movies, and by extension the new and younger fans who came to Trek fandom because of them:

I want you to know that I love you, and nothing I threw in as commentary from other sources was meant to squelch your intelligence, your opinions, and most of all, your passion. Thank god we have you and so many more like you. I'd have loved to have talked to you more, but until I can—just keep the fire, girl. Don't let the Tellurian turkeys (including, perhaps, me) get you down!






Maybe should be it's own post?
I didn't do much cosplay snapping, but I couldn't resist this shot just outside the convention center:









Sunday, April 6, 2014

Away MIssion Tampa, and beyond!: The Dr. Trek spring con tour is about to ROLL


UPDATED with Tampa times/details!

Whoa! It's Away Mission Tampa time this weekend, and I am so looking forward to hitting the I-4 corridor again!  And seeing all our newfound friends from the state I've been to five times since my first visit in only just 2011.

Never been to Tampa, but Javier and the team that had me out for their 2011 show in Orlando have another great one lined up here—and what a line-up... including Leonard Nimoy back at a con, even if via Skype.

I'll be busy! Amidst the other great guests, here's my line-up:

—FRIDAY:
7:30 pm/Main: Bigscreen showing of a Star Trek Continues episode—audience choice!—with my live commentary/Q&A.

—SATURDAY:
11 a.m./Main: Our 2014 edition of the Trekland "Between the Cracks" show
6:30 pm --Cocktail mixer!

7:30-9:30 pm/Green Room (Parlor 112):  Our live crowdfunder-meetup for The Con of Wrath, of course, with the Dr. Trek Show


Thanks to the con—we'll be doing our crowdfunder meetup for "The Con of Wrath" that I do whenever I guest ...  IN the convention space, the comfy con Green Room! Save back your $20 and get in on the rarity and hilarity of trivia, prizes, rare clips, sneak peeks and tipsy storytelling ... while you help support my doc and preserve a piece of Trek history.

—SUNDAY:
2 pm/Panel Room: My "State of the Trek" fan forum, starring you. Come prepared to spout off!


Hey, I'll also have some Trekland Trunk items for the charity auction ... plus, for table-time I'll also have a limited few copies of Star Trek: Stellar Cartography... a couple of very rare black-cover TNG Companions... and remastered-archive Trek creators' original voices on "Trekland: On Speaker Vol. 2" CDs...and my newer photos.


And then—no rest for the weary! This three-week road trip moves on, with something old, something new...and here's the skinny:

WONDERCON Anaheim April 18-20, where you can find me tabling at the "New Starship" booth area, this year sporting an Enterprise-D Transporter Room for photo ops while the bridge pieces are at Salt Lake City Comicon. No panels for me, so come by the table and say hi...pick up some goodies... snap pics, see who else comes by—you never know!)

And then we'll have another Wrath crowdfunder-meetup Saturday night at the rear of the Sheraton Lobby again, peeps !

MIDWEST MEDIA EXPO in Detroit April 25-27: Boldy going where I've never gone before, i.e. north of Indy or Lincoln (as O'Hare Chicago layovers don't count) and I can't WAIT to see the country here AND the fandom at what is a very atypical con. I'll be with fellow STC'ers Vic MIgnogna, Todd Haberkorn, and Chris Doohan... and some of our STCcrew will bop over as well, and old freinds of teh local USS Intrepid group. I'll be doing my panel lineup AND a Wrath meetup there as well—stay tuned.


So, Tampa, Anaheim, and Detroit—followed by:
—Wagnerian FedCon Germany  May 29-June 1, after 10 years away....
—then huge Phoenix Comicon June 6-8,   
—BayouCon June 20-22 in Lake Charles, LA
—good ol' SoonerCon back home in OKC June 27-29.

And that barely gets us to Comic-Con San Diego and then the LA2Vegas Trek Tour and of course Vegas Trek in late July/early August. Whew.

But come help me survive April now... June later... and I'll promise you a good time.

(Except in the Northeast. They have to get me there, first!)







Thursday, April 3, 2014

RIP Cliff Bole: Modern Trek's prolific, hard-working director—and blue-guys namesake


I've been meaning to share a few thoughts these past busy weeks about prolific director Cliff Bole, 76, who passed away Feb. 15 and may well go down in history amid a long career best known as the most prolific TNG director of all (25 hours)—with 42 hours of Trek in toto, with 7 more on DS9 and 10 on Voyager. Cliff died at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. 

As a sign of his impact, no other Trek director is also the namesake for a species (the Bolians, debuted in the episode "Conspiracy" he directed) or a landmark (the Cliffs of Bole, from DS9's "Invasive Procedure" that he did not direct).

Atop that long list of Trek credits, of course, will always and forever be "The Best of Both Worlds"—both parts. When I first met Cliff during my second trip to L.A. in 1993 (above), settling in to do research over two weeks as a "tourist" and not under the gun of a cruelly close deadline, Cliff eagerly returned my call for an interview—Trek had not been done to death by then, and no Internet yet!—and he invited me out to his house in the Valley. As I recall now, that was actually my first "trip" there, outside the Glendale/Hollywood "axis" my two annual book research trips had revolved around so far.


Car-crazy Cliff and the '41 Mercury
he showed off to me in 1993
That's where we snapped the shots I share here, including his then-current car project ... and all in Cliff's no-nonsense, plain-spoken, gruff-around-the-edges language that didn't hold back on the honesty or the fun memories at all. He was upfront about his resume, called a dog a dog as well as a hit a hit, and took the blame or credit as much as anyone in TV directing can do. He threw a lot of insights at me that I was only then beginning to appreciate, and going back through that first, long interview I'm reminded of how much Treklanders like him taught me about not only the well-oiled Trek machine, but Hollywood in general.

Along with the "BOBW"s, too, he also admits to the "Aquiel"s of the bunch, as well. For TV directors, it's always a mixed bag and a bit of the "luck of the draw" when scripts are being cranked out in a long season. Here's some of what he told me about that upon our first meeting back in March 1993:
“There were a couple I thought might be my last! The crew works so damn hard and you try, but you just can‘t come to bat every time and hit a home run. You try to at least get on base, first."

"It was one helluva ride!"

He began all the way back with only the series’ seventh show, "Lonely Among Us": "I managed to survive the first year—which in itself I’m proud of! The most dangerous thing about episodic directors: if you stay around too long you‘re going to fall through some of the cracks. I don’t care how good the writers are, there’s going to be one episode that doesn‘t have it all. But you’re going to fall through the cracks and the chances are that they’re going to say, ‘Well, get rid of this bum!’ It’s going to happen and it‘s happened to me on a lot of series, and it’s dangerous. The best thing to do is hit a couple of episodes and get out.”


But not so with TNG, and he praised onetime Warner Brothers contact Rick Berman for the stability he brought to the production—even the "regular irregulars" like himself were made part of the family. Flight enthusiast Michael Dorn convinced him to get his own license again after a 20-year lapse in the air; special effects man Wil Thoms once towed Bole’s restored 1940 pickup truck to a friend who bought it in Seattle, using a trailer loaned by one of the set grips.

“We had so much fun. We had some uptightness, but God, this was a family; we had marriages, divorces—I got divorced in the middle of it; people had kids and family. More than anything I’ve ever experienced, there’s major family stuff going on here.”

Cliff had thoughts on all his TNG shows for me, but of course everyone wants to hear about BOBW—as he told me, in 1994:  “Mike Westmore (makeup designer) called me up one night and he said, ‘I‘ve got this idea for a laser’ and I said ‘Jesus Christ, that sounds great! Do it! Do it! Do it!’ He said, ‘where do you want to put it?’ And I said, ‘Right here, man, on the side of the head—and every time he looks in the camera it’s there.’ I went to grammar school with Mike; we started out in kindergarten together! 

And then this, about the pre-sir Patrick Stewart: “I remember once I said ‘OK, we’re finished for the night—I don’t think I need this close-up of Patrick’...And he looked down at me—we’re all dead tired—and gave me one of those great English eye looks, from up on his pedestal in the lab. And then I said,  ‘Well, I guess I’ll shoot a close-up of Patrick here!’ ” 
 
According to his full obituary biography as submitted by family—where you can leave your own thoughts on his work, online—Clifford John Bole was born in San Francisco on Nov. 9, 1937, but grew up in the San Fernando Valley of north L.A., turning his interest in the biz into a life as a "set rat," sneaking in with friends to watch productions in progress on location or the nearby studios.
Bole (left) consults on-set on DS9
with script supervisor Judi Brown
and Rene Auberjonois

"I've been here since I was 4; my dad in vaudeville, ran theaters in San Francisco, and he always said 'Don't get into this end of the business!' In the old Valley, we had studio backlots bigger than Burbank—Universal, Warners, Republic...9, 10, 15 streets. They used to shoot on Saturdays, and at 6 o'clock Saturdays we were on our bikes, crossing the LA River on a raft to watch 'em." Breaking in as a script clerk and starting out as the on-set script supervisor for McHale's Navy, Cliff has credits as a director on Baywatch, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, MacGyver, M.A.N.T.I.S., Matt Houston, Mission: Impossible, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Spencer for Hire, Strike Force, The Six Million Dollar Man, The X Files, T.J. Hooker, and Vega$

In 2005, Cliff was recognized with a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, and turned to his car crush to complete Cars Under the Stars, a documentary showcasing the popular El Paseo Cruise Night event there. He was also an avid pilot, boater, golfer and dirt bike rider, where he shared close ties with the stunt community and counted Ronnie Rondell, Roy "Snuffy" Harrison and the late Hal Needham as close friends. He was also an Army vet and was stationed in Korea; survivors are his wife, son, daughter, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that friends wishing to honor his memory contribute to a cancer research organization of their choice, or visit his star in Palm Springs. A celebration of life will be held later in the year; I hope to be able to go, and share some of the mentions from the day with Trekland.
 

Official startrek.com had a memorial post with reflections on Cliff and his work by many of his Trek colleagues.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy birthday, Grace Lee! Remember 1979?


A very special shout-out of birthday greetings today to the one and only Grace Lee Whitney, and the incredibly heroic life and career she's had many times over.

So, how about a Throwback "Tuesday" to celebrate? Here's the cover to her 45 rpm she had at Tex-Con 1979, Dallas (right).... and to my knowledge, this pic (below) and its set have never been published anywhere before—from that same con, just after she helped judge the costume contest and tried to console an entrant who lost out to the fad Rocky Horror skin-baring babes:

















 Don't forget that Rand got into the officer corps and rose to commander's rank, at least, with Captain Sulu's Excelsior crew. And Grace, of course, is still chatting with fans just now coming to Star Trek at the Vegas Khaaaan and others when she can.


Do you have a fave Rand moment on the screen—or a Grace Lee memory from real life to share?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Look out, Seattle: We're back for Emerald City Comic-Con!


Can it be another year already?

I'm looking forward to meeting all our familiar Seattle peeps this weekend at Emerald City Comic Con, and hopefully a few new ones!

The con has been a sell-out for months, but I've just been quiet about my part in it all—until now.  No table for me this year, but there's two panels—and we'll do a "Con of Wrath" crowdfunding meetup, of course, where I'll have a few goodies like "Stellar Cartography."

Unique to this urban con, our meetup will actually be a kind of "dead dog party"* for Trekfans, just after the show closes on Sunday...an excuse for the locals to linger longer nearby in your ECCC ecstasy. I realize we lose any travelers that way, but people seem to prefer "Sunday-afters" to a hectic Saturday night meetup—and our friendly fellow patrons at the Six Arms are sure easier to talk over!

If you can come, please "Join" the Facebook Event page; if you can't make it, please share and tweet the word, would you?

So here's where I'll be, for sure:
—FRIDAY:
2 pm, Room 3AB: Larry Nemecek's Trekland—our annual but updated "slideshow" of news and in-jokes.

—SUNDAY:
3 pm, Room 3AB: Star Trek: The State of the Franchise—Our patented forum and cross-talk where you, me and the other guy get it all of our chest—or ask the interesting questions. Hopefully we can open your mind to some new ways of seeing the current ... fallow times.

5:30-7:30 pm: And yes our THIRD annual Seattle post-con CON OF WRATH crowdfunder meet-up—again at Six Arms upstairs loft, just 3 blocks up the street from the convention center at 300 E. Pike Street. As usual, you pitch in $20 to help The Con of Wrath move along with a screen credit and enjoy our rare clips, new peeks, some prize trivia—and each other! Now with Star Trek Continues awesome as well. You can "Join" the Facebook Event page here and really help me out with planning, since I do these on the fly.
Of course, if you catch me roaming around ECCC any other time...please let me go, eventually.


*And please don't tell me this is now an un-PC term. It's too old-school con fandom to let go now!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's birthday boy Grant "Sulu" Imahara during "Lolani," the 2013 Star Trek Continues shoot for Episode 2!


Grant Imahara has a been a real hoot to know and work with amid my ongoing connection with Star Trek Continues ever since the pilot episode, and during the shoot for Episode 2 "Lolani" in 2013 his one day on set actually fell on his Oct. 23 birthday. (Note that this is just a couple days before my infamous "Cure" moment, and my voice is already suffering from Travel Crud.)

But Grant is in fine form, as you can tell by our quick vidgab (below the fold), filmed between takes and amidst the chaos. Watch for my shot of the moment when Sulu turned back into Mythbuster Grant and he tried to troubleshoot a stuck Suluscope (I always called it the "Viewmaster") ...along with a peek at the creatively-"sculpted" Enterprise birthday cake Grant was presented later that night.

As the world will see, Grant has a notable moment in Episode 3 of Star Trek Continues, coming in summer 2013. I missed seeing him during that shoot, so I guess it was a good thing I "saved" him back in Episode 1, eh?

And if all this "Continues" talk is new to you, what are you waiting for? Go here to see STC prior episodes on YouTube or Vimeo... and "like" the Facebook page as well to keep up with news of the latest stuff. And, yes, our Kirkstarter is indeed over with success.

Monday, March 3, 2014

NORTH FLORIDA FLASH: A "Con of Wrath" meetup in Jacksonville—THIS Saturday night, March 8!


Things happen fast! Watch out, north Florida/south Georgia:

Just in the last two weeks I've gotten freed up to visit the next Star Trek Continues shoot, so while in the area why *not* bring the "Dr. Trek Show" to Jacksonville, finally, for THE CON OF WRATH as well? 7 pm this SATURDAY, March 8!

It will be our typical laid-back two-hours-plus from the convention circuit, just switched up a bit for a stand-alone format here. Yes, the night is still all about supporting and sharing my documentary project in progress, The Con of Wrath—seen now as the most infamous event in pop culture media fandom, the meltdown-to-miracle of the "Ultimate Fantasy" in Houston, 1982, Star Trek’s first big all-cast arena “rock show.”

And yes, the night is broadly all for Trek fans, indie fans, documentary fans...pop culture buffs of all stripes …

But this night, we are thankful to the Florida State College-JAX campus for hosting our venue… and in deference, the event is free and open to the public for the rare Trek clips, the sneak peeks from the doc so far, and the Q&A tales you can pry out of me. For this occasion, I'll also have a story or two from the new STAR TREK: STELLAR CARTOGRAPHY maps/book set for the Trekademics on hand.

But, as with our usual format, those who also take our live "crowd funding" opportunity of a $20 donation not only get their screen credit, but also a shot at batches of trivia for prizes! And maybe a couple other surprises as well.

I'll also have a small sales table with a few copies of STSC, "Trekland: On Speaker" CDs, and some older items as well.

Find us at 7 p.m. at the FSCJ campus downtown at 3939 Roosevelt Ave, Jacksonville 32202 ... ROOM E104. Please "Join" the Facebook Event page, if you can!

Help me preserve Trek history in return for a screen credit—and have a bonus blast doing it! After a 2013 given over to so many new projects that the doc took a back seat, we are now ramping up "The Con of Wrath" again to get on with the rest of filming and editing.

Please spread word to your fellow fans in the area on Twitter, Facebook, and all that.

Happy birthday, Jimmy—we do miss you



You would have been 94 today.

So many accolades are already out there, but here's my simple one today:

I was a friend, late... but a fan always.

Nobody takes the newbies under the arm like you did:

—outside Bochum, Germany, October 1995