Monday, March 2, 2009
I counted right at 50 folks who turned out for the inaugural session of "Spirit of Star Trek" on Sunday—but the crowd should grow once word gets around. Those on hand got an earful and eyeful of the philosophy, ethics and spirituality—and fun— of the alien viewpoints of the Star Trek universe begun by Gene Roddenberry... and what all that really says about us. The location was the First Presbyterian Chruch of Encino, but the tone was anything but "churchy" as the first forum hosted by the Rev. Curtis Webster (right, above) focused on the Ferengi, a big-screen showing of DS9's "Prophet Motive" and guests (from left, above) Max "Rom" Grodenchik and Armin "Quark" Shimerman.
As co-host and Trek's makeup guru Mike Westmore noted, "It ain't your typical convention show"—you'd be hard-pressed to say where you've ever seen such a thoughtful and yet funny talk and audience interaction... and for free, or a donation. Highlights: Max's question about any "universal" ethics among cultures ... Armin's description of fan queries worldwide wondering if the Ferengi are supposed to represent the Jews ... the Irish... the Chinese—depending only on the home of the questioner and the "Other" in that culture ... Mike reassuring Armin that the director, not the actor, was responsible for the Ferengi coming off not as villains but as monkeys on TNG in their debut, his episode "The Last Outpost."
If you missed this one, look for a new one each month or so. Mark calendars now for Ethan "Neelix" Phillips on March 29 and Voyager's "Mortal Coil," your afterlife beliefs shattered; Bob "Gowron" O'Reilly and those spriritual Klingons of TNG's "Rightful Heir" on April 26; Bob "The Doctor" Picardo and the fatal humanity of a hologram in “Latent Image” on May 17; Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Gene's son, with an episode TBA on June 14 – and more in the offing.... stay tuned!