|Artwork courtesy CharityWood.com|
And I should know—I've seen them all.
In a time when the Trek anniversaries are piling up right and left—the 45th for the franchise debut this year, the 30th for Star Trek II and the 25th for TNG both in '82—this was also the 10th year for a grand "Vegas Khhaaan" since they started in 2001... and Creation's had them all after that first one by Dave Scott's now-defunct Slanted Fedora shows. So, maybe it was about time for what happened.
Especially in a year when the overall U.S. economy remains poor-to-middling, these numbers and demographics are Just Amazing.
Now, you've read all the basic reporting elsewhere already; I'm going to save my stills and video for a separate post, and some more sentimental bits with it. So THIS missive will be some general observations with big-picture touches. And brother I've got more than a few, but the overall bottom line?
Vegas Trek simply EXPLODED this year, pure and simple.
And on so many levels!
—Pure numbers? Reports say about 20,000 total sold seat-days—about 13,000 unique fans in all —and only the bigger space afforded by the Rio absorbed the uptick. Many complained of the longer walk in these post-Hilton digs, but at least there was no Sardine Factor at work anywhere. And Creation thankfully saw it coming: we got an email note a week earlier that doors and dealers would be open an hour earlier on the weekend—starting at 7 AM!
|Setting the record: LV Weekly/Sam Morris photo|
Maybe it was simply the new digs at the Rio, after the two-year farewell to an Experience-less Hilton finally gave out for Creation owners Adam Malin and Gary Berman and crew. Certainly in part it was the hubbub about being Leonard Nimoy's last Vegas appearance before his retirement from the con circuit this year (and what a farewell it was.) Maybe it's the ongoing earthquake caused by the JJ movie of 2009, where "new" fans continue to tumble into "old fandom," assimilating not just TOS but TNG and all the rest.
It's all of that, and perhaps one more factor: one I stumbled into just a few short weeks earlier.
"Unofficial Star Trek Las Vegas Convention 2011" on Facebook, whose 250+ members fast evolved into a fertile ground for hatching meetups, party ideas, newbie help, costume details—and simply introductions. In short, Creation provided the main program, but fans had a way to organize themselves, and early on, when they had the time and inclination.
Not to get too Vulcan about this, but what we did was just see a huge shift in the culture of fandom, yet again—the impact of online media. It was hardly an Arab Spring, but the effect is the same: self-powered organizing. And it's got nowhere to go but up. Already, plans are in the works: you can see the wheels spinning, plans evolving, and shields adapting...
All of this shows a few things, coupled with the "show of hands" polls I took in my audiences, or in just talking with peeps at my table or happenstance in the halls:
—Fans old and new, whether first-gen Trekkies or converts from the 2009 flick, have NOT forgotten any of the "700 Club" TOS or TNG, etc., series. If there was to be a mass migration to "modern" Star Trek alone, and a virtual "Forget" mind-meld of All That Went Before... well, it's not with this bunch. Even though a lot of them do owe their fandom entry to JJ-Trek.
—Which in turn, finally, points to a trend I've noticed in the days since—this one in national media: maybe generational, maybe part of this post-2009 "mainstreaming" perception. And it may be the most shocking one of all: the Era of the Respectiful National Journalist Who Gets It. Maybe, finally, someone realized that the guys who paint their bellies topless in subzero endzone cheap seats for football are no more/no less crazy that the Trekfans who get their Orion green or Andorian blue on—with a lot more philosophy and a lot less alcohol involved in the latter. Somewhat less, anyway.
Yessir, we may finally have gone where no Vegas Khhaaan—and the ever-powerful national media meme—have ever gone before.
Beyond the new hotel thing, even.
On the fun side: More pics and video to come. Stay tuned ...