Saturday, January 5, 2013

The week's OTHER anniversary bash: A Bittersweet Happy 15 to The Experience

I missed a party last night that I really hated to miss.

Because there's not just one big Trek anniversary to celebrate this week: It was 15 years ago January 4—just yesterday/Friday—that Star Trek: The Experience had its gala opening for a couple thousand bigwigs and exuberant fans at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Of course we all know by now that hotel machinations ended the three-way deal when its 10 years ran out in 2008, and fans everywhere mourned the closing of STTE, its Klingon and Borg simulator rides, Star Trek museum, Promenade shops and especially Quark's bar and grill. Today, thousands more mourn that they never had a chance to visit—or weren't even fans at the time—and listen wistfully to the stories of old now growing more vivid than Klingon battle songs.

So, to mark the occasion, Vernon Wilmer—the unofficial archivist of it all and creator of the Star Trek: My Experience web documentary series—and Trekcast podcaster/former Quarks bartender Darren Benjamin gathered fellow onetime actors and other employees of "STTE" as well as fans to mark the 1998 opening last night. I wanted to zoom up to Vegas from Burbank, but simply could not as my January has exploded (In fact, this will be a thin month for TREKLAND postings, I'll warn you).

And just as we pine for a Star Trek SERIES to return Trek to its rightful spot in society as well as our imaginations .. so do folks yen for a return of The Experience, in some real-life, hands-on Trek-theme interaction. The quickie attempt by a local developer fizzled under the weight of the decision-making as well as the market crash, and now the CBS-desired idea sits without a rudder or a leader.

So, yes, a party for grander times! Changes at the LV Hilton, er "Hotel," have rendered even the old STTE-adjacent SpaceQuest Bar a moot place to go, so the bash came to Darren's current digs at McMullan's across town. (I'd send you to the Facebook event page and photos, but it's a private list). I feel badly for missing it because I WAS there at the grand opening—as a museum contributor as well as a Trek licensee (Communicator managing editor) and overlapping press. I've shared stories of that night many times...and I have video to put up, still... but for today I thought I'd share these (as well as the link to Vernon's documentary Facebook page, as well)...

1 comment:

Ali said...

I really miss Star Trek: The Experience. The "beam up" moment during the Klingon Encounter ride remains an incredibly vivid memory for me.