Posts tagged Star Trek
Good morning! I am in Los Angeles getting work done on that zany convention stuff I do, but I thought I’d take a minute this morning to post that I *am* alive, doing well, and that I went to the E3 Expo yesterday. I took a bunch of photos, but here are the ones I had taken and found on the Internet this morning.
Ill post the others at some point – hopefully in the next week or so.
The Cosmos. A universe of good and evil where a small group struggles to bring freedom to the countless worlds of dispair. A rag tag band led by the infamous Captain EO.
I didn’t move to Florida until the late eighties and (somehow) I completely dodged the Disney theme park attraction bullet called “Captain EO.” It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that Joey Snackpants and I found ourselves walking around EPCOT in Orlando that I finally had the chance to see it first hand.
For those of you that have no clue about what I’m talking about, Captain EO is a 3-D movie experience created in 1986 for the Disneyland theme park and is the product of pure distilled eighties. How eighties is it? Disney scored the top talents in that era to make it. Check it out:
- The Executive Producer was none other than George Lucas.
- The film was directed by Francis Ford Coppolla only AFTER Steven Spielberg had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict. Mr. Coppolla co-wrote the screenplay with his pal George.
- The movie’s musical score was written by James Horner.
- Rick Baker designed the special makeup effect for the film.
- Bruno ‘Pop N’ Taco’ Falcon, Timothy ‘Poppin’ Pete’ Solomon and Ben Lokey all appear as dancers in it. Don’t recognize the names? All three of them are from the eighties “classic” Breakin’
- And (of course) it stars Michael Jackson.
The special effects draw from “hi tech” trick in the eighties book: claymation, blue screen, miniatures (a la Star Wars,) and even muppet technology. It’s so “awesome” it almost hurts.
Walking out, all couldn’t shake the feeling that that film was making fun of my childhood somehow. The reality of it, though, was that it WAS something from my childhood that i missed entirely. If you feel brave enough, check it out:
ADDED NOTE: For all you Star Trek fans out there – I think it’s pretty easy to see where the TNG team got their “Borg” character design ideas from (including the Borg Queen from the movie.)
Working InvaderCON was, quite simply, the greatest convention experience of my life.
I went to my first “geek” convention over twenty years ago. It was a Star Trek festival in South Florida where I won an award for dressing up like an abused Enterprise security guard. It is also where I met my first celebrity: Mr. George Takei. I still remember that weekend and how amazing it was… a gathering of people, just like me, who liked the same TV show I did and weren’t trying to hide it from classmates or co-workers.
In the land of geeks, the normal guy is the weird one.
The whole experience has been something hard to recapture over the years. There really is nothing quite like your first time.
[pause for obvious sexual innuendo]
Which leads me back to InvaderCON. My partner Joey Snackpants and the team at Wasabi Anime built the event following the format behind the classic seventies and eighties Star Trek conventions: a popular science fiction series is cut down before it’s prime and gained a cult following; fans kept it alive through other means (then: clubs/now: the Internet); someone creates a convention where fans can meet each other and also meet a number of creative people from the short lived series.
(NOTE: For those of you completely unfamiliar with Invader ZIM, please allow me to translate the InvaderCON guest list into Star Wars jargon for you: We booked “Luke Skywalker,” “Han Solo,” “Darth Vader,” and “Princess Leia.” ”George Lucas” couldn’t make it, but he sent his well wishes.)
Most conventions today have become such mega-mall events catering to a myriad of fandoms at once. I love going to many of them, like Dragon*Con, but the concept of a convention solely focused on one specific show is a rare bird. These events exist, but practically none of them take place in the Southeast United States.
Thus, InvaderCON happened.
- Since meeting for the first time at Assimilation in 2007, I’ve slowly gained the privilege of calling Richard Horvitz a friend. He’s a good person with a good heart and he “gets it” when it comes to the fan experience. People don’t just want to meet the voice of Invader ZIM – they want to enjoy doing so. Richard busts his ass at every show I’ve done with him to make sure that happens. In my book, he’s a class act and a number of convention personalities could take a note or two from him.
- I had met Rikki Simons and his wife Tavisha a couple of times before, but he and I got to know each other more and more through our long phone conversations leading up to InvaderCON. Rikki’s a kind and gentle soul and his dedication to his fans is unmatched. He experienced a personal tragedy one week before InvaderCON, but he still made it to the show and met every fan there. He’s incredible.
- Methinks Andy Berman experienced a culture shock. This was his first convention appearance as a guest, and I’m not sure he was expecting the overwhelming love for him and his character that he received. He was a true professional and a pleasure to work with. By Sunday night, after hours and hours of dodging ZADR enthusiasts and meeting random Psych fans, that man was exhausted. The dozens of Dib cosplayers (who were, strangely, all female) showed that people do, in fact, love Dib.
- The last voice talent we added to the roster when building InvaderCON was Melissa Fahn. Melissa’s accomplishments also extend outside of ZIM fandom and much of the Green Mustard Entertainment team was thrilled to meet her for that reason. She performed in Wicked on Broadway (many of the Wasabi Anime team love musicals; hello? Animusical!) and her work on Cowboy Bebop as Ed made her a joy to meet from the team. Melissa has that infectious energy that just makes you happy to be around her and she was still smiling at the end of the weekend. She had to leave early on Sunday due to other commitments, but I was sad the she missed the emotional experience and standing ovation at closing ceremonies. I hope she knows how much the fans loved having her there.
- Who’d have thought a writer could be a funny speaker? Eric Trueheart was a writer of some of the best episodes of Invader ZIM, and we were lucky enough to have him join us at InvaderCON. He’s the type of person that when you meet him, you hope you continue to know him or (at best) he continues to remember at least your first name. I could write a long post about what an awesome cat this guy was – but everyone who met him already knows that. You should check out his blog post about his experience at the convention. It’s a great insight into the emotion of the event and he conveys it much better that I ever could.
- My partner, Joey Snackpants, made sure the ship kept running. Our talents balance each other perfect – as illustrated during the charity auction on Sunday. I started it, sucked at it, and he took over. We work that way… it’s that strange being able to finish each other’s sentences or have the same train of thought. All of it, of course, in a strictly heterosexual way.
- Speaking of charity, did I mention that InvaderCON raised almost $2000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation? Epic. Geek. Convention. WIN.
- My wife Shannon is the person at each convention that keeps me sane. I could go on for hours about how amazing she his, but I’ve made it a habit to tell her every day we’re together. This has, of course, resulted in her developing an ego almost as outrageous as mine which just makes her THAT MUCH MORE AWESOME.
- InvaderCON did not operate on volunteers; we ran it with staff. The team from Wasabi Anime (Green Mustard Entertainment) took years of convention experiences and distilled it down to a pure form of energy that fueled our “little convention that could.” Thank you (in no particular order) Katie, Angie, Chris, the other Chris, the other other Chris, Jingoro, Tom, Janice, Ryan, Annie, Tracy aka “Trace-Wrangler,” Kaleb, Jessica, the other Jessica, J.T., Ray, & Diane. (If I am forgetting someone it is entirely unintentional; I just suck with names which is why everyone will wear name tags at The Florida Anime Experience. LOL)
InvaderCON turned out to be more than just a convention. It was a personal experience not only for myself and my team, but also for the lives of hundreds of people who traveled across the world for a weekend celebrating a cartoon that ran only twenty six episodes.
From the bottom of my heart: thank you everyone that made it happen.
So I recently scanned in some OLD photos from yesteryear of me at my very first Star Trek convention. It was an event called Trekfest that took place (I think) in West Palm Beach, Florida. My friends John and Eric went with me. Eric drove (John and I didn’t have licenses yet) and John dressed up in the costume contest with me.
(Back then, no one called it “cosplay.” It was just “wearing a costume.”)
We won the costume contest as “The 5th Guys”: the security officers who always beamed down with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty only to die some horrible death. Our AWESOME prize for winning? A Dick Tracy movie poster and $20 in cash.
That’s big money for teenagers in 1990. We spent it well in the dealer’s room. (You can see a couple more photos here.)
The guest at that convention was George Takei. Years later, I’d tell him about meeting him at “my first con” over drinks:
I read last night that an old friend, Chris Ceraolo, passed away over the weekend.
I knew Chris via my friend Mike Gavin back when I first started working at Universal in 1994. We had met once or twice before that at a random Star Trek convention and she was one of the fun geeks… full of life and not afraid to show it with her passion and creativity. The last time I saw Chris was at an FX Show wrap party about three or four years ago. She was a wonderful soul and I’ll miss her. I’m glad, though, to hear she’s no longer in pain (from battling cancer.)
Coping with death is something we all will do sooner or later. I’ve seen it a number of times in my life and I know I’ll see it more as the years pass. In Chris’s passing, though, I’ve had my first exposure the a current trend in social networking: posting good-byes to someone who has passed away on his/her profile on Facebook. I’m just not sure how I feel about that. Things I understand doing when someone dies:
- Attending a funeral.
- Calling friends to talk and share memories.
- Doing something in memory of the person (charitable donation in time or money.)
- Visiting someplace you remember going with the person.
- Praying (if you’re religious.)
These all seem “normal” to me.
Maybe I’m just jaded by a saturation of online interaction. For as much as I’m into it all (my blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) – I maintain my life and interaction with people very actively offline (aka “the real world.”)
I’m not judging… or maybe I am. Either way, posting on someone’s wall on Facebook to “say goodbye” once they’ve passed away just seems odd to me. If it works for some people, though, then so be it. I suppose it’s better(?) than posting the person’s name with their years on Earth à la tombstone format on the back window of a car.
Then again: I’m writing about it on a blog. So there you have it.
Since the early nineties, I’ve always watched the geek feuds explode over Kirk vs. Picard. The battle expanded as additional television series kept getting added to the Star Trek universe and now you can technically argue “who is the better captain”?
Kirk vs. Picard vs. Sisko vs. Janeway vs. Archer vs. New Kirk
While that may seem complicated, it’s NOTHING compared to the world of the Doctor Who geeks. Since my post a couple of months ago about starting to watch the series, I have had a number of different people tell me which Doctor is the best – and no one has picked the same Doctor twice. There are currently eleven Doctors (though purists correct me and convey that there have been others, but “it’s complicated” is all they tell me.) I have been exposed to only a couple, and the one in this post (the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton) was more interesting than the first one to me.
Doctor Who: The Krotons (from iTunes): The TARDIS arrives on the unnamed planet of the Gonds, who are rules and taught in a form of self-perpetuating slavery by the alien Krotons – crystalline beings whose ship, the Dynatrope, crash-landed there thousands of years ago after being damaged in a space battle. The Krotons are at present in suspended animation, in a crystalline slurry form, awaiting a time when they can be resconstituted by absorption of mental energy. Periodically, the two most brilliant Gond students are received by the Dyantrope, apparently to become “companions of the Krotons” but in truth to have their mental energy drained, after which they are killed When the Doctor and Zoe take the students’ test, their mental power is sufficient to reanimated the Krotons. The Doctor discovers that their life system is based on tellurium and, with help from the Gond scientist Beta, he is then able to destroy them and their ship using an impure form of sulfuric acid.
The episodes aired in 1968 and 1969. Ironically, I watched an episode of Star Trek the same time I was watching the Doctor Who episodes called The Return of the Archons about a superior computer convincing a race of people to live in a limited way in an attempt to maintain order for the population. Slightly similar – and the Trek episode aired in 1967. It seems that computer driven mass mind control was well feared around the globe in the sixties. I’ll start watching for a Mad Men episode about it to air any moment now.
Aside from the improved level of British humor in these episodes, the only thing that stands out is the fact that the TARDIS is finally travelling across space and time. Did I like watching it? Yes. Did the second Doctor “knock it out of the park” for me? No. He’s amusing, but not enough to sell me on the series.
ADDED NOTE: Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted about this, it should be noted that the “working out” in the title has to do with the fact that I watch these shows while at the gym via iPod/exercise cycle technology.