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By the end of the Las Vegas 2014 Star Trek Convention a great many lessons were learned. Most of these had to do with the nature of the event itself. Many more to do with “pre-planning.” Another lesson picked up from this convention, was that most of the celeb guests are gracious and pleased to be interacting with their fans, and even the press. Perhaps the most important thing learned dealt with having a clone of this reporter made to cover more of the venue.
There are so many things going on at the event that it is almost impossible to see everything, even in the full four days. For example, the vendors room was absolutely heaving with stands. Selling all things Star Trek and featuring a host of Hollywood glitterati all connected with the science fiction universe. Whether the stand consisted of the lovely Celeste Yarnell or the incredible Richard Keil, each place had something wonderful to offer.
Swords, samurai and Klingon, or Vulcan were on sale. Action figures, 3D printing, books by new, and not so new, authors were all on hand here. Pictures, cosplay items, makeup, Star Trek uniforms galore and even Star Trek Radio were there. Although one had to look for them as they were mixed in amongst everyone else.
The searching was fun. As mentioned in almost all the articles written for the 2014 Star Trek Las Vegas Convention, the atmosphere at the event was exciting, fun, friendly and full of bonhomie and these were also lessons learned. Even by the fourth day, people were amiable, despite being very tired. This included the celeb guests as well. Most, like the venerable Tony Todd, appeared no different from day one, still full of energy and willing to interact with all who approached his table.
Celebrity guests and Star Trek memorabilia aside, it should be pointed out that eating, can be a bit…expensive. Even Quark’s Bar, which offered drinks, food, snacks and a seat for tired Trekkers or Trekkies to sink into, was a bit pricey. Granted, it was cheaper than eating anywhere else, but still a tad hard on the wallet. Perhaps Trek fans on a budget, i.e. ones who have saved for a photo op and autograph with and from their favorite star, should think of a picnic lunch stashed in a cooler somewhere.
Food prices aside and going back to the theme of celeb guests, there were quite a number of obvious fan favorites who all smiled dutifully, posed for selfies, and signed the various items shoved in front of them. Older celebs, from the original television series and films were lovely to talk to, as were the newer ones, but they seemed to be so much more pleased that they still had a plethora of fans out there.
It was nice to see Don Stark at his first Trek convention, very friendly, talkative, and intrigued by the whole thing apparently. What was amazing to see was Scott Bakula’s interaction with the huge queue of fans who trooped by his table in the main hall for autographs. Mr. Bakula took his time with each visitor and had a smile for each one.
Of course not every big celebrity guest could be seen. The list of stars this reporter missed was not too long. Nichelle Nichols, Karl Urban and Rene Auberjonois were just three that “got away.” But for every person missed another was bumped into or seen by “the skin of the teeth.”
Although some Star Trek stars were missed at the 2014 Las Vegas convention, one of the lessons learned is that there is always next year if one happens to be a member of the press. If not another Star Trek Convention, there are other Comic Cons, science fiction and horror festivals where many of the same, and different, faces turn up. At the end of the day, it is not just the celebrities that make these events so enjoyable, it is the atmosphere, excitement and the fun of it all.
By Michael Smith