Hey Star Trek Fans!
Sunday January 24, 2010 at the Creation Entertainment Star Trek Convention in San Francisco was an early morning for me. Due to the scheduled appearance of William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart, my friends and I arrived early enough to be at the hotel before 8:00 AM. I quickly grabbed some coffee and began the process of waiting in line for my friends who had general admission tickets. WHR knew that Sunday would likely sell out and I wanted to make sure that we could all sit together if possible.
At 9:30am we were allowed into the Dealers’ room by Creation Entertainment staff. We had to wait another hour in line before being let into the theater as they were setting up for the days major stars, Captains James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and Jean Luc Picard( Sir Patrick Stewart).
While we waited for the theater to open, Max Grodenchik (Rom of Deep Space Nine) was at his table setting up to sign autographs. My friend wanted to know more about his CD, “Max Tonight”. Max writes his own songs and these were a compilation of some parodies about Star Trek. My friend, Annie, was sweet enough to buy me my own copy. Max signed them both. He said there is an extra track on the CD that is not on the CD cover, some Ferengi rap song which piqued my curiosity when he mentioned it. When I told him my name he immediately knew its origin and its connection to science. Afterward he was sweet enough to take pictures with myself and my other friend. Max is a gentleman and a very class act.
Once we were able to get into the theater it didn’t take very long for it to fill up. I took a few minutes to check the hallway to see how long the line was for Patrick Stewart’s photo op. It was winding down and around the corners of hallways. By time Patrick was due on stage he still was not done with photo ops. They would have to continue later in the afternoon after his and Bill Shatner’s Q&A session.
WR_Systems arrived and shared with us (and fans in the auditorium) that the hallways at the St. Francis Hotel were completely jammed with fans seeking tickets for the days events. He stated that it took him almost ten (10) minutes to negotiate the crowds which now extended well past the stairs to the mezzanine level convention hall where the event was held. He mentioned that the event handlers had to give many hundreds of heartbroken fans the bad news: The event was 100% sold out! He was very pleased to get through the crowds!
Adam Malin, one of the owners of Creation Entertainment introduced Sir Patrick Stewart on stage a short time later. Sir Patrick was greeted with a standing ovation. He started off talking about a Star Trek: The Next Generation prequel movie.He jokingly went in great detail about who would play each of the cast members. Everyone in the audience loved the part about how Sir Patrick said Wesley Crusher wasn’t born, but his mother would be six months pregnant with him so he could be born during the new movie! Naturally it was all in good fun because the prequel was actually a parody on the recent 2009 release of the Star Trek movie featuring new younger characters to carry the Star Trek Franchise into it’s fifth decade!
Sir Patrick then went on to say it’s been several years since he’s been back to San Francisco. He had attended the San Francisco Symphony where Yo-Yo Ma had performed the evening before. The maestro was in the audience, but Sir Patrick didn’t want to point him out amongst the completely sold out audience of fans that took up every seat. Many were allowed in as standing room only! Then he told us that he had been focusing on theater work over the last six years. He also stated that he has been very happy doing theatre work once again.
At one point Patrick got up from his chair and took off his jacket to which most of the audience responded with whoops and hollers. Most if not everyone had never seen Captain Jean Luc Picard in Levi’s jeans and a T-Shirt! He simply looked at all of us and said, “Some things never change.” The crowd roared with more hoots and hollering that took a while to subside.
During the event, WHR management had arranged for the team of reporters to track my Twitter account as our team has made a standard practice during conventions. I started with a tweet that Sir Patrick is still as handsome as ever!
During Sir Patrick’s question and answer period, one in specific that stood out was a question asked by a gentleman seeking advice on pursuing an acting career in Shakespearean Theater. Sir Patrick was impressed with such a thoughtful question and said he had never heard anyone asked such a question before at a convention. Sir Patrick said “aspiring actors should read and watch as much Shakespeare as possible to really take it all in”. He also mentioned how he was in the Royal Shakespeare Company for 12-14 years before even doing any sort of television or movie work.
The next questions revolved around his audition for the role of Captain Jean Luc Picard. Sir Patrick rolled his eyes and announced that this would be the very last time he would explain how he got the role since he had done so on many occasions in the past. He stumbled on the role accidentally when he was visiting a friend in Los Angeles. He was referred to Gene Roddenberry and auditioned at his home. Patrick did not think they would hire a British Shakespearean actor and a bald one at that. Some weeks later Sir Patrick (then just plain Patrick Stewart) received a call to come back and audition! He was hired soon after.
There was a hilarious moment where he was answering a fan’s question. Someone was trying to open a large bag of potato chips in the front row of the gold seating section! The sound was loud enough it could be heard for several rows. It totally disrupted Sir Patrick’s train of thought. At that moment he decided to make an example of that person in the audience. Sir Patrick told the fan to please go ahead and open the bag and he would wait patiently until the person was done so he could continue. The audience roared with laughter!
Then he commented that I hope you remember how embarrassing this moment was so that you will not be doing this again in the future. The fans were laughing so loud the whole time this was unfolding that I am convinced that this fan would think better of his act. He then continued that the fan had not even offered him a potato chip, much to the embarrassment of the fan. Suffice it to say the fan was mortified and ate his chips in near total silence!
Another fan asked about how he felt about being knighted. Patrick responded that he had yet to actually be knighted. Sir Patrick indicated that he had only been announced as being on the Queen’s “list”. Apparently there is a list of procedures that need to be done before the actual knighting ceremony. Sir Patrick said that he hopes his knighting ceremony will either be in the spring or in the summer depending on schedules.
At this point Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) appeared very quietly behind Patrick while Patrick’s back was turned. The fans went wild seeing the two captains on stage. When Patrick turned around, Bill Shatner immediately kneeled on one knee at Patrick’s feet in honor of SIR Patrick! Although of Canadian lineage, the crowd went wild at this display of respect for a fellow citizen of the United Kingdom. Captain Kirk then continued to joke on how he wanted Sir Patrick to put in a good word for him with the Queen so he could possibly be knighted too. Of note is that this is the first time in convention history that both of the famous Captain’s of the U.S.S. Enterprise had EVER appeared on stage together. It was a wonderful moment!
They both talked about working on the movie Star Trek Generations. Bill Shatner teased Patrick about how he simply knew about everything BUT horses. As true Star Trek fans know, William Shatner is an avid horseman and he was one leg up on Sir Patrick in that regard! Bill then went on to share a very funny story. In the past he had told Patrick that he could avoid chaffing while riding a horse by wearing women’s panty hose! So the next day on location Patrick walks out of his trailer with the panty hose over his pants!
William Shatner reenacted the whole sequence with “his you-gotta-be-kidding” look and rolled his eyes towards Patrick. Patrick just shrugged his shoulders and said something to the effect that it was indeed very funny. One of the funniest lines Patrick said about the panty hose. “They’ve felt great every day since!” The whole room burst into laughter, especially Shatner. I swear if had not tightened the wrist strap of my camera I would have dropped it right then and there!
At one point Shatner jokingly implied that Sir Patrick was not being manly enough because he had to cut back on red meat consumption by his physician. Sir Patrick replied back that he had embraced his feminine side and that he was all right with that. Shatner quickly replied back that he helped Patrick get there with introducing him to the panty hose in Star Trek Generations. The audience howled with laughter for nearly a full minute at the antic of these two titans of science fiction poking fun at each other!
Sir Patrick then left the stage, but promised to return near the end of the 1 hour and 45 minute historic appearance of the most famous Captains of science fiction.
Then it was William Shatner’s turn to do a solo Q&A. He jokingly said he didn’t like Shakespeare. He also talked about his award winning horses and how it took 25 years to finally win this one particular award and accompanying belt buckle which he proudly spoke of.
Then William Shatner joked about the how when he was killed with bridge falling on top of him in Star Trek Generations. He performed an ad-lib he of what he did where he said, “Captain under the bridge!”
One of the funniest moments was when a very young fan asked Bill Shatner if he liked it when the women on the show would scream, “Help me! Save me, save me!” Shatner’s reaction was priceless when he couldn’t give a satisfying answer to the kid who kept after him for at least five minutes. The fans were in stitches over the question and Bill Shatner’s reaction to being pinned down by a six year old! He said something to the effect of being “out done by a six-year-old”. The kid quickly replied back, “Actually I’m 10.” The fans burst out into even more rounds of laughter. Wiliam Shatner’s reaction again was priceless because he knew even Captain Kirk could not win this particular battle!
William Shatner also talked about how he prepared for his death scene in Star Trek Generations. He went on to explain how he somewhat understood what it was like to feel close to death. He had fallen off a horse I and saw that it was about to fall on top of him. He stated ” I thought to myself that this was it”, but luckily the horse did not land on top of him. William stated “I used that real life experience to vividly portray what we all experienced in the final product of the Star Trek Generations movie”.
Sir Patrick Stewart then came back on stage right after the near death experience story by William Shatner. Sir Patrick wanted to come back in a funny way and mess with Shatner, but he was so touched by Shatner’s death experience story that he could not do it.
However Sir Patrick did tease William Shatner about having to deal with the “Help me, help me! Save me, save me!” question from the 10 year old kid. One of the things Sir Patrick Stewart and William Shatner talked about was Patrick getting together with nearly the entire Next Generation cast for dinner and that he (Sir Patrick) had been stuck with the bill! Soon thereafter their scheduled 90 minutes was up although it was nearly 1 hour 45 minutes in total.
It would then be time for both Shatner and Patrick to do autographs in the theater. I must say that Patrick’s line was considerably longer only because Sir Patrick does not do a many conventions these days and sign autographs as well.
Next on stage was Gary Lockwood (Lt. Comdr. Gary Mitchell in Where No Man Has Gone Before and star of the science fiction cult classic2001: A Space Odyssey). Adam Malin from Creation Entertainment joined him on stage. Gary talked about working on 2001: A Space Odyssey didn’t give him the free time to be part of the World War Two movie, “The Dirty Dozen”. He did spend a great deal of time discussing how he had loved working with the legendary Stanley Kubrick. Gary also talked about how he splits his time between Vancouver Island and Malibu, California.
The last guest of the day was Chase Masterson (Leeta of Deep Space Nine). She was radiant as ever. Adam Malin joined Chase on stage for the first 15 minutes before letting her do a quick performance from her new musical CD and also show a few trailers of a movie she produced. Unfortunately, we left in the middle of Chase’s Q&A. I was a zombie and needed to get home to get some rest. I’m sure you’ll get much more of Chase Masterson from WR_Systems report.
I hope you all enjoyed reading the highlights as much as I enjoyed writing it!