Sunday, March 29, 2015

UK peeps–catch EIS and me via Skype at FCD next week

Hey, if Leonard Nimoy can do it, why can't I?  

I'm talking about my first-ever convention appearance by Skype video!— at next weekend's First Contact Day con in the U.K. at Space Center Leicester, chiefly to talk about Enterprise in Space. I will always be grateful to have seen Nimoy make history with his first Skye appearance at Away Mission Tampa only just a year ago, a nod to his declining health (see photo below)—but promoter Wil Ross at FCD used the same tactic to overcome startup budgets and "have" me this year after all.

Leoanrd at his first Skype appearance
Not only that, but this is amazing: Wil, co-promoter David Limburg and everyone at FCD fell in love with the idea of Enterprise in Space, and really wanted me there to talk about it for UK fans—but late in the game, budgets were just not there for  live trip...and thus the Skype idea. Brilliant!

The convention, of course, is pinned to the day in 2161 when Zephram Cochrane will make his first experimental warp flight, and break the light barrier. And attract passing Vulcans who initiate humanity's First Contact. Of course.

But the FCD guys are so committed to our non-profit crowdfunded mission—an homage to positive future science fiction and fact that puts 100+ student projects into orbit in 2019—that they have committed volunteers to crew a booth all weekend for EIS and take crew sign-ups and offer info.

What's more, print-on-demand vendor Fantasia Memorabilia is also boosting EIS (and sponsoring National Space Society) by donating as well all the proceeds from site-printed EIS T-shirts, mugs, caps, etc,  that weekend. Wow!

This has to be unprecedented—a convention providing staffing and a vendor donating some sales profits in a commitment to help a non-profit project that otherwise is not even on-site—at least, live.

So come on, Britfolk—get your butts there this weekend (only 20-some tickets still available, try online special) and talk to Amy & company at the EIS booth, all weekend.  And then show your status after you sign up for virtual crew membership  by getting some EIS gear—on sale there, before it is here!—that thanks to Wendy at Fantasia Memorabilia will also benefit EIS, a 501c3 non-profit for any Yanks there. It won't be deductible to the UK fans, of course, but hey— it's always good to mention.

See you from the big screen in Leicester, gang! And thank all the folk there who are making this a truly unique moment for conventions' charitable instincts and logistics. 

If this Skype thing catches on, then hey…. well, still not as personable as rubbing elbows and groaning puns in person, but it has its moments…especially of restart-ups and wayfarawayers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Awww, I miss my Seattle buds: no ECCC for me this year

One of the great joys the past few years here in TREKLAND, as the global genre landscape has evolved, has been getting out to a far wider swath of conventions than in years past—even to the big comic-cons… like Seattle's Emerald City Comic-Con.

And that's why, as some have already asked me, I'm bummed about not being there today as ECCC returns in all its booming, downtown-Seattle glory. I initially had a convention conflict this year, but as it turns out I'm using the break to go check in with my mom who's about on the same latitude as Seattle, over in northwest Montana.

Yeah, ECCC has been a destination for me in various guises ever since 2010—a first dip into a universe where I never saw myself. (I'm not a comics guy, right?)

But ECCC was my first-ever exposure with "tweet-ups" that year—thank you, Shannon and Matt of Seattle Geekly!—as well as the birth in 2012 of what's come to be called our "Dr. Trek Show"—the crowdfunder meetup for "The Con of Wrath." In the process I've watched ECCC explode, catch up with old friends, and grown a whole colony of new Trekland fans and supporters, and my thanks to all—and, yeah, I'm bummed to miss you guys this year at the Six Arms for our last-stand Sunday afterglow tradition. All Trek Seattle has been been a ton of fun AND very supportive as the documentary made micro-budget progress—and more on that coming, too.

Same goes for all my friends and followers in Seattle, and those in and out of ECCC who came by the table when I had one, much less our annual "Trekland: Between the Cracks" and other panels.
So 2015 is a break in my Seattle string. But this year is going to be different overall—fewer cons, and more new work— a lot of hard brainwork development and a continuation of what I started last year... but all for good reason. 

All the more reason why I'm gonna miss being in Seattle this weekend! But, here's to the good times—and a moment from each of our main 2012, 2013 and 2014 meetup groups ... and here's to hoping the big 5-0 anniversary year of 2016 in Trekland gets things back on track.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Family wishes for Leonard memorial gift donations

Not mine, but forwarded to me—Marietta, near Atlanta, GA
Since Friday, life for me has been an overwhelming mix of feeling and fielding. 

I have tried to share my reflections on Leonard Nimoy in media everywhere —Twitter, Facebook, podcasts like a special The Ready Room, television like Sky News in UK/Europe, radio (Boston's WXTK) — everywhere, except right here on my own blog. 

But it's coming.

Meanwhile, in a telling way, you know where my head was from my very first tweet:

And many more followed.

For now, let me share the family's wishes for those wanting to make donations or memorial gifts in Leonard's name:

Everychild Foundation
PO Box 1808
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
COPD Foundation
20F Street NW, Suite 200-A
Washington, DC 20001 
Beit T'Shuvah Treatment Center
8831 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034 
Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel of Hollywood
7300 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Saturday, February 28, 2015

RIP, Leonard Nimoy: So many talents—but Spock's #1

FInal Vegas Khhaaan Trek convention appearance, August 2011

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

De-Day 2015: I'm an actor, not a doctor! OR a cowboy.

If it's January 20, it must be my annual, personal tribute —as it has since this blog began—to my guy, Jackson DeForest Kelley, who would have been 95 today. Wow.

Don't need to say much more than what I've said in past years... aside from the groundswell of Kelley fandom that seems to be shaping up everywhere (perhaps, not coincidentally, since THIS first happened).

In any case, I'll just drop this year's edition here. You're welcome.

De with Susan Hayward, getting out of the haybarns and hitchin' posts for once, co-starring with her and Bette Davis in 1966's Where Love Has Gone (and thanks, once again, Sue Keenan):

Monday, January 19, 2015

Yes, MLK saved Uhura—and she brought diversity to NASA's real space faces

Dot-connecting time to Star Trek, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 

Yes, MLK "saved" Uhura, via Nichelle Nichols' famous tale—but that in turn allowed, and led directly 10 years later, to her incredible NASA outreach mission and some of our most iconic faces in space, giving us the diverse shuttle corps we came to know—and some real-life IDIC in action.

In Star Trek's own way....THANKS one more time, Dr. King.

Nichelle Nichols On Gene Roddenberry
And Dr. King's Fateful Advice
"… As a result of Nichelle Nichols’ efforts of space exploration evangelism work over the last four months of 1977, NASA received 8,400 applications, 1,649 from women and nearly 1,000 from minorities. 
Here is the NASA leader who is responsible for inspiring the recruitment of Sally K. Ride, the first American woman in space, Judith A. Resnik, the second U.S. female astronaut and first Jewish-American in space, Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut (in TNG role with Nichelle, above), Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space and the first African-African American male astronauts, Guion Bluford and Ronald McNair.
Nichols' charismatic recruitment method increased the number of applications from women sixteenfold, and from people of color thirtyfold."

One more for Voyager's 20th birthday: It's a SIGN!

Seen across the street from Paramount on a cloudy January day—exactly 20 years ago this week:

A goofy promo theme, and symptomatic of what would dog the two UPN shows as "marketing" for their entire lives.... as many of you will recall.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

20 years ago: When EXACTLY did Voyager premiere?

VGR Premiere Program
Well, that 's a misleading headline—of course, for most of the world, we all know that Voyager premiered with its pilot "Caretaker" on Monday, Jan. 16, 1995—as the ballyhooed flagship of the newly birthed United Paramount Network. As such, for the first time since the original series, as a "network show" its airdate would be on a uniform date and time, unlike the scattered "week of" airdates of syndicated TNG and DS9. (Mostly).

But six days earlier, Jan. 10, saw a special studio premiere at the on-lot Paramount Theater, complete with some press and a celebrity guest to kick off not only the first network Star Trek since TOS, but the first to be led by a woman.

In special remarks beforehand, co-creators Rick Berman, Michael Piller (at left) and Jeri Taylor all spoke about their feelings on the occasion of this newest Trek, as did star Kate Mulgrew—who then introduced an equally historic figure from the real space universe—Dr. Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut, who had flown twice on the shuttle during the 1980s, and who since has sadly passed away of pancreatic cancer far too soon, in 2012.

As a symbol of bonding between historic women of the real and fictional universe, Kate presented her that night with an actual Voyager combadge, making her an official member of Voyager's crew and with the hardware so that Ride could "beam up to the ship any time" she wished. We carried the event in Communicator #100.

And with those words, after a small press posing event, the Paramount Theater darkened while cast, crew, studio honchos, guest and press all saw "Caretaker" for the first time. Pilots and premiere episodes always hold such promise and hope, unaware how succeeding seasons just might unspool, or for how long... but everyone that night was a-marvel at, truth be told, how it was seemingly the best Star Trek pilot yet for character conflict, potential drama, scope and visual effects.

Reverse of VGR premiere program
On a personal note, we had barely been in L.A. for five months, and the prospect of present for a front-row seat to watch a new Trek series launch was exhilarating with its fresh-faced, fandom-naive cast (well, all but for boyhood Trek fan Tim Russ, who knew best of all exactly what he was getting into.) Thus you can imagine my chagrin when all my photography—taken on 35mm Kodachrome slides in the pre-digital age—was mostly ruined thanks to a new Burbank neighborhood photo lab that used old chemicals, and threw off the color of almost all my photos taken that night. (The top two are among the rare pics salvaged). I never did THAT again—but I've been heartbroken ever since that I did not have my shots to archive, from an event not exactly as mangy with photogs as you'd expect.

Along with those, enjoy the premiere program card I scanned here—and no, those are not printed signatures, and no, it is not going in the Trekland Trunk any time soon!