Wednesday, November 26, 2014

50 years ago, "The Cage" first flew—in Culver City

NOW we're talking history: 50 years ago, Nov. 27 was a Friday—and the crazy giant-killers at Desilu led by creator-producer Gene Roddenberry, line producer-in-deed Bob Justman, director Robert Butler and even studio guy Herb Solow started filming on a little thing called "The Cage," the Pike-led first pilot of Star Trek.

I'm been both gratified and amused to see the online-o-sphere finally start talking about this as the "actual" 50th anniversary ahead of the storied 9/8/66—anniversaries have a funny way of causing page-clicks  .... after I've been mentioning it here in passing, as a caveattime and again for years.  And years. (Of course, Gene's pitch memo was actually dated from March...)

One of my recently discovered fans, Dwayne A. Day, just did an excellent reflection on Star Trek's power to move us then —and not so much now—based on what "The Cage" and classic Star Trek meant in its time, to its times.

And *I* just did a new cover story piece to connect some recently pondered new dots about making 'The Cage" in the Titan official Star Trek Magazine (at left) —you can get it on newsstands or subscribing online or postally now.

So. I'll let the big time celebrating commence elsewhere, across the interwebs. For here, I'll just trot out a little reminder that not only was "The Cage" (and the second ppilot too) filmed not at Desilu-Gower (later Paramount)... but at Desilu-CULVER, in the studio that was home under various banners to Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Mayberry and Hogan's Heroes: today known as The Culver City Studios—going strong with a new owner, but not open to the public.

So I'll just mark "The Cage" today with my quick mini-tour of what you can acutally see of Trek's true filmage roots today: the fence along Ince Avenue, the studio's northeast perimeter where a small memorial has been created to honor all the lot's owners... including Lucy and Desi, and her little space show that went so far:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One candle on the birthday cake for the Trekland Trunk!

It seems as if we can't get through a week without at least one or two fun anniversaries around Trekland from somewhere... but today marks one pretty close to home.

We announced it in October, but It was just a year ago on Nov. 20 that we actually opened the Trekland Trunk up to lighten our home storage load and share a whole spectrum of Trek goodies, mostly in-house and studio items, with an unaware fandom out there. (There's a pre-holiday big, varied batch up this week, in fact.)

We use the T-Trunk Facebook page to notify those interested, along with the Trunk's Twitter, and —as I'd hoped—it's mostly allowed me not to have to be Mr. Snake Oil Salesman about getting the word out. You can always just subscribe on the treklandtrunk page at eBay, too...

But just knowthat without Facebook  you'll miss out on  the "local" bids we do right on my message threads. Those go just 4-6 hours, usually on Sunday afternoons, with anyone who signs on...and we even have a core group of regular Trunkers who have a lot of fun with the banter. It's hardly a standard auction...but we do get newcomers all the time, depending on the item.

And hey—the Trunk is not just for hard-core collectors, unless you want to be one: A lot of items go for around $50 or less. Of course if you like all things about one given series, or you like scripts most, or crew gifts in general, you can always check in just for that.

If fact, don't get cozy about WHAT to expect. You might guess you'd see the draft scripts and set plans, the cool graphics, even the crew gifts...

But stay alert for the oddball things, like special event show T-shirts ...

 --or  wrap party table decorations ...

...or even really obscure promo items.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Catch me LIVE on call-in Fringe Radio Saturday evening

I don't always try to blog about appearances on radio or podcasts in advance,  but this
Saturday I'll be on LIVE —and you've got a chance to jump in.

Yes, host Pat is having me back to talk all things Trekland and pop culture world on her show "Fringe Radio" at 5-7 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Saturday, Nov. 15, over KTKK AM 630 Salt Lake City— online of course.

You can email questions in now via their site—or interact via live chat during the show over Inception Radio Network.

OR you can even call in toll-free at 801-254-5855!

Hey, of course I'll have some updates on "The Con of Wrath," all things Trekland...the state of Trek itself ... and of course Enterprise in Space. But we can go anywhere...So call in, and join the party.

And, yes: The show WILL be archived... like a podcast... for downloading later.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

LA ALERT: Jimmy Darren sings it 'Vic ' style Nov. 13

He's done it around the country... he's done it with orchestras, at Trek cons the past few years—at Vegas Khaaan (at right, 2011), and most recently at Destination: Star Trek London.

But for the first time in 45 years, James Darren will bring his echo of DS9's "Vic Fontaine" here to a club in L.A., pallie!

"I can't believe I haven't sang at a club in L.A. since the old Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in 1969," he told me.

Pencil in Jimmy's show for next Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Catalina Jazz Club at 6725 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028 Sunset, at Las Palmas. Better grab tickets now, online at the link above, and not put it off—or call (323) 466-2210. The show at 8:30 p.m., but doors open for dinner at 7. (Note this is NOT a club out on Catalina Island).

Jimmy promises a great night of standards, stories and comedy patter in the "Vic" vein—both from the old Vegas days, and maybe even DS9 in this "mainstream" location.

The crowd at DST3 in London (below) had a great time—including all those dancers on the floor!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

STV: Writer-director James Kerwin on making "mirror" with Star Trek Continues—Part 1

Just in time for a Star Trek Continues screening and panel this noon Saturday at Stan Lee's Comikaze...

Here's Part 1 of my sit-down with STC's "Fairest of Them All" co-writer and director James Kerwin, made last summer before the episode won for "New Media—Drama" at the Burbank International Film Festival, and represented the entire series to win "Best Web Series" at the 2014 Geekie Awards

I've known friend-of-Trekland James since I first saw his sci-fi noir feature "Yesterday Was a Lie" thanks to star Chase "Leeta" Masterson, and we also talked to him during the Spirit of Star Trek series in L.A. in 2010-11. Although I did not act for James, he has not been shy about exercising the phone line in my role as STC creative consultant at it was a pleasure to talk about this episode after the fact, and out of the on-set stress of concentrating to get the shoot finished.

We'll have Part 2 up shortly with more insights and in-jokes... and more on his own RUR project later still.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Calling all artists: FLY your ship for Enterprise in Space

I've already sounded off about our amazing, inspiring Enterprise in Space project—the homage to our sci-fi heritage sending the experiments of future thinkers aloft...the grassroots chance to be a "virtual crewmember"...but here's the first thing, right now:


The worldwide competition to create the NSS Enterprise orbiter is detailed here at the EIS site, but you don't have to be an space engineer or a CGI artist or sci-fi illustrator to enter. Anyone can do it—and don't worry about real-world concerns: we'll have folks who will adapt it for orbit and re-entry.

I mean, why just doodle, or publish, or get your design on camera.. .when you could create an eight-foot ship that actually flies in space? With 100+ science experiments aboard?

But you do need to know the entry deadline is Monday, Dec. 8!

You don't even have to join the "virtual crew" with your grassroots tax-deductible $20 in order to enter—but every bit helps, of course.

Once the design is accepted, after getting down to a round of finalists, we'll share the winner and the design with the world—and get on with translating the design to workable fabrication for its launch in late 2018 or 2019 aboard an orbital booster rocket, per the Enterprise in Space plan. We'll even share the works of our finalists.

But you gotta get crackin'!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

See you at L.A.'s own Comikaze—last con of the year!

They say that cons in L.A. are the hardest because the celebs are everywhere all year long anyway, and the fans are blasé. 

Well, we'll see about that: After missing it for a couple years, I'm finally going to roll out of bed and stroll over for the Comikaze event downtown under Stan Lee's banner—and I can finally see for myself about all that, in all its downtown Staples Center splendor.

Yes, Friday is actually Halloween—my first year to be "home" on spook night since being in Kingsland, GA on Oct. 31 last year for the last day of filming Star Trek Continues' "Lolani" and the early overlap with Farragut's "Conspiracy of Innocence." But you've got nothing to do in the day, right?

Highlight for me at CK is the Star Trek Continues' big-screen showing of "Fairest of Them All" at noon Saturday and a cast/crew panel afterwards that I'm taking part in—along with James Kerwin, Chris Doohan, Kipleigh Brown, Doug Drexler, Lisa Hansell & Tim Vittetoe, and Jacqueline Groehner. I also expect to be tabling as well... in fact, I'll have my Trekland CDs and photos and Stellar Cartography...but most of all I'll be talking about Enterprise in Space live, my first chance to do so since we really started our roll-out.

Hang on, and we might even try a crowdfunder "Dr. Trek" show Saturday night. Not too late, of course: It is, after all, an L.A. crowd.

Oh and here's the "official" screening/panel call for STC's event at noon Saturday...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Remembering Gene...and Oct. 24, 1991

I remember where I was when we heard Gene had died.

We, of course, were still back "home home" what they call flyover land: Janet and I had been married just four months and two days... we had just moved to Midwest City to be near her college, and I was commuting to the Norman Transcript... the phone call from Pocket Books to do the first TNG Companion was a month away... and on this day, at this moment, the old-style, REAL Headline News was on TV. And broke the story.

I had to sag into a chair at the kitchen table when I heard. I called Janet over. We immediately began to try to tape off CNN—back when it was real news, and the *only* 24-hour news. It's all we could do. As with millions of others worldwide, that instant would become a flashpoint of memory—and a trigger, in that moment, to realize what the Great Bird had meant to us, even subconsciously. Even before my career went to Trekland. If nothing else, Gene's creation was why and how Janet and I had even met.

I met him only once... a bit more than a year earlier... to thank me (!!??) for doing my self-published TNG concordances that the writers had been using. As a first-time tourist, I'd actually paid attention to the Paramount signs and not brought a camera on-lot. To my everlasting regret. But that moment, that image is etched into my memory, as well.

And, of course, of the headliner names of Trek... not to forget Gene Coon or Bill Theiss... Gene was also the first to go. Our immortal little universe would become all too mortal, and it's been increasingly so. In hindsight, I think the biggest insight into what "GR" was all about... was realizing later that Majel decided to go on with their annual Halloween party that year a week later, knowing that's what he'd want.

He lived a big life, he lived a hard life, and it certainly wasn't a perfect life...or done all by himself. But oh, what Gene Roddenberry wrought.