Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yo: My TV Academy piece on 'Astronaut Wives Club'!

It's on my website bio... and any of you Enterprise in Space supporters have heard me say it as well: I was a NASA kid long before I was even a Trek kid. I know a lot of you guys-n-gals are big space nuts, too—it's the mutual Trek/NASA reality that's always been around.

I was also a legit and trained journalist in the lay world before Trekland ever stamped my passport full-time.

Why is why I'm doubly proud of an interview piece of mine just published, and want to share. And it's not even Trek.

It was commissioned as an original feature for the sleek website of the Television Academy (the Emmy folks) and is not a reprint from their magazine—the first of more to come in a new site section.

And, two: Did I mention it's not Star Trek? I talk with Stephanie Savage—the adapter and show-runner of this summer's cool ABC mini-series The Astronaut Wives Club, taken from Lily Kossel's living history book of the same name—in what amount to the female mirror of The Right Stuff: the saga of the original Mercury Seven astronauts' wives.I doubt that rarely will these new web chats of mine for the Academy site be so selfishly space / sci-fi oritented—but what a way to start! If you haven't been watching TAWC, it truly is a hoot, an eye-opener, and the period production is right on—and you can catch up on the episodes in full on

Meanwhile, having a connection to today's Hollywood output, in productions set sooner than 200 years from now, is refreshing, again! And such a classy boss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In Seattle? See this summer's Outdoor Trek, 'Amok Time'

If it's Trekland in the summer in Seattle, then it must be time for "Outdoor Trek"—a live Trek-in-the-park by the homegrown Hello Earth troupe that plays for donations as a non-profit, and offers an innovative, fun, Shakespeare-esque approach to minimalist staging, the Redshirts backing band, and "blind-sex" casting.

Here's my impromptu vidchat (below) with director Joy DeLyria and Kris "Kirk" Hambrick at Emerald City Comic-Con in 2014 (just before my panel!) and their goals and history—but the keys are all the same as they are for this summer's offering, "Amok Time". Listen for their intriguing thoughts about Star Trek's boldness, then and now, and translating that via today's cultural and gender points of view.

The group, with assistant to the producers Phillip Duff along (and standing just off-camera here), took their cue from Portland's "Trek in the Park," which since has run its planned five summers and ended. The Seattle crew has received good press and support locally, as well as around the fandomosphere, and has no plans for stopping with a similar five-years-only mission: The tell me that show number six is due to follow for 2016, and audience-goers once again vote by coin and cash for their choice among finalist titles for the next year's TOS script.

Check the links to the website and their Facebook for more details, both under Hello Earth (Twitter too) ...but "Amok Time" performances are 7 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sundays in Blanche Lavizzo Park, with pre-show musical guests an hour prior (Marc Okrand helped kick off opening weekend!), and food trucks on hand an hour before that. See the video for images as well from past and current park-TOS moments (Photos by This Apeture, Phil Duff, and others).

OH—and I love the live stage transporter beams.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Star Trek Beyond's machine finally peeps—for charity!

I was just saying on Facebook & the Twits how this has been the quietest Star Trek
launch ever, especially of the Social Media age.

Perhaps it was just to get beyond a no-show amid the noise of San Diego Comic-Con (for STB, anyway)... because this popped up today.

Good on you, Paramount/Bad Robot, and entire cast. (Looks like the bridge made it to Vancouver, anyway. Maybe with a little less plexi, hmmm?)

And Make a Wish, always one of Gene's and Majel's fave causes, is in the mix, too:

And yes... stay tuned: with a few weeks to breathe, here, I WILL attack my own backlog of recent and new vids to post before Vegas Khaaann. Really.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

You want a Trek pic for the Fourth? Here's a new one

Time for the token Trek holiday tie-in image!

And for America's  Independence Day, you could go to your "E'd Pebnista" moment from TOS,  your "Alternate Voyager" Golden Gate fireworks welcome home—maybe even your Bajoran lightship greeting by Cardassians with space flares, of all things.

Or you could reflect on the patriotic, Minutemen, even black-ops side of "freedom" and "independence"—and remember a little fireworks on Organia from "Errand of Mercy" ...

…even, still, taking that show's comment on "inevitable" enemies and war to heart:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fun AND big news from me at Comic-Con San Diego!

Hey, it’s time for the modern model and granddaddy of them all these days, San DiegoComic-Con—and as usual I’ll be there amid the ruckus helping hold up the Trekland corner of pop culture.

And—to finally unveil one of my new projects I’ve been teasing about for the past couple years!

With nearly 200,000 bodies, the entire downtown and most hotels in San Diego involved, this is no relaxacon—and any veteran will tell you you need a plan and some strategies for optimum enjoyment, much less survival; the fact that you actually have at least one day’s pass shows you are either very astute, very lucky, or have an inside track!

That said, the entire schedule for SDCC (or Comic-Con International/CCI, as they like to be called these days) is available online and as an ongoing mobile app for Apple or Android.

In there you’ll find three of my four events, and I’d appreciate it if you’d go ahead and click on the MySchedule ticker there if you think you’ll make it. The fourth, of course, is our own “Dr. Trek Show” crowdfunder for The Con of Wrath—this year on Friday night, and with an all-new relaxing venue thanks to our friends via Star Trek Continues, John and Cat “Lt. Palmer” Roberts.

So here’s where I’ll be, with those click-in MySched links:

8-9pm, Room 28DE: The SDCC version of “Trekland: Between the Cracks: 2015 Losses, Rumors, and Birthdays Edition”—and boy, have we had a lot of them. (Well—69 clicks and counting already!) We’ll have some smile amid the pathos, as always—room for fans in the room to share….. and, plus, I’ll finally be announcing that NEW BIG THING. In fact, check out my follow-up Trekland post on that. 

10 am- 2:30 pm,  Autograph Alley AA15, Sails Pavilion: Signing your program or any of the Trekland: On SpeakerCDs and my photos—plus you can see the Enterprise in Space orbiter model and non-profit program info.

7-9p.m., next to Petco Field*:  “Dr. Trek Show” crowdfunder benefitting The Con of Wrath, now wrapping up its final year of filming: as usual $20 not only gets you a screen credit but also access to prize trivia, rare Trek footage and newest sneak-peek footage for the doc—including now Nichelle Nichols and Laura Banks.

*Check out the Facebook event page for the exact address and arrival directions—and very special thanks again to Dr. Cat for hosting us!

10am- 2:30 pm:  Autograph Alley AA17, Sails Pavilion: Back again, one table over from Friday’s spot.

That's it's for me…. but:
I also plan to squeeze in a visit for the second edition, after its rousing debut last year, of Her Universe’s Geek Couture Fashion Show at 6 pm Thursday at the Hyatt —where I hear there are two Trek entries among the genres represented this year. That’s the one where old buddy Dan Madsen once again gets it together for Ashley Eckstein’s  growing HU feminine geek-chic fashion empire. 

You’ll also likely catch me at 7:30 pm Saturday for the latest edition of Drs. Ali Mattu and Andrea Letamendi’s “Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars” I helped to lauch at WonderCon.  And there's all the big family of official CBS Consumer Products stuff going on, as well as the hour as well.

Off the con grid, for you Wrathers, I’m excited to say we’ll be getting Ali on camera for the doc as well this weekend. He was a tad young for being a “Survivor” from our June 1982 Houston subject meltdown, but I think his insights on both fandom and psychology, then and now, will be great context when we look at the actors, organizers, fans, and dealers  through that filter. 

Hope to see many of you at any or all of these touch points, amid the 200K!

And then… Vegas Khhaaann is just around the corner, baby!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Headed home to SoonerCon—my how you've grown!

Hey, we know all Trek/sci-fi/comic-con conventions and shows are unique ... but the one that's most unlike any other, to me, is the one that has me back each year, much appreciably, as a guest of my homies in OKC at SoonerCon, this year back at the Reed Center in suburban Midwest City June 26-27-28—with guests including fellow STC'er Chuck Huber and my friend from Voyager and other realms, Bob Picardo. It looks to be another boom year with turnout closing in on 3,000.

Sinec SCon rebooted in 2007, I've been invited to all but that first tentative year—and I always make sure to catch up with friends and family alike that week. A few years back I realized that SoonerCon should be a lot more than "old home week"—with the vibrant multiple fandoms, and new breed of indie filmmaking ... and then, even the coming of the USS Ajax fanfilm and the Starbase Studios that is now home to many productions and one-time users.

Kudos to my old bud Leonard (who sang at our wedding) and "new" friends Aislinn and Matt for the big economic-impact press coverage on SoonerCon in OKC's Journal-Record—for, as with practically every other pop culture convention, the times they are a-boomin': SoonerCon was lured from downtown OKC by Midwest City (home to Tinker Air Force Base), where a recent study estimated the weekend's economic impact at $1.9 million! To a battle-hardened veteran of the fandom "respect" wars of the 80s and 90s, I would have died to have data like that on my side—much less the PR. Now, everybody just reads about San Diego, and The Big Bang Theory, and gets it. Or IS it already.

The other thing that comes back to me each year is that there's plenty of Okie fans today who have no clue about the generation prior to our move out to L.A. in '94—which is great. That means the regional fanbase is fresh, and growing ... but with the red dirt in all our veins, it's like meeting a whole new batch of "old" family each year at the reunion. It's also a bastion of mostly progressive thought, arts boosting and diversity respect in a famously "red state" —and kudos to the new Tulsa-bound "OKPOP" state arts/pop culture historical museum being signed into law with funding.

Looking forward to staring to mesh out outreach for Enterprise in Space with the first NSS chapter folks I was familiar with, the 46th state's own Oklahoma Space Alliance.

It's also a shoot trip for more survivors of The Con of Wrath—four Okies, plus three down in Dallas— as well as a homecoming for my DP Neal Halford's festical-winning horror short, The Case of Evil, for one of his other "hometowns"—showing at 3:30 pm Saturday in the Theatre.

Oh—and I STILL kudos to Bernina of OKC for sponsoring the bulk of the costuming/cosplay segment of the weekend and the masquerade prizes. I think it's doubly awesome that SoonerCon has cosplay out the wazoo but still sticks with the old-school term of "hall costumes" for all-day, non-contest entrants.

All in all, for those of you in the region, I hope you can make it by one or more days. Here's the entire program schedule... and here's the whole gamut for me—plus tabling TBA:

5 pm, Ballroom D/Main:
The SoonerCon edition of our patented "Trekland: Between the Cracks"—2015's Trek losses, anniversaries, rumors, all from my archives, injokes and blooper. Plus--forum cross-talk time for the audience.

Table times:  2-5 pm
(Opening Ceremonies is at 6 pm)

SATURDAY:Table times: 12 noon-3:30 pm

11 am, Ballroom A: "Podcasting"—a first for SCon, on a panel on the basics of content and production, with several local podcasters writers/artist guests. You can bet there will be lots of Other Side of the Room knowledge divulged, even if it isn't specifically from trekfm.

4-6 pm, Ballroom D/Main: "The White Iris" latest (Ep. 4) Star Trek Continues on big-screen, with Q&A following with me & Chuck (McCoy) afterward—proud again to have the history, plus ongoing as Creative Consultant. PLUS: Chuck and I will judge a "McCoy-off"—come ready to grouse and toe-rise!

10 pm-12 midnight, Parlor Room (Sheraton 101): Yes, it's a "Dr. Trek Show" crowdfunder for The Con of Wrath, and the opportunity to support the doc with a $20 or more gift for screen credit, awesome video rariites and sneak-peeks and maybe grabbing a prize for trivia. AND you are out in time for the decent room parties—the ones still going strong.

If you are coming, please Join the Facebook event page and help give me a head's up.

Table times: 1-3:30 pm 

11 am, Theatre: "Enterprise In Space: 2019, For Real": The latest video and clips about this non-profit I'm the spokesman and outreach chief for, hopefully with some local Oklahoma Space Alliance folk on hand for a bit of the hour, whose parent National Space Society is the EIS sponsor.

Noon, Ballroom D: 20 Years of Voyager—This is really Bob P's Q&A but I'll be on hand to throw in some context and help close out the weekend.

(and Closing ceremonies at 4 pm)


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughts on June 11: Spock again illuminates McCoy

Or, rather, Leonard Nimoy illuminates DeForest Kelley.

It seems here in the Blog Age I've settled into a tradition each year of celebrating De's life career on his Jan. 20 birthday ... and using the anniversary of his passing on June 11, 1999—today—to reflect on what he's meant to me, to fandom, and to the world. Nothing radical there.

But I look back at my Trekland posts on the major markers of his death—the tenth anniversary, and then the fifteenth—and realize that, like all history and anything connected with the non-Prophets' linear existence, the passing years only shed more light, more texture and more nuance on what it is we already know.

So it was this year with Leonard Nimoy's own passing Feb. 27, and how I caught my own thoughts and reaction, upon hearing the news, first shifting to 6/11/99 and De—and then comparing and contrasting the two, and reflecting on first fandom and then our culture's reaction and modes of today... as I wrote about for Star Trek Magazine just a few days later for the rushed first edition after Leonard's passing. Very proud of that piece, as once again sometimes the simplest writing turns into my favorite.

Come to think of it, it's where my thoughts went when we lost Majel in 2008, and even grand old producer A.C. Lyles a year back. With Gene so long gone, De continues to be my adult anchor and reference point to all Trek, it seems. Hmmmmm.

One thing that has not changed, in fact perhaps accelerated by Leonard's passing, is the ongoing stampede of fans and appreciators of De's role of McCoy and his humble, understated performance overall. What I wrote about that explosion last year, sparked by finding my first Trek T-shirts (above), has not only mushroomed, but the awareness of it as well — especially among younger fans who can take their 24/7 remastered streaming fandom and see it all for themselves, much quicker, and go online and spread it further.

When I finally shed a professional veneer during our last interview and confessed to De that he and McCoy were both my favorites, he laughingly cracked a great retort: "Well, where were you in the 60s when I coulda used you up, against Bill and Leonard?" I've told that story more than once, but it occurs to me now: I think he'd love to shoot it back at all his new fans today, as well...and be just as appreciative.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

UPDATES: Best wishes to Nichelle Nichols for recovery

By now many of you have heard the official news, posted by her people on Facebook at Galactic Productions, LLC , that Nichelle Nichols suffered a "minor stroke" last night at her home, was rushed to the hospital, and is recovering now, undergoing tests to see its effects.

"Update #2 10:15am June 5, 2016
“The MRI showed that Nichelle Nichols had a MINOR stroke. She will start therapy this morning to evaluate how much damage was done, and try to determine her chances for a full or partial recovery. The therapists will test her hand at writing and legs to see if she can stand and walk on her own. Last night Nichelle remained alert, and cheerful.
When we told her about the love and support coming in from around the world she smiled and asked to see the posts on her facebook.
Thank you again for all of your kind words. Keep them coming because Nichelle is reading them.
Feel free to post your pictures with Nichelle and a story about when you met her.” -Zach McGinnis, Galactic Productions, LLC​"

6:25 pm Thursday, 6/5/15:

If there was anything more to top to joy, entertainment,  awareness and outreach she has given so many over all the years already … it has taken Enterprise in Space to remind me of her huge NASA recruiting efforts for diversity and opportunity among our real-space travelers … and our blessed and timely shoot for The Con of Wrath to provide the selfish pleasure of having her before my own camera.

In this pre-anniversary year when we have had headlines enough in Trekland, I hope you join me in sending Nichelle a Priority One message full of best wishes for smart docs and a speedy recovery!