Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Seattle Star Trek Convention 2014

Sporting the NX-01 Cover-all; don't be jealous.

This weekend I went to my first pure Star Trek convention since 2005.  I’ve hit a few ComiCons of various size in that time, but not a good old Trek convention in a while.  So how was it?

At first I was a little worried: it seemed so small.  Despite it having a really stellar guest list, the vendor room could not have had more than a dozen vendors.  It was in Bellvue and not downtown Seattle, so a smaller venue.  There were really only three rooms at the center in use.

And yet, this was one of my best con experiences in years.

While walking through the admittedly small vendor room, someone called out, “now that’s an outfit I know!”  It was Anthony Montgomery. 

I was apparently eating an invisible apple.
We had a long chat about his new comic (Miles Away, as see above), and I got him to sign my “Star Trek: Star Charts” map of the NX-01’s first year.  He also made sure I was following him on Twitter @MrAMontgomery.  Ha!  I already was. Then he shows the book to the guy at the table next to him and it’s a surprise guest: Herbert Jefferson, the original Boomer from Battlestar Galactica.  Though non-Trek, he was a welcome surprise guest!

I expected a quick chat and then an autograph, but on and off throughout the day Jennifer and I spent about an hour talking to Herb about various programs he supports to help Veterans.  It came up that I do career counseling for people getting out of the Military, and had myself just retired, and we were off.  Let me quickly pitch a group he is working with,  Great initiatives to support Vets and their families and lots of Congressional lobbying, please take a moment and check them out.  He also showed me pictures of him with  Congressional Medal of Honor recipient George Sakato (and shared some of Mr. Sakato’s great stories!) and with the original Red Tails, some of the Tuskegee Airmen.  All through the day we saw Herb, and he was a delight each time.

Popping into the presentations, we caught Jeri Ryan.  As you all may know, Voyager is not my favorite of the Treks, but Ms. Ryan proved to be very entertaining and engaging and someone who was obviously there for the fans.  It was a real pleasure to listen to her, and frankly, television does not do her justice. 

Then came John Billingsley, Star Trek: Enterprise’s Doctor Phlox.  The man was a mile a minute laugh riot whose answers to fans’ questions were nearly stream of consciousness and utterly hilarious.  He had apparently hosted karaoke the night before and I was sorry I had missed it.

This is him and my wife's thumb.

Of course there were the fans.  More than a few cosplayers, but all and all a different crowd that a comic or pop-culture convention.  It reminded me that despite Trek’s great success over the years, the Trekkie can still be a bit of a minority in the now very broad world of fandom.  These fans seemed more matter of fact than the crowds I see at the big shows.  There was not the “I’m here to show you how much I love this thing” feel, but rather a “isn’t it cool we’re all here to love it together.”  I saw cosplayers from every Trek from TOS to AOS (though I think I may have been the only ST:E outfit), and it was a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.  Just a great experience. 

The geek world has become so accepted in recent years, but maybe it lost something in becoming so mainstream.  There may be a sense of camaraderie we’ve lost along the way.

This con though, it was there.  It was family, it was close, it was sharing.

It was why I go to cons in the first place.  I hope I can find more shows like this one.
The amazingly fortunate author with his incredibly tolerant wife.

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