Philadelphia Convention ReportBy Doug Wilson
Posted at August 1, 2000 - 11:08 PM GMT
As I sit here, typing, and staring at my many, many, many autographs from this convention and others before it, I remember the stories behind each one. So, here is the whole story of my most recent convention. If this doesn't make you want to attend them, nothing will.
On Friday, July 28th I, my mother, and my sister - both non-Trekkies - departed from our country home, and drove down to the city - Philadelphia. We are all originally from there, so its no big deal really. After what seems like 2 hours do to the traffic, we arrive at the Philadelphia Adams Mark Hotel, on the outer fringes of the city. This is where most of the news stations and hotels are located. The hotel is also home to the Illinois, and Arkansas delegations. We settled in, ate dinner, and then registered down stairs. We have the weekend tickets, which entitle us to everything. 2 autographs per guest, per ticket (I came home with at least 6 signatures of everyone), and the "Dinner with the stars". So far, so good.
We attend that nights performance by Armin (Shimmerman - Quark) and Rene (Auberjonis - Odo) from 8:00 PM to 10:30ish. Both Armin and Rene are delightful, putting on many different plays or readings, and just doing it as it happens, not many plans ahead of time. The two highlights where when Armin and Rene instantly became Quark and Odo. Almost likely putting on a jacket, the two performed most of their parts from the episode in which Quark and Odo are trapped in Odo's office, as the stations counter insurgency program activates. It was amazing to see the two just 'morph' into the characters they portrayed on Deep Space 9. The second highlight was a hilarious skit the two put on, where Armin was a reporter and Rene was a silly-stupid Scotland Yard detective. For an example, Armin asked "Who do you think is behind the theft?", to which Rene replied, "We believe that Thieves are behind the crimes.". It was delightful.
Afterward, we all made our way from the convention area to the two elevators that lead to the lobby, and from there to the 4 that lead to the rooms. With 800+ people doing this, we decided to just mill around the gift shop. And a good thing we did. After the lines dwindled, we waited with 10 or so people for the elevators too arrive. My sister, who has a knack for spotting people, points discreetly and whispers that "That's Paris !!". To my surprise, who is left standing with us but Robbie (Robert Duncan McNeil). As two elevators arrive, He enters the first, with 4 or 5 other conventioneers, my sister and mother enter the second with a few others, and I have a choice that I make quickly, and, of course, enter the elevator with Robbie. I'm only on the 4th floor, so, I'm screwed. I say "Hi", meekly, despite my towering physical presence of 6 foot 8, and his meager average height. His hair is mussed, much unlike Tom Paris, and he's just returned from a ball game. He chats about his flight, and others about their drive from Michigan, and we arrive at my floor. I'm the only one to get off, and stand there for a few moments. Everyone glances to me to see what I'm waiting for, and as I exit, I inform them "I don't wanna get off the elevator!" to which Robbie is the first one to crack up at.
The next day was better, despite the Bomb Threat. After watching Armin and Rene during their stage time for the convention, I'm about to purchase $32.00 worth of pictures to have signed when we are told to evacuate. We do so, and all mill around the parking lot, et cetera. David Scott with his wife leads and owns Slanted Fedora entertainment (A terrific company, that does put on the best show of all of them), and he has the stunt team from Trek perform for everyone. However, they are not the main attraction, but rather Armin and Robbie posing for pictures with everyone. Armin and Robbie must be applauded. In this tense situation, on a hot, muggy dreary day, these two fine people where there for the fans, making themselves the center thought, to keep peoples mind from any apparent danger, to which, in the end, there was none. Now, I will tell you, as I am honest in my reports, that Rene Auberjonis was standing 50 feet from us (The Trekkies) and refused to do pictures, or anything else. Bob Picardo, and Johnny (Ethan) Phillips where at the other side of the hotel and can be excused, and Roxann was still in the air, so she too can be excused.
After a little over an hour outside, we where allowed to return inside, and the convention continued, with a screwy schedule. Robbie and Ethan then took the stage, and talked for an hour about Trek, and themselves, answering questions. It was fun, and funny. All four of these actors have a great comprador. Ethan is aware that not many people like Neelix, but we all love him. He's hilarious ! Although he does like the word "Shit" a bit to much. The day goes on, and we meet Bob Picardo and Roxann Dawson - still lugging her luggage around, having been on the ground only a little over an hour. These two, where also terrific. I did ask them a question about spoilers, to which Roxann asked what I new, I replied about the Paris/Torres marriage, to which Roxann and Bob both nodded there heads yes, while saying "We can't say anything.".
The convention then ended for the day, and everyone again flooded the elevators to get ready for the "Dinner with the Stars". This is actually a dinner theater, where you get a standard hotel banquet meal (it was actually good this time though), followed by an hour of pictures with the lesser-known guests, and then performances by the main 'Fab Four of Voyager'. They performed three plays, to which the best part would have to be during the third play, when Ethan's character is told to see a Doctor. Bob Picardo proceeds to pull a Starfleet Medical Tricorder, and scan Ethan, asking him what the problem is. Without trying, he too fell into the role of The Doctor. The evening ended around 10:30.
The next day was grueling, to say the least. There was no activity of any interest to me until late that afternoon, and as I left the checkout to my mother and sister, I ran down and bought a copy of Roxanns new book, "Entering Tenebrea". It's one of only 750 EVER to be printed in hard back, and signed by both authors. The book, so far, is similar to Star Trek, but good - I'm an avid reader, and will be making a review of the book when I've completed it, and hope Christian will post that also. We decided though, to get in as many autograph lines as we could and before David Scott began begging, pleading, pushing and shoving, we had all but two of the guest's complete set of signatures. Then, at 2, the Voyager gang, all four of the Voyager guests took the stage. This provides laughs, spoilers, and an impression of Jeri Ryan - Both Ethan and Bob bent over, and put Bob's sport coat over there heads creating an image you can imagine. No pictures where allowed for that, otherwise you'd have one with this story, but, use your imaginations.
We then sat there, listening to David Scott talk for two hours until we got in line to get the last two signatures we needed, Bob and Roxann. With those signatures done, we made a break for it. The convention for this year, was over. I will tell you that I've been to Creation convention, and Slanted Fedora, and have compared notes on other conventions like Shore Leave, and World Con, and find Slanted Fedora to still be the best. That's it. That's three days of conventioning squished in there, and edited for adult content, to which there is some. I don't recommend conventions for children under 12, although that's up to the parents out there. I began at age 11, but recently conventions have gone from PG to PG-13, and then to R. Examples would be the third play at the dinner with the stars, Robbie McNeil's fake orgasm during that play, Ethan Phillips profanity, and Dave Scott's sometimes crude jokes. I'll go to his shows again though, as they are the best.
Doug Wilson AKA Fleet Admiral James T.Wilson is a new contributor to the Trek Nation.