Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 Star Trek Convention Friday: Enterprise Panel

Picture 1: Anthony Montgomery, Vaughn Armstrong, John Billingsley, Gary Graham, Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer - getting into a circle
Picture2: Dominic showing off his nipple, pecs and all
Picture3: Vaughn, Gary, Anthony, John, Dominic and Connor
Picture 4: Gary, Dominic, Anthony, John, Connor
Picture 5: Anthony John and Connor

One of the funniest panels I attended during the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas must be the Friday afternoon Enterprise panel in the Gene and Majel Roddenberry theatre. The actors were all in great form and spirit and came across as extremely enthusiastic. Their reception from the audience was certainly warm. Present on stage were Vaughn Armstrong (Admiral Forrest), Gary Graham (Vulcan ambassador Soval), Anthony Montgomery (Ensign Travis Mayweather), John Billingsley (Doctor Phlox), Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed), and Connor Trinneer (Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker).

The panel began when the actors asked the assembled fans how they would prefer them to proceed. After being told by said audience that they wanted to hear them talk as if they weren’t there, the actors then moved themselves, chairs and all, into a circle in order to talk amongst themselves. The little scheme drew a lot of chuckles from the fans. After a period of much goofing around, Dominic Keating then proceeded to show a completely amused and rapt audience his nipple – twice (in case people missed it the first time and at the audience’s general request).

Dominic Keating was the life of the panel (though everyone was funny and John Billingsley gave him a run for his money, almost literally, more on that later), as he brought many in the audience to the brink of hysterical laughter. For example, he jokingly said that the show got cancelled because he broke up with Brannon Braga and also called Jonathan Frakes ‘Old Frakes.’ The highlight was when he told a particularly funny story about once meeting a transsexual fan in Australia who told him he was actually wearing a pair of underwear Dominic had worn in an episode (you could buy Star Trek clothes and props on Ebay for those who wonder how this fan got a hold of these very sexy underwear, but I digress) – this particular story made the audience squeal with laughter, especially since Dominic was telling the tale rather enthusiastically. He later sang his own alternate version of the Enterprise theme song and – joined by Connor Trinneer – did an impression of the leg warmer wearing scene of the movie Flashdance because of some costume they had to wear in an episode of Enterprise. It was simply Priceless.

The other funny man of the panel was John Billingsley who some of you also know from True Blood. He talked about how Star Trek was a positive vision of the future, and when the first question was asked him about True Blood, he got up, walked to the woman at the end of the stage, and threw her a dollar bill (John also did that another time). As to the question, John answered that he had signed a nudity waver which he had now framed in his bathroom! It was an extremely funny moment. Later, another woman told him Phlox was her favourite character but by then John had no more money, so Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer both got up and threw some money to the woman, with Connor later hoping he had not thrown away a hundred dollar bill. Hilarious.
Anthony Montgomery talked about his music career, while John pretended to read the newspaper. Gary Graham and Vaughn Armstrong tried to get Anthony to give a little show (Vaughn had to leave later in the panel because he was re-doing the show he had given at the Gold Patron's party the night before). Gary Graham then let slip a funny and embarrassing story about Jolene Blalock whom he called ‘the sexy, talented and the gassiest Jolene.’ I could not believe my ears. Connor Trinneer also got to talk about both Trip Tucker and Michael (a character he played on Stargate Atlantis) and said that obviously, Trip was closer to him. The panel lasted for approximately an hour.

In my opinion one of the most hilarious panels of the convention, the Enterprise crew certainly did not fail to entertain their many fans. Though the series was much maligned during it's 4 years run, it is evident that people love them. Enlivened particularly by Dominic Keating and John Billingsley, it was one of the funniest experiences of the convention.

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