Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Star Trek Convention Thursday

Picture 1: The Klingon Panel with William Morgan Sheppard, John Shuck, Suzie Plakson, Spice Williams-Crosby and Tony Todd
Picture 2: Max Grodenchick
Picture 3: Robert O'Reilly as Gowron and JG Hertzler as Martok
Picture 4: Elizabeth Dennehy
Picture 5: Michael Dorn and Jonathan Frakes
Picture 6: Jonathan Frakes with Michael Dorn on the screen behind him

The first panel I attended on the first day of the convention was the Klingon Salute with actors Tony Todd (Kurn), Suzie Plakson (K`Ehleyr), John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador from Star Trek 4 and 5), Spice Williams-Crosby (Vixis from Star Trek 5) and William Morgan Sheppard (Star Trek 6).
(Panel formats are very simple. The guests walk on stage when they are announced and usually after a few rounds of banter and discussions back and forth between them, they quickly move on to questions. People then line up on each side below the stage where there are microphones and questions are asked in alternance from one side to the next).

During this panel, I learned that these actors, who played Klingons, often viewed them as theatrical and thus played them that way. Suzie Plakson found it both exhausting and fun because, as she said, she could also let strong emotions out, such as fury. The ever imposing Tony Todd (of Candyman, Xena and Chuck fame) admitted to having had the most fun while playing a Klingon while Spice Williams-Crosby talked about learning her lines in the Klingon language for her part in the Star Trek 5 movie with her colleague Todd Bryant (who could not be at the panel). But the most touching story was when Suzy Plakson said that her favourite experience about working on Star Trek was when she met Gene Roddenberry. She got emotional as she told the audience the story of her meeting with The Great Bird. She talked about what he had told her: ''It’s so much fun to make aliens real. Thank you for playing her.''

Next came Max Grodenchick who played the well loved Ferengi Rom, Quark’s brother, on DS9. He was very sweet and funny and did a hilarious rap about his character which he called Rom DMC. Amongst the highlights, he recalled a funny story about playing three different Ferengis on Star Trek but with the same teeth (cheaper and easier) and said that his favourite DS9 episode was Tribbles and Tribulations and that his favourite Rom episode was Little Green Men. Max also sung another song - which was usually sung by Armin Shimmerman(Quark) - called Rubber Butt Heads (because of the way Ferengi heads look like). Very, very funny.

The highlight of the day was the Gowron and Martok panel. Both Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) and JG Hertzler (Martok) appeared in costume as well as in character on stage. They sang a Klingon Hymn (to the delight of the panel), told stories about flying Klingon Air and how one of them was almost turned back at the check point because he brought a Klingon pain stick. That drew in a lot of laughs from the audience. They talked about the new movie, saying that there was a huge problem: Where were the Klingons? That again drew many laughs. Believe me, the actors were working it and selling their characters. It was completely wonderful. And to top it all, they actually made fun of Twilight, a real delight. The characters also rambled about how hot their costumes were, and of course, the immediate smelly jokes followed, with Gowron taking a good sniff of Martok’s armpit and making a face with his famous round eyes. That moment drew a lot of roaring laughs again. They then proceeded with a Klingon Rap Song (these Star Trek actors certainly love their rap). But the funniest, most hilarious, no holds barred, funny moment of the panel was when an audience member asked them to do battle on stage and procured a minuscule Bat'leth. What followed was simply the most hilarious thing of the day. The Klingons rejected the ridiculously puny Bat'leth and proceeded to doing Klingon opera while simultaneously doing battle to the death with cloaked (invisible) Bat'leths. They both ended up dead and grovelling on the stage floor, to the delight and cheers of the audience. After this impressive display, Martok and Gowron got a standing ovation.

Believe me, it was hard afterwards to live up to this incredible panel. Actress Elizabeth Dennehy who played Commander Shelby on 2 of the best episodes of TNG made her first convention appearance ever and did fairly well. She talked about herself and her career and gave us some cool tidbits such as the fact that the poor Borgs couldn't pee, that she did not enjoy wearing the costume and that she auditioned for Captain Janeway! This last one was a real surprise.

The last panel of the evening was with Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn who were received warmly. These two men, obvious friends, were bantering and joking between themselves and Frakes said he was happy that they were packing the theatre even on a Thursday evening. He then proceeded to walk around said theatre to the delight of everyone before returning on stage. They both talked about the new movie (they didn't get the drilling platform part and why people on earth were just staring at it instead of taking action), about putting Marina Sirtis' dog in the microwave (the dog was fine, since Marina stopped them but I wonder if that story is true), and about how Frakes hated the Worf /Troy romance storyline. Then Elizabeth Dennehy showed up on stage for a lovely surprise reunion and left again; actress Carolyn McCormick also made a surprise appearance on the panel a bit later. The guys then moved on to telling the audience about how Marina Sirtis once said that she thought Tomas Riker was cuter than William Riker (they are the same actor) which made the audience laugh. Revelations abounded aplenty. We learned Patrick Stewart called Marina ''Space Whore'' because she fawned over all the cute male guest stars (believe me it was funny as Frakes perfectly imitated Patrick Stewart); that Patrick was a better actor than he was a director; that Michael Dorn never messed up his lines - to which Dorn replied it was because Worf only said ''Yes sir,'' and ''No;'' and that Scott Bakula was a gentleman regarding the last episode of Enterprise because it basically took place on the holodeck of the Enterprise D during the TNG era and featured Frakes and Sirtis with a guest voice appearance from Brent Spiner as Data. All in all, it was an entertaining panel. People love them.

The regular convention day ended with the autograph session which took more than 4 hours in all (there were 5 people signing autographs). When I finally left, after a painful 3 and a half hours of waiting, there were many more people waiting in line. I have to commend the actors, who have to sign for that long, and still look gracious.


  1. wow!! that actually sounds cool...and im not a trekkie...hehehe
    ~~ crazilazigurl

  2. Why is he called "The Great Bird"?
    Could you post the planner and say why you choose those pannels over the others?
    Are you going to tell us (me) how it's organize, if it's all in only one Hotel? If you took pics of peeps cosplaying?
    BTW, I really enjoyed reading this. I like the way you write.