Star Trek Mission Chicago – 50th Anniversary Report, Part 3 (Sunday)

As Sunday was the shortest day of the convention, Part 3 will be the shortest (and last) of my blog posts pertaining to the convention.  Sadly, it is hastily written due to a tight schedule.

As usual, I slept a bit too late.  I mean, what are vacations for if I can’t sleep in, amiright?!

After eating a very healthy McDonald’s breakfast (please note sarcasm), I made my way to the convention. I decided not to look at any vendors since I’d already brought enough that weekend and instead headed straight to LeVar Burton’s booth to introduce myself and thank him for the work he’s done promoting literacy.  He gave me a total of two fist bumps, which pretty much made my day and leveled my geek cred numerous times.

After this encounter, I went to the photo ops with Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton.  It was with much satisfaction that Mr. Burton remembered my name!  *insert smug cat face*

After wandering around a bit and eating a small lunch, I made a beeline for the LeVar Burton talk.  LeVar is a very accomplished individual.  He’s written books, has promoted literacy for decades through his work on Reading Rainbow, starred in a major role in Roots, and was executive producer of the new version of Roots that was released recently. Not to mention his role as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Person after person from the crowd told him what an inspiration he was and how a few of them had made their way into the sciences after seeing that an African American advancing in that field.  It was very touching. To one such person in particular, LeVar answered, “I love engineers. Engineers get shit done” and the whole crowd laughed.

LeVar spoke of an issue very near and dear to my heart: Diversity. He said we need to learn to be OK with the fact that people are different from us. He said it is important to have diversity in casting so that people can see themselves represented, much like those individuals who told him that Geordi was an inspiration.  He gave an example from his own life. “I am a huge Star Trek fan. As a child, it was a TV show where people like me were represented,” said LeVar.

Here are a few other quotes by LeVar Burton about his acting career.

  • Questioner: “Armin Shimerman says acting is all in the eyes. How did you handle that?” LeVar: “I do a lot of eyebrow acting.”
  • “I understood none of the technical jargon. I got it out as fast as I could to make it sound like I do. That’s acting.” – LeVar
  • Roots was my first professional audition.” – LeVar Burton

My last session of the convention was the Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn panel.  According to Marina, they are best of friends and she calls him “Dorny”.  Marina did much more talking in this panel than Mr. Dorn; I think that is how he preferred it.  Marina was very funny and had no issue saying her opinion and being frank with the crowd.

Case in point, when a member of the audience asked her how she felt being put in command only to crash the Enterprise.  Her response, “I didn’t crash that ship!  The planet jumped out of nowhere!  And, the second time I was ordered to do it!”

Another really good example is when a member of the audience jokingly asked her if any of the men on set fought over her and she replied sadly that none ever had.  Michael Dorn spoke up, “It’s because you’re easy.”  There was a gasp from Marina and the audience. Marina’s face changes and she says, “You’re right.   Was no point in fighting over me.  I’d just tell them, ‘don’t worry, I’ll eventually get to you.'”

 

Marina and Michael both talk about the importance of mental health.  “Gene Roddenberry always believed that mental health was just as important as physical health.”  Michael says he often doesn’t talk politics, unlike Marina, but he has to agree, we need to do more as a society to help those that need it. Marina noted she wasn’t supposed to talk about politics on stage but since Ronald Reagan is already dead, she thinks she’s allowed to blame him for the closing of all the mental health facilities.

A few more tidbits:

  • I like dogs better than people, really. – Marina Sirtis
  • Follow me on Twitter if you want to hear politics. – @Marina_Sirtis
  • I’m really lucky that I get roles as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood. – Marina Sirtis

Also, for those of you who happen to be NCIS fans, she says we’ll see her in some upcoming episodes!

There ends my experiences at the Star Trek convention in Chicago.  Overall, this convention was the most diverse convention I’d ever attended and I loved it.  People of all races, religions, sexual preferences, and gender identities.  While Creation Entertainment could make numerous improvements to their non-Las Vegas conventions, overall I did have a good time.  My best find at the convention was a Star Trek 50th Anniversary bandana and a Star Trek Insurrection William Riker doll.

-The McNabbist

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The best Sunday cosplay 🙂

 

 

 

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