VegasCon09 – Thursday Kicks Off Con With Frakes & Dorn Clowning + Klingons Singing + more August 7, 2009by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Celebrity,Conventions/Events/Attractions , trackback
The Creation Entertainment official Star Trek Convention kicked off on Thursday in Las Vegas with a lot of Klingons, TNG heavyweights Michael Dorn and Jonathan Frakes, and a number of Trek guest stars, including some convention first timers. The day ranged from debating new Star Trek movie, to singing, behind the scenes scoops. We have a full report of the day (and evening party) with pictures below.
STAR TREK VEGAS CON – THURSDAY
Dorn and Frakes
The big event from Thursday was the joint appearance of Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn. The two are often paired up at cons and are known for the raucous appearances where they don’t hold back. Thursday was no different, with Frakes quickly starting with some quips about how Dorn lucked out when Denise Crosby left TNG in the first season, noting "nice career choice Denise." Frakes also razzed Dorn about his shaved head, then not missing an opportunity to take it to the next level, saying "as if the Generations movie wasn’t about two Captains in search of one good hair piece."
Dorn quickly moved on to the new Star Trek movie, asking the crowd how many liked it, prompting big applause and Frakes shouting "I loved the new movie." Dorn first stated it was a "good movie" but then went into how he found a problem with Nero and how he was "going around the galaxy and parking" in various planets and drilling into them. Saying "you think someone would say, what the hell is going on up there…they are drilling into the planet…that can’t be good." Frakes went out in the audience and started goading Dorn on, asking him about the coincidence of Spock Prime and Kirk meeting in the cave, saying "how did that work for you?" Although Frakes was enthusiastic about the Star Trek movie, he did lament how Abrams and his team got a huge budget saying "that’s over twice as much as we had."
Frakes and Dorn talked a lot about the atmosphere on the set of the Next Generation saying that they were professional "between action and cut," but the rest of the time it was "crazy." Apparently the actors were so out of control on the set that Joe Scanlan, who directed four TNG episodes, walked out and vowed to never direct for the show again, and he didn’t. When asked, Frakes said that of the cast, Brent Spiner was the biggest cut-up on set. The pair did talk seriously about a few things, with Frakes seemingly embarrassed about his role in the "These are the Voyages" finale of Star Trek Enterprise, which he said "stinks." He gave Enterprise star Scott Bakula praise, noting how cool Bakula was about he and Sirtis guest-starring in the Enterprise finale, noting how if it was his show he would have been pissed off.
Frakes and Dorn even had surprise guests joining them on stage. First to pop out was Elizabeth Dennehy (Shelby from TNG’s "Best of Both Worlds"). She supplied some laughs as she talked about how great Michael Dorn looked, which Frakes kept going on about during the rest of the set, noting how she didn’t say the same to him. At one point Frakes lamented "Where is Minuet?" and a few minutes later, Carolyn McCormack came out for the Riker/Min reunion. .
There was a bit of a theme to Thursday, with a number of Klingon guest stars. This started off with a "Klingon Salute" panel with Tony Todd (Kurn), Suzie Plakson (K’Ehleyr), John Schuck (STIV & STVI Klingon Ambassador; DS9: Parn; ENT: Antaak), Spice Williams-Crosby (STV: Vixis; DS9: Klaestron), and William Morgan Sheppard (ST09: Science Minister; TNG: Dr. Ira Graves; STVI Klingon Commander; VOY: Qatai). All the actors spoke fondly about playing Klingons, which they said were "operatic" and "larger than life" characters, with Todd going on to say playing Worf’s brother Kurn "was the most fun I ever had." Spice Williams talked about the challenge of playing a Klingon, notably learning to speak Klingonese, saying that language expert Marc Okrand at one point put his hand in her mouth to teach her how to get the guttural sounds just right. Plakson closed out by talking about being introduced to Gene Roddenberry, who spoke to her about the "wonder of playing
Later in the day Las Vegas had a special moment when the Klingon Chancellors Martok & Gowron visited (aka JG Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly in full Klingon makeup and costume). The pair stayed in character for their set, which included two a number of songs (one of which was a hip-hop song). Martok said that he liked the new Star Trek movie, however he had one issue with it, yelling "where were the Klingons?!"
Another non Klingon regular guest star was there, Max Grodenchik, who came out wielding his "Ferengi Rules of Acquisition." Starting off low-key and poking some fun at himself, the actor joked about how people come up to him and say "Armin, I loved you on Deep Space Nine" (referring to Armin Shimerman, DS9’s Quark). But Quark’s brother Rom then livened things up with his own song, doing a Ferengi rap that had the crowd laughing.
TNG Guest Stars ladies
In keeping with their goal of bringing a number of first time convention attendees, Thursday had appearances from two actresses that both appeared in two episodes of The Next Generation. Elizabeth Dennehy (TNG: Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Paula Shelby) was on first and she said that to this day she still gets fan mail for her two-part episode guest spot from 1990, noting how that summer she was more famous than her father (actor Brian Dennehy). The actress said when they filmed season 3 cliffhanger part 1, it still wasn’t clear who Shelby was, noting "was she a good guy or bad guy, is she going to hook up with Riker?…they kept it all vague cause they didn’t know."
Carolyn McCormick who appeared as Riker’s fantasy woman Minuet in two episodes of TNG started with questions, and actually ended up mostly being asked about her other work, including Spencer for Hire and especially Law & Order, where she has appeared as a regularly recurring character over the last nine years.
Another one of the ‘first timer’ guest stars was Alex Henteloff, who appeared at Fleixicorp’s Dr. Nichols in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The actor started off noting that transparent aluminum, which his character go the formula for in the film, was recently discovered for real. Henteloff joked ""I expect I will share the royalties, when they come in." Henteloff is no longer acting, but one of his current projects is writing theater reviews for Casa Magazine. He recalled a ‘small world’ story about how he was reviewing "a play in Westwood" where he looked over and saw Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto in the audience. I talked to Henteloff after the show and confirmed that the play was "Farragut North", and asked him about the star Chris Pine. Henteloff said he hadn’t seen the new Star Trek movie and so he didn’t realize the connection, but thought Pine was a good actor.
NIGHTTIME: Roddenberry Party
Creation had an official con party at the Stratosphere Hotel, but the TrekMovie team went to the Roddenberry party at the Hard Rock. The joint was hopping, with a retro vibe due to the music selections mostly coming from the 70s and 80s. There was a raffle, an Orion slave girl in a dancing cage, and even some celebrities, including Cirroc Lofton who got a birthday cake. As there was an open bar (thanks Rod), it was a good time for all.
We have more photos than those above. Below is the full slideshow of all the Star Trek Con stage images, plus more images from the Roddenberry party.
More to come
Stay tuned to TrekMovie.com for more wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 Las Vegas Star Trek convention