The weekend of October 22-24, Creation Entertainment held an Official Star Trek Convention in Rosemont (near Chicago), Illinois. I was there to speak and to enjoy the festivities, and so I thought I would share my impressions of the weekend. We also have a photo slideshow from the event.
Creation Impresses at Chicago Con
Startrek.com has an excellent guest by guest discussion of the weekend, however, I wanted to offer a few, more thematic observations about this weekend’s event (which, by coincidence, happened to end on October 24th, the 19th anniversary of the passing of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry). This was my 25th Star Trek convention and I could honestly say it was perhaps the most fun and heartwarming of all the events I have attended.
The weekend began on a sad note as word spread in the line that Leonard Nimoy could not attend due to an emergency. Star Trek fans showed their true spirit of cooperation and compassion as there was, at least around the area in line where my family and waited, no complaining and much concern that everything was okay with Leonard. When host and Creation CEO Adam Malin announced the reason for the cancellation was a surgery, the audience sent its best wishes through applause to Mr. Nimoy.
What could have been a disappointing weekend was instead one of the best displays of what makes Star Trek fans, actors, and conventioneers so admirable. Perhaps it was because of the economy and the tough times many are facing, or perhaps it was the inspiration of an absent Nimoy, or both, but there was an unplanned theme that pervaded the weekend: that of being committed and passionate about one’s life and endeavors, or restated, making the best of given situations.
Many of the guests spoke about this theme, from the youngest star Jacob Kogan (Spock) to some of the more seasoned performers like Marc Alimo (Dukat) Perhaps the best expression of this was in the words of Casey Biggs (Damar) who spoke about how everyone could live their life as an artist, encouraging the audience to treat every endeavor and experience as if they were creating art, whether it as having dinner or at work. This recurring idea was an inspiring subtext that was mixed in with all the fun and laughs.
The actors really brought their best game on, to repeat a phrase. They not only gave talks, but nearly every single actor and actress pitched in to help the weekend be a memorable experience, from the excellent Rat Pack singing of Casey Biggs, Armin Shimerman, Vaughn Armstrong, Max Grodenchick, and Jeffrey Combs to the Shakespearen performance of several of the actors. In addition then to all the chatting about Star Trek’s past, present, and future, fans were provided many chances to be entertained by talented musicians and actors.
Another reason this weekend was excellent was host Adam Malin. He was not only enthusiastic, his obvious love for all science fiction, especially Star Trek, helped him be more of a representative of fans instead of just a emcee. Creation is returning to more of its roots, with such things as the return of personalized autographs, more fan interaction with celebrities, and more fan participation in the weekend. There were costume contests, music videos, two trivia contests, and many, many generous give-aways and prizes. I estimate, although I could actually be underestimating, that Creation gave away about $5000 worth of items and gift certificate to the fans. Malin made the weekend fun and filled it with events and it was good to have a genuine fellow fan in charge of the convention.
Another impression of the weekend was just how generous and friendly fellow fans are at conventions. The word "convention" connotes a convening of people with a similar affectation. This weekend was indeed a convening of friends and fellow fans. Politeness and encouragement were found in questions asked of celebrities and interactions among the fans themselves. I am always proud to be a Star Trek fan, and for whatever my opinion is worth, this weekend showed me why that is a good and right feeling to have.
Thanks for Creation Entertainment, all the guests, and fellow fans for creating a weekend where everyone had the chance to forget about everyday problems for a few days and celebrate optimism.
Here is a slideshow of images from the Star Trek Convention in Chicago by Ratnik via Flickr
All Photos: Rattapong Sangern