John Billingsley – Hero of FedCon USA

Since TrekMovie first reported the abrupt demise of FedCon USA last weekend, there has been much debated and discussed during the postmortem. Although the failure of FedCon USA unfortunate, it is worth highlighting how the actors who showed up, especially Star Trek Enterprise’s John Billingsley (along with his wife Bonita), went above and beyond to make the best of a bad situation. See VIDEO below.

Friday Night
As of Friday night at Fedcon the first signs of trouble were there, but it was still a go. During the opening ceremonies the MC was dragging and the momentum was being lost, so John Billingsley came on stage, with a bottle of bourbon, and got things going…here are some clips:

Saturday Morning
After the MC announced the closure at the end of Billingsley’s performance, Billingsley again steps up, starting off by saying “I want to say a few words, forgive me, but I am going to do it anyway…” He then did his best to explain what happened and stayed on to answer questions. Watch how it all unfolded in the following video from the Vadercast (note: vid is about 40 minutes long)

Dr. Phlox’s FedCon USA Autopsy: VaderCast also has a postmortem video interview with Billingsley where he talks about the ‘warning signs’ and issues with FedCon and the issues between FedCon USA and FedCon Germany.

More on the postmortem
The official FedCon USA site has an official appology on the front page. Dirk from FedCon Germany had made a post on the official forums distancing himself from FedCon USA and organizer Tim Brazeal, but the FedCon USA forums have since been shut down (due to the “high numbers of abusive comments”). There is more coverage of the death of FedCon USA at SyFyPortal, VaderCast, and Tie-dyed Brains. This week SyFy Portal also had a segment on FedCon USA with a number of guests including the guys from Vadercast and myself, listen to that here.

We sat down with John and Bonita at the event and should have that video up at DVD Geeks at a later date.

John Champion has been reporting on FedCon USA for and DVD Geeks. DVD Geeks (which John produces) is a fan-oriented DVD review and commentary show on the America One Television Network. For more information check out DVDGeeks.TV


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I met him in Chicago. That’s a stand up guy.

John Billingsley should be applauded for what he did considering the FedCONMEN/Trek United people didn’t do **** when the whole thing collapsed. I hope Tim Brazeal and his friends get sued- this is the second time they screwed something up by lying in the beginning and then running away.

What a gentleman! My new Trek hero — okay, I always loved Phlox…

Well Done John Billingsley !!

That was dam nice of you

:o )

I always loved him on Prison Break and was very dissapointed when they switched actors on us. It’s always fun to see a familiar, friendly face in the odd role here and there.

Wow. I just watched the video. That’s some pretty damning stuff. Kind of chilling actually. I was just a day away from going. Crazy.

The guy they sent up to announce is doing total damage control. It really seems like even he isn’t very sure what’s going on. I also noticed the number of empty seats in the audience, something I previously noticed in the photos of the previous FedCon article. I haven’t been to a convention in a very long time, and it was really more of a collectors’ show than anything else. They mentioned that attendance was low, but they could have at least tried to finish out the day.

Good people.

There’s nothing that a little inebriation and some creativity can’t overcome.

Rock on.

Thank goodness for folks like John Billingsley–stepping up out of nowhere and doing a great job after the TU crowd spent months and months fracking things up. Many kudos are to be heaped upon him.

Pulled my card out of the Brazeal Fan Club after the news on this broke.

Well done, John B.

“Frankfort, Kentucky – lets hear it for Frankfort!” LOL! That bottle of sauce was formulated 0.5 miles from my present location. I hope they enjoyed it.

Phew. What a mess. What a royal mess. It sounds like you had a situation of someone who bit off way more than he could chew. It appears to me that guests who were planned were not contacted or followed up with in a timely manner, (and as such, could not attend) and they had an unrealistic attendance goal.

Frankly, I can understand why people were pissed. Way to go Billingsley for standing up for the patrons of the con. It’s clear that he’s a stand up guy.

J.B., you are a Man among Men. Kudos!

Despite his character not getting used enough John Billingsley was probably the second best actor on enterprise. I think Connor was the best on the show.

FedCon? it sounds like the whole thing was a CON!
I have not been to a Trek convention in more than 25 years, because the whole Trek-verse has drifted further and further away from the TOS thing I love.
No TNG, no DS9, no VOY or ENT… I fell in love with STAR TREK when I was 5 back in 1967!

That is why I’m so happy about this film. Back to the drawing board! Re-boot!
Start Again!

These FedCon people are what put the “dumb” in “fandom”!

Okay. My little rant is over. John Billingsley is a great guy for stepping up when someone needed to.
I feel sorry for all the people who took the time to attend and got punk’d!

Bravo John, he’s the man. Or Denobulan. I think his performances were often the best part of any given ENT episode, and a big part of why ENT is tied with TOS for my favorite Trek.

IMO Billingsley was easily the best actor on Enterprise.

More importantly, from what I’ve read, he’s consistently professional, friendly, literate (the guy runs a book club and founded a theatre company that adapts literature to the stage, worth two huge brownie points in my book!), incisive and honest (who can forget his comment about a certain episode being “somewhat flaccid and dramatically arbitrary”) and, as his recent actions have demonstrated, pure class.

I’m not into the whole going to cons to see actors thing, but I’d attend a convention that had him as a guest.

Wow. John Billingsley and his wife Bonita, are simply and elegantly impressive. The world is in need of more people like them.

In the video there was a woman who traveled from Canada, to be at this Con, and is all fired up to take it over and do it right in the future. I admire her drive and passion as well. If you are reading this, best of luck to you.


Wow. Billingsley was amazing. Nice of him to step up.

This must have been the biggest convention debacle since the 1982 Houston convention fell apart and Harve Bennett and the TOS cast tried to make the best of it.

Another good article John, love the clips. Linked to from my site. Call me back when you get a chance, BTW, we have some catching up to do!

…There’s an allegory to this that John and Bonita – as well as Garrett – need to be made aware of ASAP, so if any of you TrekMovie people happen to contact any of them, pass this on:

…Once upon a time, there was a movie called American Hot Wax. The film, although a critical and financial disaster at the box office, was to the birth of 50’s “Rock & Roll” what The Right Stuff was to the birthing pains of the US Manned Space program. In other words, where it seriously missed on accuracy – i.e., Gus Grissom panicking and “screwing the pooch” instead of the hatch blowing on its own as we now understand it had – it nailed the mythology and the legend dead-on.

…In the case of AHW, there’s a scene where Alan Fried, the famous DJ who has been off-and-on again accredited as the “father” of Rock and Roll, has just had the ticket proceeeds for the big show he’s hosting siezed by the local Gestapo; the idea is that if Fried can’t pay the acts that show up, they won’t play, and Fried *and* the evil satanic communist threat that 50s R&R will roll over and die. As this happens, Chuck Berry shows up, and in the movie’s most famous scene tells Fried in front of the Pigs “Well, Rock & Roll’s done an awful lot for me, now it’s time I did something for Rock & Roll!”. So Berry, cousin of Marvin, goes on to perform the show for free along with all the other performers when it becomes obvious what the hometown Nazis are trying to pull. The film still ends with the show raided and everyone either arrested or on the run, but that iconic scene of Chuck Berry making his stand against the forces of another form of prejudice still stands out today as the only part of the movie that’s worth watching it for.

…Now, as with any myth, there’s truth *and* falsehood behind it. There were several shows where local excuses for city governments pulled the same sort of stunts to get big “Bopper” shows shut down, and Chuck was headlining several of them. However, although the myth circulated even back in that pre-JFK era that Chuck had done a show for free after the box office take was siezed by “some local racist cracker who hated N*****s and N****r music”, not even Chuck could remember exactly what town that happened in, nor the date or the show itself. Most Rockologists have concluded that the story was a myth circulated as a scare tactic against municipalities that would pass ordnances banning Rock & Roll shows – “If you ban it, we’ll still play for free because this is America, baby! Land of the Free!”

…But regardless of how much is myth and how much is reality, John, Bonnie and Garrett’s actions on behalf of those who got screwed by yet another Brazeil masterscam are the stuff of myth and legend that, like John Glenn in The Right Stuff, just happen to *be* the facts that the myths will be based upon when this story is retold years from now. We’ve got the first-hand accounts, we’ve got the YouTube clips, and we’ve got the actors’ accounts as well. All add up to three people who stood up and went beyond the call of duty for their fans in such a way that it needs to be honored *and* remembered. We’re doing the honoring now, but the remembering part is going to be interesting to watch over the next two to three decades I figure I’ve got left. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “FedCon Three” are canonized, John’s efforts will include at least one life-saving CPR incident as well as an emergency appendectomy with a plastic knife from the overpriced junk food concession stand, Bonnie will have been the nurse *and* the translator as the victim will only have spoken pIqaD, and Garrett will have saved at least four fans from the hotel after it caught fire. Won’t diminish the good they did by one iota, but it’ll make a hell of a story for our grandkids to tell to each other.

“What fire?” you say? Well, there’s the issue of what fate awaits Tim Brazeil, and when myths have happy endings it usually involves some despicable scumbag meeting their deserved,. painful fate….:-)

John Billingsley is a class act! :)

Thanks for supporting the fans!

I watched and listen to the reports. Johm Billingsley should be commended for stepping up when no else would have. Tim Brazeal’s intentions were good, but he bit off more than he could chew. He didn’t realize what it takes to run a convention. He was a fan, but not having gotten involved by sitting in on meetings with other fan run convention staff, he did not know what it takes. There are fan run conventions out there that are very successful and have been for many years. Their focus has always been the fans and they know their fan base. They know how many guests they need to make a successful convention, and they have back-up plans whenever something goes wrong. I am certain Tim Brazeal will learn from this experience. You must walk before you can fly, and ambition will often be your downfall if you try to fly too soon.

-..I like to drink a good beer..anyway…watching Stargate.. or maybe a soccer game of course…

My apologies for misspells in names. Johm should have been JOHN, and Brazeal should have been Brazeil. The keyboard isn’t always kind and sometimes when you make mistakes it’s difficult to go back and correct them. Tim Brazeil made a LOT of mistakes, and I am certain he is very much sorry for those mistakes. We try to do things with the BEST INTENTIONS, but best intentions just isn’t enough when you haven’t done your homework.

John Billingsley & his lovely wife Bonita are legends!

Tim Brazeal is a snake, had I not known (though I only just read up on it) his previous rather dubious affairs, I would have believed his intentions were good, and that he just bit off more then he could chew. But this guy has a history of shady shenanigans… so thats a little hard to swallow.

I just hope people get their ticket money back at the very least (not to mention photo session tickets etc & hopefully other expenses).

20- good god learn to be concise. Eyes glazing over…

26, No sheite huh? Me too.

John Billingsly is a true Trek hero; no wonder he won the hand of the very sexy Bonita. It’s nice to know that we fans are appreciated and thanks to Garrett as well.

Would the Shat have done the same? Doubt it.

I’m sure several other TREK actors would have done the same in the same situation becuase the LOVE and CARE for the fans.

But John Billingsley is the first one to have to do it!

Wow Tim Brazeal ripped more people off, Toobad there isn’t a site for reporting people like him.

John Billingsley and his wife Bonita are truly what Star Trek is about. That move was nothing but class, class, CLASS.

I know that our paths will never cross, but if they do someday, please allow me to buy the both of you a drink.

On a related note, is anyone having the difficulty I am trying to watch the Vadercast video? I can’t get through 30 seconds of it without it freezing up or starting over and I’m on the fastest connection around. I would really like to view what John Billingsley has to say but I won’t do it at the expense of smashing my computer to bits out of frustration.

OK, I wouldn’t smash it to bits but the video problem IS annoying.

I say anyone whos ever been ripped off my Brazeal be reimbursed at Brazeal’s expense.

Good Luck to that though, since this guy is mysteriously unavailable when the shit hits the fan.

That damage control guy sounds like he’s at a business seminar.

The line up were Voyager and Enterprise actors – no wonder it tanked!

“The line up were Voyager and Enterprise actors – no wonder it tanked!”

That’s the most idiotic thing to say

Oliver Twist warning for trolling, Rick warning for flaming

JB wanders onstage with a bottle of JB? JB is a MAN. Anyone who’s a bourbon drinker gets deference in my book. And as an officially appointed, card-carrying Maker’s Mark ambassador (with my own ‘personal’ barrel – look for the label bearing barrel #795200 at merchants of finer distilled spirits everywhere, TYVM) , I gotta give Garrett his props for bogarting that bottle…..LMAO

And remember: drink responsibly.

Yeah, yeah, yeah: “Viking – warning for shilling.”


no warning necessary for Maker’s Mark. My drink of choice Maker’s Mark Manhattan with a twist!

I will be available in Vegas for anyone to buy me one at Quark’s

10. John Billingsley and Jim Beam… what a great combination. I should send him some 12 year old Van Winkle for being such a stand-up guy and supporting the great state of Kentucky! Come to Lexington, John, and I’ll take you on the bourbon trail tour! Oh, and bring your lovely wife and the Klingons too. ;-)

Wait… come to think of it Jim Beam isn’t made in Frankfort but it looks like a Jim Beam bottle. Anyway, maybe Connor took it from Capt. Archer’s stash that he keeps on a shuttle pod.

#20; the quote is from one of the greatest Westerns ever made, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

#42 Jim – correct, they’re in Clemont, specifically; part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (which also includes MM and another favorite of mine, the WIld Turkey distillery).

Anthony, if you got a brick-and-mortar drop address to receive the documentation, I’ll nominate you as an official Maker’s Mark ambassador. That’s by invitation only.

I close with two words: bourbon cherries.

Imagine how bad it would have been without him!

Listen to the Vadercast interview with Brazeal and it’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard.

Brazeal blames the whole thing on “lack of experience” and not reading the contract properly because it was too complex.

Welcome to the real world Tim.

It’s very different from the sycophantic environment of Trek United.


I was too fired up to even notice that he said that, lol.

I have to get a shirt with that on it now.

I’ll wear it to my convention. ;)

Thanks for the wishes of luck, friend. :’D

Aint nobody better than John Billingsley…He is a world class act!