|Starfest '99 - April 16-18, 1999|
Click on any of the images to get a close-up.
Like all the conventions, Friday started with the usual registration lines at about 3:00 in the afternoon. It seemed like there was a great deal of confusion about where people could line up. I tried, with some help, to get the Platinum people into KathE's line, the VIPs into the VIP line and everyone else to the other lines. Unfortunately, we had no "have tickets" signs and the hotel didn't hook-up our power and phone line. Eventually, everyone got registered and the convention got started. There were sure a lot more people coming for Friday than usual. We're thinking about expanding the Friday events in the fall to give people more to do. One of the most popular Friday activities is the Casino. Since the Colorado Lottery was one of the sponsors, prizes included Star Trek Lotto tickets. I hope there were some big winners!
Robert Trebor arrived on Saturday famished and Wayne caught a shot of him wolfing down a sandwich before he had to go on stage. Robert looked quite a bit younger than his character on Xena, he thought it might be due to his darkening his hair for a role he is currently working on.
Robert has no problem talking to fans. His enthusiasm was contagious and heartfelt. He genuinely appreciated the questions at his talks and feels a great obligation to everyone who came to see him. Unlike many of the stars, Robert didn't bring photos to sell. He told me he is uncomfortable with the concept of charging fans for his autograph. Robert had a rental car during his stay and used it to take in some of Denver's night life. He said he had a great time in Denver - we sure had a great time having him at the convention.
Starfest had two weddings. It's becoming a tradition for couples to tie the knot at the convention. We enjoy giving them a place to make it happen... and many of the fans seem to like it too. The best part is catching the reactions of the family members who can't believe that the couple decided to do it at a convention!
Max Grodenchik is sure not the shy guy he plays on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine! I've seen Max at shows before with his girlfriend Lolita, who works on Deep Space Nine with him. Onstage, Lolita usually fields a lot of the questions asked of Max. He has seemed anxious to defer to her for answers about the show.
But this show, Lolita didn't come. Without her, Max seemed more than willing to entertain and comment on his own! Pictured at the right is Max wearing his Ferengi teeth from the show. He said that wearing them helps him get into the Rom character and he demonstrated the technique onstage.
Mira Furlan is a class-act. She came to Denver with her husband and her very-small baby. Her son Marko was nursing as was my daughter-in-law Treecy so they swapped baby stories. When Mira saw my grandson Daniel, she couldn't believe how big he is. Granted, he's in the 107th percentile for kids his age, but Treecy said she was in SHOCK at how big he is. Mira graciously answered questions about Babylon 5 during her talk, but obviously avoided commenting on the current conflict in Yugoslavia. Her reluctance is understandable, considering that she has many family members there that she's worried about. For her sake, and those of her family's, we hope that the conflict ends soon.
Universal's The Mummy sponsored the costume contest at Starcon and Arnold Vosloo who stars in the title role was on hand to hand-out prizes to the Egyptian contest winners. There were lots of cool goodies for the contestants. The winner, Ronni White, got a great trophy and a trip to Los Angeles to the premier of the movie. Arnold suggested that they get together when she gets to LA for a snack before the movie. I talked to the judges after the contest who were obviously impressed with the work that went into the hand-crafted necklace Ronni had made for her costume.
Prior to the contest, Kevin revealed the mystery half-century staff member at the convention - his wife, Carole Atkins. Carole, who played Troi in the play parody, had to endure the embarrassment before the entire audience. The Fox Robot Man walked away with Best-of-Show honors for his overall presentation. No doubt, this guy even makes hydraulic noises when he sleeps.
I can't believe how many people told me they could have sworn that Da'an was played by a man. I'm glad we were able to set the record straight by having Leni Parker as our first Earth: Final Conflict guest at Starfest. Leni, who lives in Canada, was really nervous about traveling to Denver and the whole customs thing. She told me how she loved the reaction of the immigration officer when she told him she was an actress on a TV series. The guy just stared at her trying to figure out who she was.
Robert McNeill loves sports. He's a real nice guy and a great baseball fan. He was real disappointed when he learned that his talk on Sunday was not going to allow him to catch a game at Coors field. He wasn't too upset, as he was still able to catch some of the game on TV and that was OK. Robert seems anxious to maximize the opportunities that Voyager is affording him. He recently directed an episode of the show and looks to be well on the path that Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes navigated during their Star Trek runs. We were glad to welcome many members from Robby's fan club to the convention and hope that some of them will come back to future Starfest and Starcon conventions.
One of my favorite things to do at the convention is going through the Model Show and the Art Show. They were both incredible this year. One of the entries in the Model Show just blew me away. It was a diorama of the Voyager ship under ice - I was even more impressed when I saw that it was a Junior entry. The art this year seemed to be even better than at last year's show. Many of the pieces were on a Star Wars theme, I wonder how many more there will be at our fall show.
I just touched on my recollections from the show, it's really something different for everyone who comes and that's the idea. The convention takes place over three jam-packed days. It is truly Science Fiction Overload, but I don't think anyone would want it any other way. I hope to see you all at Starcon '99 in September!
-- Stephen @ Starland
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