Back from Shore Leave
As usual, Shore Leave was a wonderful weekend, that left the family, entertained, elated, and exhausted. There was not enough time to see everyone or attend all the interesting discussions. We saw some surprise people and indulged our wackier sides (at least 2 of us did). Details follow.
Left work early, raced back home, helped load the car and then braced ourselves for a long trip south. To minimize delays, we picked up Boston Market for later consumption and got on the highway. Surprisingly, it took the usual 4:30 to get there, arriving just about 8. Score one for us.
My first obligation was the Meet the Pros party and I was seated between Christopher Bennett and Bob Jeschonek so there was some fine banter back and forth. My pal Kevin Dilmore gave me my usual supply of Kansas BBQ sauce for which I was grateful.
While seated, I looked up and was shocked to see the smiling visage of Richard Pini. Turns out he and Ray Villand are old friends so when he saw Ray and I (and a few others) were at the show, he figured it was worth coming down for a look-see. He was pleasantly surprised the people at Registration knew him and gave him a comp pass.
I was also amused to see a steady stream of teen girls stopping by my table to inquire if I knew where young Robbie was. This was to be a weekend-long theme.
First up was my usual hour of chat and movie trailers. I had a good-sized audience and we had a good time together. I then ceded the stage to the Boogie Knights, which had a fine performance. Kate’s college (and Cairo-bound) buddy Taylor had joined us for the weekend so it was her first exposure to another side of my daughter. She is a fellow sci-fi geek and was delighted by the proceedings.
We then scurried to the programming area where Robbie was moderating a panel entitled “It’s Not your Father’s Star Trek”. Not only did have an audience of people not related to him by blood, but he actually held his own with the freewheeling discussion.
I then spent the afternoon scurrying on an off stage, playing emcee. In between, I visited with folk and spent some time catching up with Mr. Pini, with whom I have not spoken much since I left DC. He look fit and happy, curious as the ElfQuest’s future and so am I.
Our 5 p.m. authors’ panel got moved to 4 p.m. but half the authors missed the announcements. Those of us who did show up weren’t quite sure of the topic or who was to moderate, so we scrambled on the stage and vamped. With the schedule in flux, things were running late so we were cut down to maybe 45 minutes but managed to chat about the 40th anniversary of Star Trek.
Peter and I then went over introduce ourselves to William Schallert, who at 80, looks and sounds good. We chatted about his various film and television works, and got a chance to express our admiration for his work. I did much the same with Kent McCord.
From there it was our annual dinner with Howard and Susan Weinstein plus Mike Friedman. And then it was back to the hotel for the Masquerade. For a change, I was not judging and got to sit and enjoy the proceedings.
Robbie, Ariel David and their friend Marina entered the competition with a Harry Potter-theme. Dressed as Slitherin, complete with hand-knit scarves in the school colors, they performed a song, written by Robbie, recorded by Kate, to the tune of “Springtime for Hitler”.
The final entry was a rare group effort by the Boogie Knights. Dressed as various mythological creatures, they recreated the opening from the stage version of The Lion King. With their newly purchased headsets, they managed to sing and majestically arrive from all corners of the ballroom and wowed the crowd. They took not only first prize in the Circle of Champions category but won a Judge’s Choice Award.
The judges went off to do their thing and the Knights, after a quick change, took the stage for the halftime show which was filled with delightful touches. During Kate’s solo, her chorus members inhaled helium to better replicate the sound of Munchkins. For their finale, a wave was started followed by people holding up flashlights and opened cell phones so the ballroom was filled with lights ala your usual rock concerts. As the Knights noticed, they were caught entirely by surprise. They received a standing ovation for the wonderful set.
Afterwards, Peter, Mike and I did a run-through of Mystery Trekkie Theatre. Given the 40 entries in the Masquerade, we got a late start and I began nodding off, missing cues. Clearly, none of us are cut out for late nights of working any more.
Given that I didn’t get to bed until after 2 a.m., I wisely chose to marshal my resources and slept through the Authors’ Breakfast, getting up in time for the Star Trek Chronology panel. It was a lovely give and take, the room filled largely with fellow authors and editors and pals from the Trek BBS.
From 12 until 3 I was running from panel to panel. First, there was a discussion on the Corps of Engineers, which Keith DeCandido moderated and it was challenging getting a word in around Kevin, Dayton Ward, Bob Jeschonek and Terri Osborne. Twas fun.
At 1, a gaggle of us discussed the future of Star Trek, another vague authors’ panel. I convinced Allyn Gibson to moderate and it turned into a very thoughtful, encouraging discussion.
At 2, we had the traditional Bob & Howie Show. Given that we were both on the 1 p.m. panel and Howie was going over time, I sprinted to our room to find a patient crowd. The hour flew by and we had a good time.
There was some time then to finally eat lunch and catch up with some friends.
By 5, though, it had come time to be silly. Our opening skit for MTT was one of our more elaborate gigs. Arriving on stage in wings, bobbing antennae and magic wands, Mike, Peter and I then began “Fairy Home Companion” with snippets of oddities. When we got to the adventures of “Gay Noir, Fairy P.I.”, out came Corin Nemic (from Stargate for those unfamiliar) with a large pair of wings and his own wand. He fell right into character, hamming it up for the astonished and amused audience. From there, we segued into “Encounter at Farpoint” the musical with Peter and Kate singing “Rotten Old Q” to the tune of “Cotton-Eyed Joe”. With each verse, Robbie, Ariel, Marina, their friend Alyssa, and John Scheeler all took the stage to do the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” line dance. Then, finally, out lumbered a Mugato (actually T. Alan Chafin in Kathleen David’s costume) who joined the line.
As the song ended, the Mugato’s head came off revealing Alan as the Mad Scientist and we bantered until the movie sign sounded.
We then skewered “A Private Little War”, which, once you get past our mocking, retains relevant arguments about warfare proving the power and strong writing that has helped the original series endure.
Of course we used it to poke the current Administration’s Iraq policies which got a loud, positive response from the audience. The rest of the sophomoric humor was also appreciated and the con came to an end with a room of people leaving with smiles on their faces.
Probably ten minutes after the lights came up, we were in the car and headed north. Dreading the Jersey shore traffic, we braced ourselves for a very long ride home necessitated by Monday morning work obligations. Surprisingly, despite some volume, we made the trip in 5 hours with the one delay being 30 minutes for paving on the Saw Mill River Parkway. Amusingly, we drove past the van ferrying Keith, Terri, David Mack and Marco Palmieri in Maryland but I doubt they noticed.
And now it’s back to our mundane working day lives.