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Slanted Fedora:
The Ferengi Tour

New York, New York
January 23, 2000

Report by Carol Duffy and Jennifer (a.k.a. Amulet/Snyder's Woman/Quark's Latinum Lady), who runs the Official Armin Shimerman Web site.

Jennifer
This was my first visit to New York city, so I was pretty excited. I knew we wouldn't have time to explore, so I tried to see as much as possible on the way to the hotel. I barely saw the lobby of the Holiday Inn Broadway, because my boyfriend, Mike, and I headed straight upstairs where the con was being held. We were early, so we checked our coats and grabbed a place in line.

After we were allowed to enter, I found Dave Scott, who runs Slanted Fedora (at first, I didn't know who he was), and asked if I could place flyers for The Official Armin Shimerman Website somewhere. He took them from me and placed them on the registry table. Then I visited each of the dealer tables to plan my purchases.

The guests for this conventione were Armin Shimerman, René Auberjonois, Max Grodenchik, Lolita Fatjo, Chase Masterson, and Aron Eisenberg. Cecily Adams ("Moogie") was unable to make it due to a minor surgery she was having, so they replaced her with Lolita Fatjo, script coordinator for Deep Space Nine. All the other celebrities were there. Mary Kay Adams was the surprise Babylon 5 guest, but not being a B5 fan, I was more interested in her as "Grilka", Quark's Klingon wife on DS9. Hers was the first celebrity Q & A session, but I didn't go, since I was still looking at merchandise and acquainting myself with the people and the area.

I bought photos of Quark, Odo, Rom and Leeta, and Nog. I desperately wanted a plaque being sold especially for this con that featured an autographed photo of René and Armin from their trip to Ireland, but couldn't afford the $25 in addition to my purchases. A portion of the money spent for each plaque went to St. Jude's Hospital for Children.

Mike went out for lunch, and I found a lone chair to rest my feet. I checked to see that my film was readily accessible; I like to be able to reload my camera quickly during cons. I looked up and there was Chase, Armin, Aron, and René! They had just arrived and were about to settle in! They were talking to Dave, if I remember correctly, and I'm sure they were tired, so I didn't bother them. After the others headed to their rooms, Armin told Dave he was going out and would be back.

I found the table displaying cartoonist Tye Bourdony's fabulous artwork, which has been in the pages of STARLOG magazine, and introduced myself. We chatted for a few minutes and he gave me a couple of his cartoons. Tye is a handsome, sweet guy.

Max, Lolita, Chase, and Aron were introduced and presented a terrific show. Chase shared the story of a con in Germany where a fan wasn't shy about expressing her opinion of Alexander Siddig's, er, assets. The girl told Sid he had a great ass, embarrassing him a bit, but he thanked her. Then she asked him to turn around so everyone could see his beautiful ass and he reddened further! But he did turn around. But that wasn't her last request, oh, no! She asked Sid, to Nana (Visitor)'s amusement, to bend over! He blushed even more, but bent over! Later, he asked Nana why she didn't help him. She said they were having fun. At that point, he showed her that his pants had split!

A guy named Steve who sat near me asked a couple of questions in which he mentioned he wasn't a fan of Bashir's. He was referred to as "The Bashir-Hater" after that. He explained he only meant the character, not the actor. A woman on the opposite side of the back rows wasn't happy with his opinion and referred to him as a rip-off of The Highlander. (Well, he did bear a bit of a resemblance, what with his fairly good looks and dark hair in a ponytail and all!) My boyfriend later told me she kept complaining about him outside the room.

A couple sitting behind me was very rude, talking on their cell phone and sniggering a lot. Most people, fortunately, were nice, but I experienced more rudeness than I've come to expect at cons. I've always heard New Yorkers are often rude, but somehow I believed the con would be like all the others to which I've been.

Max's family was at the con, which was really nice. If I'm not mistaken, it was his mother or grandmother, brother, and two adorable nephews. I couldn't see them well from where I was seated.

I went to one of the autograph rooms to get Max's signature afterward their talk. Mary Kay was also in the room, and we said "hi" to each other. She's a lovely, nice lady. Max is a total babe and ever so sweet. I had the lovely Lolita, who sat next to him, sign the special con cartoon as well. (For those who don't know, Lolita was the inspiration for "Leeta" on DS9.) Two of Max's relatives, I think it was his brother and little nephew, sat nearby. There's a definite family resemblance.

Dave announced that the hotel had locked up the movie screens and equipment, so they didn't have the "Behind the Scenes with Star Trek" and "Sci-Fi Bloopers" segments. I'd have liked to have seen them, but they weren't the most important events for me. (Those would be René and Armin's Q & A session and "Evening With the Stars".)

I went back to the dealer rooms. One specific table of interest I should mention was by some people from England. They had t-shirts and coasters with great caricatures of Star Trek and other characters. They had other merchandise, but these items were of particular attraction. One t-shirt featured Seven-of-Nine as "Lo-Cute-Ass of Borg". The artist has real talent and humor! I spoke with Mike in another dealer room, and Chase was behind us, talking to a fan. Let me tell you, Chase is absolutely gorgeous in person!

I returned to the seat that had no others near it, and a guy came up to me and asked if I was going to the "Evening With the Stars." I said yes, then he asked a lady standing near me the same question and she said no. He told her he couldn't go and offered her his refrigerator magnet (which was created especially for the con and had a row number marked on it for seating). She accepted, and I thought that was generous of him.

The auction was next. Mike and I sat in the GA seats in the back left of the ballroom. We weren't buying anything at the auction; we just wanted to relax a bit.

When the auction began, Tye came inside and asked me to call him when the cartoon he'd created for the con was auctioned, which had been autographed by all the celebs (including Cecily, I believe). It was near the end of the auction when his cartoon came up. It went for $60, which was one of the highest prices, if not the highest, any item went for up to that point. The auction ran late, so the costume contest was cancelled. It was just as well; I only saw six or seven people in costume during the entire con, anyway. 

Armin Shimerman, January 2000 (Connecticut)

René and Armin's Q & A session came next, so I returned to my reserved seat in the next-to-last row. I was angry that I was seated so far back, since the paper I had said reserved ticket holders got to sit "close to the stage". But I was thrilled to finally see René in person, and of course, to see Armin again. Poor René was fighting a cold. The usual questions were asked (except for the dreaded make-up question!). I couldn't think of any questions at the time, so I spent most of the time snapping photos.

Carol
Let's see, where to begin. I missed the morning session of the con, and didn't arrive until 3:15 (just in time to see René and Armin speak) due to children logistics. And I, too, am quite short (I think Jennifer and I are about the same height) but as luck would have it, for the René/Armin talk I was in the front row! Now this never happens to me. It seems to be a law of physics that wherever I am seated, the seat directly in front of me must be occupied by an individual who is, at a bare minimum, six and a half feet tall. However, I was sitting there not five feet away from René and Armin. And two lovelier and more generous performers you could never hope to see!

René had just returned from filming in South Carolina and was nursing what appeared to be the mother of all colds. He mentioned those night shots through the water and lying in a tent allegedly reading a Bible, but mentioned that the thoughts running through his mind in the cold and damp made the prop singularly inappropriate! He also mentioned that initially he had a funny, Quaker-type had with a brim that used to bob up and down whenever he was on horseback. He said that if those shots remain in the movie, you'll be able to spot him in a crowd on horseback by following the bobbing of his hat brim. The movie is set to hit the theaters July 4th weekend.

With respect to DS9, while René was, in general, very complimentary about the show, he expressed some feeling that even though he knew the fans wanted it to go on (and not that he didn't enjoy doing it), but that perhaps season six should have been the end of things. He also felt that the writers kind of dropped the ball. He said rarely is a show given the gift of a whole year to wrap things up, and the writers didn't, in his opinion, do what they could have done with this opportunity.

I haven't mentioned much about Armin, but he was quite engaging. He told an anecdote about the new actress, who played "Beauty" in Beauty and the Beast after the first one left, meeting him in the make-up trailer early on and mistaking him for one of the extras (while he told the story in response to a question from a fan, he was commenting in general about different actors' approaches to acting). He said that actress only read the scenes that she was in, so that her character, when allegedly learning information for the first time, was actually learning it for the first time.

Jennifer
Starting with the reserved seats, we were called row by row to get in line for autographs with René and Armin. Dave answered questions about Star Trek, sci-fi, and the con for those of us waiting. I complained that short people should be seated near the front, because it's hard to get pictures when you can't see. Taller people completely blocked my view of the stage. Others agreed, including the lady who sat next to me and had complained during the Q & A's that she couldn't see anything. One woman said, "Then everyone would become short," while Dave laughed. I was serious. I paid $60 for this con; I expected to see.

René's table was first. I wished him to get well soon, and he smiled. René is a handsome one, he is! We were stalled at his table, so he stood on his chair and yelled to Armin at the other end to hurry up and added, "I just got engaged to a woman over here!" Everyone laughed. He stood on the chair twice again, yelling that he'd married the woman then gotten her pregnant!

When we reached Armin's table, I took the opportunity to enjoy the view. Armin wore a fabulous red sweater (red is really his color!) and he looked delicious! He smiled at me as he handed me my signed cartoon and Quark photo.

Just a side note here: I don't think all men are sexy, although you may get that impression from this con report. I'm just callin 'em like I see 'em.

While René and Armin finished signing autographs, I ran to the room where chase and Aron were signing and got my last autographs. Chase was cordial and friendly. A girl asked to cut in front of me because she just wanted to get her picture taken with Aron. Since I wasn't in a hurry and she was polite about it, I told her, "Sure!" Aron was a real sweetie!

Mike and I were in Row C for the "Evening With the Stars." I thought, Finally! We're close to the stage, so I'll get some good shots when Armin and René are on stage! Boy, was I wrong! But I'll get to that in a minute.

"Evening" was to start at 6:00, but started at 7:00 instead. While we waited, Dave and his wife, Jackie, spoke with us about the origins of "Evening With the Stars" and other things. Chase came in and spoke privately with Jackie. Earlier, Mike had described some female he thought was "hot", and his description fit Chase. When she approached Jackie, he said that was her. He has good taste in women!

When René and Armin rejoined us, they were dressed in sexy black from head to toe. They mentioned some water would be nice, so a fan in Row A ran to the gift shop and bought each of them a bottle of Poland Spring. Armin asked if anyone hadn't been to the theater. I sheepishly raised my hand (I think I was the only one!), and René joked that I could leave. Armin said I could stay (my hero!).

If you get a chance to see these two on stage, don't miss it! I absolutely loved it! They did several comic pieces, but my favorites were a couple of dramatic pieces, a selection from Galileo, and Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. I also loved the scene they did from "The Ascent", an episode of DS9.

Dave had said we couldn't take pictures during the performance because it could distract them, which I understood, but he promised that if no one snapped any photos during that time, we could take some after they were done. It didn't happen. Not that I could have gotten pics of Armin and René, since the taller people blocked my view.

Carol
René and Armin, both dressed in black slacks, black sweaters, and black jackets, performed an evening of theater that was so wonderful I can only urge all of you in the strongest terms to go see them if they come your way! They performed both together and individually.

René, on his own, did James Thurber's "The Night the Bed Fell". He was so good Armin said something to the effect that it was his understanding that you were supposed to build up to things in the theater and he was just going to go home right then and there. But, of course, he didn't. He performed "The Tell-Tale Heart", and was absolutely riveting. René and Armin together performed two pieces that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore had done, called "Good Evening" and "The Great Train Robbery". René was so funny in the latter that I had tears in my eyes and he cracked Armin up, too. They did a piece called "Galileo" where Galileo (René) is in prison and Armin (a character called the "small monk" which Armin claimed was type casting) came in to discuss with him the Church's edict and the concept that sometimes, for the good of mankind, the truth must be suppressed, a concept with which, as you can imagine, Galileo took quite a bit of exception. They did a brief scene as Odo and Quark (bless them) that, if I recall correctly, takes place in the runabout when Quark and Odo discover a bomb that's been planted there (from "The Ascent").

There was more, and all of it was absolutely mesmerizing! (I give special credit to René for soldiering on even with that horrible cold.) It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to watch two such talented actors in total control of their craft, holding the audience in the palms of their hands and giving so much.

In short, not to put too fine a point on it, if they come your way, GO GO GO, don't walk, RUN to see them. I would have turned around and seen them again in a heartbeat. They were wonderful!

Photo by June McGrath

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