Las Vegas, Nevada
Thursday, August 11 - Sunday, August 14, 2005
by Lynne Fuller
I attended this convention as a volunteer on Saturday and Sunday. Stationed in the dealer’s room Saturday, I didn’t get to see many events but I did get to see Vaughn Armstrong (multiple Star Trek roles), Casey Biggs (Damar) and Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Shran, Tiron, etc.) together on stage entertaining the audience in song (mostly blues). Armstrong, Biggs, and Combs sang several Star Trek parody songs, including “Enterprise Blues” and a piece called “Redshirt Boogie Blues” about the angst of expendable crew members on the Star Trek series. Biggs and Combs both sang and played guitar while Armstrong sang the lead and played ukelele, but stayed only 10 minutes (being due for another panel). Following Armstrong’s departure, Jeffrey Combs did a nice version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” while playing the piano. Combs and Biggs also performed “Norwegian Wood” with the original wording. According to the actors, the song was initially titled “I Knew She Would”, but had to be renamed because of censors in the ‘60s. Later in the afternoon I saw Avery Brooks, who was very eloquent and engaging. Earlier, while standing at a door admitting patrons to the Dealer’s Room, I met with Stephanie, another ORACLE member, and handed her an ORACLE nametag that we had originally made up for the Toronto Trek 19 convention.
That evening there was a concert by The Las Vegas Philharmonic of Star Trek music from the TV shows and the various movies. Nana Visitor was also set to sing during the interlude, but for some reason was unable to be there and so James Darren sang about five numbers instead. He repeatedly mentioned how odd he found it to be singing to canned music even though there was a full orchestra on stage with him. Various comments such as having a “holographic” orchestra on stage and “Why aren’t you playing?” were reiterated.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic played beautifully. It was nice to hear each theme in its entirety instead of cut up in small pieces during episode intros or with action in the forefront as usually heard.
The next morning there was a charity breakfast at which Armin Shimerman, Nana Visitor, Robert Beltran, and René Auberjonois appeared, mingling with the attendees. I was scheduled to be working in the auditorium at 9:30 a.m. and the meal was to start at 8:45 a.m., so I stood where I thought I might get a glimpse of Auberjonois as he arrived. I watched as Shimerman, Beltran, and Visitor were led into the room; no sign of Auberjonois. I was about to give up when I saw him quickly walking towards the banquet room, attended by a Creation staff member. I quickly jumped out and extended my hand to him, saying, “Hello, sir.” He recognized me from the times I’ve volunteered to help with his charity fundraising at previous conventions and warmly returned my greeting. Then he said, “Sorry, I can’t talk, I need to get into the breakfast.” I replied, “I know, sir,” and off he went.
My next René Auberjonois sighting occurred during the scheduled on-stage Q&A session with Armin Shimerman, René, and Nana Visitor all on stage at the same time. A lot of the same questions were asked that are always asked, including “What cast member do you prefer to work with?” (each other, because they were always prepared) and “Will there be a DS9 movie?” (Don’t hold your breath) and, to Auberjonois, “What is it like to work with William Shatner?”
“He’s just the sweetest guy in the world to work with, and we’re both having a great time,” Auberjonois said in answer.
One of the most entertaining questions was why Nana Visitor was wearing two different-colored shoes. The answer was that she loves shoes and that she couldn’t decide which pair to wear, which was followed by women questioners suggesting various shoe sales occurring currently.
Another interesting response came when they were asked what their feelings were about the end of Star Trek. Auberjonois eloquently answered, “Quite apart from the movie question, I think there’s a parable to the whole Star Trek thing that’s going on right now and people’s disappointment in [Enterprise’s] premature demise. When you have a field, and you plant the same thing in the field year after year after year, there’s a certain point where the crop just begins to weaken. You have to let a field go fallow for a while. And I think that’s what we’re seeing right now…. It’s not the end of Star Trek, but I think there will be a period now in which it lies fallow. And then hopefully, because of people like you who keep the dream alive, it will come back. And hopefully it will be strong and vital.”
I found the most interesting question came from a young lady about high school age who said that her brother was going to play Buddy Fidler, the role that René Auberjonois played in City of Angels, and asked Auberjonois’s advice to her brother. Auberjonois responded, “Study your lines, Study your lines, Study your lines.” He related a personnel experience of one performance when the show was in previews, and the director had changed the line order in the quick-tempo song that he sang (“The Buddy System”). During one performance, he saw the musical conductor shaking his head and mouthing the word, “No.” Auberjonois stopped the show, got the right words from the conductor, and continued on with his performance. After the show his fellow cast members applauded and congratulated him on the way he handled the situation. Upon return to his hotel room, though, he shook to the point of collapse. The story was well demonstrated by Auberjonois by his clever timing and flexible body and voice.
I walked down to the autograph line just before it began, when Shimerman and Auberjonois were taking their positions for the line, which lasted way over two hours. I saw Auberjonois showing one of his Odo's Bucket drawings, but was unable to catch any further glimpse of him for the rest of the day.
Overall, I think it was a successful Creation Con for Mr. René Auberjonois.
Photos provided by Jo Beth Taylor and Lynne Fuller
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