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Las Vegas Star Trek
Creation Convention

August 6-10, 2008

Family Reunion
by Marguerite Krause

This year's annual ORACLE family reunion--known to most of the world as the big Las Vegas Creation Convention--took place on the weekend of August 8-10.

René made all of his convention appearances on Saturday, August 9. In addition to the usual photo ops and an autograph sessions, René and Armin Shimerman shared the stage for a Q&A session and, as always, it was great fun to listen to their stories.  Talia and Miri at the table (MK)

In the evening, René signed autographs for convention attendees and to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, and several of us from his fan club helped out at the table. Both Miriam and Talia have helped out at the autograph table in previous years, but this was their first time working together. They make a great team! René had brought a new item to sell at the table: a copy of a cartoon of the DS9 cast drawn by the wonderful artist Al Hirschfeld. He suggested that we try to get Armin to sign a few of them, and then René would sign and personalize them as well for anyone who wanted to donate to Doctors Without Borders.  Armin signing cartoons (MK)

While we were setting up for the autograph line, Alexander Siddig was on stage doing his Q&A. J.G. Hertzler got in line to ask him a question, and Armin stood near our table, just behind the curtains separating the auditorium from the autograph area, because he wanted to hear what J.G. was going to say. As he waited, he kindly signed some of the cartoons for us. I'm not sure how many copies René had made, but it was a good stack; at least 50. I thought that Armin might sign 5, or perhaps 10. Instead, he started working his way methodically through the pile, signing at least 15 of the cartoons.

Then we heard J.G.'s voice, and Armin stopped and went to listen. J.G. was talking to Sid as if he were an average fan, complimenting Sid and saying how much he liked Bashir. Sid listened patiently, a big smile on his face. Then J.G. asked what it was like for Sid to work with J.G. Sid, straightfaced, asked, "Ah, J.G., wasn't he the second assistant cameraman?" which set the audience laughing. J.G. then tried to approach Sid, as if he wanted to give him a gift (or a hug?!), and Sid acted alarmed and called for security…and one of the Creation security guards, who was in on the joke, leapt onto the stage and threw himself protectively in front of Sid to ward off the "dangerous" J.G. All of this silliness inspired lots of laughter and applause from the audience.

When J.G. was finished, Armin came back to the ORACLE table and signed even more of the cartoons! I assured him more than once that we really appreciated his support and we certainly didn't expect him to sign them all, and he finally had to quit so that he could go over to his side of the stage and get ready to do his own autographs. But I think he left only six or seven of the cartoons unsigned, which means we had over 40 of them that we were able to sell as "double-autographed" items for a very good price.  René and J.G. look at Invalid program (MK)

René arrived just before the session was supposed to begin at 6:30, but Creation wasn't quite ready to start the line, so René had time to say hello to J.G. and Armin. It was probably about 6:45 before the line officially began. René drawing Odo's Bucket (TM)

Talia and Miriam patiently explained to the fans what we were selling, and why, and explained about how René would personally draw an Odo's Bucket cartoon. Talia also occasionally left the table to walk up and down the line of waiting people, giving them an advance description of what was available so they could think about what they might want to choose. Mike stood behind them, collecting the cash, and I punched Creation tickets and helped people hand their photos or other items to René right side up. About halfway through the session, Kathy Wang, who had been helping Armin and Nana with their autographs on the other side of the room, came over and joined us in running René's table. By the time the line ended, about 9:30 p.m., we had raised over $2,200 for Doctors Without Borders.

Talia had to leave for home early on Sunday morning, but Lynne, Kathy, Mike, Miriam, and I went to the Hilton very early to set up a silent auction, held every year as part of Creation's Sunday morning celebrity breakfast, to benefit a local charity that provides college scholarships for student's whose families have been affected by cancer. Creation always donates a selection of autographed photos, posters, and collectible plates, and Gayle Stever brought a suitcase full of items, many from the collection of the late Rose Blue, a great fan of Star Trek and voracious autograph collector. Marguerite auctioning off rubble (LB)

Among the items Gayle brought for us to sell was a piece of the DS9 set! It was a piece of "rubble" from an explosion on the Promenade during the episode "Visionary," which had been donated for the purpose of raising money for charity. We sold that item, and an autographed poster donated by Creation, via a voice auction, which was great fun. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the crowd, that little piece of painted gray plastic earned $275 for the scholarship fund, and the total raised from all of the items sold that morning was over $6,000.

During the weekend, as I walked around the convention, I overheard people speculating about whether this would be the last big Creation Convention in Las Vegas. The Hilton Hotel had announced that it would be closing Star Trek: The Experience, with its exhibits and gift stores and theme ride and Quark's Bar. Some people couldn't imagine that Creation would bother to return to the Hilton without that built-in Star Trek connection.

However, Creation printed a registration form in the back of this year's program book for people who want to sign up for next year's convention. It says "August 6-9, 2009 at the Las Vegas Hilton." So, someone on their staff, at least, thinks they'll be returning for another year!

Not everyone can make a trip to Vegas…but if the convention happens, and René is one of the invited guests, I have no doubt a number of members of our ORACLE/RAFL community will attend, and another happy reunion will be enjoyed by our family of René-fans.

Impressions from the Weekend
by Talia Myres

The Table

This year, René's autograph table was set up on the opposite end of the room from last year, and positioned so that we were seated with our backs to the stage. Unfortunately, we were also directly next to the PA system. This created a few situations where it made it difficult to hear the people who came through the autograph line, but for the most part, it was a pretty good location. Several times throughout the two-plus-hour session, we walked up and down the line letting people know what René had available to sign for Doctors Without Borders. This was great, because as people got closer to the table, they had an idea of what they wanted and that made the traffic flow fairly quickly.  Miriam and Talia (TM)

Every year, René provides unique items that can be obtained by donating to Doctors Without Borders. There are Disney animations of Chef Louis with Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid, his "Odo's bucket," and various photographs. They're easily the best "sellers" of the table. But this year, I think René outdid himself with a really neat Al Hirschfeld print that was done early on during DS9's run. Armin had signed several copies beforehand, and when people found out that they could purchase one with Armin's signature and then obtain René's signature, too…well they went like hotcakes! Kitty, Armin, René, and Judith with Talia (TM)

Having been fortunate enough to help out with last year's session, it was neat to sit in again and see some familiar faces from last year and get to meet new ones. It's been said many times before, but it's worth mentioning again: Star Trek fans, and especially René's fans, are unbelievably generous when it comes to helping him raise money for his charity. There are too many moments to count where a fan came up and wanted to donate money without receiving anything in return. That's just an incredible thing to be able to relate to people, and it's such a positive reflection on Star Trek fans.

Rubbing Elbows with The Kai Talia and the Kai (TM)

The convention always brings it share of amazing costumes, but the one that won, hands down, was the Kai costume one young woman wore. At one point, I thought I heard someone say it was an actual costume from the series. I believe it! The detail was exquisite. She actually came through René's line, and not only was I lucky enough to get a photo with Her Eminence, but she sent me on my way with a highly coveted, "Bless you, my child!"

The costume contest took place as René's line dwindled down, and judging from the sound of applause she received, I'm pretty sure she took first place.

Star Trek Experience

Visiting the Experience was somewhat bittersweet, because I knew it was most likely going to be the last time I'd have the chance to walk around Quark's Bar and see all the memorabilia from the movies and shows. Taking a final stroll through the lower level, I read the various messages fans from all over the world had written. I decided to contribute one of my own, because although I haven't been through as many times as some of my friends, I have fond memories. Early into my introduction to DS9 fandom, I remember meeting Judith and Cecy at Quark's for dinner and talking as an Odo-centric episode of DS9 played behind our table. A few years later and two days after graduating college, I hunkered in a booth with a friend to see who could drink a Warp Core Breach the fastest. At the time, I didn't know it contained 10 ounces of rum, but that would explain why I thought I could speak Ferengi to the waiters!

But seriously, I felt lucky that I had one last chance to soak up the ambience of the experience and say my own goodbye.


Photos provided by Mike Krause, Linda Burnett, and Talia Myres

Las Vegas 2008: Another view

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This page is maintained by Marguerite Krause
(marguerite@mkrause.net)

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