Friday night, October 2,1998 was when things started. That's when I picked up my registration packet and also watched the DS9 season premiere episode, "Images in the Sand." We all groaned over Kira's hair (that is really the LAST time she should go to Super-cuts :-D), and made little jokes in between the dialogue taking place on the show. The funniest remark (to me anyway) of the evening (I don't know who said this; it was dark in the room) came at the moment in the episode where a small Bajoran person cloaked in red and wearing an intense expression approached Sisko. Someone in the group started singing "We represent the Lollypop Guild..." from The Wizard of Oz... (hahaha!) After we watched the premiere someone put in a British game show (I THINK the name of it was "Space Cadets") that guest starred Armin and Max (Rom). The game show was so bizarre, I don't think the two knew what was going on.
Saturday, October 3, still 1998 (at least it was if we didn't slip into a sub-space distortion) -- Weekend on the Promenade in San Diego!
The brunch that was scheduled by the poolside was moved indoors since it looked like it was going to rain. The weather was like that all weekend, it would fool everyone by being cold and wet-looking, then suddenly at around 3:00 the sun would come out. I guess it was playing tricks on us. The brunch was wonderful. I didn't get the chance to sit at Rene's table (which actually was a blessing since I would have been so nervous, I KNOW I would have done something really humiliating) but I did get to talk with the Stillwells; he and his wife were both very nice. I also sat with them on Saturday night, as did a few of the other people who were seated at the table for brunch. One woman won a prize and got to sit with them again on Sunday. I don't remember our brunch conversation with the Stillwells -- I was completely overwhelmed by being in such close proximity to greatness :-D
After the brunch was over we went up to the 5th floor for the auction (where much money was spent). After the auction Rene came in and we all gave him a hearty round of applause. He modestly waved it off, then said we would have to do that whenever we saw him in the halls, or in the elevator, or in the restaurant, etc, etc. He was wonderfully amusing! I particularly enjoyed the time he spent telling us about his kids. They both sound like fascinating people. I can't remember all of what he said (which is why I'm getting the videotape) but I do know that a lot of it made me laugh and it was all interesting.
After awhile, Armin quietly crept in and started watching from the audience. It took a few minutes for Rene to notice him until Armin made a joke about something (he was on the other side of the room so I didn't hear). Armin was invited up to the front of the room, and the two began some good-natured banter. Those two really play off each other, it gets so funny! They mentioned that sometimes Odo has his priorities a bit off, for instance in one episode where the captain was being kidnapped, yet Odo was arresting Quark down the hall. Rene said that sometimes he didn't know what the writers were doing, he wanted to go up to one of them and say "HELLO?? ANYONE THERE??" There certainly have been a lot of changes during these last few seasons, I'm sure it can be hard for all the actors to keep up with them.
Then Kitty, Armin's wife joined them, making a very happy threesome. One thing that was especially amusing was when Armin mentioned his relaxation technique, which was vacuuming (Kitty's relaxation technique is watching Armin). He then went on to say that he vacuumed his dogs, which caught Rene completely by surprise. He turned and echoed "You vacuum your dogs?!" "It's alright," Armin said, "the dogs like it." Pets are strange sometimes!
Soon, the interview was over and we were hustled downstairs to get autographs. The moment I had been waiting for; the moment that I hope I wouldn't cause me to collapse to the ground in a hysterical foaming mess. I went up to Armin first because he was the closest. He actually said "hi" to me when he walked by the line so I felt very comfortable with him. He was very nice, and asked me how my plane trip was. I said that it was all right but that when we landed, I couldn't see very well (it must have been the air pressure or something) and he teased me, saying that it was probably because I drank too much. Ooooh, that Armin :-D!!
After I left Armin's table, I really began to get nervous. But Rene couldn't have been nicer, he was so sweet! I skittered over to the chair, sat down, and pretty much blubbered all that I've wanted to tell him for years. I looked up to him very much when I was younger (still do), mostly from reading his interviews, and he was a great source of inspiration and courage, he just helped me believe in myself when I was very shy and insecure. I told him this, and he seemed very flattered by it (phew!), and he asked me about my college and what I was taking. He took a genuine interest in the people he was talking to. It was a wonderful experience!
Saturday evening was the continuation of the auction and a very elegant banquet. Rene, Armin, and Andy came in, and then Armin got up there for his interview. His first question was from his wife Kitty (who was wearing a fetching tux)who asked, "Can I have the key to our room? I need to get something" So she got the key and people laughed.
Armin talked a bit about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also said that he felt that the DS9 writers didn't explore the character of Quark, that they only used him for either comic relief or to bounce off other characters. He was going on about that for a little while, and then Rene (like a wonderful friend) got up from his table and said that the reason why they gave him such stupid or light stuff is because that they know Armin will make it work and do a good job with it since he is such a wonderful actor. Which Armin thanked him for. Then he said that many times when he was having a hard time, Rene would often bring him back down to the ground and "sometimes give me good advice." Armin said that with the emphasis on the SOMETIMES. (haha!)
During the auction the actors brought a few interesting things up, one of them being a baseball signed by Avery Brooks. During the filming of "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" Rene had a pocket of baseballs in his costume. So, being the honest man that he is, he swiped one of the balls so he could auction it off at the fundraiser :-D He wanted to get Avery to sign it because that was one of the main things of the show, you think of Captain Sisko and you picture him with a baseball in his hand. Rene knew it would go for a lot if he could get Avery to sign it. But he said that even though Avery was very nice and a wonderful person, he got VERY irritated when asked to sign things. Rene said, "He would sigh and give you this look..." So Rene was trying to think of a way to get Avery to sign the ball and not get 'the look." So, one day on the set, he comes up to Avery and starts talking about sports. Which may seem like a perfectly normal guy thing but Rene confessed that he didn't know anything about sports. (Hooray that men like that still exist!) Rene was just rambling on and Avery, being a sports person, started laughing hysterically and said, "What are you trying to do?" and Rene said "Umm... I want you to sign this baseball." Avery thought the whole thing was so funny that he signed the ball happily and I think the ball went for a REALLY HIGH price at the auction -- there were more than a few people bidding for it with wild abandon.
Rene and Armin were presented with beautiful quilts (handmade by members of their fan clubs) and their reactions were great! Then Andy got up and read from Garak's Diaries which was really fascinating. He wrote such vivid pictures and would read them in this wonderful voice; I was staring at the carpet but seeing the whole scene of Cardassia and him being young and what he saw and what he did. It was great! At one point Andy auctioned off his Cardassian face mask. And then Rene (he had a lot of things to auction) auctioned off this shirt that I ALMOST bid $300 dollars for (it sold for $285). The shirt said "No one knows I'm a changeling" on it. Rene was wearing it and modeled it quite nicely. After they sold it, he hid behind the podium and took it off! :-D I only wish my disposable camera would have taken a better picture of that! After much laughter and fun, the evening was over.
On Sunday morning it was time to greet Sid and Andy. Sid was so friendly and gracious that he is going to have a new person in his fan club very soon ;-) They signed things before the interview and the lunch(I was one of the early people). Sid was one of the most charming people I have ever met, he made me feel right at ease. We chatted back and forth (about the meaning of my name; actually, it means 'wild cow' in Hebrew which he thought was very amusing) As he a photo for me, a picture with Dr. Bashir in a tux, he mentioned that a tux made anyone look good, then said that tuxes looked really cute on women. I said, "Oh, Armin's wife Kitty wore a tux last night" (he wasn't at the dinner so he hadn't seen her) and as he was signing he wrote "All my wife" on the photo instead of "All my best." He seemed a bit chagrined, but I thought it was hilarious!
After the signing, we had breakfast in the same big meeting we used on Saturday. I even got to talk to Sid a little in the lunch buffet line(he was asking what the food was; some very strange-looking beans). When lunch was over, there was an interview with Andy. He almost went into this story about the San Diego airport and how there is a building right at the end of the runway, but thankfully he didn't go into details (he was stopped by someone). He talked about hopefully doing a play with some of the other Star Trek actors, and also doing a public reading of Garak's Diaries. Then Sid came out after a while, and the two talked about how the relationship between Garak and Bashir has been pretty much forgotten. After Andy left the audience to Sid, people began asking about Kira's hair. He said he hadn't noticed! He answered a lot of interesting questions: one that stood out in my mind was "If you had to live in a different time, when would it be?" and Sid chose either the 20s or the turn of the century, when people were just beginning to loosen up.
All four of the men were very entertaining guests -- I enjoyed listening to all of them!
After Sid's interview, both he and Andy were whisked away for more autograph signings. Sid was so talkative that he ended up signing very late; Andy had already finished and left. Suddenly, Weekend on the Promenade was over. It was an enchanting weekend, and very well organized. Everyone was thrilled with it, including the actors. I had the time of my life, and I hope a lot of other people did too :-)
Photo by Carol Reeg