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"Lovers of Star Trek"

Slanted Fedora Convention
Champaign, Illinois
February 13-14, 1999

aka My Own Backyard Con

It's makes me feel good knowing that every year my Valentine's Day will be spent doing something memorable. And there's nothing like having a Trek convention right in your own hometown -- less than two miles away from where I work! This year I came to the Con to see Rene Auberjonois, Nana Visitor, Grace Lee Whitney, and a special guest that I'll tell you about later.

My local Trek club, the Shuttlecraft Bortas, set up a club information table in the hallway of the hotel. We shared the table with our sister club, House of Sepesh. I'm convinced that Captain Sepesh (Ron) must be a lover of torture because once again he wore his full Klingon costume all day long on Saturday! There was another Klingon in costume there and people were taking lots of pictures of the two of them. Right next to our table was the gang from ORACLE, the Official Rene Auberjonois Fan Club. I'll tell you lots more about them later.

The main thing I wanted to purchase in the dealer room was customizable game cards. One dealer had a huge book full of cards. If I would have had my way I would have depleted my bank account and taken the whole book off his hands! My favorite cards purchased during the Con were Lursa and B'Etor, the Duras Sisters. The other things I purchased were items for the EMISSARY (The Official Avery Brooks Fan Club) Charity Auction that will be held in April. Let me know if you want to more about this wonderful event. (I'll tell you this much -- last year I outbid and won a tape set of Alien Voices The Lost World autographed by Leonard Nimoy!)

About the stars, the special guest was Anne Lockhart who played Lt. Sheeba on Battlestar Galactica. She looks so much like her mother June of Lost in Space fame. I asked her how her mother is doing. She told me she can't keep up with her! I bought a picture of her and her mom together and asked her to autograph it. While on stage she said that her grandparents, Gene and Kathleen Lockhart, met in 1919. They met in June, were married in June, and named their daughter June! Her favorite co-stars were Joan Crawford and Lillian Gish. She also was very fond of Fred Astaire, and Bill Bixby (she starred in the pilot for the television show The Magician.)

Grace Lee Whitney is, just as Leonard Nimoy describes her, "Amazing Grace" in more ways that one! She could be seen walking around the hotel very early both mornings. Walking very fast, I might add! She told us that she does a mile in 20 minutes -- WOW! Grace has been through a lot over the years and she includes the details of her life in her book. She was happy to tell us that she has been clean and sober for 18 years now. There are 30 marvelous photos in her book. I have yet to read the whole book but the photos alone are simply wonderful! There's a nice one of her and Van Williams, who played "The Green Hornet" on television.

On Saturday while on stage, Rene stated that it's partly a relief that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is ending, mainly for make-up reasons -- Odo's grouchiness comes from the uncomfortable make-up that Rene has to wear! It takes two hours to put on his Odo make-up. Rene created the role of Father Mulcahey for the M*A*S*H movie, but he's not sorry that he turned down the television role. He says that when he thinks of Avery Brooks he thinks of strength, dignity, and privacy. Avery is an enigma to him -- he can't tell when he's going to be serious or when he's going to be humorous in a given situation. When someone in the audience asked him who is the biggest line blower, he answered "Michael Dorn! Michael Dorn! Michael Dorn! MICHAEL DORN!"

Speaking of Rene, being in such close proximity with his fan club, I just couldn't resist and I had to join up. I am now a member of ORACLE! I had a wonderful time meeting the members who were at the convention, and a special thanks to Marguerite who gave me my ORACLE materials and shared conversations with me during the Con. On Sunday the ORACLE gang had a luncheon in honor of Rene and Nana. One of the gifts that was given to both of them was a little box filled with "scrolls" containing words of encouragement. I'm happy to say that some of my wisdom was included on some of those rolled pieces of paper! Being an unexpected newbie, I wasn't able to attend the luncheon but Marguerite did introduce me to Rene and the other ORACLE members. That made me feel right at home! Rene is an artist, and the club button I have is a drawing by him -- Odo in his gelatinized form in a bucket saying "Hi!"

On Sunday Rene and Nana were on stage together. The first thing Nana did was fuss about not being able to find a Diet Coke anywhere! She thanked ORACLE for the nice box filled with bow-wrapped sayings. Rene quickly reminded her that those were gifts from "his" people! ORACLE also gave Rene and Nana a single red rose for Valentine's Day. They told us to stand up -- I was in the back away from the club so I don't think anybody noticed me, which is fine with me in the name of humility! Neither of them will miss the Deep Space Nine costumes. Rene said that he has to "suck it in" because he has put on a few pounds over the years. For the "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" episode, Nana said that she had never in her life held a baseball before then but she really had fun doing the episode. Rene guessed that Ira Steven Behr now has in his possession the signed baseball that was shown at the end of the episode. Also, since it's so hard to keep a secret, Ira has considered sending out phony plots about the final episode. Rene said that he has heard from a good source that there will be a Deep Space Nine movie in the future.

Nana said she doesn't do a scene if she feels like she's being "handled" -- she won't make herself convenient for any of the directors, especially if she knows that the director has messed up before. There's one director on the show that she stays away from for that reason. She said, "A good director should be able to listen, find out, and understand."

There was an auction of the director's chairs that Rene and Nana used on stage. Rene's chair went for $60, Nana's chair went for $160. In the autograph line, Nana told me that Sid, Buster, and Django (her husband and children) were all doing fine. Things were very busy in Rene's corner so I didn't get a chance to say anything to him. But he did recognize my club button!

One last note, that "other" Klingon that I mentioned earlier -- he took second place in the costume contest on Saturday. He got even by winning first place in the contest on Sunday with a spectacular Borg costume! Both costumes were great but the guy inside the costumes was way too nice -- have you ever seen a Klingon or a Borg smile???

All in all, a very good convention -- but of course I wouldn't say anything less about my own backyard!

by Carolyn Zimdahl
aka Jehane Moriloi
Executive Officer, Shuttlecraft Bortas
Member, ORACLE
Publicity Coordinator, EMISSARY
Chief Medical Officer, USS Hakuna Matata

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