Saturday, May 07, 2005

Starfest 2005, Day 3 

On Sunday (May 1), we decided to make a full day of it and arrived a bit after 9am in the hopes of securing a parking space reasonably near the convention. We found one behind the building and came in the side entrance. Matt Helms was there early too, wearing a black t-shirt that said, "Coroner". We soon noticed several people wearing identical shirts; most of them hovered around the horror venues.

After checking the freebie room to see if there was anything new (nope), we went to the horror trivia contest so Dan and Greg could participate. The elimination round consisted of 25 questions, some of which were very obscure (although I did know the answer to the one about "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"). Dan got 15 points and was eliminated, but Greg got 17, enough to make it to the finals. The main part of the contest was set up like "Jeopardy" except that there were four players instead of three because there had been a tie during the elimination round. The "buzzers" were plastic rats that squeaked when you squeezed them. There were some pretty cool categories and questions that weren't much easier than the ones from the elimination round. There were also several questions that went unanswered because no one wanted to lose points for an incorrect guess. Greg did very well, and even Angie seemed amazed at some of the stuff he knew. He took second place, winning admission to next year's convention. Awesome. Oh, and Matt Helms peeked in for a bit during the "Jeopardy" portion.

Greg was on a roll. After the contest, he popped into the gift shop for a caffeine break and ran into none other than Jeffrey Combs. He even got to have a short conversation. Probably the best thing about this convention was the accessibility of some of the guests and the fact that they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the fans did.

Since this was the last day of the convention, I knew that if I wanted to acquire anything from the dealer's room, I'd better make my move. I asked Dan to steer me right over to the Iconograph table. I flipped back through the LOTR autographs, mulled it over and then decided that I'd still get one but would make it one of the less expensive ones. Problem is, I couldn't decide between two really cool autographs: an Elijah Wood and a Sean Astin. The proprietor heard me discussing it with Dan and offfered me a $20 discount if I bought them both. I took him up on it. So I spent about $30 less than if I'd bought an Orlando Bloom or Viggo Mortenson, but I got two good autographs instead of just one. Turns out while I was doing that, Angie bought an Orlando Bloom at another table. Must say she has excellent taste.

When we left the dealer room, we decide we'd better join the line for Shatner photos even though Shatner wasn't going to be there for two more hours. We had plenty of company. I amused myself chatting with the lady in line behind me who had the same kind of camera I did. She had been to lots of Starfests and had met an impressive array of "Star Trek" cast members. We also talked with one of the staff members who was keeping the line organized. She said that Gillian Anderson had been booked one year but had to cancel, and she talked about Kevin Sorbo and the time he auctioned off his undies! Needless to say, I'm extremely sorry I missed Kevin Sorbo!

Dan and Greg left the line for awhile because they had tix for a Jeffrey Combs photo session to take place an hour before Shatner's. Ironically, while they were gone, Mr. Combs strolled by the Shatner line and remarked, "Oh, so THIS is where everyone is!" Apparently, Claudia Christian noticed everyone was waiting for Shatner too because there was no one in line to see her. She started singing "All By Myself".

After Greg and Dan got back, Greg and Angie decide to make a quick trip to the art room. I was pretty sure Angie would buy a copy of that awesome Legolas painting I'd spotted Friday night, and I was right, she bought that very one. Great minds think alike.

By the time the line for Shatner photos started moving, it had gotten absolutely massive, and I thought there was no way everyone would be able to get a photo. I seriously underestimated the efficiency of the Starfest staff! The whole thing was practically a blur, they had us moving so fast. Hand someone your ticket, walk up to Mr. Shatner and say hi, sit and smile at the camera, get the thumbs up from the photographer that it turned out, get up and get out of the way for the next person. I would have liked a little more time, but I think they did get everyone through that line, which was pretty awesome.

We decided not to wait for the photos to print out but to get in line for the autographs right away so we wouldn't miss out. We were close to the front of the line. Had Dan and Greg check for the pix a few times while Angie and I held their places. They were finally done about an hour and a half after they'd been taken, so I'm really glad we didn't stand over there and wait for them. They turned out very nicely I must say. While we were waiting, Dean Haglund came by on crutches. I think I read somewhere he has a knee problem? We also talked with other people in line since I'm so good at that. The lady next to me in line was a seasoned convention goer as were a few others. She spoke of how Scott Bakula was intimidated by his fans when "Quantum Leap" first became popular. She had some very nice memorabilia for William Shatner to sign. The line got long and very noisy in the hour and 45 minutes we were there. Dan took photos of someone dressed as Michael Myers, and there were people on the balcony above us taking pix of the enormous line.

Amazingly, William Shatner appeared right on time, and the no-nonsense staff got us moving pronto. I saw him raise his eyebrows a bit when the lady ahead of me gave him three items to sign, but I think he decided it would cost too much time to say anything, and he just went ahead and signed them. Dan and Greg tried to take pix of Angie and I getting our autographs, but security cleared them out of the area. Dan did manage to get a good shot of Shatner signing something for a guy ahead of me though.

Since most of the convention goers were behind us in line for autographs, we decided to grab an empty table in the atrium and pause for some refreshment. Shatner was scheduled for a Q and A at 5:30, and I thought if we went over to the main events room at 5:00 we could go snag our reserved seats. I didn't realize the movie previews were going to run so long prior to 5:30. We ended up waiting just outside the entrance for a considerable amount of time for the house lights to come up. This was the one time I was really beginning to resent being "invisible" in my wheelchair because even though we were up against the wall, people continually ran into me and tripped over my feet. I swear, if I ever get my own wheelchair, I'm gonna put flashing lights or something on it so people will see me!

We finally did get to head for our seats. It was crowded to be sure but not quite the nightmare I'd been envisioning....kudos again to the organized staff. And before I knew it, after a very brief intro, William Shatner appeared on stage. He talked about a charity event he'd done the night before, and he told stories of previous trips to Colorado, including the time when on the way to a performance he had an allergic reaction to a Chinese dinner someone had cooked for him. He also mentioned getting stuck in the snow on the slopes while skiing. After someone sang a song they'd written for him, he talked about more current things, like "Invasion Iowa", a short reality series in which he and several actors pretend to film a grade Z movie in a small Iowa town but in fact are doing a show about the townspeople. There were some of those townspeople in the audience. He also talked about how the "Has Been" album came about. There wasn't time for more than a couple of questions, but the highlight of the night was when someone asked him to tell a horse story and he went into an account of when a horse fell on him and when he went to the hospital for his injuries, no one would help him out of the ambulance because they thought he was filming "Rescue 911"! I had trouble getting any good photos of Shatner on stage because were so many people in front of me (the curse of being short), but Dan took over and got some excellent shots.

When Shatner's time was up, we left right way to avoid the crowds. We got out surprisingly fast and went to get some supper. We had originally planned to eat at Carrabba's but reconsidered and went to the Outback nearest the house. Good call. After we had eaten, one of the wait staff came to our table and announced that a gentleman at the bar wanted to pay for our dinner! The staff seemed as puzzled as we were. I don't know if the guy had come into money or was feeling generous or just lonely, but he bought dinner for pretty much everyone in the restaurant. We found him and thanked him and left shaking our heads but smiling.

There was one more treat in store for me that day....Greg and Angie had brought a copy of "Invasion Iowa" for us to watch! I enjoyed it immensely, not just the joke that Shatner and company were playing on an unsuspecting town, but also the fact that the people in that town were such good sports about it. And Shatner grew to really like these people in spite of himself, so he didn't let things get too far out of hand. I got to keep the tape, which is good because I'll probably watch it again.

So is it any wonder that I'm still exhausted a week later? It was worth it, though. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?