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Trekonderoga - Pre Convention Report PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 22:22

As some people know, I (DJ Concentus) live in what most of our staff and listeners - not to mention a fair amount of my relatives and friends - think is the middle of nowhere (hence my “Yeti” moniker, the “Yetimobile,” and “Yetiland”), and to be honest...this is relatively true.  Yeah, I’ve got high-speed internet, and most of the other comforts of civilization, but you know what I really lack up here?  Conventions.  There are never any in the area that I can actually attend, just closed conferences for groups renting out the local convention center.  This is why you only see me going to one or two conventions a year, I usually have to drive eight or more hours to get to anything.  And while that does make for some fun vacations, it does get a bit expensive in the way of gas, since the Yetimobile isn’t exactly a shining example of fuel economy and carbon footprint.  So you can probably imagine what my reaction was when I found out that there was going to be a convention about an hour away.  A convention, in my proverbial backyard?  If I hadn’t been in the office at work when I found out there probably would have been shrieks of joy.

Trekonderoga is a new convention started by Retro Film Studios, the team behind Star Trek New Voyages (also known as Star Trek Phase II).  New Voyages is a Star Trek fan series that follows the adventures of the original Enterprise crew in what would have been ships final year of the five-year mission detailed in the Original Series.  They film in Ticonderoga, New York and releases its episodes online.  I’ve known that this group was in the area for a few years now, and I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t reached out to them until recently (I’ll hand in my trekkie card later).  The team wanted to do something for the local community to help bring some business into the area, and they hit upon the idea of holding a small, yearly convention, which would be (as far as I know), the only convention of its kind held in the North Country (the northernmost region of New York state).  They have been working with the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance to host the convention, which will be on September 4th, 5th, and 6th, in Ticonderoga.

Earlier this week I had a chance to visit Retro Film Studios for some pre-convention discussions and to talk with them about the convention and their goals for it.  Those of us who have been to large conventions before know of the seemingly impersonal experience that the bigger events have.  When you pay money and stand in an autograph line just to shake someone’s hand and get your photo taken, things start to feel a bit monotonous and automated, there’s no time to even have a few words with the stars you’re there to see.  One of the goals that James Cawley, the senior executive producer of Phase II and Phase II’s previous Kirk (and a frequent Elvis impersonator), has for the convention is to do away with the impersonal feel to this and to make Trekonderoga feel like a more fan-oriented event.  Rather than marching around to stand in lines and sit in large conference rooms to watch someone on stage talk, the events will be oriented around smaller groups of people - such as sitting on the New Voyages Enterprise bridge set to watch “Yesterday’s Enterprise” while the writer, Eric Stillwell, provides live commentary.  There will be four of these small groups on Saturday night - with two showings of “The Trouble With Tribbles” (with commentary from writer David Gerrold, a showing of “Mirror, Mirror” (with commentary from actress BarBara Luna who played Marlena Moreau (the Captain’s consort)), and the aforementioned showing of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” with Eric Stillwell.

During the convention there will be tours of the New Voyages set, where you can see the bridge, Kirk’s quarters, conference room, engineering, sickbay, transporter room, along with the length of corridor that connects all of them except for the bridge.  The set is laid out almost identically to the original Desilu Productions studio, with only minor changes due to space constraints.  I had a chance to walk through the set while I was there, and it looks amazing.  There’s places in the set where unless you look upwards it really does feel like you’re on the ship itself.  And it won’t be only Star Trek things at the convention - for example, the Batmobile from the 1960s TV series will be on-site for photo ops.

The special guests list at the convention is as follows:

  • Sally Kellerman - Elizabeth Dehner in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (TOS), Major Margaret "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan in M*A*S*H
  • Don Marshall - Lieutenant Boma in “The Galileo Seven” (TOS), Dan Erickson in Land of the Giants
  • Eric Stillwell - Co-writer of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (TNG), Script Coordinator (TNG), Production Associate (VOY), Co-writer of “Prime Factors” (VOY)
  • BarBara Luna - Marlena Moreau in “Mirror, Mirror” (TOS), plus an extensive career in film and TV
  • Louise Sorel - Rayna Kapec in “Requiem for Methuselah” (TOS), plus an extensive career in TV
  • Sean Kenney - Christopher Pike [in the wheelchair] in “The Menagerie” (TOS), Lieutenant DePaul in “The Arena” (TOS) and “A Taste of Armageddon” (TOS)
  • David Gerrold - Writer of “The Trouble With Tribbles” (TOS), Writer of “More Tribbles, More Troubles” (TAS), “Bem” (TAS), Consultant for Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II, Consultant for Star Trek: Axanar, Writer of “Believers” (Babylon 5, Season 1)
  • Dave Galanter - Writer of several Star Trek novels, an episode of New Voyages (“Enemy: Starfleet”), updated the original Phase II Writer’s/Director’s guide for use with New Voyages.

There will be seminars and presentations throughout the convention as well, covering topics including science and filmmaking.  Episodes of New Voyages will be screened, and some of the special guests will be giving talks as well.

Ed Miarecki

While I was at the Retro Films Studios, I had a chance to meet and talk with Ed Miraecki, who is an artist and model maker who will be at the convention on the dealer’s floor with a prop exhibit, where he will be taking orders for the props he makes.  He built models and props for The Next Generation, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and Star Trek: First Contact.  In addition to his Star Trek work, he worked on other films including, Deep Impact (I got to have one of those fun moments where I got to nerd out about how much I loved the ship design in that movie), Event Horizon, Starship Troopers, and X-Men.

Ed was at the studios to work with the New Voyages team with some prop and set design matters, and I had an opportunity to sit down on the bridge set and have a chat with him.  Our conversation can be seen here (I can't wait for the new website so we can have working Youtube embeds).  I apologize for the slightly shaky nature of the video, getting to do this interview was a complete surprise to me so I didn't have a tripod on-hand.

If you’re in the northeast and are looking for something to do on Labor Day weekend, then consider heading to Trekonderoga on the September 4th, 5th, and 6th.  There will be more interviews being released after the convention, so stay tuned!

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