I covered this year's Vegas convention for a local weekly and spent a lot of time watching how fans and stars interacted. This is probably going to be a longish post, so bear with me.
In the vendor's room, I spent a lot of time with Max Grodenchik--I wish I could have gotten more of it in the article, because he was really great. I ended up talking to him a lot about Vegas' economic condition, which is part of what I do for a living. He was incredibly witty, and had a really good memory, recalling the names of people who'd seen him at cons in Germany, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Really interesting guy to talk to, even though I haven't seen that much DS9. A little while later Grace Lee Whitney came to get set up (I was sitting in her seat, apparently), and was very gracious about the whole thing.
I was walking by Gary Lockwood's booth, with my wife who was carrying our 2 year-old daughter. I said hi and he said, "Hey, how come you're making her do all the work?" So I gave him a demo: I took her in my arms and she immediately started doing the "I want Mommy" squirm until I handed her back over. We shared a laugh. I asked him a lot about how he likes doing cons, and he said how great it was, and that it paid pretty well. He talked about how much of a pain the contacts in WNMHGB were, and talked about getting drunk and playing poker the night of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cool guy.
Had a nice talk with James Kerwin about the nature of Internet critics. Got a great quote from Chase Masterson about the Intergalactic Bartender, a Vegas-based company I was interested in highlighting in the piece.
Sat in on the Takei/Koenig photo opp for about 20 minutes, so I got to see how they interacted with a range of people. Koenig was a bit muted, as you can understand, but seemed genuinely to meet the fans. Takei was the star...I put a line in the article about how his warm baritone carried to the door, and made you realize that this is it, your chance to meet Lt. Sulu. They were both incredible with the fans, and I'm amazed at how they could be simultaneously personable and efficient about moving the line along.
I spent a lot of time chatting with the guys who played the Xindi Council. I shared a funny story with Scott MacDonald and Randy Oglesby about how my 2-year old would hide behind the couch when Dolim was on, but seemed to like Degra. They were both really helpful, and really inspirational to me, too. Here were two fine actors who, when they started, never thought they would be "working Vegas," and they were making the best of it. I found a real metaphor for the city there.
Generally, everyone was great. Funny note--I almost got run over by Jonathan Frakes as he was headed out with his luggage, and thought about running after him to tell him that he wouldn't be able to leave until he won enough at craps to buy the place, but he looked like he was in a hurry. And I'm sure he's heard that one before.
Now that I've got a flickr account I'm probably going to post the photos my wife took. Very interesting stuff.