Convention Circuit - Most Favorite Person You've Met?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Frontier, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 17, 2002
    Fifth Circle of Hell, IE: Pennsylvania
    You know, I think I should mention that the two times I met Brent Spiner, there was nothing negative about either experience. I've heard so much about him in the negative, and I've been put off by his sense of humor at times, but my own two times meeting him? He was fine. Nice enough, personable enough, not grumpy or gruff or foul or any of the other things I've heard him being. He wasn't a stand-out "wow, how awesome!" best of guest, but he also was not the major douche I've heard him described as by oh so many other people. He was just one of the multitude of the majority. Nothing disappointing about him or any of the horror stories I've heard. So I guess in comparison to those tales of woe, I had two good experiences with him as well.

    One of the times, he was even responsible for saving the convention attendees a lot of money. He was first in line of him and most of the rest of the TNG cast, and he was charging only $20 for an autograph. Which made the whole rest of the cast unable to charge $30 or whatever else. Which on the day saved me well over $300 or so, and I know saved everyone else scores of cash too, lol. The rest of them where none-to-pleased with him I've heard, lol, but I was quite happy. :D
  2. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 20, 2013
    Favorite Star Trek: DeForest Kelley
    He was just a really laid back and nice person. Answered every question no matter how bad it was. Just a real class act. My only regret was that I was not as familiar with his non-Trek acting career when I met him.

    Favorite Non-Star Trek: Jonathan Harris
    A lot of great stories from a long career that was not limited to "Lost in Space." I could have stayed up through the night listening to him recount some of his experiences.

    Least Favorite: Harlan Ellison
    I do not wish him ill. He is a talented writer without question or qualification, but I just didn't care for the man.
  3. TorontoTrekker

    TorontoTrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 15, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Warning: this is going to be long... :)

    Like OmahaStar, I've met most of the Trek actors on the convention circuit, whether by travelling to see them or when they've come to Toronto (I was co-head of the Programming department for Polaris, formerly known as Toronto Trek, six times, and co-chaired it once). Now, I've never been a Guest Liaison, so while I've heard stories about some of them being less than perfect examples of humanity, I can't back them up with any personal experiences. Every one of them I've met has been friendly and wonderful.

    One of our other projects that we do ("we" meaning the group that put on Toronto Trek/Polaris) is the Constellation Awards. I've been the stage manager for the ceremony since their inception. A couple of years ago, we decided to hold our ballot-counting meeting in a Starbucks downtown. This was the same weekend that the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was doing "The Music Of Star Trek" with Robert Picardo and John deLancie hosting. Well, we walked into the Starbucks, got in line, and realized that the person in front of us was Robert Picardo... and he recognized one of our committee from the time he was a guest at the convention, and we all ended up chatting for about 15 minutes.

    My all-time favourite interaction with an actor - and I've told this story at least once here before - was on the Monday afternoon following TT20. I'd decided to go home Sunday night and come back to the hotel Monday to help with cleanup. I'd gotten maybe four hours of sleep, so I wasn't at my most alert. I was alert enough, however, to help David Gerrold load his belongings into his car, and was headed back in when a call came over the headset that our hospitality suite was waaaaaay behind schedule in terms of clearing out of the room. So I dragged my exhausted ass to the elevator to go upstairs and help. I got into the elevator with someone from our Security department, and as the doors closed, someone jumped on. I concentrated on staying awake while they chatted, and then the Security guy got off at a floor below where I was going. The other person then turned to me...

    Him: Are you checking out?
    Me: I checked out last night. I just came back to help with cleanup.
    Him: Oh, you worked on the con?
    Me: Yes, I was one of the Chairs.

    At this point I look up and realize I'm talking to Garrett Wang.

    Me (extending a hand): My name's Lance.
    Garrett: Pleased to meet you. (Shakes my hand.) My name's Garrett.


    Garrett: You probably know that, don't you?

    When I saw him at Dragon*Con a couple of years ago, I reminded him of this. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that sounds like something I would do."

    My favourite non-Trek guest would have to be Ellen Muth, who played George on "Dead Like Me". I chaired the first convention she was ever at, the 2006 Gaylaxicon here in Toronto. (She's not gay, but she's played at least one gay character in her career that I know of.) I didn't actually get to meet or speak with her until the Sunday afternoon (I had a really good head Guest Liaison - the same person who did it for TT/Polaris, and who has worked for Julie Caitlin Brown at Dragon*Con, so I didn't need to concern myself with whether she was doing her job). She was signing autographs as her last thing before going to the airport, and I came in just as she was packing up.

    Me: Oh, you're packed up? I was just coming in to get your autograph. I've been running around all weekend and didn't have a chance earlier.
    Ellen: Yeah, I've seen you around a lot. Who are you?
    Me: My name's Lance. I was the Chair of the convention.
    Ellen: Oh, then sure, for you...

    Then she took out a photo and signed it for me before she left.

    About a year later, I was downtown on Pride weekend and started to chat with a guy at the bus stop after the bars closed. He asked if I was going to the parade, and I said I couldn't because I had a meeting that day. He asked what kind of meeting, and I told him it was for a science fiction convention. He responded, all in one breath, "Ohmigod, you work on conventions? Ellen Muth from 'Dead Like Me' was here for one last year and I couldn't get the time off work to go, and I'm her biggest fan and really wanted to go."

    I said, "Yes, I know she was here - I chaired that convention."

    It took him a few seconds to recover from that. Anyway, we actually ended up dating for a few months. I was in Atlanta for Dragon*Con during that period, and lo and behold, there was Ellen - and she saw me from across the room and waved. So I walked over and we ended up chatting for about half an hour in between people coming for her autograph. At a slow moment, I said, "I wouldn't normally ask this kind of thing, but I recently started dating someone who's a big fan of yours. He couldn't get the time off work to come to meet you last year, but if I called him right now, would you be willing to say hello?"

    She said, "Of course!", so I took out my phone and called his cell - but it went to voicemail. She said she'd leave him a message, so I handed her my phone. She left him about a ten-minute message.

    About half an hour later, I was outside when my phone rang, and it was him. His first words were, "Ohmigodhowdidyouarrangethat???"

    Then, about a year after that, we had Ellen as a guest at Polaris. I was supposed to go to the airport to meet Jim Butcher (the author of the Dresden Files books), so I went to the limo with a couple of our Guest Liaisons. One of them said to me, "We're picking up one of the actors on this run too - is that okay?" I said, "Of course," and she handed me a sign to hold up - that said "E. MUTH".

    I grinned and said, "I think Ellen will recognize me." Sure enough, I was standing in front of the exit doors from the Customs area, with one of the Guest Liaisons at either end, when the doors opened and Ellen came out. She saw me, made a beeline for me and said, "Hi! Remember me?" :lol:

    I think that was the same year we had Kai Owen from Torchwood and Michael Hogan from BSG - both of whom spent a lot of time in the hotel bar mingling with the members. Actor guests don't usually do that, but they were both wonderful and I got to spend a few minutes chatting with each of them.

    I've got one or two more stories, but these are my favourites involving actors.

    I've got a couple of Harlan stories too... we invited him to be Author Guest of Honour once - I think it was TT19. He doesn't do email, so I'd sent him a letter. A few weeks later, I was at home (being out of work at the time) when the phone rang: telemarketer. 20 minutes later, the phone rang: telemarketer. Half an hour later: telemarketer. Six times, the phone rang, and it was always a telemarketer. The seventh time the phone rang, I picked up the phone and heard a rapid stream of words, of which I understood none.

    Me: I'm sorry, could you repeat that?
    Harlan: I'm going to speak very slowly. You're going to listen very carefully. This is Harlan Ellison.
    Me: Oh! Mr. Ellison, my apologies. You're the seventh person to phone me today, and the other six were all telemarketers.
    Harlan: In that case, would you like to buy a combination storm window/bidet?
    Me: Um, no, I think not.
    Harlan: Are you sure? It's a really good combination storm window/bidet.
    Me: (thinking, ah, so it's going to be like that) Well, you see, I live on the 12th floor, so sticking my ass out the window to clean it could be dangerous.
    Harlan: Oh, you live in a high-rise? What's that like?

    So I spent five minutes telling Harlan Ellison what it's like to live in an apartment building.

    It turned out we couldn't meet his terms, so he didn't accept our invitation. I met him a year or two later, at the 2006 Worldcon. I went to his signing and was in line, when he suddenly decided to get up and walk down the line instead of staying behind the table. He got to me and I was a little clumsy opening my books for him. He said, "That's okay, I surprised you," and signed my books, then continued down the line. I knelt down on the floor to put them into my backpack, and suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder...

    "Oh, my God, a real dwarf! I know you prefer to be called 'little people' now, but I'm five-foot-five, and you're a dwarf!"

    I have a couple of other stories involving authors as well... last year, when the Chick-Fil-A controversy was raging, there were numerous same-sex kiss-ins being organized around the U.S. David Gerrold mentioned them in a Facebook post, and I commented, "I'm sorry there isn't going to be one during Dragon*Con - I would participate, assuming I could find a willing partner." David responded, "Lance, I'll kiss you whether there's a protest or not." Now, I would never claim to be close friends with David - we first met in 2004, and he's always said hello and we've chatted whenever our paths have crossed since then. And as I mentioned earlier, we had him as a Guest of Honour at TT20. But I never expected that he would remember having said that, two or three months later, or that when I walked into a panel room at Dragon*Con where he had just finished a panel, he would actually yell, "Lance! I promised you something..." and then walk over to me and kiss me. (He then invited me to go for a drink with him later, and we ended up hanging out for a couple of hours.)

    Any of you still reading this who are Facebook friends with me no doubt remember the epic smackdown David gave to another of my FB friends a few months ago, when the other friend - who was at TT20 - thought that it was funny that I was friends with someone who had the same name as a famous Trek writer. That was classic...

    There was also the Saturday night at last year's Dragon*Con, when I was hanging out with my ex-boyfriend (not the one I mentioned in the Ellen Muth story) and were heading to a panel. I said, "Can we stop on the way? My friend Keith is just finishing a panel, and I haven't seen him all weekend. I'd like to say hi." Keith, of course, being KRAD. We walked in, Keith saw me, yelled "Lance!" (that seems to happen a lot) and gave me a hug. We chatted for a few minutes, during which I introduced him to my ex, and then we headed off to the other panel. We no sooner got out the door when he turned to me and said, "You didn't tell me your 'friend Keith' was Keith R.A. DeCandido!!!"

    This from the same guy whom I'd previously introduced to both David Gerrold and Robert J. Sawyer. He knows I'm friends with several authors, so it surprised me that he was surprised. I found it adorable. :lol:

    Okay, that's it for now. If any of you are still reading.
  4. Kinggodzillak

    Kinggodzillak Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 10, 2007
    I've heard quite a few people say that their negative view of Kira (or even Nana herself) was changed after seeing her in person, whether it was an actual meet or just hearing her in a talk. I never had anything other than a postive view of Kira; she was always my fave DS9 character, and I had heard nothing but good things about Nana before I met her...and even then, I still wasn't prepared for just how well she came across. For a while I wondered if maybe she'd made such a strong impression just because she was the first Trek guest I'd ever met, back when the whole thing was a novelty still - but no. Having met most of them by now she's still in a class of her own. From the moment the convention opens right until the end of the day she's smiling and friendly and warm and totally approachable, and seems to really enjoy being there and meeting everybody.

    Really hope you can get to meet her at some point; I've seen her at four events now and no matter who else is there that I haven't met before, she's always a highlight. And it's even gotten to the point now where, um, she remembers me. Which is nice. :)


  5. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

    May 15, 2002
    That wasn't terribly long. I was expecting a book. :rommie:

    Actually, with your con experiences, I think you should write one. Might have to change the names of a few characters though.
  6. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 17, 2002
    Fifth Circle of Hell, IE: Pennsylvania
    Write it now, wait to publish it for a few decades. ;) But write it while you can remember it and just wait to publish it until no one will yell at you if you share something un-flattering. :p
  7. TorontoTrekker

    TorontoTrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 15, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I'd have to collaborate on it with the head of our Guests department - she's got about ten times the number of actor stories as I do. There are probably still bits of her radio headset buried under the site of our former hotel (which was demolished a couple of years ago) from when one of our guests managed to miss three flights from L.A. to Toronto, and she threw the headset at a wall...
  8. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 17, 2002
    Fifth Circle of Hell, IE: Pennsylvania
    Do it. :) Just write and put a note in your individual wills saying it can be published upon your deaths, lol. (No one can be mad at you, or ask for re-writes, when you're dead!) lol
  9. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 16, 2003
    Alt: 5280
    This is great to hear. I love Sisko, but man, he came across as a total weirdo in The Captains documentary.
  10. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

    Oct 28, 2011
    Avery Brooks blew me away to such extent with his 20th century sci-fi author character, he inspired me to write an unpublished novella with him in mind as one of its key characters.....a doctor with issues.

    I haven't met him yet, but hope to in a few years....
  11. AxelFoley

    AxelFoley Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 7, 2008
    Hey, I was at that con the picture is from too, London Film & Comic Con 2011, right? I got the same photo signed by him.

    That was actually the best meeting I've had with a Trek celebrity. Not my favorite guest, but the conversation was the best I've had, probably with any celebrity I've ever met.

    Normally when I've met other Trek stars, I've been nervous as hell, but since I'm not really a huge TNG fan, I felt kind of relaxed meeting Spiner. He was in a great mood at that moment. Asked where I was from, when I said I was Swedish he asked me where in Sweden, told me he'd been there and stuff. He could spell both mine and my friends name without me having to spell it for him, which most others have needed help with.

    When on the subject of Sweden, he asked me if I was a film buff, to which I confirmed. He then asked me if I like Ingemar Bergman movies, when I said I didn't, he joked a bit with me and went on to tell a joke involving Max Von Sydow. He was pleased that I laughed at the joke even though I wasn't a fan of Bergman.

    Anyway, we must have chatted for several minutes with a huge line of fans waiting to meet him. He really took the time to talk to the fans and seemed to enjoy the conversations quite a bit.

    I walked away being extremely pleased with the experience. He didn't shake hands, only did fist bumps because he was feeling a cold coming on, or something like that. I regret not asking for a fist bump before I left.

    It's funny, here we are two who had a great chat with him at the same convention, yet someone else who attended this convention actually had a rather negative experience with Spiner, similar to what others have written about him.
  12. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 24, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Sometimes I actually stop and wonder if our expectations of the guests are too high or unreasonable.
  13. TorontoTrekker

    TorontoTrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 15, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    The thing is, they're human. They have good days, and bad days. They might be hung over, they might have just lost out on a role after five auditions, or they might just be feeling a bit under the weather due to eating in strange restaurants, or due to jet lag, or due to having spent the last month filming at night and having to be awake at 9 in the morning to get ready to be on stage and entertain us.

    And yet, they have to be "on" for every second that they're in front of us, their fans. They can't let it slip, because if word gets out that they treated a fan badly at a convention - and it will get around, because we talk to each other - they won't be invited to others, and they'll lose a revenue stream. If producers who pay attention to fandom - and some do - see that this actor or that actor is no longer popular among science fiction fans, the odds of them getting future roles diminishes.

    Three more quick stories, both from last year's Dragon*Con:

    I got in line for John Rhys-Davies' autograph and picked a picture. Now, Mr. Rhys-Davies lives on the Isle of Man. When it was my turn, I mentioned to him that when I was a teenager, I used to collect stamps. When I ran out of Canadian stamps that I could afford, I switched to the Isle of Man because I thought their stamps were quite beautiful.

    JR-D: Fantastic! Do you still collect?
    Me: No, I gave it up when I started university.
    JR-D: Pity. I'll bet you've never met someone who's on a postage stamp. Me and the Queen, we're like this. (At this point, he held up his hand with his index and middle fingers touching.)
    Me: When I use that phrase, I usually say (and here I held up my fingers similarly, but with my thumb at a right angle) that I'm the one over here (touching my thumb with my other hand).

    John Rhys-Davies has the most wonderful booming laugh I've ever heard.

    A few minutes later, over at Saul Rubinek's table, I picked out a photo from his TNG guest appearance in "The Most Toys".

    SR: Ah, a man with impeccable taste.
    Me: I really admire how you stepped in at the last minute, when David Rappaport committed suicide, and did the episode.
    SR: And you're knowledgeable, too!
    Me: But there's one thing I can't quite remember.
    SR: What's that?
    Me: Back in the 80s, you did a series of detective movies on CBC...
    SR: Benny Cooperman. How the hell do you know about Benny Cooperman?
    Me: I'm Canadian, and I'm older than I look.

    I bet he never expected anyone at a science fiction convention to bring that up. (The "I'm Canadian" thing is relevant, because the Benny Cooperman mystery novels are by a Canadian, set in Canada, and CBC, which produced the movies, is one of our national television networks.)

    On the Saturday - and I remember specifically that this was late Saturday afternoon - I got in line for autographs from the cast of Being Human (the Canadian version, not the UK - and yes, I call it the Canadian version, because it's shot in Montreal :p). The first cast member that I got to was Sam Huntington. I picked out a photo of all three cast members (since all three were there - and I'd neglected to get Meaghan Rath's autograph when she'd been at Polaris a few weeks earlier), and handed it to him to sign.

    Me: I just wanted to share with you that I started watching your show with my ex-boyfriend... over Skype. He lives here in Atlanta, and I live in Toronto. We'd pick a show to watch together, and I'm really glad he chose Being Human.
    SH: Over Skype! That's... hey, guys, get over here and listen to this!

    At this point, he called Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath over from their tables and had me repeat what I had told him. (This is the same ex I mentioned earlier, who was surprised to learn that I knew KRAD.)

    SH: Is he here?
    Me: He had to work today, but he's coming by tonight, and he should be here tomorrow.
    SH: If you can get here before we have to leave tomorrow, bring him by. We'd love to meet him.

    And he signed my photo with the dedication, "To Lance - Skype it up!" Unfortunately, by the time my ex arrived on Sunday, they'd already had to leave for the airport.

    Oh, okay, one more... back in 2006, we'd had Richard Hatch from BSG as a guest. That same year, he was at Dragon*Con. Now, I'd co-chaired our convention that year (this was the same year that Garrett Wang was there, when my elevator story took place), and we'd met briefly when I arranged to get him up to his room via an alternate route when the elevators had 30-minute lines to get upstairs (as three of the hotel's five elevators had broken down by Saturday night).

    If memory serves, that was also the Dragon*Con where I finally met Evil_Admiral in person (I keep thinking that if I refer to him, he'll come back to the board, like Candyman or Beetlejuice ;) ). Now, I hadn't yet watched BSG, but Evil_Admiral was a big fan. We were wandering through the autograph room when I saw Richard at his table, with nobody around. The woman who had been his liaison at our convention had asked me to say hello for her if I had the opportunity, so I turned to Evil_Admiral and said, "Hang on a sec, I have to pass a message along for someone," and dragged him over to Richard's table.

    Me: Hi, Richard!
    RA: Hi, Lance. How are you? (Yes, he remembered my name. Yes, that shocked me too, even though it was only about three weeks later.)
    Me: Good, thanks. Kim asked me to say hello.
    RA: Kim! Lovely woman. Say hi for me.
    Me: I will. By the way, this is my friend Brad...

    At this point I thought Evil_Admiral was going to faint, but he held it together until we were away from Richard's table... at which point he turned to me and said, "Richard Hatch KNOWS YOU???" (Yeah, he recognized me three weeks after we met. Not too difficult for someone who has to memorize things for a living, I'm sure... it wasn't the first or the last time that's happened.)

    And just for fun, I did it again a few minutes later when we bumped into George Takei (who'd also been at our convention three weeks earlier). :devil: