Event: Star Trek Mission NY 2016 - Friday Report

in 2016, Event Report

Events

Star Trek Mission New York (2016)

I can confidently say that without Star Trek, this web site would not exist. I was introduced to Trek as a child by my mother and as part of that introduction I often attended Star Trek conventions. Long before there was a Comic-Con or Wizard World or what have you every other month these were the main conventions I had to look forward to every few months. These conventions were not just a place to go to see actors at panels or buy cool stuff in the dealer's room. Interacting with the folks at these conventions taught me about fan fiction, fanzines, that being geeky and chatting with the stranger behind you on line about your favorite episode was a cool thing to do. For a kid who was unsure of himself and often didn't feel "cool", this was the one place where I felt totally comfortable.

Line waiting to get in

Decades ago, Star Trek conventions fled New York City. There were some here and there in New Jersey, but for the most part it seemed like having a Star Trek convention in New York City would forever be relegated to my past.

So you can imagine my absolute delight when I learned months ago that "Star Trek Mission New York" was bringing Star Trek conventions back to the Big Apple. Instead of being run by Creation Entertainment as the conventions of my youth had been. Instead, Reed Pop, the folks who run New York Comic-Con were the ones bringing this show to New York City.

Friday (September 2):
This was the first day of the convention. Given that several other cons were happening the same weekend around the country and this being the Labor Day weekend I expected the Friday to be a quiet day, and for the most part I was right. This was the perfect way to "warm up" for the convention (I plan on returning Saturday).

Entranceway to North Hall

Unlike NYCC which takes up the entire Jacob Javitz facility, this convention only took up a smaller portion, most of which is normally the NYCC Artist Alley. Much of this area was made up of dealers and a "Game Zone" where various Star Trek games were on display. Panels were divided between the "Main Stage" (the largest of the panel/video rooms) and several smaller rooms. This does not sound huge, but I've been to other conventions smaller than this. It's not about size, it's about quality and Star Trek Mission New York definitely worked hard to bring that.

Panels: From the Edge of the Final Frontier: The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Cast Reunion
I attended two panels Friday, the first was devoted to "Deep Space 9". The panel was made up of several actors from the series: Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Michael Dorn (Worf), Terry Farrell (Dax), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys).

This was quite different than the panels I remember from my youth. True to the NYCC formula, there was a DJ to "warm up" the audience, then a host who conducted part of the panel on stage before opening up the floor to questions from the fans. What was wonderful to see was the very obvious affection several of these actors had with each other. They played off each other brilliantly and offered a genuine understanding of what makes Star Trek special. I live Tweeted from the panel. You can check out the archive of my Tweets here.

Panel: Thriving on Limitations: Behind The Scenes of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
This panel was run by John Tenuto and Maria Jose Tenuto, two huge Star Trek fans who compiled an enormous amount of information about "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and the work that went into the film. These two presented like pros handing the panel off from one to the other and keeping the audience engaged the entire time. Imagine a rapid fire dropping of nugget after nugget of behind-the-scenes knowledge. This was a fascinating panel and the kind that I do remember attending in the 80's and 90's. I live tweeted from this panel as well. Check out the archive of my Tweets from the panel here.

Convention Store

Movie Screening: "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" in 4K
In 2016 a new Director's Cut of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is due for release, and this convention was the perfect place to debut this to a large audience. Before the movie was shown Meyer had a Q&A (see the Twitter archive link above to see Tweets from that session). Hearing Meyers speak was refreshing. He had a very "old skool" conviction that an artist's job is to deliver a vision and stay focused on that vision. Meyers is involved in the upcoming "Star Trek: Discovery" television series and I am looking forward to seeing his influence on the show.

I only stayed for the first 2/3 of the movie screening but it felt incredible to watch this movie in a room full of fans. When the opening credits came up everyone cheered as names of cast members popped up on screen. Everyone laughed at the same beats and cheered at the same moments. The new release was crystal clear on screen and a lot of the graininess I remember my older copies having seems to have been eliminated. I'll be picking this up for sure.

Exhibitor/Dealer's Room:
The exhibitor/dealer's room was rather modest, but when you consider it was solely dedicated to Star Trek they hit a lot of the right notes. There were dealers selling toys, costumes, Vulcan ears, Star Trek jewelry and more. I did find myself missing some of the types of dealer tables I remembered from my youth. There used to be more dealers with random toys and merchandise sprinkled in with their Star Trek stuff such as Star Wars or Transformers merchandise. Still I felt that this was a good start and if this represents something that will only get bigger then we are already on a good path.

Hallmark Display

Among the more impressive displays were NASA's various stations with presentations on scientific advancements including a model of a new rocket, a demonstration of how hard it is to perform work using the thick gloves Astronauts use and even a speculative set of posters from a future where man has colonized various worlds in space. It really embodied a dedication to science and optimism that is at the core of Star Trek.

No discussion of the exhibitor area would be complete without talking about the Original Series set display. The folks who run the official Star Trek set tour have some pieces they use at conventions to advertise their officially licensed sets. Originally a project meant for filming Star Trek fan films, this set was turned into a tourist attraction (it's about 4-5 hours outside of New York City). You can read about the background of the set tour here. The pieces at the convention included part of the bridge set and the Transporter room console. They also had several props on display including Communicators, Phasers and even liquor bottles like those used in the series. At no charge fans could sit in the Captain's chair and have their photo taken by the super courteous staff. I made sure to do this today because I"m sure Saturday will be insane!

Costumes

I would be remiss if I did not mention the kind folks at "Star Trek Online" who invited me to check out their game. I'll be doing a separate story on my impressions of the game but I will definitely be checking this game out.

And so ends day one of my "Star Trek Mission New York Experience". Overall the day was an emotional experience in many respects. Many elements and moments reminded me of going to Star Trek conventions as a kid with my mother. Seeing actors from past shows reminded me of the panels where I had seen them when their shows were new decades ago. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring.

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