Last week, I wrote of my harrowing journey through the bowels of the Downtown Atlanta Sheraton into the sweaty belly of the beast that is modern Star Trek fandom. I attended a Dragon*Con screening of a lavishly produced fan film, partly because it promised some hot gay action between Captain Kirk’s long-lost nephew and some redshirt (well, blueshirt, it turns out) and partly because I wanted to see Original Series actors George Takei and Walter Koenig live and in person.
Also because I’m a masochist.
Most of my wishes were fulfilled. While the Kirk-on-some-dude action was decidedly lukewarm, it made up for its lack of heat by being the most cloyingly out of place love scene in all of Trek history, and I’m including both the time Fat Scotty and Tina Turner Uhura got it on in Star Trek V and the time Lwaxana Troi took a bath in Odo during that one episode of Deep Space Nine/all my nightmares/my wet dreams. My masochistic tendencies met their match in the barely air conditioned, body odoriferous conference room where Gene Roddenberry’s vision chose to fester and ooze and masturbate itself near to death.
I guess that about sums up the elaborate fan film in question. Festering, oozing, and masturbatory. But the special effects were pretty damn impressive.
Of course, seeing the three-dimensional bodies of Sulu and Chekov was arguably the most important reason to be there instead of, say, anywhere else, and I can’t say I was let down. Yes, George Takei really talks like that, and yes, he really waves the Vulcan fingers at nearly everyone he meets, even though he never once played a Vulcan. And yes, Walter Koenig seemed quiet and bitter and not at all unlike the modern-day Davy Jones. (The Monkee, of course. Not the pirate. Though both are covered in barnacles.)
And when reporting on Mr. Koenig’s apparent psychotic snap and sudden snapping of “This cannot be tolerated! This cannot be tolerated!” I suggested that perhaps a life of signing autographs for the self deluded and drafting behind George Takei’s aerodynamic smile might have driven the former pretend Russian to something like insanity.
Turns out I was wrong. No, not about the fact that the entire Star Trek programming track was run by a pack of portly gentlemen who seemed to be unable to organize anything more complicated than a D&D campaign. No, not about the fact that the fan film in question demonstrated all the original artistic ambition of a Kraft Single.
By way of an e-mail from an angry Walter Koenig supporter, I was informed that Mr. Koenig is not, in fact, insane. Instead, he simply chose to stop a Q&A session in order to yell at one of the rotund track organizers who couldn’t stop yapping (presumably about his life’s failures and/or his dinner plans) in the front row. From where I was sitting (the fifth row), I could hear no such conversation, but both the Walter Koenig supporter and another gentleman on the panel (the one who has chosen to devote his time and money to dressing up like Captain Kirk and gesticulating to the Internet) share the same story.
I stand corrected.
And I’ll leave this blog open to another possible correction in the future. While the fan film I saw was indeed insufferable, there is the possibility that it redeemed itself in the final minutes. I’ll never know, since I chose to use a narrow passage through what was left of the audience to make my escape before my sanity left me. I normally don’t walk out of filmed entertainments, but by the time the chatty trak organizers were able to pry a projector loose from a cowboy-hatted convention volunteer and prop a microphone against a couple of PC speakers, I knew I’d been sitting in the Sheraton so long I would no longer recognize the children I hadn’t yet conceived before I left home.
According to the angry Walter Koenig supporter, my original article on Mr. Koenig’s apparent insanity has been “pasted all over the Internet”, and for that I’m sorry. I’ve truly enjoyed Mr. Koenig’s work for many years and am glad to hear he’s fully sane, if maybe a little prickly. Like ex-cons, original Star Trek cast members often develop a standoffish demeanor after years of having to constantly look over their shoulders to keep convention trak directors from stealing their food and William Shatner from stealing their lines.