Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas
Each year the Star Trek Convention hits Las Vegas with an “out-of-this-world” punch. Last year, Star Trek: Picard was announced, with Sir Patrick Stewart on hand to greet his cheering fans. This year, as far as captains go, William Shatner (James Tiberius Kirk form the Original Series), Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway from ST: Voyager) and Anson Mount (Christopher Pike from St: Discovery) will take the stage, to be joined by, among the major characters from each series: from the Original Series, Nichelle Nichols (Nyota Uhura) and Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov); from Star Trek: the Next Generation, Brent Spiner (Data), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), John DeLancie (Q), Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker), Michael Dorn (Worf) and Suzie Plakson (K’Ehleyr); from Star Trek Deep Space 9: René Auberjonois (Odo), Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir), Andrew Robinson (Garak), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), Casey Biggs (Damar), Chase Masterson (Leeta), J.G. Hertzler (Martok), Robert O’Reilly (Gowron), Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Brunt; also Shran in ST: Enterprise), Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax), Max Grodenchik (Rom), Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys); from Star Trek: Enterprise: Connor Trinner (Charles “Trip” Tucker III), Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed), John Billingsley (Phlox), and Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather); from Star Trek: Voyager: Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Roxann Dawson (B’Elanna Torres), Garrett Wang (Harry Kim), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris), Robert Picardo (the Doctor); from Star Trek Discovery: Ethan Peck (Spock), James Frain (Sarek), Rekha Sharma (Commander Landry), Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler), Jayne Brook (Vice Admiral Katrina Cornwell), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell).
For the Real Fans, There’s More
Of course, all these stars will be available for signatures and photo ops. But one has to get online and book a specific appointment with them, On top of those, Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman and Terry Farrell will be available for 30 min. Meet and Greet sessions. Once again, it is imperative to book in advance.
But Star Trek conventions aren’t just a venue to meet the stars. It is a fabulous venue to delve deeper into the Trek lore. You have musical venues, such as In Search of Lostime, the Saturday night Gala Event, with Brent Spiner who will perform songs along with his own band. Or Cross your Hearts: Poems and Prose, performed by René Auberjonois and Nana Visitor; and also Quark’s happy hour, performed by Chase Masterson, and then a Karaoke party, hosted by Connor Trinner and Dominic Keating. For the more adventurous at heart, there is still a Klingon Karaoke, hosted by J.G. Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly. Speaking of Klingons, there will be a Klingon Makeup Demonstration hosted by Michael Westmore (ST:TNG, ST:DS9, ST:Voyager and ST:Enterprise), who will transform Robert O’Reilly into Kruge (ST: The search for Spock). And not to be forgotten, in its 10th year, the famous STAR TREK “RAT PACK”. This show is an original musical comedy performance, written and produced by Max Grodenchik, with fellow stars Casey Biggs, Jeffrey Combs, Vaughn Armstrong, and Ethan Phillips. This year’s 10th Anniversary celebration performance features brand new songs, specially created for this unique occasion.
What would a Star Trek convention be without panels? This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: the Motion Picture. A special retrospective panel will join the special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull, Rich Sternbach, Doug Drexler, Michael and Denise Okuda on this amazing movie. Also, there will be a panel entitled “Trials and Tribble-Ations”, on that very special DS9 episode. The whole DS9 Arts Department will gather to discuss the making of this classic. Michael and Denise Okuda, Doug Drexler and Judy Elkins will take the stage.
The franchise’s role hasn’t just been an entertaining one. It has promoted science and has had a profound effect on yesterday’s and today’s youth. To mark this, many scientists are participating in a section of talks and panels entitled: Star Trek and Nasa: 50 years of inventing the future together.
The first series is called Teaching with Trek: Special Science Panels
- Boldly Go: A Comparative Law Analysis of the Star Trek Universe with Real Earth Space Law
Does Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets compare to the United Nations? Does the 1967 Outer Space Treaty cover (or imitate) Star Trek’s Prime Directive? Elsbeth J. Magilton, the Executive Director of the Space, Cyber, and Telecom Law Program at the University of Nebraska will answer these questions.
- “Eyes Open” – Teaching Critical Thinking and Critical Literacy with Star Trek
Dr. Stefan Rebitsch, Assistant Professor, University of Graz (Germany), will illustrate practical pedagogical approaches to effectively incorporate Star Trek ideas in class settings as well as Star Trek specific examples he’s used as entry points towards critical thinking.
- Heroes, Mentors, and Mothers: Symbolism, and Character Archetypes in Star Trek’s Mythic Journeys
Dr. Janet McMullen, Associate Professor, University of North Alabama, will explore how some of the Star Trek characters represent classic mythical archetypes.
- Medical Ethics in Sickbay
Dr. Eric Chwang, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University, Camden & University of Colorado, Boulder; Dr. Beth Seacord, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Southern Nevada; and actor John Billingsley (“Dr. Phlox” from Star Trek: Enterprise) will examine questions of medical ethics raised in the sickbay, such as the ethics of euthanasia (in ST:TNG episodes “Half a Life” and “Ethics”), informed consent and pediatric informed consent, the ethics of organ donation (in ST:Enterprise episode “Similitude”), and justice in healthcare allocation (in ST:Voyager’s episode “Critical Care”).
- Set Phasers to Teach
Dr. Stefan Rebitsch, Dr. des. Sabrina Mittermeier, Research Assistant at the Chair of American Studies at the University of Augsburg, and Dr. John NA Brown, UX and UED Researcher, will discuss how they incorporate Star Trek in higher education and advanced research.
- Engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
Bobak Ferdowsi, Brandon Rodriguez, Danielle Nuding, Lyle Tavernier and Tracy Drain from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory share their experience with STEM.
- Star Trek for Students: Roving on Kolarus
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory educators Brandon Rodriguez and Lyle Tavernier are organizing a STEM challenge: Roving on Kolarus, a fictitious planet. School-age Trek fans will modify a roving surface vehicle’s design to permit crew members to travel the surface of an alien planet.
- Star Trek for Students: Touchdown on Kolarus
In another STEM challenge, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory educators Brandon Rodriguez and Lyle Tavernier host: Touchdown on Kolarus! Young Trek fans have to design and build a landing device in order to safely land crew members on the surface of a far-away planet.
- Star Trek: Gendering the Holodeck and Diversifying the Classroom
Dr. Jennifer Bailey Woodard and Dr. Stephanie Dean, both Associate Professors at Middle Tennessee State University, will discuss the significance of gender and racial diversity on Star Trek. They will explore the importance of this aspect of Star Trek as a historical and cultural phenomenon, also as a possible blueprint for achievable equality in a not-so-distant future.
- Time Travel, Transporters, A.I. and the Terran Universe: Philosophy and Star Trek
Panelists Dr. Kenny Boyce, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri, Columbia; Dr. Beth Seacord, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Southern Nevada; Dr. Rebecca Chan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California State University, San Jose; and Dr. Matt McCormick, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Sacramento will examine some of the deeper philosophical questions raised by Star Trek. Is there an inherent contradiction raised by time travel, or is it metaphysically possible? Is the core of a person preserved when someone is transported, or is a simulacra send while the original has been utterly destroyed? Do alternate universes exist, and how are we different from our alternate counterparts?
- Transparent Trek: A Deeper Look into “The House of Quark”
Dr. Janet McMullen will analyze one of her favorite Deep Space Nine episodes, “The House of Quark” and share how costuming, set design, camera, and characters make Quark’s path throughout this episode such a delight.
- What Can We Learn from the Klingon Empire?
Alien cultures have served as metaphors for issues in contemporary society throughout Star Trek. Klingons have been at the forefront of this plot twist since the beginning (the Original Series), embodying adversaries at first, and later on as allies, as the franchise grew older. Can the Klingons spark in us an interest in contemporary world issues? Did historical events influence the evolving depiction of this profoundly different society? Dr. Daniel Martin, Associate Professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), will explore just how analysis of Klingon-centric episodes of Star Trek can enlighten students, unfamiliar with the franchise and with little knowledge of American history. How it can bring them to a deeper reflection on ideology, history, and politics, through the ways the depiction of Klingons addresses these concepts.
Special Events Panels: Science of Trek
- Time Travel in Star Trek
Dr. Erin Macdonald, Astrophysicist, Science Fiction Consultant, and Aerospace Engineer, will explain the scientific basis behind time travel in Star Trek.
- Why Are There So Many Humanoids on Star Trek? An Evolutionary Perspective
The possibility of humanoid or other forms of life on other planets will be explored by Dr. Mohamed Noor, Professor of Biology and Dean of Natural Sciences at Duke University and lifelong Trek fan. He will try to answer the question as to why most alien life depicted on Star Trek strongly resembles Earthlings (besides the use of human actors)?
- Science of Star Trek: Discovery
Dr. Mohamed Noor and Dr. Erin Macdonald will explain the biology and physics underlying the new iteration of Star Trek. Multiverse theory, tardigrades, spore drives, DNA splicing, and much more…
- Physics in Star Trek
Dr. Erin Macdonald, as an ultimate tech-geek, will discuss some of Star Trek’s coolest realistic and not-so-reality-based physics concepts. She’ll delve into the science behind Trek technology (transporters, warp drives and more), and upon which ones we may be close to achieving.
- Starfleet Academy: Astronomy 101
Dr. Erin Macdonald will introduce basic astronomy, but thoroughly littered with Star Trek examples and references, and give everyone a database to create his/her galactic knowledge.
Rules of Acquisition
The Star Trek experience unfolds even further as one reaches the Gene & Majel Roddenberry Vendors Room. This is a treasure cave of extraordinary collectibles, new and vintage, from the outer reaches of the Star Trek Universe.
In this, the galaxy’s largest Star Trek Convention room, dealers and vendors are coming from around the globe to display their treasures. An amazing display of photos, posters, artwork, toys, dolls, games, books and magazines, autographed items, costume and prop replicas, limited edition items are sure to bedazzle everyone. It will also be possible to meet a great deal of Star Trek celebrities, present at various times throughout the convention (verify the schedule!) to greet their fans and offer autographs for a nominal fee.
On Saturday, the Costume Parade opens the day with flocks of amazing cosplayers display their costumes throughout the convention grounds (including the Vendors Area & The Promenade) until they reach the main theatre for a group picture. The parade is often lead by a Parade Marshall, usually a Star Trek celebrity.
Shows, panels, talks start either at 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM and run until 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM (autographs start at 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM), but can, however, start earlier and/or end later to accommodate an actor’s schedule for autographing and photo ops. The hour-by-hour schedule is posted in the afternoon (California time) on Tuesday (July 30th) before the convention. Hurry up! Both Gold and Captain’s chair admissions are already sold out. Which leaves one (as of July 8th) with either the Copper or the General admission packages. Those offer less than the two sold-out ones but still do offer a lot, if one calculates all the possibilities for Trek memories and memorabilia they offer.
Are you a Star Trek fan? Support your favorite show with officially licensed Star Trek jewelry!