If you follow me on uh any social network at all, you may know I’m a huge Trekkie. Despite the fact that I’ve gone to probably hundreds of other (sci fi/fantasy/anime) conventions, I had never gone to a Star Trek con before. Of course this had to be remedied, so when my BFFs Kate and Robyn (perhaps better known as Ell and Vynni of The Farthest Star) invited me to go to Creation’s official Star Trek con in Cherry Hill, NJ, obviously I said yes!
This con was mostly a DS9 event, since it was the 20th anniversary of DS9. Because of this, we referred to the event as “DS9con”. Previously, I hadn’t watched all of DS9 so I’ve spent the last 6 months or so watching it from the beginning. I’m so so SO happy I did, because its become my favorite Star Trek yet, and I am a hardcore TNG fan!
Since I live in Massachusetts again, we decided to drive down. Instead of staying at the convention hotel, we opted to stay at the Marriott Residence Inn which was a short drive from the con hotel. The best part of this was that we got to stay in a bi-level suite with a kitchenette! I’m all about cooking (and NOT all about going out to eat) so of course this was perfect for me. Upon arriving, I was so excited about the suite alone, I ran around and took these pictures of it:
After we settled in, our friend Cecil joined us and we tried to go see a screening of the Borg episodes of TNG (Best of Both Worlds)… but it stopped halfway through because I guess whoever was running it forgot to DVR the entire thing (seriously). On the upside, the theater gave us a refund and we briefly got to see this beautiful face in glorious high definition:
After that, we met up with some amazing new friends, Pogo and Cindy, who we were also sharing the suite with.
From this point, we were pretty hell bent on getting some food since as previously stated, I’m all about food. First off, I heard about a new brand of vegan and sugar free ice cream you can get in the New York and Philly area called Wink Frozen Desserts. Because I can’t eat sugar and I love ice cream, I made it a personal mission to obtain some as soon as humanly possible. So we went to a specific health food store (Palm Tree Gourmet) solely to get this ice cream.
My next blog post is going to be exclusively about Wink (yes, really) – all I’ll say for now is that we bought two of every flavor they had.
After I secured the ice cream, we went to a Wegman’s, which I guess is a grocery store that exists in places south of New England. To my immense pleasure, they had plenty of organic food. They also had a “British” food section which, despite being labeled “sweets”, was 90% tea. I also got this awesome reusable bag:
That night, I made us red lentil and cauliflower curry and we had drinks with mini palm trees in them.
The next morning, I made us sugar free, gluten free, vegan waffles (yes, I brought a waffle maker to the con… I also brought a blender).
They were delicious and luckily we had leftovers! I topped mine with some of the Wink ice cream.
After breakfast we headed to the con hotel to pick up our wrist bands and see the Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik Q&A. I just wanna say real quick, that I think Armin Shimerman is a freaking acting genius and I love Quark, so this was a real treat for me. When I say genius, well, thats an understatement. I don’t understand why he hasn’t, like, won multiple oscars and shit. I love Rom too! Aron Eisenberg (of Nog fame) also showed up halfway through which was awesome! I tried to take a few pics but there were people’s heads in my way (that, and I was having a hard time containing my excitement).
They spoke a little about DS9 being in the shadow of the other Star Trek series that were airing back then, and how, despite this feeling like a negative thing at the time, it was actually somewhat of a blessing in disguise because the writers were allowed a bit more freedom since they weren’t exactly under the same microscope as those on TNG and VOY. Because of this, the storyline of DS9 is (in our opinion) better than the other Star Trek series. I couldn’t agree more, and I think over time, people have come to appreciate DS9 more and more (including me).
We had a break after that, in which we went to a liquor store called “wine legend”. We mostly chose to go there because the name was funny. I have to say it was not that legendary, but they did have wine!
I have no photographic evidence of the following events, but after the liquor store we went to the Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong Q&A. We were a little late getting there, but they played guitars and sang for half the panel which I thoroughly enjoyed. They played Star Trek oriented songs, which I can always appreciate. I haven’t watched any of Enterprise (though obviously, Vaughn Armstrong has played 9 zillion other characters so I have seen him before), but I have a bigger love for Casey Biggs from seeing him as Damar in DS9. It was so exciting to see them live.
After that was the Jeffrey Combs Q&A and omg it was AMAZING! I wasn’t sure what to expect despite the fact that Weyoun is my favorite on DS9, but I fell in love with him after seeing him live. He was so inspiring, eloquent, and nearly as charismatic on stage as he is on screen. He’s one of those actors that I can’t keep my eyes off of when he’s on screen, and he was just like that in real life. I loved everything he had to say! I wish I could have got a photo with him! Maybe next con… In the meantime, I’m going to familiarize myself with the rest of his filmography.
Later that night was an event titled “The Star Trek Rat Pack Returns” which was a rat pack style performance by Jeffrey Combs, Armin Shimerman, Casey Biggs, Vaughn Armstrong, and Max Grodenchik. We decided to dress up for this occasion, as shown by the above photo.
I REALLY wasn’t sure what to expect here, but this was seriously the highlight of the con. All of them put on brilliant performances, and wow Casey Biggs can really sing! There were lots of parody songs, some originals, lots of singing, and some guitar playing. Jeffrey Combs played guitar too! Most of all, they were all having ton of fun and it was definitely infectious. Me and my BFFs were on Cloud 9 the entire time and for the rest of the night (hell, probably for the rest of the weekend – I was still talking about how much I loved it days later!).
When we got back to the hotel, we took pics of ourselves in our rat pack finery. This one was my fav:
The whole DS9 con family! From left to right: Robyn, Kate, Cecil (in front), me, Pogo, Cindy
There are even more up on VentureCosplay!
Pogo also got a label maker which we went kind of crazy with by labeling everything in the room. I used it to put my name on my pints of Wink Frozen Dessert, and this happened:
The next day was andorians day. We woke up (sort of) early so we could paint ourselves blue. Before that happened, though, Robyn graciously made us tofu scramble for breakfast. I chose to consume it in collard wrap form with some salsa:
It was SO GOOD!
Ok so, then it was time for suiting up. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this in the past, but my andorian character is an OC named Lissan. We used a different kind of body paint this time, Mehron brand. It’s a slightly less green shade of blue, and I thought it worked quite well. I also chose to wear a different corset, it’s the one I originally made for my black Gardenia Mana costume.
In addition, Kate and Robyn let me use their dread wig, which looks 10 times better than the other one I was using.
When we got to the con, we were pretty heavily mobbed by photographers. A lot of people asked why we didn’t compete in the costume contest – to be honest, I don’t like cosplay contests because I find them boring. It was ok, though: this Kai Opaka cosplayer was the big winner of the contest and she definitely deserved it!
I took some shots of other cosplayers for VentureCosplay too. We also had a look around the dealer’s hall, where I saw a Starfleet Chip’n'Dip that I seriously need to own (at $175, it was too pricy for me to get now, but when I’m rich it’s the first thing I’m getting for my kitchen). At one point, Elijah from Priority One Podcast interviewed us for Priority One Episode 125. You can listen to the episode we’re in right here.
We went to the Avery Brooks Q&A, but our seats weren’t that good and it was hard to hear what anyone was saying. Regardless, it was brilliant to see him live and I appreciated the honesty and positivity in the words I could hear. Mr. Brooks’s love of kids was also extremely endearing. Lots of kids asked questions, and when they did, he invited them to come up to the stage, and it was way cute. I didn’t realize there were so many kids who love Star Trek too!
Oh and also at one point we went up to Michael Dorn’s table and I awkwardly asked if he was really a vegan (I had heard that he was, but wasn’t sure). He confirmed that he is indeed one and has been for like 7 years. Score!
Following the panel, we took at least 2000 more photos for con attendees before we decided to go take some photos in a nearby park because we saw these ridiculously pretty trees. It was Pogo’s idea, and I’m so glad we went, because the pics came out awesome!
Robyn and I were pretty tired after all that running around, so we headed back to the hotel. I made a delicious vegan grilled cheese with some sliced Daiya I got at Wegman’s. They don’t even sell sliced Daiya at any store near where I actually live so I was excited to try it.
Later on, Kate made some quesadillas with it too and they came out so freaking good.
The next day was a sad one, since it was the last day of con! We had waffles for breakfast (again) and packed up all our stuff. We got to the con hotel in time to catch some of Chase Masterson’s performance, she was gorgeous and incredibly sweet. Following her was the Rene Auberjonois and Ethan Phillips Q&A. I admit I’ve not watched much of Voyager, but I love Rene! They were incredibly funny together and I know it sounds silly but hearing Rene’s gravelly voice in person was rad. He was really eloquent and I loved both his interactions with the crowd and his answers to audience member questions.
We closed out our con experience by doing one more interview with Priority One and took this opportunity to get some pictures in front of the shiny Star Trek con lights:
We wanted to check out Philadelphia a little and to be honest, I wanted more Wink Frozen Desserts. I know, I know…. I’m pretty sure I’ve written more about food than I have about Star Trek in this entry. The following tweet from Ell and Vynni’s twitter account sums up my feelings on this topic:
Before driving back to MA we got dinner at a Thai place. I got “Jungle Curry”, not sure why it was called that but it was pretty ok. Not to brag, but the curry I make is better.
And yes, we actually did go out and get more Wink ice cream after this meal and ate it in the car on the way home!
Overall, this was among the best cons ever and definitely one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. It was fantastic to be able to attend only Star Trek related programming for an entire con, and not worry about missing anything, which is what usually happens to me at conventions with multiple categories of events. I met so many awesome new friends and seeing other people who love Star Trek as much as I do ruled. I feel so much more inspired in all ways since the con, which just goes to show that a little bit of fun is sometimes exactly what you need to motivate yourself.
I have to give a major shout out to my BFFs/roommates for making this con awesome. I’ve never been a part of the “cool kids cosplay club” or whatever you wanna call it, so its great to feel like I finally belong somewhere.
Love and light -
(Lissan sh’Zarath )