Posted in: Autographs, Collecting, Comic Books, Community Service, Conventions, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

FanX 2022 After Action Report

My haul from FanX 2022

So another FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention is in the books. With how hectic my summer has been, I didn’t know if i was going to be able to make it. Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet was going to have a charity booth at the convention again to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Thankfully our Star Trek fan club is set up so that when real life gets in the way others can step forward. The crew of the USS Pulsar led the various volunteers for the booth. They put together a brand new photo op for convention attendees to use which was the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds transporter pad. After talking with Captain Joe Coleflesh, he stated to just come do what I could and they would handle everything else. So on Wednesday (the day before the con opened) I arrived and got the booth registered. I’m in a walking boot now, but I still had to stay off of my foot as often as I could. Luckily a friend of mine had let me borrow a knee scooter. This allowed me to move about the very large Salt Palace with some ease. It was still a toll on my body so every day of the convention was a “game time decision” on if I was going to make it.

On Thursday I rode down with a friend and was able to check out the vendors floor before the con opened (an advantage of being an exhibitor). I saw a few things that I wanted to pick up when everything was opened. I spent most of the day at the Seventh Fleet booth meeting up with new recruits and old friends who stopped by to say hello. Despite being sore, I made the trek back down on Friday and took my youngest to Kid-Con. Unfortunately, that may have been too much so I wasn’t able to come down on Saturday. If I missed meeting up with you, I hope to catch you at a future event. I will be adding some new photos to my online photo album that were taken at the con.

From a Utah vendor I was able to pick up a dice tray and a pin with a graphic of a D20 that stated “This is how I roll”. I purchased the 2022 anthology “Parliament of Wizards“. With several of the local authors in attendance, I was able to get several of them to autograph the book. My last long Dungeons and Dragons campaign allowed me to play a wizard, so I thought I might gain some inspiration from this book for future gaming sessions. Speaking of getting books signed, I also picked up The Complete Elfquest Volume One and meet the creators Wendy and Richard Pini. I’ve been a fan of this series ever since I read the first trade paperback back in the mid-80’s and I was unaware that they were even coming. While there are a lot of geeky things for sale at the con, I hardly see any role-playing books. So when I discovered that Andrew E.C. Gaska, the author of the Alien Roleplaying Game published by Free League was also present, I had to pick up the core book for him to autograph. When I told him that Aliens was my favorite movie of all time, he wrote a special message with his signature. Yes, I will be using this system in my Character Creation Challenge in 2023. And thanks to my friend Tina, I was able to pick up the autograph of Steven Weber who played Colonel Day on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I would have picked up more autographs but I wasn’t informed about the prices before the con so I couldn’t budget before hand.

Despite missing Saturday and being sore, I did enjoy getting out and seeing the creativity that our local geek community comes up with. Also a big thank you to the members of the Seventh Fleet for running a successful charity booth and to all of the fans who helped donate to the American Cancer Society. To Dan Farr and the many, many volunteers at the con, thank you for all that you do. FanX 2023 has already set the dates of September 21-23 for the next event. I can’t wait to see what amazing things we will see then. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to cosplay.

Here are some different photos I took at the con.

Note: You can read my 2021 FanX action report here.

Posted in: Autographs, Conventions, Star Trek

Farewell Starfest, thank you for the memories

The program guide and badges from the 2022 Starfest

UPDATE: I’ve uploaded a large number of photos to the Photo Gallery. Also thank you for all of the responses about this blog post. It is good to hear from the readers.

I had a mix of emotions this past weekend from May 13-15. I attended the very last Starfest Convention in Denver, Colorado. It ended a 45 year run of a family/fan run science fiction conventions put on by Starland. For those of you who had never heard of Starfest, I’m not surprised. In the past I would describe this event as “A DragonCon in the west that you’ve never heard of.” At it’s height, the convention was held twice a year (StarCon was in the fall) in multiple hotels. I know that some fans were trying for a costume parade (I don’t know if this ever got off the ground as I was always traveling when this was planned). The convention covered a wide variety of fandom interests such as cosplay, media, anime, comics, horror, gaming, robots, art, models and more. I had the opportunity to meet a ton of new friends and attend various room parties put on by different groups. While the bulk of attendees were from Colorado, I always met people from around the country at this con. Movie studios had even sent actors on their own dime to promote upcoming movies. This is how they got Toby Maguire just before the 2002 Spiderman movie was released. In my photo albums, several of the photos of myself with guests or kewl stuff came from this convention. I’ve got a few more that will be added soon.

Back in the early 90’s I was a member of a Star Trek fan club called the USS Kelly. Several members had driven from Salt Lake to Denver to attend one of the conventions. They came back with stories and pictures and excitement. This excitement was infectious and I wanted to go. Normally I could not afford a trip by myself, so members of the club would coordinate travel and lodging to make the cost more affordable. Some of us worked for hotel chains which allowed us to get discounts. Sharing the cost of gas helped with the drive. Plus being with a bunch of Star Trek fans in the car for several hours allowed you to get to know your fellow shipmates very well. I even started a relationship with a fellow club member on one trip. That was a convention to remember.

One of the best things about Starfest was the guests they brought into the convention. Since it was a family/fan run convention, they kept prices low where they could. While Starfest was the first convention that started charging for autographs (something that started happening because people use to get the free autographs and then sell them on ebay) I found that I was treated well. I remember meeting Leonard Nimoy before he retired from traveling to conventions. Oingo Boingo front man and soundtrack composer Danny Elfman was a guest one year. Mark Sheppard wanted to betrothed one of his sons to my daughter to start a geek dynasty. Science fiction authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore are considered good friends now (thank you for putting up with me). There are so many memories of meeting guests that I love revisiting when I look at the autographs or photos. This past weekend I finally had a chance to meet Star Trek production artist Rick Sternbach. He is best known for writing and illustrating several Star Trek technical books such as the Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology (I had him sign both the US and UK printings), the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual and the Klingon Bird-of-Prey Owners’ Workshop Manual. Rick even added some original art to the Spaceflight Chronology.

Meeting Rick Sternbach

While I was there, I picked up several of Rick’s new publications detailing some of his artwork on various Star Trek shows. This made me happy because at past conventions is where I would find various technical and resource books on Star Trek and other shows. It disappoints me now that I’ll attend one of the larger comic-con events only to find no books for sale. It use to be that a convention gave me the opportunity to pick up tech books from various merchants. Hey look, there’s a cloud in the sky and I’m yelling at it.

At Starfest I had the opportunity to meet fans from various fan clubs that had shown up from all over the inter-mountain region. I still have friends that I met from the USS Pioneer, USS (and Battlestar) Stormbringer, USS Tiburon, USS Anasazi, 501st Stormtroopers, House VamPyr, House Veska, USS Silverthorne and many more. I’m sure there are a few groups and fans that I may have missed. There have been so many of you that have come and gone. I’ll miss having a large room full of club leaders all wanting to help each other no matter who our parent organization is.

At the end of the convention my good friend, Dennis Hollinger (the first captain of the USS Kelly), and I didn’t want it to end. After the very last panel we searched around for a location where we could get a photo together and found the last Starfest banner that was still standing. All of the other banners advertising previous conventions had already been taken down.

I want to personally thank KathE Walker, her family and all of the volunteers that helped make Starfest one of the bests conventions out there. You inspired me so much that I even volunteered for several conventions over the years. I know that real world issues shut down the con in a perfect storm of suck, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t look back on the many memories and moments that have been created. I hope to cross paths with you again some day. Live Long and Prosper and Thanks for All the Fish.

KathE Walker at Starfest 2022
Posted in: Autographs, Community Service, Star Trek

A Green Girl in arrives the mail

Crystal Allen's autograph

In a previous blog post titled “Charity On Two Fronts” I talked about how Crystal Allen was running a GoFundMe page for her charity to cook meals for the medical staff and frontline workers who are helping with the pandemic.

Ms. Allen wanted to give back by preparing healthy home cooked meals for nurses, firefighters, paramedics and more. I thought this was a wonderful idea and sent in some money on the GoFundMe page. For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Allen is an actress that has appeared as the Orion, D’nesh, on the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Bound. She also appeared in the Star Trek fan film, Of Gods and Men, directed by Tim Russ. She was willing to send autographed pictures of her character to anyone that donated $40 or more. Donating for a good cause was the primary reason for contributing, in my mind the autograph was just frosting on the cake.

I was having a bad day before I opened up the mailbox and discovered that my signed photo had arrived. Since this brightened up my day, I decided that I should post about it on the blog. Plus I also wanted to show to others that gifts for donating were arriving as promised. If you think that this type of charity event is a wonderful idea, I’d encourage you to send in a few dollars.

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