Farpoint

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Convention
Name: Farpoint
Dates: 1993-present
Frequency: yearly
Location: Maryland, U.S.
Type:
Focus: Star Trek and multifandom
Organization: Farpoint, Inc.
Founder: Bev Volker and Steve Wilson
Founding Date:
URL: Farpoint
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Farpoint is a Star Trek and multifandom convention.

It began in 1993 as a replacement for OktoberTrek. Its original committee included veteran ClipperCon and[ OktoberTrek members Bev Volker, Nancy Kippax, Marion McChesney, George Laurence, Lew Aide, Kett Kettering, John Vengrouskie, Sandy Zier-Teitler, April Valentine and Steve Wilson, and Renee Wilson.

1993

  • October 8, 9 & 10, 1993 at Marriot's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD
  • Headline guests were John DeLancie, June Lockhart and William Campbell. (George Takei had to cancel due to professional commitments.)
  • Program highlights included the play "Trek at Night." Written by Lance Woods and presented by Cheap Treks, it featured Star Trek parodies of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Get Smart and Dragnet.
  • Approximately 1,100 people attended as paid members, though attendance numbers never returned to the highs seen in the early 1990s for OktoberTrek
1993 program book cover, art by Sonia Hillios
full wrap-around cover for 1993

1993: Con Report

The Kitty Hawk away team for this event was a little smaller than usual (myself, Larry, Jeff and Robert) (budget constraints, I suppose - the Captain doesn't want to pay hazardous duty pay to so many of us. You know how dangerous those Dealer's Rooms can be). Anyway, our intrepid crew ventured out of Starbase Raleigh on Thursday evening in a rented luxury shuttle, arriving at Farpoint Station around 2:00 a.m. to find the advance scout vessel piloted by Diana Waldier had already made camp. On Friday we did. the usual - registered, checked out the dealer's room, and headed for the Mall. We did. learn that George Takei would not be present for the con, having found real work on a movie filming in Romania. I was sorry to miss him, but happy that he is working. The substitute guests were William Campbell (The Squire of Gothos) and June Lockhart. They were joined by regularly scheduled guest John de Lancey. But back to Friday. As usual, Friday was a slow day, but Jeff took in the auction and walked away with a reasonably-priced set of bone china dinnerware. We then went in search of dinner, wound up in Towson where we found a nice seafood restaurant which we will probably visit again on future trips. Then it was back to the hotel to check out the Friday night version of Ten Forward with a live band. Well, the band was not so good and what they played, when they weren't on a break, was not very danceable. The dance was sparsely attended, and we gave up on it early and headed off to bed. Saturday held promise of being better. The first thing of interest scheduled was a play, Little Ship of Horrors. We stayed 5 minutes. It was horrible. Later the guests were talking. All of the guests were interesting. William Campbell was friendly and sociable and had lots of stories to tell. I missed much of the other folks waiting in the autograph line. After dinner, we decided to head on down to the costume contest. We had counted on it starting late, as usual, and wouldn't you know it, this was one of the few things the Farpoint Committee did right. it actually started on time, so we missed most of it, as it was also quite short. And the judges made their decisions quickly for a change, so the whole thing was over by 9:30. I thought great, maybe the dance will start on time for a change. No such luck. They decided to run Rocky Horror before the dance, and it must have started late. Suffice it to say that when we checked in at 1:30 a.m., they seemed to be about ready to start. A few people seemed to be having a lot of fun at the expense of the rest of the con-goers, and I think these were the people supposedly running things. We decided to go to the intergalactic House of Pancakes and forget about the dance. Unfortunately, what used to be one of my favorite parts of any convention, the Ten Forward dance, seems to be dying out. The dances have been progressively worse lately and both of these were complete disasters.

As for Sunday, we stuck around to hear a little of the talks and spend a little more money in the dealer's room. John de Lancey and William Campbell performed a skit written by Peter David on the origins of Q. Seems he's Trelaine's delinquent son who got sent off to the Q Continuum (the omniscient beings equivalent of military school) to be straightened out.

Our shuttle made it back to Raleigh without incident. All in all, we had fun, despite the lack of anything interesting about the convention. Farpoint was in many ways an example of how not to do a convention. Quite frankly, some of us feel inspired to attempt a con of our own, just so we can do it right. [1]

1994

1994 program book front cover, art by Sonia Hillios
backcover of the 1994 program book, art by Sonia Hills
  • October 7, 8 & 9, 1994 at Marriot's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD
  • Headline guests were George Takei, Jonathan Brandis (Sunday only) and Nana Visitor, who overslept and missed her flight. She phoned in her guest talk, inaugurating a tradition of phone visitors to Farpoint. Walter Koenig called in on Sunday.
  • Other guests were: Howard Weinstein, Margaret Clark, Marc Okrand, Arne Starr, Sonia R. Hills, Carmen Carter, Mojo, Tim DeHaas, Bob Greenberger, Lisa White, Dennis Bailey, Ann Crispin and Boogie Knights.
  • Program highlights included the play "9 to 5," A seaQuest / DS9 / Babylon 5 parody presented by Cheap Treks. Jonathan Brandis attended the performance, loved it, and demanded to meet the actor playing his character: it was Ian Bonds, son of April Valentine.
  • Approximately 1,000 people attended as paid members.
  • The con skit was "Nine to 5," a Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, seaQuest DSV parody.

1994: Remarks from the Chair

From the con chair, Steve Wilson:

Welcome to Farpoint! And welcome back to those of you who came last year. Wow, that second year of existence went by FAST.

For those of you who did support Farpoint last year, I doubt youll find very much different at Farpoint '94. Well, the Ten Forward is back on Saturday (and it's never leaving \GAIN!), and the guests are different, but the spirit of the con is the same.

And what, old hands and newcomers alike may ask, is the spirit of Farpoint? Well, I'm a;lad you asked me that {he said, reaching into his bag of tricks). Simply put, Farpoint is not just another Star Trek con. "Hey!" you exclaim, "Dis guy don't like Star Trek!" No, no, a thousand times NO! I love Star Trek, as does everyone at Farpoint; but there's more to life than Star Trek. There's a veritable cornucopia of S-F and Fantasy media out there, just waiting for us to open our minds and let it in. Why not explore it? Why not celebrate it? So, with apologies to those few of you who can't stand to have any other genre invade your convention, Farpoint will continue to grow outward, never forgetting that it was Star Trek that made fandom as we know it possible.

And now that the F-word has reared its horrific head (the F-word is fandom, of course), let's talk about what Farpoint wants to do for fans: we want to take your money, throw a couple of actors at you, and let you have the privilege of spending money in our dealers' room. No! — sorry, that's those other people. You know, the ones with the ten-to-five cons that treat the fans like cattle? No, Farpoint has a different goal. We're not out to collect all the money we can, we're out to keep fandom alive, and, with it, fan-run conventions.

You see, Fandom didn't used to be about cheering Paramount Pictures or going to their licensed conventions (actually, I prefer to call them "shows," because they are totally non-participatory.) Fandom didn't used to be about eating up every little crumb that some "professional" threw us, helping those same professionals get rich all the while.

Fandom used to be about producing, as opposed to consuming. Fans used to produce fanzines, run conventions, create artwork — be it paintings or costumes. Many fans writers, artists and entrepreneurs from years past have names you know now as respected professionals in fields that fandom helped them enter. Ever heard of Howie Weinstein, Bob Greenberger, Margaret Clark or Sonia Hillios? They were all plain fans once, and their love of Star Trek led them to become producers. Obviously, it paid off for them. It can pay off for you, too.

That's what Farpoint is all about. This weekend, while you enjoy the con, look for ways that you can help to make it better. If you see a painting, a costume, a play, and you think, "Well, I could do that!" — Do it! Become a producer, not a consumer.

Fandom can be whatever we choose to make it. If we don't choose to make it anything, then it will degenerate to a feeding ground for people who just want to take our money, not offering very much in return.

1994: Programming

Panels:

  • The Life and Times of Sulu - Sulu, as portrayed by our guest George Takei, is a popular character in the Star Trek universe. But how much do we really know about Sulu? Join us to talk about what the "official" stories and all of the apocrypha say about one of our favorite characters.
  • Major Kira - She began as a substitute for Ensign Ro, but Bajoran Major Kira Nerys, portrayed by our guest Nana Visitor, has blossomed into a fascinating character in her own right. Is Kira finally the strong female character Star Trek has lacked since its inception? And how has Kira changed - if at all - since the DS9 pilot? Is she getting too soft? Or not soft enough?
  • The Bajorans - Most aliens in Star Trek reflect just one aspect of "the human equation" (Vulcans - logic, Fereng i= greed, etc.), but the Bajorans don't fit neatly into just one slot. Are they just a race of whiners, or could they be the most "human" aliens in all of Trek?
  • SeaQuest DSV - Critics hated it. Fans had to choose between it and Lois and Clark. SeaQuest is back for a second season. Has it improved since the first year? Will it make it for the long haul? What are they doing right? Wrong? Let's hear what you think.
  • The Kid Vs. The Boy - SeaQuest has Lucas, portrayed by our guest Jonathan Brandis. TNG had Wesley. Many fans have strong opinions on the need for a "resident teenage genius", and feel having such a character is simply an obvious ploy to gather in the important teenage demographic in the viewing audience? How have these two shows handled their "resident teenage genius" differently? Which show has done the better job? Which character do you like better?
  • The Klingons: From Evil to Honor - From being Starfleet's dreaded enemies, the Klingons have now become their most trusted allies. Let's look at how the Klingons have evolved over the years into one of the most popular alien societies in the Star Trek universe.
  • Whither Classic Trek? - In the beginning, there was the Enterprise NCC-1701, "No bloody A, B, C, or D!" With the advent of TNG, DS9 and Voyager, it is often impossible to even find Classic Trek on your television stations. How do you feel about this? Are you one, a classic Trek fan? Or perhaps you never watched Trek until TNG began? Let's explore the importance of the original show and honor its place in the Star Trek universe.
  • Star Trek Biographies - Trek biographies have been sprouting all over the place in the last year. There's the "official" Roddenberry biography, and the "unofficial" one, along with books by Shatner, Nichols and Takei. These books offer different and varying viewpoints about the Star Trek universe. Have you read any or all of these books? Which ones did you like/dislike? Which ones do you feel are the most accurate? Why do you think so many Trek biographies have come out in such quick succession? And if you haven't read these books, this panel may just save you from buying a book you won't like or need!
  • Between Treks: Science Fiction TV of the 70s and 80s -- Between classic Trek and the Next Generation, there were several attempts to put science fiction on television. Remember Space: 1999? How about Buck Rogers?! Let's share memories about our favorite shows.
  • Fan Clubs: Are They Worth It? - In this age of VCRs and Internet, it's easy to find out what's going on with your favorite stars and shows. Used to be you'd join the fan club to find out all the inside information. Let's talk about the pros and cons of joining a fan club. And if you're one of the brave souls who have actually run a club, come share your success and/or horror stories. We'd love to hear them!
  • Voyager: Will It Fly? - Yet ANOTHER Star Trek? Some people are mad about losing the Next Generation, while others are thrilled to have more Trek "beaming" into their homes. Come talk about what the characters and plans for the fourth "generation" of Star Trek.
  • DS9 vs. Babylon 5 - There's a space station, with a whole lot of people from different alien cultures. The people running the place are members of a military/defense/exploration service. The good guys are trying to keep the peace between all of the various factions. There's a lot of similarities between DS9 and B5. Which one's better? Come talk about what you like and don't like about these two popular shows.
  • Star Trek: Generations - Classic Trek characters interact with Next Generation characters, but there's no time travel. Shatner had Marina Sirtis' part cut because she critiqued the script and asked to have her part enlarged. Kirk dies in Picard's arms. Shatner snubbed Jonathan Frakes on the Paramount lot. There's been a lot of speculation and stories out there about the new film. What's really going to happen in this film?
  • Violence on TV - This is one of the year's most hotly debated topics. Everyone's had their say - the politicians, the psychologists, the journalists, the talk show hosts. Here's the chance to voice your opinion on this important topic.
  • The Undiscovered James T. Kirk - What do we really know about the legendary James T. Kirk? He has a reputation for breaking the Prime Directive without a second thought, loving and leaving scores of women, and for being a "cowboy diplomat". How much of this reputation is based in fact? Let's look at how the legend of James Kirk started and try to get a glimpse of the character underneath the legend.
  • The X Files Are Out There - Just as another science fiction series did almost 30 years ago, this TV drama started out quietly but has developed a cult following of fans who love its adventures into the unknown and the interaction of its characters. Is The X Files the Star Trek of the 1990s? Or is it just another spooky fad for viewers who like a good scare every week?
  • British Science Fiction - Some of the best science fiction television has come from Great Britain, but a lot of us have never experienced it because these sensational shows are not broadcast on American television. Shows like Dr. Who and Red Dwarf have very loyal followings in the United States, but most of our viewing must be done by videotape. This panel is for all of the fans of British science fiction shows, and for those of you who have heard about these shows but never seen them.
  • Star Wars: The Next Generation - There have been stories abounding that George Lucas is soon to begin filming the first movie in the next Star Wars trilogy. There has also been a series of well-receiving books based on the characters of the first (second?) trilogy. What do you think is going to happen in the next Star Wars movie? Will it ever even be made?

Presentations:

  • Denebian Slime Devils - The Slime Devils consist of six fans who spring Trek and Science Fiction filksongs on unsuspecting con-goers. The Slimes began filking when they were in high school, and published several songs after reading other people's parodies. They were talked into performing at Shore Leave II, and knew they were a hit when a member of the audience literally fell on the floor laughing (at the songs, that is!). The Slimes write filks anywhere — kitchens, rest rooms, parking lots, picnic benches, before movies, during movies, after movies... you can't imagine some of the places they have done it (wrote songs, that is!). Every presentation is different, wackier than the one before, a genuine treat for audiences.
  • The Temple of Trek - The Temple of Trek Revival, now in its tenth year, brings the words of the Great Bird to his Faithful Fen at conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area. Join Dr. Trekwell and his Choir of the Robes of Many Colors as they sing hymns such as "Amazing Spock," Kroyka Tliylla Kroyka," "Great Bird Loves the Little Children" and other standards like you've never heard them before. If you want to get a flavor of the Temple services, visit Dr. Trekwell at his table in the Dealers' Room where he sells his "religious articles" for a small love offering. The Temple of Trek however isn't always out for fun. Collections taken at services go to various charities as have profits from bake sales and other endeavors. If you're a faithful fan, the Temple of Trek is for you! PRAISE TREK!
  • Future Dream - [April Valentine] and Kathy Burns were original members of the filk group, Omicron Ceti III, which appeared for the first time at Bi-Centennial 10 con in New York in 1976. Kathy married and left the group in 1979, while [April] stayed with OCIII through many incarnations until the group "retired". Kathy, now Kathy Ackerson, came back to fandom and attended Farpont '93. She and [April], billed as "Bonds and Burns" appeared for the first time on stage together in 14 years at the filksing at Shoreleave this summer. They appear here as "Future Dream" singing their original songs of the Enterprise, fandom, the Kirk/Spock relationship and other SF and media themes.
  • Film Rooms - Come to our Film rooms and see some of Star Trek and the science fiction genre's finest hours... and two hours... and half hours. We'll also be showing some rare appearances by our guests!
  • Radio Room - Farpoint features some classic science fiction radio programs — from the days when you had to use your imagination to see the pictures. Cheap Treks will also be presenting a live radio play — done the way radio shows used to be done, mistakes and all — in the radio room.
  • Comics Workshop - For those of you out there who are interested in the comics business, this workshop is for you. Well be presenting lots of important information on the production and business areas of comics production. Youll also get the chance to talk with several of our guests who are professionals in the field. You must sign up for this workshop separately at the registration desk. Attendance will be limited - sign up early to make sure you don't miss this important presentation.
  • Solar Astronomy - David Batchelor, a solar astronomer with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will be making a presentation about his studies of the sun. He uses X-ray images of the sun to get a unique perspective on solar activity and how it affects us on Earth. Be sure to not miss this fascinating presentation.
  • Science Fiction in the Science Classroom - John Boblick, a high school science teacher from Montgomery County, Maryland, has incorporated aspects of science fiction into his chemistry and physics lessons for many years. His students have speculated and commented on the accurate portrayal of science in episodes from 1940s and 1950s movie serials, as a way for them to use and build upon their scientific knowledge and increase their analytical skills. Mr. Boblick has published articles and made presentations about his unique approach to science education, and we are glad to have him here at FARPOINT 94.
  • Psychic Phenomena - Interest in psychic abilities and phenomena has been growing over the past few years, and with today's technology, it is becoming possible to record and measure some aspects of psychic phenomena. Come join Mary Beth Wrenn as she explores this amazing and exciting field.
  • Paramount Vs. Fandom - Over the years, the Star Trek franchise has become a very large and lucrative part of the Paramount Studios operations. In recent years, Paramount has taken steps to protect their investments and copyrights that many fans feel are excessive and overly restrictive. How has fandom been affected by Paramount's enforcement of its copyright ownership? Kett Kettering will be leading a presentation and discussion about the increasing conflicts between Paramount and Star Trek fans everywhere.
  • UFOs - Have you ever seen a UFO? What would you do if you did see one? Mary Beth Wrenn will be showing some fascinating video of UFO sightings and discussing what they mean to all of us. IFT Meeting - The FARPOINT committee is proud to host the International Federation of Trekkers (IFT) east coast meeting here at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn. IFT is a 10-year old international organization with many chapters in the United States. They perform public service work in their communities and support many worthwhile causes. Stop by IFTs table for more information on their activities.
  • Maryland Squadron Meeting - The Shuttle Trinity will be hosting an organizational meeting on Saturday for any interested Maryland-based shuttles and ships. All interested persons are welcome.

1995

1995 program book cover, art by Arne Starr
  • October 6, 7 & 8, 1995 at Marriot's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD
  • Headline guests were Robert Picardo and John Fiedler.
  • Program highlights included the play Deep West Nine - A Fistful of Latinum by David Keefer, presented by Cheap Treks
  • Approximately 1,000 people attended.


1996

front cover of the 1996 program book
  • October 4, 5 & 6, 1996 at Marriot's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD
  • Headline guests were Michael Ansara, Tim Russ and Mark Goddard.
  • Program highlights included the play The X-Files: This Way to the Egress by David Keefer, presented by Cheap Treks
  • Approximately 900 people attended as paying members.

1997

1998

In 1998 the convention had to move to the Omni in Baltimore due to hotel contract problems, and attendance numbers dropped to 460.

1999

The convention returned to the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn for 1999, where it remained until 2009 when it moved to the Crowne Plaza Baltimore North,

2000

  • Con Chair Marion McChesney died the summer before Farpoint 2000.
  • After this con, Steve Wilson stepped down as Financial Director and disbanded Farpoint, Inc. The con continued under a new, committee-owned corporation led by Sharon Van Blarcom.

2001

There was no Farpoint 2001, since 2000 was held in October, and then the decision was made to move the con to February. Four months seemed a bit close for the next con!

2002

2003

  • In 2003, attendees found themselves trapped at the hotel Sunday morning after a blizzard dumped over 30 inches of snow on Maryland and road travel was banned except by emergency vehicles. The convention continued for many through Monday and Tuesday of the following week due to the storm, causing the convention to be renamed 'Snowpoint' by those stuck on the premises. (There was quite a lot of support for changing it to "DonnerCon" when rumors began to spread that there was no food left in the hotel!)
  • Headline guests included Gary Graham, Michelle Scarabelli, Eric Pierpoint, Gil Gerard, Erin Gray and Armin Shimmerman.
  • This was Bev Volker's final convention. She spent the weekend in a scooter and relished the attention she received from some of her TV favorites, Gary Graham, Michelle Scarabelli and Eric Pierpoint. Bev died the following May.

2004

2005

2006

  • Panel topics at the 2006 Farpoint included fandoms such as Lord of the Rings, Lost, Supernatural, 24, Stargate, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, CSI, Harry Potter, Prison Break and Star Trek.

2007

  • Farpoint inaugurated its Podcasting / New Media track and a revitalized Science track.

2008

  • February 15, 16 & 17, 2008 at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn
  • Headline guests were James Callas, Erin Gray and Marina Sirtis.
  • This was the final Farpoint at HVI. The move was brought on by rising prices, as well as a new hotel policy which required convention guests to sign a "behavioral agreement."
  • Program highlights included "The Road to Orion," Star Trek as a Crosby/Hope "Road" movie as written by Steven H. Wilson and performed by Prometheus Radio Theatre.

2009

  • February 13, 14 & 15, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Baltimore North
  • Program Highlights Included the play P for Producer, a V for Vendetta parody with songs from Mamma Mia and The Producers. Written by Steven H. Wilson and Elias Senter and performed by The Usual Suspects

2010

2011

2012

Actor guests were Kristen Bauer, Kate Vernon and Michael Hogan Paid attendance was 689.

2013

Actor guests were John Billingsley, Bonita Friedericy, Rob Paulsen, Giancarlo Esposito, Lee Arenberg and Felicia Day. Paid attendance was 725.

References

  1. The Wright Stuff