Slanted Fedora

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Slanted Fedora
Dates: 1997-2004
Frequency:
Location: New York City, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, many many more
Type: for-profit
Focus:
Organization:
Founder: Dave Scott
Founding Date:
URL: Star Trek Conventions by Slanted Fedora Entertainment - 1998-ish, Archived version; Star Trek Conventions by Slanted Fedora Entertainment - 2004-ish, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Slanted Fedora was a Star Trek: TNG for-profit convention.

A major competitor was Creation Cons.

The cons, over 200 of them, ran for eight years before folding due to financial problems. [1]

In the 1990s Slanted Fedora tried to bring a new kind of model to Star Trek conventions. Slanted Fedora innovated some of the mainstays of modern Star Trek conventions including "dinner with the stars," guaranteed autographs, theater performances by celebrities like Leonard Nimoy and John DeLancie as Spock and Q. However, there were criticisms over expense, and conventions being too passive an experience. Things started to go south after a much publicized convention where, according to Patrick Stewart, he was promoted as a guest even after he cancelled. Stewart’s issues with Slanted Fedora became public knowledge and soured fans on the company. In the early 2000s cancelled guests and rescheduled events became more and more common. Eventually monetary issues led to Slanted Fedora going out of business, and there was even legal action by the Kansas Attorney General against the company. [2]

Similar Disasters

Slanted Fedora Entertainment's Mission Statement: 2003

In 2003, the con's creator posted a lengthy "mission statement," an essay. See mission statement, Archived version

Also see Dave Scott's follow-up Follow up 1, Archived version.

Some excerpts from the mission statement:

Why do we attend Star Trek conventions? Mine, theirs, yours…any of them. In the olden days, I have been in and around conventions for 25 years; we attended because we could only get our “fix” at conventions. Collectors could only find that rare “got to have it” item from the hucksters. The auditorium would be packed to see a rare film. The stories from the actors were amazing. But mostly, it was exciting to feel that sense of community. We all shared that feeling that no matter what, for this hour, day, weekend, we were members of the US Senate of Comic book fans, the House of Lords of Trekies, the smartest kid in the class of nostalgia. On Monday, we had bosses, rivals, conflicts and sometimes pain in all it’s forms. But, during the convention, we all could march to the blackboard knowing that our answers are right. We could only be made whole at the convention. We were proud.

Today, few fans attend in order to shop in the dealer room. The pool of dealers is shrinking. Hundreds of tables were sold at conventions in Philadelphia and New York several times a year, and there were more dealers waiting to get in. Today, thirty tables is a great number, and fifty is dreamed about. Universally, without exception, sales are down, dealers are dropping out and the old days are over.

Today, few fans attend to see something rare. If you hear about something interesting, you can find it on the internet. 3 channels in the sixties have ballooned to hundreds. TVLand, Nick at Nite, Cartoonland, USA, and the like show nostalgia 24 hours a day. Web sites featuring minutia about actors, behind the scenes and the future plans of the studios are always ahead of anything presented at a convention. The script for the last film was published on the internet, and the advance speculation about the future for possible movies and “Enterprise” (Now, finally Star Trek: Enterprise) is surprisingly accurate (to a degree). Actors and behind the scenes personnel are often not allowed to talk about what everyone already knew was going to happen.

Today, our hobby is not expanding with new fans. Smarter people than me are trying to get the magic back, but for the time being…Enterprise ratings are the lowest in the history of the franchise. Star Trek: Nemesis, despite the highest budget in franchise history and comparatively great reviews, was the lowest attended in raw numbers, and among the lowest grossing (despite higher ticket prices) of the films. Fan club attendance and participation are declining.

Today, there is a feeling of been there and done that with any guest list I could assemble. With the exception of Jonathon Frakes, all of the principle former Trek actors have been involved in at least one of my events. I have gone way out of my way to insure that fans had a very good opportunity to receive even the rarest of autographs from the most notoriously non-signers. Completing a collection is no longer a dream.

There is a reason to book the “big guns”. We all want and feel the need for completing the collection. We crave to feel that connection with the stars of our dreams. On specialty occasions, anniversaries or celebrations, their contributions should be honored with appearances before their fans. They deserve our admiration.

But, interestingly enough, I have never received an email thanking me for booking one of these “back door” guests. Prior to their appearance, I have received requests to book so and so (always with the addendum that the fan “needs” this person). Following their appearance…silence. I assume that fans got what the expected. The guests have always performed as contracted. The fans always received what was contracted. The fans honored their hero with an ovation, they were entertained by the presentation, and they received their remembrance (I have never booked a guest without commissioning some type of autograph for fans). When you see a “big gun”, expectations are met. Expectations are never exceeded. If they were, I would have been deluged with appreciation.

But again, EVERY TIME I book Denise Crosby, she recognizes someone and calls them by name. Every time I book Stephen Furst or Erin Gray, extra time was spent to discuss health. I could go on and list hundreds of special moments I have been told about and literally thousands that I have witnessed. These are the times when guests exceeded their contracted duties and were genuinely friendly with the fans. I make a joke with many fans and guests that I have gotten to know that life would be so easy if I could contract an actor to act like George Takei. It is a testament to George that universally, fans and fellow actors alike laugh.

Long and the short of it…I worked very hard to book the hard to get, and did it. I worked very hard to negotiate contracts that honored the stars wishes, but also honored the fans. For the most part, I have been able to negotiate that. The stars honored their commitment.

But, I have decided that the best guests for a convention are the guests that do not need to negotiate their duties. The best guests want to be compensated (paid), but also want the fans coming to see them to leave remembering them. The best guests want to talk to the fans who didn’t come to see them. I always make a comment during a convention that many of the “smaller” names are the friendliest. Take advantage of their appearance and visit. Sure, an autograph will cost you something, but a hand shake and a smile is the best memory, and a special memory will last forever.

One addendum to this discussion, there are two of the biggest guns I have booked that always sign an autograph when contracted to, and during the signing would look the fan in the eye and say a few words. The fans remember that.

Is this world doom and gloom? Is this hobby over?

First thing to know is that historically, the Trek franchise has been pronounced dead by lots of people many different times. There is always room for a great idea. If I don’t have it, I hope that someone reading this takes his/her great idea and runs with it. I hope that the powers that be at Paramount recognize what they have and respect who has given it to them (you…us). The Trek franchise, and the hobby of fandom is not dead, and is not going to die.

But, it is a hobby in transition. The old ways are dying, and something will change. First, promoters need to have a vision of why. There are much easier ways to make money. In fact, for the last two years, most conventions have not made money…theirs, mine and others. Five years ago, there were 5 multi-convention promoters. Today, there are only three. I knew the two promoters who are no longer trying fairly well. I never heard either of them explain what they wanted out of producing conventions. A lack of “That vision thing” did in the first President Bush. Promoters need that vision thing.

So, Let me give you my vision. Why do I put on conventions, and what do I want out of this. First, I do love it. I love the idea of it, I love the actors and I love the hobby. I am a fan, and at every event, I rediscover the thrill. My vision is for even the most jaded fan to rediscover the thrill of being a fan. This is paramount for any producer (of the three national producers, I am sure that two of us share this vision). To my knowledge, every fan run convention shares this vision. Without it, if it is only a business, long run, the truth will out.

But, having said this, money is important. This is what I do for a living, and I welcome anyone who wants to give it a shot. Of the dozens of potential promoters I talk to each year, universally, it is the money that stops their willingness. Either they do not have it, or are not willing to risk it. Each time I host an event, I literally risk everything I own. Each event cost tens of thousands of dollars. If no one comes, I still have tens of thousands of dollars of bills that must be paid. Money is important. I deserve a reward for assuming a risk, and I deserve a lifestyle.

Attendance is down at my conventions, and attendance is down at every convention around the country. I learned in KC that this is a good thing. In the past, I had a goal of 800 fans, and hoped for more than a thousand. I generally achieved that goal. In KC, I hosted 500 fans. The combination of the small (comparative) crowd and the right guests made for a relaxing weekend. The pressure to schedule an autograph time, and keep the lines moving in order to get the last fan his/her autograph at the advertised time did not exist. Plenty of time, leisurely pace, small crowd and the right guests set the tone for your event.

So, practically speaking, in the future, I will limit the number of advanced reserved (weekend or VIP) tickets to only 400. Additionally, I will have 100 general admission tickets sold per day. Once these tickets are sold, I will not sell any more.

Additionally, there are more lessons learned. I have received tens of thousands of emails over the years. I receive at least 100 per day, and often more. I have learned that I can not be all things to all people.

We are Trekies, and that means something. When we are at our best, there is a partnership feeling. I provide what fans are unable to do, namely the time and resources to set the event up. Fans should have the infectious desire to make the event successful. Don’t be “a disgruntled fan”. Be the type of fan that the guests want to meet, remember and be proud they met. Be the type of fan that appreciates. I have gotten some of my best ideas from fans wanting to make events better. When these ideas are presented by a satisfied fan, I am always receptive. Not all ideas are feasible, but all ideas are considered. But, when ideas are presented by “a disgruntled fan”, I obviously do not have an open mind about their desires. This fan is already disgruntled, I can’t help him.

Practically speaking, I would like to hear from fans that have practical ideas. If someone would like to have a gaming tournament, volunteer to make the arrangements. I have space, prizes and enthusiasm, but I do not have the practical know how to make it happen. Why don’t you? If someone wants to see a video room, volunteer to make the arrangements. I have the space and can easily get the hardware, but I do not have the resources to run, organize and keep things moving. Why don’t you? The same can be said for art shows (although there are insurance issues that need to be addressed), charity works, filk singing, writers workshops, acting seminars, and whatever idea you have. Selectively, there are great groups that understand this. The Klingon toy drive that has happened in Indianapolis in the past, the blood drives hosted by the Chicago fan club, the star fleet room in Indy, and the Borg chamber are all individual efforts that fans set up. I am open and receptive to all of these ideas and more. I lead by example. I give blood every year, donate money and toys to the drive, promote fan clubs and help in any way asked. If you are part of a fan club, make your presence known as an activity at the convention. If you are an individual with a great idea, make that idea the next “fun” event. Make these events your events. I do what I do best…How about you???

So, there you are. A mission statement for the future. This is the beginning of a new five year business plan. Slanted Fedora is not going away. I am not expanding at this time, but I am going to do my job better. The shows that I am doing this year will stress a feeling of community. Will you do the same?

Slanted Fedora Entertainment's Policy Statement

Circa 2004:

It has been an exciting couple of years, getting our feet wet in the "convention game". We made a few mistakes ... Hey, we made a lot of mistakes. I also think we did a lot of things right. You, as fans, need to expect three things from a convention promoter

  • A Fair Deal For a Fair Price ... It is difficult to put a value on Entertainment, but our shows have continuous entertainment throughout the day. Generally, we feature multiple Trek guests, actors from "other" Sci-Fi series, such as Buffy, Highlander, Farscape and more, an additional type of guest (book author, stunt team, behind the scenes personnel, etc.) and a surprise or two that you didn't expect. A full days worth of entertainment!
  • Access to the Stars. Our shows are different, and we ask a lot of our stars. Our stars always sign autographs. Occasionally, we do hire some exciting "big guns", who do not sign in-person autographs. Whenever this happens, they will be well advertised. Plan on all guests advertised to sign in-person autographs.! Our stars often come to the programming room to watch what we have going on, they wander the dealer room, or relax in the hotel bar. Most of the time, a few will sign extra autograph sessions, so they can visit with the fans at a slower pace than the cattle call like lines which have become a standard of the "other guys" conventions. If all you are used to seeing is the top of the heads of the stars as they sign your autographs, give us a try. We hire the "friendly" guests, and we hire the guests who enjoy coming to see you. This does limit us somewhat in the guests we are able to bring, but you can count on the stars we book to make this a very special day for all of us!
  • A Consistent Autograph Policy ... This is the most asked question, as well as the single largest possibility for complaints (ours, theirs or anyone's). I have a procedure, right or wrong, but it is a procedure. I have been around conventions for more than a dozen years. I have seen people wait in line for hours. I have seen more people in line for autographs than were in the seats during the stars talk. I have seen people stay and enjoy the talks, honor the stars with an ovation , then wait in the end of the autograph line for hours, then be told the line had to be cut off before the fan receives his remembrance. I have a solution for all of these problems. Like Democracy, it is a terrible policy, unless you compare it to all the rest. We offer two tiers of pricing ... two tiers of seating. A general admission seat is located in the back of the auditorium, and will not receive autographs ... ever. The Reserved seats are located in the front of the auditorium, first come first served, order early for best seating. After the stars talks, the fans will go row by row (again, buy early, less waiting in line for autographs). All fans with reserved seating will receive A GUARANTEED AUTOGRAPH from all the headliners. It is impossible to seat general admission seat ticket holders with reserved admission ticket holders. Like I said, it ain't perfect, however, in all of our conventions we have put on, all reserved ticket holders got the autographs they were entitled to. Everyone got what they paid for, and no one left feeling taken advantage of. Until I see a system which can make the same claim, this is what we are doing. Photo opportunities with the stars, personalizations and more than one autograph are NEVER promised in advance. Expectations from fans is our single biggest problem. One fan thinks that a photo with their favorite star is the single reason to attend. Another only wants a photo inscribed to his best friend, and another wants to receive not only a remembrance of his day, but a remembrance for his family, best friend, neighbors and enemies (or extras to sell on E-Bay). On occasion, we are able to honor these requests. But, they are never promised. Honestly, we would prefer to have happy fans attend, and do not want anyone to go away disappointed. If it ruins your day to not receive a photo with your favorite, an inscribed photo, or an extra set of autographs, we are not the production company for you. We simply can not promise that this will occur. But, if you are wanting to see bunches of guests, terrific entertainment, and a remembrance of your weekend (an autograph from each advertised guest), we are now the best on the block ... Still not number one, but still trying very hard! [3]

The End of the Line

From late 2003 or early 2004:

Sadly, after 8 years, more than 200 conventions, more than a million autographs for fans, Officially, Slanted Fedora Entertainment is closing for good.

I have a few people to thank, and will contact them individually, but collectively, I have an awful lot to be grateful for. Many of the fans I have met are among the nicest, loyalist and truly gracious acquaintances I have or ever will met. Many have been on our side for the last 3 years, when ruin first reared it's ugly head. To those people, I am forever grateful. During the last three years, it has been this group of fans that I look to for comfort.

Many of the loyalist, also became our volunteers over the years. A convention is many things, often it is the people behind the scenes that make the biggest difference. For everyone that helped me during the years, very sincere thanks, and you should be very proud of the job you did. You helped set the industry on it's ear.

The actors have without exception been terrific, in the midst of turmoil, I felt that they were on my side. I asked more, and they responded. From live theatre events, to extra autograph sessions, to, in my opinion, for the first time becoming an active part of a weekend event, the actors all performed ahead of the game.

I did give this my best efforts, and the effects on my personal life will be felt for years to come. I took a second loan on my home, as well as exhausted all of my personal savings, retirement, and obligations for future earnings. I did my best. No one wishes this were different more than I, but the time has come to "pull the band-aid off fast". It is going to hurt, the hair on my arm will come off, but it is time to look to my family obligations. Restoring my finances will be a long time in coming, but clearly what I am offering is not working in this marketplace, and I can not think of a new plan.

I love this hobby. It will perceiver [sic], and is stronger than any one man, organization or business plan.

To potential new producers...My plans failed, however there are already plans for new producers (as well as the old ones) to expand their efforts. me being out of the way will certainly make this easier for them. If there is a new producer out there that thinks they have a better idea...Great, contact me, I will gladly share my mailing list, advice and most of all encouragement. Already, there are plans for new events in Philadelphia ( with Brent Spiner signing in person autographs!!!), and possibly Okalahoma [sic], and many people on the sidelines with plans.

To fans. Be careful/ It is a dangerous time. The song you won't know what you got till it's gone comes to mind. The new producers need your support. Both financial and emotional. Sadly, nasty and mean is an easier emotion to express than gratitude and understanding. My advice, be nice, support, encourage and build a community that enjoys the hobby. You can not please all the people, but no one does this because they want to put on a bad event. If you find something good about an event...terrific, dwell on the one great thing, and not the negatives. Too many fans are now making impossible expectations, and it is wearing the promoters down. This is a chance for you to make a difference. A thank you goes a very long way.

I have a lot to be negative about...I also have a very much to be thankful for, and I wish everyone the best...Thank you for 8 amazing years -- Dave Scott [4]

Con Reports

1999: Con Reports

Champaign, Illinois: February 13-14

Buffalo, New York: April 10-11

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania: August 7-8

2000: Con Reports

Waterbury, Connecticut: January 22

Fort Wayne, Indiana and Lansing, Michigan: April 8-9

Philadelphia: July 28-30

New York City: January 23

New York City, January 23, 2000. Guests: Armin Shimerman, Rene Auberjonois, Max Grodenchik, Lolita Fatjo, Chase Masterson, and Aron Eisenberg

[...]

After we were allowed to enter, I found Dave Scott, who runs Slanted Fedora (at first, I didn't know who he was), and asked if I could place fliers for The Official Armin Shimerman Website somewhere. He took them from me and placed them on the registry table. Then I visited each of the dealer tables to plan my purchases.

Cecily Adams ("Moogie") was unable to make it due to a minor surgery she was having, so they replaced her with Lolita Fatjo, script coordinator for Deep Space Nine. All the other celebrities were there. Mary Kay Adams was the surprise Babylon 5 guest, but not being a B5 fan, I was more interested in her as "Grilka", Quark's Klingon wife on DS9.

Hers was the first celebrity Q & A session, but I didn't go, since I was still looking at merchandise and acquainting myself with the people and the area.

I bought photos of Quark, Odo, Rom and Leeta, and Nog. I desperately wanted a plaque being sold especially for this con that featured an autographed photo of Rene and Armin from their trip to Ireland, but couldn't afford the $25 in addition to my purchases. A portion of the money spent for each plaque went to St. Jude's Hospital for Children.

Mike went out for lunch, and I found a lone chair to rest my feet. I checked to see that my film was readily accessible; I like to be able to reload my camera quickly during cons. I looked up and there was Chase, Armin, Aron, and Rene! They had just arrived and were about to settle in! They were talking to Dave, if I remember correctly, and I'm sure they were tired, so I didn't bother them. After the others headed to their rooms, Armin told Dave he was going out and would be back.

I found the table displaying cartoonist Tye Bourdony's fabulous artwork, which has been in the pages of STARLOG magazine, and introduced myself. We chatted for a few minutes and he gave me a couple of his cartoons. Tye is a handsome, sweet guy.

By that time, I was dying of thirst, so I went downstairs to the gift shop and paid $2 for a 20-oz. Coke. I took it back upstairs and soon entered the ballroom where the Q & A sessions were taking place.

Max, Lolita, Chase, and Aron were introduced and presented a terrific show. Chase shared the story of a con in Germany where a fan wasn't shy about expressing her opinion of Alexander Siddig's, er, assets. The girl told Sid he had a great ass, embarrassing him a bit, but he thanked her. *Then* she asked him to turn around so everyone could see his beautiful ass and he reddened further! But he did turn around. But that wasn't her last request, oh, no! She asked Sid, to Nana (Visitor)'s amusement, to bend over! He blushed even more, but bent over! Later, he asked Nana why she didn't help him. She said they were having fun. At that point, he showed her that his pants had split!

A guy named Steve who sat near me asked a couple of questions in which he mentioned he wasn't a fan of Bashir's. He was referred to as "The Bashir-Hater" after that. He explained he only meant the character, not the actor. A woman on the opposite side of the back rows wasn't happy with his opinion and referred to him as a rip-off of The Highlander. (Well, he *did* bear a bit of a resemblance, what with his fairly good looks and dark hair in a ponytail and all!) My boyfriend later told me she kept complaining about him outside the room.

[...]

A couple sitting behind me was very rude, talking on their cell phone and sniggering a lot. Most people, fortunately, were nice, but I experienced more rudeness than I've come to expect at cons. I've always heard New Yorkers are often rude, but somehow I believed the con would be like all the others to which I've been.

Max's family was at the con, which was really nice. If I'm not mistaken, it was his mother or grandmother, brother, and two adorable nephews. I couldn't see them well from where I was seated.

I went to one of the autograph rooms to get Max's afterwards. Mary Kay was also in the room, and we said hi to each other. She's a lovely, nice lady. Max is a total babe and ever so sweet. I had the lovely Lolita, who sat next to him, sign the special con cartoon as well. (For those who don't know, Lolita was the inspiration for "Leeta" on DS9.) Two of Max's relatives, I think it was his brother and little nephew, sat nearby. There's a definite family resemblance. I meant to say hi to them, but I admit I got distracted. My apologies to them if they read this.

Dave announced that the hotel had locked up the movie screens and equipment, so they didn't have the "Behind the Scenes with Star Trek" and "Sci-Fi Bloopers" segments. I'd have liked to have seen them, but they weren't the most important events for me. (Those would be Rene and Armin's Q & A session and "Evening With the Stars".)

I went back to the dealer rooms. One specific table of interest I should mention was by some people from England. They had t-shirts and coasters with great caricatures of STAR TREK and other characters. They had other merchandise, but these items were of particular attraction. One t-shirt featured Seven-of-Nine as "Lo-Cute-Ass of Borg". The artist has real talent and humor!

I spoke with Mike in another dealer room, and Chase was behind us, talking to a fan. Let me tell you, Chase is absolutely gorgeous in person!

[...]

When the auction began, Tye came inside and asked me to call him when the cartoon he'd created for the con was auctioned, which had been autographed by all the celebs (including Cecily, I believe). It was near the end of the auction when his cartoon came up. It went for $60, which was one of the highest prices, if not the highest, any item went for up to that point.

The auction ran late, so the costume contest was canceled. It was just as well; I only saw six or seven people in costume during the entire con, anyway.

Rene and Armin's Q & A session came next, so I returned to my reserved seat in the next-to-last row. I was angry that I was seated so far back, since the paper I had said reserved ticket holders got to sit "close to the stage".

I was thrilled to finally see Rene in person, and of course, to see Armin again. Poor Rene was fighting a cold. The usual questions were asked (except for the dreaded make-up question!). I couldn't think of any questions at the time, so I spent most of the time snapping photos.

Starting with the reserved seats, we were called row by row to get in line for autographs with Rene and Armin. Dave answered questions about Star Trek, sci-fi, and the con for those of us waiting. I complained that short people should be seated near the front, because it's hard to get pictures when you can't see. Taller people completely blocked my view of the stage. Others agreed, including the lady who sat next to me and had complained during the Q & A's that she couldn't see anything. One woman said, "Then *everyone* would become short," while Dave laughed. I was serious. I paid $60 for this con; I expected to see. I paid more, in fact: I bought a new camera and eight rolls of film (I used five or six), fliers to advertise Armin's site, new shoes, and other stuff!

Some woman asked Dave to call someone via his microphone that she was looking for from the Internet. I asked him to do the same for me, and located Carol Duffy. (I'd forgotten which row she was to be in; how could I have forgotten Row A?) Carol is a lovely lady who I enjoyed meeting. We chatted for a bit, then I returned to my seat since I knew my row would soon be called for autographs. Mike stayed to chat with her.

Rene's table was first. I wished him to get well soon, and he smiled. Ladies, Rene is *very* pleasing to the eyes! He's a handsome one, he is! We were stalled at his table, so he stood on his chair and yelled to Armin at the other end to hurry up and added, "I just got engaged to a woman over here!" Everyone laughed. He stood on the chair twice again yelling that he'd married the woman then gotten her pregnant!

When we reached Armin's table, I took the opportunity to enjoy the view. Armin wore a fabulous red sweater (red is really his color!) and he looked delicious! He smiled at me as he handed me my signed cartoon and Quark photo.

[...]

While Rene and Armin finished signing autographs, I ran to the room where chase and Aron were signing and got my last autographs. Chase was cordial and friendly. A girl asked to cut in front of me because she just wanted to get her picture taken with Aron. Since I wasn't in a hurry and she was polite about it, I told her, "Sure!" The first two times, they each moved, but the third time, the girl planted a big kiss on Aron's adorable cheek! Now *there's* a photo! Aron was a real sweetie!

Mike was seated in Row C, where we would sit during the Evening With the Stars. I grabbed a couple f closer shots of Armin, then joined Mike. I thought, Finally! We're close to the stage, so I'll get some good shots when Armin and Rene are on stage!

Boy, was *I* wrong! But I'll get to that in a minute. "Evening" was to start at 6:00, but started at 7:00 instead. Dave said Rene had to go to the bathroom and Armin had to finish eating his sandwich, so we waited a few minutes for the performances to begin. Someone in the audience said that the coat check was closing, so several people, including Mike, scrambled out of there to grab their coats.

While we waited, Dave and his wife, Jackie, spoke with us about the origins of Evening With the Stars and other things. Chase came in and spoke privately with Jackie. Earlier, Mike had described some female he thought was "hot", and his description fit Chase. When she approached Jackie, he said that was her. He has good taste in women!

When Rene and Armin rejoined us, they were dressed in sexy black from head to toe. They awaited the return of the coat-fetchers, and someone asked Rene about his bathroom trip. he said, "Everything came out ok." We all laughed again. They mentioned some water would be nice, so a fan in Row A ran to the gift shop and bought each of them a bottle of Poland Spring.

Armin asked if anyone *hadn't* been to the theater. I sheepishly raised my hand (I think I was the only one!), and Rene joked that I could leave. Armin said I could stay (my hero!).

If you get a chance to see these two on stage, don't miss it! I absolutely loved it! They did several comic pieces, but my favorites were a couple of dramatic pieces, GALILEO, and Edgar Allan Poe's THE TELL-TALE HEART. I also loved the scene they did from "The Ascent", an episode from DS9.

[...] [5]

2001: Con Reports

Las Vegas, September 2001

[Slanted Fedora 35th Star Trek Anniversary]: I had never been to a Star Trek convention, and neither had Marlene, so we had no idea what to expect. What we really didn't expect was the poor treatment we and the other 3,500 fans who flew from all over the world to Las Vegas for this con did receive. It seems that Slanted Fedora and it's ring leader, Dave Scott, ran a very unorganized convention. Mr. Scott was downright rude to us, and at one point, got on stage and said "Now, I know you all want me dead..." and the entire audience applauded! The main problem was he was understaffed severely! He had maybe enough staff for 1,000 fans, not 3,500! The staff he did have was overworked and rude. There was even a point, when the fans were becoming unruly, that Dave threatened us all. He got on stage and said, "That's it! I've had enough! I'll send all the actors home and you'll get to see none of them!" What's next? Sending us to bed without dinner?

So, I'm pretty sure I'll NEVER go to another Slanted Fedora convention, but I may attend another ST con in the future.

Each ticket we purchased was for $500...PLUS tax, PLUS we had to buy photo's for the actors to sign, and pre signed photo's of the big stars...seems $500 doesn't allow you to meet Shatner....Mulgrew...and Nimoy! For the other actors, (Beltran, McFadden, Takei...) we had to wait in lines, most of which lasted up to 3 hours! I felt like I was in Disney World! Some lines for the supporting actors wrapped around the building! 3,500 of us were crammed into this tiny hotel...so Mr. Dave Scott could make more money for himself.

Overall though, I did enjoy myself, I got to meet many of the actors, got to see many of them speak on stage, and had a lot of fun.

Now for the bad news, my mini tape recorded DID NOT record the actors like I wanted. So I have NO con reports. Also, $500 buys you bad seats...mine were in the 19th row, so my photo's didn't turn out, however, the gentleman behind me (Gail L. Crowe) had a zoom lens and gave copies his photo's to me. [see the rest of this con report, along with photos] [6]

2002: Con Reports

Unknown Locale: January or February

It’s always strange for me when these conventions come around. I have a lot of interests. While Trek and other Sci-fi are among them, they’re not at the top. I don’t collect memorabilia, wear uniforms or take part in other more active aspects of Trek fandom. I do enjoy seeing the people who are involved in the shows, and getting behind the scenes info, that’s why I go to Cons at all. The feelings I get once there, however, are usually a mix of anticipation of seeing a celebrity (particularly an icon like Shatner), with the fear that he or she is going to assume I’m just another stereotypical social misfit with little else to offer the world. It’s funny I’d worry that they’d take the time to assume anything. Claudia Christian is a VERY nice person. Benjamin and I wandered by her table in the dealer’s room just as Shatner’s hour was ending. There were very few people there so we got to chat briefly. She was funny, genuinely pleased that we had just seen her in a B5 rerun on the Sci-Fi channel, and was a pleasure to spend that quick couple minutes with. Definitely the highlight of the day for me. I’m seriously smitten. Alexandra Tydings seems somewhat quiet and reserved at her table, but nice, talking to Benjamin for a minute or so. (I stood back a bit so that my gawking would be less obvious). My she does look different in person. Drop dead gorgeous of course though much, much thinner than she appeared as Aphrodite (maybe it was all that chiffon and other Victoria’s Secret accessories). She really needs a cheeseburger or two. Benjamin chose a somewhat conservative photo of her with Joxer to sign rather than a more “interesting” photo I would have chosen, but hey, who am I to argue. Shatner was more entertaining than I anticipated. A bit over the top with some of his story telling,

though I liked the self-deprecating humor. I found his reactions to aging and the recent tragedies in his life to be touching. Having been through somewhat similar experiences over the past several years, I could identify with a lot of what he said. He does need to learn to hold the microphone a bit further from his mouth.

Lots of cool things for sale back in the dealer’s room. When I win the lottery, I’ll be back buying some of the Trek artwork by the guy who does the photo-realistic work with the airbrush. Absolutely amazing. Sadly, the dealer’s room is also a forlorn place, with tables set up for those actors who played a role in one or two episodes from one of the series. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling I experienced walking by one such table. There was a tall blondish actor there. I didn’t recognize the name or his face. From the photos arranged there, he’d actually been in quite a few episodes of different Trek shows, and maybe B5 as well, usually as an alien under layers of latex. The was still talking), and Benjamin was off looking at tribble key chains. Initiating first contact, the actor smiled at me and said hello. I smiled back, but wasn’t sure what to do next. Should I go over and chat? Ask him a question about what it was like to be in a particular episode? Buy an autograph? Fortunately, a dull thud nearby clued me that Benjamin had dropped something he had picked up off a dealer’s table. I smiled again and said “Excuse me” and raced off to (gratefully) scold Benjamin for touching the whatever it was. OK, I know everything costs money. Cons are big business. However, the whole multi-tiered, reserved seating, no photos from the aisles, $200-gets-you-a- Shatner-autograph way of doing things leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Sure, if people want to pay for the right to sit up front more power to them. Maybe I’m just a bleeding-heart commie yankee liberal, but I found it rather sad that some poor kid who loved Belanna Torres wouldn’t be able to get the actress’ autograph because her parents could only afford the $10.00 Sunday-only admission and not the $75.00 reserved seating deal. Maybe I missed something, and there were such opportunities this weekend. If so that’s great. I’m just not fond of the way these things are done nowadays. But then again, I miss the time when baseball players spent their whole careers with one team and signed autographs for free.

Speaking of Belanna, I wonder how much of the trilogy Roxanne Biggs-Dawson was selling really wrote? Some of the proceeds were for charity, but $40.00 per volume was a bit much. She’s very beautiful in person, they seemed to play that down in the one or two episodes of Voyager I saw her sans Klingon makeup. Big wedding band on her finger though, plus that hyphenated name thing. Oh well.

Really annoyed me when the organizer told folks they couldn’t take pictures from the aisle. If it were a safety issue OK, but chastising folks because it temporarily bothered the people in the reserved seating was just obnoxious. Let the people take their photos for a couple minutes, then they can go back to their regular seats. Again, folks who can only afford disposable cameras with tiny flashes might want a nice picture of their star as much as the people who paid $200.00.

Nice turnout overall, without it being overwhelming. It might be nice to have a second room with activities, perhaps films, bloopers etc., besides those shown in the main auditorium.

Perhaps those lower level stars from the dealer’s room could have a place to talk at length with fans without the buying and selling of autographs interfering. I guess I’ll be back next time around. Not really Benjamin’s thing, so whether I do the whole weekend or just one day will depend on whether he’s with me then or not. I do hope Claudia Christian and Alexandra Tydings come back though. I didn’t get a chance to find out if they’d like to see my collection of NY Mets memorabilia. [7]

New Jersey: Unknown Date

To start, I drove out to NJ to preregister early, as I had to work Friday and could not be there till Saturday, which was fine, really, since I was coming to see Leonard and Bill, and they weren't there Friday. The rest of the original cast were there Friday and signing autographs that day, but that was okay. Preregistration: I got up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am so I would miss the morning rush hour traffic. I was the third person in line—lucky me! They split the line by last name, and I wound up being first in my line, which turned into a real blessing, because they were so unorganized and not really ready when they started, that I managed to get extra autograph tickets by someone's major flub. I didn't even realize it till I got home later. I was jumping and yelling and general hooting with glee at my amazing fortune. I immediately called Karen, who celebrated with me.

Saturday: Again up at the crack of dawn and on the road. My husband drove me out there and dropped me off. I was able to check into the hotel early, which landed us a room on the 21st floor, but that worked out okay, too, because even though we generally had to stop at every floor going up, we had a guaranteed ride going down, which a lot of people on lower floors didn't - it was crowded!

But on to the good stuff — Karen and I figured she'd be arriving about 1 or so, so I went to see Walter Koenig and George Takei do their talk. They were funny, especially George. When they talked about their ST experiences, Walter did make some veiled comments about his lack of lines and undeveloped role, and about the "hierarchy" of "some of the actors". 35 years, and still bitter—some people are never satisfied. Karen arrived early, and we met right after that. We hung out for a bit, and Karen got me this great Mirror Spock doll, one of the small ones, that I had never seen before. He's got a dagger and an agonizer and a computer, and he looks so much like the real Spock. Very cool. She also got me a nice pin, from the ep Naked Times. Then we went to see Avery Brooks talk, mainly because I was going to get his autograph right after, for Helen's husband Andy, as he was so nice to give me the con info to begin with. Brooks was very nice, well- spoken, entertaining. He was very sweet when I got his autograph, which took a little over an hour, even though I was in row 7. That was a real hassle. Brooks had contracted certain security measures, and on top of that the hotel staff had to take all the chairs down to put up the tables for the dinner theatre, so everyone had to stand, with the line winding all around the whole floor. It took him 3 hours to finish signing.

Finally, dinner theatre. Karen and I had a table about halfway back but centered, so the view wasn't bad, although not as close as I'd like. I managed to finagle a seat at Karen's table so we were together at least. The food wasn't too good, and there wasn't even a choice - you got the chicken dinner, or nothing. What was funny was there was a familiar woman at the table, and I finally recognized her as the one who first introduced me to zines, namely the Vaults of Tomorrow and Mindmelds, and put me in touch with Bill Hupe which led me into K/S. Well, Karen left for a minute and while she was away, we all introduced ourselves, and she made a point of talking about zines and all. She said something about how in the 80's the zine business was falling off, and the only place to get good stories were K/S zines, but "I'm sure no one here wants to go there. We certainly don't want to talk about K/S". And everyone there is nodding and agreeing, except me. I didn't say anything, I was trapped in hostile territory, after all, and didn't even have Karen with me to back me up. That kind of stunk, but Karen and I talked about K/S between ourselves, which was fine. Some of the stars then mingled at the tables—No, unfortunately not Leonard. But I did meet and get a picture with Michael Forrester (Apollo), Walter Koenig (who is really short), Barbara Luna (Marlena Moreau), and Frances Nguyen (Elaan of Troyius, don't know if I spelled her last name right). The show after dinner had Nichelle Nichols, who sang a really long song, which was actually a compilation of songs strung together. She has a beautiful voice. Walter Koenig did a piece of Scrooge, that he'd been doing over the holidays. Some other people did songs, I'm sure Karen will mention those in her report. Finally, though, came Spock vs Q. It was wonderful. Leonard was dressed all in black...thud! I have no idea how John Delancy looked, because I never even glanced at him. Leonard took the stage and I had eyes only for him. He looked fabulous! Thud. The performance was flawless. From the corner of my eye I saw movement, and guess Delancy was being Q's flamboyant self, he certainly sounded it. And Leonard, doing Spock...thud! THAT VOICE That deep, sexy voice. OMG. I was in heaven. They performed the whole piece, took a quick break, and then did the sequel. It was marvelous, and so funny, to hear Spock say "Cool!" I loved it.

After, we had to stay through James Darren's concert, which thankfully wasn't too long. He played the hologram singer in DS9. He does have a nice voice, but I don't care for Sinatra-type music, and neither did Karen, but to get the signed CD of Spock VS Q you had to stay through the whole thing. We did, and were disappointed to only get the Spock vs Q sequel CD, tho we were promised both. We found out the next day the first CD is no longer available so the promoter couldn't get it. But the one we got were signed by Leonard and Delancy, so I'm happy with it.

Karen and I were exhausted by this time, so back to our room. I had to get some sleep at this point. Sunday morning we were up and downstairs early, where we met up with none other than Carolyn Spencer! We all had a great time together, checking out the dealer's room, talking, until it was time for autographs. I was so nervous. They had Bill on one side of the stage up front, Leonard on the other side, and you lined up by Bill first, then crossed to Leonard. I was all set with my coupons and stuff to sign. I went up to Bill, said hello, and thanked him for the signatures—he smiled, said "you're welcome," looking so good. Thud. I walked away with my knees shaking. I was almost at Leonard when I realized I was no longer holding my tickets for his signature. Panic swept over me. No tickets, no signature. I actually ran back to Bill's table, and asked HIM if he'd seen my tickets. He looked at me, in surprise I might add, then looked around the table, shaking his head and saying he didn't see them, while the staff member next to him was trying to get him to keep signing. Thinking back on it, I can't believe I did that, but I was on the point of hysteria if I'd lost those tickets. I put my stuff on the stage and thank goodness found the tickets. On the good side, my little screw up put a little gap in the line, so when I stepped up to Leonard I was pretty much the only one there.

Oh. My. God. The man is so sexy. I was on such an adrenaline rush I thought I'd pass out. He looked so incredibly fabulous, in his black shirt and black jacket. His hair is now a little longer than it's been recently, and he was clean-shaven, and looked so good. I got to speak to him for a minute, and then...I shook his hand. His warm, elegant hand—THUD. I don't know remember when I left him. Karen and Carolyn were on the side, luckily, and I handed my stuff to Carolyn and literally just walked away. Karen was still waiting for her turn, so she sat down with me for a minute. When she had to go I went back to Carolyn and stood on the side with her watching Leonard go through his line. She and I were just standing there, staring (practically drooling, really), Karen joining us after her autograph. Even the security guy standing next to me commented on how good he looked! So incredible. This was the first time I'd ever gotten to meet him, to see him live, and it was just fantastic. Did I mention how sexy he is?

Right after, he and Bill took the stage. It was absolute magic to see them together. I was in the 7th row, right in the center, and happily clicking off pictures. I'm hoping they came out ok, I'm not a very good photographer, but I did my best. I took pictures with Karen's camera, too, so something should come out okay.

But they were incredible. They have such a rapport between them, you can see it immediately. Bill was Bill, vibrant and funny, and Leonard was, too. Carolyn told me she'd seen Leonard alone, and he is not like that, he's much more reserved when alone. But he was lively and obviously having fun and so in synch with Bill.

After they left, the con was pretty much over for us, so the three of us went back to our room, talking while Karen and I packed. It was so much fun having Carolyn with us, and Karen and I took advantage to tell her to keep writing! We got to meet her husband, who was very nice. Unfortunately, the time came when we all had to go our separate ways. Now, what did I get signed? I bought a nice, large photo of an older Kirk for Bill to sign, and I bought a picture of him and Leonard together, where they're in lawn chairs. I had Leonard sign that one, too. I had a picture of them together that both signed as well, a picture my husband pulled off a DVD and printed. Leonard also signed a photo of an older Spock (from ST VI, I think), a print of Shelley's Sparkling Spock, the original picture Liz did for my Once and Again Mirror story, where Spock had long hair, and I had him sign my story in FT 53, Sweet Surrender. He didn't look through the zine, which was fine with me, but he had no problem signing it for me. Is that cool?

I'm still on such a rush from everything, which is good. Sorry this was so long, but it was such a wonderful two days for me and I wanted to share it.

Love, Cathy [8]

Unknown Locale: Unknown Date

[much about how great Shore Leave is snipped]

.... I plan to give him/her, [the chairperson of Shore Leave] the name and phone number of the gentleman (and I use that term lightly) who runs Fedora Con, ask the organizer to call him and give him a few pointers on how to run a con, starting with you don't treat the fans like 2-year-olds and if something unexpected happens in regards to what the fans are anticipating, LET THEM KNOW!! As you read the report, you will see what I mean.

The next thing I have to say is in regards to my bestest K/S buddy, Deanna Gray. While the two of us share many of the same interests when it comes to K/S, we do have one major difference. When it comes to Kirk and Spock, for me, right from the beginning of my interest in Star Trek when I was about 13 years old and long before K/S was born, I always loved both of them equally. And the same went for Bill and Leonard. Even today, after all these years, that has not changed. So for me, the greatest thrill of going to the con was the chance to Bill and Leonard together, something I never thought would happen in my lifetime. But not so for Deanna. This woman is far and away the biggest Spock fan I have ever met and whenever we spoke on the phone before the con, all she talked about was Leonard, Leonard, Leonard. I had to keep reminding her that Bill was going to be there too! To which she always replied, "I know, I know, but I just saw him in September and even though it was great, I'M GOING TO SEE SPOCK!!" So after awhile I just gave up and said, "Okay, fine, whatever." Although I did tease her that when she did go to get his autograph, once she was face-to-face with him, there was a good chance she would refuse to leave! I kept having this recurring vision of a con organizer coming up to me and asking me if I knew a woman with dark curly hair whose name was Deanna Gray. I would say, "Yes, I do. Is something wrong?" And the person would say, "Well, there seems to be a bit of a problem. Apparently she has crawled under his table and grabbed his legs. She refuses to let go and keeps mumbling something about seeing his socks." (Those of you who have Mind Meld will understand this last part.)

Anyway, onto the report. First of all, let me explain about the tickets. We both bought the "Spock vs Q" dinner theater tickets for Saturday night, which were sold separately, and Deanna purchased one of the "unbelievably cheap" tickets (which really weren't all that cheap!) that guaranteed her an in-person autograph from every guest star there, except for Brent Spiner, who was not signing any in-person autographs and would only provide pre-signed ones. As much as I would have loved to purchase an "unbelievably cheap" ticket, I just couldn't afford it, so had to settle for a VIP reservation. This also guaranteed me in-person autographs from most of the stars, except for the biggest names, including Bill, Leonard, and Avery Brooks. For them, my ticket guaranteed a pre-signed autograph and while it was a bit of a disappointment that I would not meet Bill and Leonard up close and personal, I did have the fact that I got Bill's autograph in September and still would have the wonderful opportunity to see the two of them live together. Well, all of that quickly changed. It turns out that all of the "Next Generation" cast that were scheduled to appear, including Patrick Stuart, had to cancel because the shooting schedule for the next movie was extended and they had to be on the set at the same time the con was going on. So to compensate, the organizer decided that for the "unbelievably cheap" ticket holders, he would give them another in-person autograph ticket for any guest star they wanted. In addition, all the VIP ticket holders would get an in-person autograph from Avery Brooks. Well, in order to get her extra ticket (which was going to be for another Leonard signature - big surprise there), Deanna had to go to the con early Thursday morning to confirm her pre- registration and get her extra ticket. Well, she did just that and while she was there, she discovered they were selling even more in-person autograph tickets for every guest star. So she decided to get yet another Leonard ticket. Well, to make a long story short, she wound up with a whole bunch of extra tickets for both Bill and Leonard. She immediately called me as soon as she got home and very generously offered me two of the tickets, one for Leonard and one for Bill! Of course I didn't turn her down, so the next big problem became what were we going to bring to have them sign. Deanna decided she was going to bring a whole bunch of stuff and on Saturday night, the two of us would sit down in the hotel room and figure out what she would use. For me, my first choice was to find a really nice nonexplicit drawing of Kirk and Spock from one of my zines and have Leonard and Bill sign it together. Since I work from home, I figured I would take a couple of hours on Friday morning and go through my zines to find a pic. Unfortunately, my boss called me later that day because of a problem I was having with my computer dealing with their software and he asked me to bring my PC in the office Friday morning and work there so if the problem happened again, the tech could investigate it. So unfortunately, my plans to find a nice pic were thrown out the window, as once I left the office after working there all day, I spent most of the evening packing and getting ready for the con. So I decided to bring an old black-and-white photo of Kirk and Spock standing in front of a small model of the Enterprise. This particular photo has always appealed to me and although I would have liked to have brought a nice drawing, I figured this was the next best thing.

So it was on to the con!! First of all, I am very pleased to say that although I basically drove the same route to Fedora Con that I did when I saw Bill in New York, I DID NOT get lost this time (although Deanna's husband still doesn't believe me). Also, my biggest fear that we would be hit with a major snow storm the same weekend of the con never materialized, as I enjoyed a rain and snow-free, sunny drive all the way to New Jersey. I had told Deanna that I was probably going to get there around noon, but I decided to leave earlier than planned, so arrived at the hotel at 11:00 instead. Knowing she wasn't expecting me for another hour or so, I decided to check in to our room and then register for the con before I went hunting for her. (By the way, as I was walking across the parking lot to the hotel, I happened to glance up and saw a plane passing right over the top of the hotel. My first thought was, Boy, I feel sorry for anyone on the top floor if the planes pass that close all the time. Well, when I got to the front desk and the clerk gave me my key for the room Deanna had reserved, take a guess what floor we were on. All I can say is it is a good thing I don't have a fear of heights!) Anyway, after I unpacked, I went to confirm my pre-registration. Everything went smoothly, except that the pre-signed autographs of Bill and Leonard I was supposed to get weren't going to be available until the next morning.

Then I went looking for Deanna. After a quick search of the dealer's room with no luck, I wandered out into the hall and there she was walking right towards me. We gave each other a big hug and she told me that she had just been watching George Takei and Walter Koenig speak. They were very good, except that Walter came across as a little bitter when talking about his role on Star Trek and the "hierarchy" he had to deal with. Anyway, Deanna was starving and I hadn't eaten yet, so we decided to have lunch in the hotel restaurant. Well, we had just sat down when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Grace Lee Whitney sit down at a table right next to ours. She was all by herself and I would have liked to invite her to sit with us, but I didn't have the guts. But boy, did she look great! She is much thinner now than she was on the series and is still a very attractive woman. Lunch was delicious, except for the fact Deanna ordered a hamburger well-done and she had to send it back because it arrived the first time practically raw. Fortunately, they got it right the second time and we both cleaned our plates. We then decided to go up to the room and relax before Avery Brooks was scheduled to speak. Once we got there, we decided to exchange belated Christmas presents. Although Deanna and I live in the same state, it is about a five hour drive to get to each other's home, so we decided to wait until the con to exchange gifts. One of Deanna's other loves besides K/S (and Spock!) is unicorns (hence the name of her first novel), so I gave her a small crystal figure of a unicorn. She in turn gave me two T-shirts she had professionally made. One is the pic of Kirk and Spock from ST V that was the back cover of the first anniversary issue of the K/S Press and the other one is of the two of them on the bridge from TOS. The person who made the T-shirts did a fantastic job and I will proudly be displaying them at Shore Leave this year. [9]

2003 Con Reports

Kansas City, Missouri: September 21

2004: Con Reports

Meadowlands, New Jersey: January 3

Further Reading

References

  1. ^ Slanted Fedora In Trouble: Once again, controversy follows the convention company, Archived version, 2002
  2. ^ Conventional Wisdom: Tips On Picking A Convention, Archived version by John Tenuto, June 22, 2008
  3. ^ Greetings, Archived version
  4. ^ Fedora Entertainment, Archived version
  5. ^ Slanted Fedora Convention Report by Jennifer Whildin at TrekToday, also Rene Files
  6. ^ Slanted Fedora 35th Star Trek Anniversary, Las Vegas, September 2001
  7. ^ The Wright Stuff
  8. ^ from The K/S Press #66
  9. ^ Karen P., part one, from The K/S Press #66, part two "The K/S Press" #67, part three was in "The K/S Press" #68