This post has a little to do with backup and everything to do with Star Trek & SCUBA. Feel free to ignore or read on. I attended a special screening of Star Trek XI on Catalina Island this weekend. In attendance were… well. Click Read More to see!
I got an invitation several weeks ago via the local San Diego diving group to attend this screening. It was being organized by “Rod” Roddenberry, the son of Gene Roddenberry, and in attendance was to be Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), George Takai (Sulu), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko DS9), Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather Enterprise), Max Grodenchik (Rom DS9), and Miss Universe 1997. (Only at a Trekker event would Miss Universe be listed last and introduced first, BTW.)
This post is a little bit about me wanting to tell you about my awesome time hanging stars, and a lot about how much my appreciation of Star Trek grew this weekend. I’ve always been a fan (seen every episode of every series and every movie), but this weekend just sealed the deal.
Saturday morning was spent diving with “Rod” and his friend Greg. (You won’t believe the dry suits they dove in: http://www.meetup.com/Scuba-Diving-San-Diego/photos/606161/) We dove the two “wrecks” at Casino Point, for those of you familiar with the locale. As a fan of the show, I couldn’t believe that I’m just hanging out with and giving underwater signals to the son of the guy that started Star Trek. He’s just a really cool guy and is trying to get more into diving, and his launch of the Roddenberry Dive Team is a big part of that. (It’s possible that all this diving could an attempt to impress his fiancee, who works for the San Diego Oceans Foundation. OK, just kidding. She seems pretty impressed already.)
Then we “hung out,” at this sea-side bar/restaurant/lounge thing. It was a bit surreal that I got to have drinks and tell stories to Anthony Montgomery and his newlywed. If you didn’t know any better, we were just a few folks hanging in a bar — not a TV/movie star and his wife, with an avid fan. Then you look over his shoulder, and there’s Uhura! Ah! That’s kind of how the day went. If we hadn’t been on this tiny island, these people would have been mobbed at a similar event on the mainland. But here, it was like they were just hanging out. It was awesome.
Later that evening, we had the screening. We were early enough to grab the row of seats directly in front of the reserved VIP row. So when the festivies started, we were sitting right in front of or next to all the celebs. Kewl.
Before they screened it, Rod spoke for a while. He told us what it was like to grow up the son of Gene Roddenberry. When his dad died, he was only thirteen and he had no idea about Star Trek. He said he was too busy watching Night Rider and Dukes of Hazzard. After his dad died, everyone told him what an impact the show had been on them. Since then everything has changed. He’s now almost finished his eight-year project called Trek Nation, a documentary that does an homage to Star Trek, its creators, its stars, and its fans. It talks about how much social commentary was in the show, and how they were the only show to do a commentary on Vietnam at the time it was on. (They got away with it because it was on another planet.) We saw a 6.5 min trailer for it, and he said it should be out the end of this year. I’ll be posting when it’s available.
Then George Takai spoke, and he talked about how huge the show had grown in its 43 years, and how it will be its 50th anniversary in only seven years. (Since I was born the year that Star Trek: The Original Series came out, I really didn’t appreciate all this “old” talk. 😉 That voice of his is something.
Then Nichelle Nichols spoke, and she really moved me. She told how Star Trek wasn’t about her, or George, or James, or Deforest, (then she took on a tone) — and certainly not about William. (That got a lot of laughs.) She said it was about the characters they had been allowed to play and the ideal they represented. She told the story of how someone tapped her shoulder years ago and said they wanted to introduce her to a fan. She turned around and it was Martin Luther King, Jr.. He expressed his admiration for the show, and she told him that she was thinking about quitting. He told her that she couldn’t quit! He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Don’t you understand? This is the first time that a person of color can look at the screen and see us as we really should be? You can’t quit!” And that was that. She talked about how we as a people are further ahead than the governments that run our respective countries and that we should continue fighting for the vision that Star Trek put on the screen, a world where we set aside our differences and work for the common good. (fighting people on OTHER planets? ) 😉
Her speech was really moving and she seems like such a wonderful person. I wish I could have had more time to spend with her. At 77 years old, I’ll bet she’s got lots of stories to tell.
And then the movie played. Simply put: I loved it. First, my man J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost, MI:3) can’t make a bad movie. Second, they did a really good job with giving it a fresh feel and look, while doing an incredible homage to the original series. Everyone applauded as each new character came on the scene, and applauded and laughed at many jokes and references to the series. (My favorite was the red shirt reference.) There are a few surprises, and I was happy with where the story went. If you’re a fan: you have to see it. If you haven’t been a fan, set aside everything you think you know about the show and go watch this movie.
Oh yeah. I went to dive and my regulator was missing a part. I took it off my backup reg and installed it. No worries. Always have a backup. (I told you this post had a little to do with backup.)