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Monday, April 21, 2008

Humor in Life -- Science Fiction and Fantasy

On Saturday, my husband and I met a few friends and drove up to Denver to attend one day of StarFest 2008. This was my first one, but my dh and his friends have been attending this for a few years. They 'lovingly' refer to it as "Geek Fest." When my hubby said I had to go...if for no other reason than to see how *non*-Geek he is, I figured it'd be worth it for that. :)

Of course, I'm a quasi sci-fi chic anyway. But let me tell you. If I had any doubts whatsoever about my husband's level of geekness, they were all obliterated and blown to smithereens from the moment we set foot inside the hotel. We had arranged to meet the other group who had driven in the second car in the atrium area near the hotel's cafe. So, after purchasing our tickets and attaching our ribbons as proof of registration, we headed in that direction--encountering Storm Troopers, Pirates, Star Trek and Enterprise fleet members, StarGate teams and bar wenches along the way.

As soon as we entered the atrium, the 5 stories of balconies which flanked the atrium on 3 sides immediately caught my eye. My husband had told me (and one of his coworkers who was also attending for the first time) of these, but you just have to see it to believe it. Some folks went all out to decorate the balconies of their hotel rooms. Many who attend the entire StarFest weekend register early and request these rooms with the express purpose of having something in store for the decoration. Of course, there is a prize awards Saturday night for the room with the best balcony decoration. So, perhaps it's worthwhile. They certainly were a sight to behold.

Once all 6 of us were together, we wandered around (waiting for things to get started at 10am), checking out the art room where artwork, sculptures, models, clay figures, paintings, photos and much more were on display and for sale or auction bidding. We moved from there to the "toy" room as this group calls it, where collectibles, movie posters, DVDs, VHS tapes, CD's, action figures, decorative plates, swords, light sabers, and everything else was available for sale. Both of these rooms were jam-packed with booths, vendors and displays. And some of this stuff...well, it would make kindergarten artwork look like masterpieces.

More booths and vendors lined the hallways and main traffic areas, hawking books, munchies, autographed photos, movie promotions, event announcements and much more. There was even a booth called "The Brig" where you could pay to have someone from the event thrown in there amidst a lot of fanfare. I joked about "nominating" a member of *our* group, but it never happened. The rest of the morning passed with what I would call a "snooze fest" main event, in which a computer graphics and CGI designer took 2 hours to present the history of computer animation. It didn't get interesting until the final 20 minutes when he used the example of the "Rock Monster" from Galaxy Quest to show what computers can do.

After this, we headed to lunch, looking for a Hawaiian Barbecue restaurant that one guy in our group said was close to the hotel. After walking for fifteen minutes and checking out the nearby eateries, we gave up and ate at the Chicken Kitchen. Decent food, but nothing compared to what I'm sure we would have sampled at the barbecue place. I tell ya, that's the list time we trust Nathan to lead us anywhere. At least the food was filling, and the walk was a good bit of exercise, as we had to walk back afterward. Although, I think I would have preferred to travel like R2D2 did. :)

The afternoon passed with panels featuring the key celebrity attendees -- Masi Oka (known for his role of Hiro on the TV show Heroes and now in his upcoming role in the film, Speed Racer) Anne Lockhart (who is primarily known for her work as Sheba on the original Battlestar Galactica); Adam Baldwin (who is known for his portrayal of Jayne from the short-lived but much-loved show, Firefly, as well as The Patriot and Independence Day and Serenity), and Zachary Quinto (known for his role as Sylar on Heroes as well as his upcoming portrayal of Spock in the new Star Trek movie releasing in 2009).

Other guests included authors (Dave McDonnell, Kevin Dilmore, Steven Fawcette, Christie Golden, Dayton Ward), artists (Ed Cramer, Jason and Heather Martin), other actors (Cliff Simon, Nate Torrence, Nana Visitor, Nichelle Nichols), and the master of ceremonies (Kevin Atkins), but they didn't have a main event Q&A session. Only their autograph booths and smaller venue presentations.

My favorite part, though, was getting the chance during the Trailer Park feature to slip out and chat with Anne Lockhart for about 15 minutes. She was sitting at her autograph booth but no one was there, so I walked on up and started a conversation. First, we chatted about the fact that she got her role on Battlestar Galactica when Jane Seymour (who played Serena in the pilot and first episode) didn't want to accept the full-time part. When I mentioned that I work with Jane on her web site and with fanmail, Anne said she starred with Jane in a 2-part episode of Dr. Quinn. It was one of my favorites from that TV show of Jane's, and I could feel my face warm as a blush crept into my cheeks when I didn't remember her playing that role. She forgave me, though, and we continued talking about TV today compared to what it used to be, as well as her upcoming work and life in Hollywood for a female actress with a career spanning over 30 years. She asked me to say "hello" to Jane for her, so I will be sure to do that at the first opportunity.

I managed to slip into the Trailer Park near the end in time to see the new trailers for Indiana Jones, Get Smart, Hellboy 2, Narnia: Prince Caspian, and many others I don't remember right now. Looks like this summer will be a good one! There was a short break followed by the Parody Play which combined several little skits in which combinations of well-known lines or spoofs are assembled to hopefully produce laughter. But, the set designs were rudimentary, the dialogue and banter were probably closer to third-rate, and their lapel microphones weren't fastened in the right places, lending to a production where we heard every other word and had to fill in the blanks on our own. Somehow, I believe our interpretations were better than what was on stage. :) Past years are said to have been better, but this year? It didn't seem to be a hit.

Finally, at 8pm, we come to the final main event -- Costume Parade. Here is where anyone who wishes to enter is involved in a parade of costumes in several categories: children, teen, fantasy/online gaming/sci-fi/other, and group. An overall category entitled "Best of Show" is awarded at the end. Last year, a group dressed as the cast from Space Balls, and when they didn't win the group category, a riot almost broke out. That was when the "best of show" category was created. It was back again this year, with fantastic results. By far, the best was a human Gundham character (entire suit hand-made) and the cast from Night at the Museum. They were both awarded "best of show" in a tie. The group might be the same as the Space Balls bunch from last year, and there were rumors or this group's connection to theatre with their intricate and amazing costumes, but nothing was confirmed.

However, it was the Lego Storm Troopers who stole the show. LOL!

After this, we headed with the masses for the exit and made our way to our cars, agreeing to meet at a Village Inn along the interstate, where we spent the next hour-and-a-half eating a near-midnight "snack" and rehashing the day's events. Despite assuring the waitress we had consumed absolutely NO alcohol, our laughter and silly antics were suspect during the entire time we were there.

Stu and I arrived home around 1am and barely managed to dump our things before falling into bed for much-needed sleep. I'm already thinking about what costume I can wear next year, and what I might be able to wrangle Stu into donning, but we both agreed we'd borrow our 6-year-old niece and dress her up as Pikachu. She'd steal the show!


windycindy said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing. Looks and sounds like you have a wonderful weekend. Cindi

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Thanks, Cindi. It WAS a lot of fun, despite the weirdos and sci-fi fanatics or off-the-wall folks.

I'd definitely attend again.

Anonymous said...

Oh I wish we lived closer. My husband takes me to the local shows all the time! We just got back from meeting Lt. Dualla (BSG) a few weekends ago.

Has your hubby met the Elvis Trooper yet? He is one of my favorites.

But I think the Lego Troopers you caught take the cake. I love it!!!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Well, Texas isn't too far from Colorado. About 12 hours. Stu and I drove it last September when we headed to the ACFW Conference.

Oh, and he hasn't met the Elvis Trooper yet. Just the name alone makes me scared to even imagine what he looks like. We had an Indiana Jawa (cross between Indiana Jones and the Jawa from Star Wars) that showed up at the Fest this year, but no Elvis Trooper. Do you happen to have a picture?

And yeah, the Lego Troopers stole the show. First place in the group category.

Anonymous said...

Just and FYI: I was mega maid in the spaceballs group, we are not the same group as the Night at the Museum group, but our Princess Vespa is about to graduate with a degree in costume design.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Ah, thanks for clarifying. Appreciate having the answer from someone within the group. :)