Monday, November 21, 2011

Patrick Stewart, Tia Carrere, Ron Ely and a ringing cell phone help make SuperMegaFest a success

Patrick Stewart signs autographs at SuperMegaFest.
For me, the best part of any convention is The Surprise Factor.

Last year at Philadelphia Comic Con, for example, I was wandering around and happened to see Margot "Lois Lane" Kidder signing autographs. She had been a late addition to the guest lineup that I would not have known about if I had simply followed the original outline of appearances and signings. Not only did I get her autograph, we had a delightful conversation.

Something similar happened Saturday at SuperMegaFest in Framingham, Mass. The headliner was Patrick "Jean Luc Picard" Stewart, and he did not disappoint the large crowd. Despite pre-purchasing our tickets and arriving early, we waited in line for about an hour just to gain entrance. The wait was buoyed by pleasant conversation with other people in line, and by the unexpected sighting of Stewart arriving and getting on an elevator. Once inside, we immediately joined the line for the first autograph session, waiting for perhaps another hour to meet the captain from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." We also purchased tickets for his afternoon question-and-answer session.

The wait was worth every minute (and dollar - about $120 total).

Stewart was friendly during the autograph session, taking a few moments to speak with each fan and shake hands. Yes, a skeptic might note, he's an actor. But at the very least he was a professional, too (I'm looking at you, Christopher "No" Lloyd).

Stewart opened the q-and-a with an introduction about what he's been up to lately, including mostly stage projects (and canning lots of fruit, apparently). He then took questions, talking about his fondness for William "Captain Kirk" Shatner, the few items he "stole" from the Star Trek set (a communicator badge being a prized possession) and his latest career move - an attempt to get away from live theater and back into movies. He called himself not "a movie actor," but "a franchise actor," referring to the "Star Trek" and "X Men" series.

Stewart looked great, too. He could easily slip into his old captain's uniform with no trouble.

Tia Carrere talks to fans.
Speaking of looking great, The Surprise Factor Award for SuperMegaFest goes to actress Tia Carrere. The star of the the "Wayne's World" movies, "True Lies" and "Relic Hunter" looked both Super and Mega. She, too, was personable while signing autographs, chatting about her different roles over the years. And - maybe even more that Stewart - she lit up the q-and-a session with her warm personality and a few off-the-cuff moments.

Carrere discussed her career, beginning with being "discovered" in a supermarket in her native Hawaii and moving onto "General Hospital," into some major movie roles - with Arnold Schwarzenegger in "True Lies" - and her own series, "Relic Hunter," which took her to locations around the world. She talked about her desire to appear on the new "Hawaii Five-0" (especially, she joked, since she could visit friends and family while someone else paid for it) - and then a cell phone began to ring.

It was hers. She sheepishly dug it out of her purse, took one look and announced her father was calling. "Answer it," several fans in the audience shouted. So she did. Laughing, she explained to her father that she would have to call him back because she was talking before a group of fans. To prove her point, she held up the phone and the crowd shouted "Hi, Dad!."

On a more personal level, I must give a shout-out to Tarzan (shout out, Tarzan - get it?). I enjoyed a brief chat with Ron Ely, who played "Tarzan" on the 1960s television show. It turns out that his father and I share the same first name, which led to a (lame) joke on my part about us possibly being long-lost brothers because it was my father's name also.

Thank you, Patrick. And Tia. And Ron. And the organizers of SuperMegaFest. And all the people who dressed up in some outstanding costumes. And mostly to my companions for the day - Karen, Dan ("Mr. VIP") and Justinth. Enjoyed hooking up with Andy and meeting Peter, too.

You missed a great time, Mr. Robinson.

Ron Ely talks with a fan while signing an autograph.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great time. I would have asked him the sexy cakes sketch from SNL and the extras scene with Ricky Gervais, which were similar.