Love to all,
Costume Contest. Costume Call. Masquerade. Call it by any of its popular names, and it still boils down to a lot of talent and effort put into a very important sub-section of Star Trek's fan activity. Since the earliest of Trek conventions, there has been an arena showcasing the costuming efforts of fans who wanted to be noticed and to have their work admired. Across their stages have paraded everything from 27 would-be Kirks in nothing more than the gold command shirt, black pants and boots, to a glamorous goddess in yards of diaphanous gauze and an elaborate headdress of beads and feathers.
Another of those customs borne from science fiction conventions, the Costume Call, or Contest, grew and developed over time to become the Masquerade, as it's called today, that we all know and love. If you've never attended a show, you've missed an exciting part of the convention. Many talented minds and hands have worked, sometimes for months, at an often staggering price, to create the detailed and authentic entries into the mix.
Return with me for a moment to those late 70's New York cons, where we viewed everything from one dud we called "Miramanee in Gold Lame" to the exquisite creations of C. Faddis and M. Miller which took your breath away. Costuming produced its own super-stars, often names with which we were familiar from other artistic areas, and sometimes individuals who shone only on the floorboards of that particular stage.
Getting back to some of the events that went on during the early '80s and up through 1986 or so, perhaps: You know, I've sat here all week wondering exactly what I had left to say, so I'll just expand on some things I've already brought up, various parties, conventions and maniacal happenings.
First of all, the "original" K/S Con, held at "Ginna's Retreat" in Boyds, Maryland. We put on this "mini-con" or "writer's Seminar", as some liked to call it, for six years, from 1980 through 1986. For our final year (which we'd determined it would be), we wanted to go out with a big noise. So very covertly, the committee arranged a surprise for the attendees. Carol F. and S.K. James contracted with a service (I didn't even know they had services like this!) to hire a male stripper to come out and entertain. We provided the gold command shirt, told them we wanted him to appear as Kirk and start off to the Star Trek theme music. He would arrive at a certain time on Saturday evening.
Because of how isolated the house was, and how difficult to find in the dark (and believe me, it got DARK out there at night!), Carol and S. K. J. agreed to meet him up at the main highway and drive him from there to the house. Which they did. Meanwhile, we'd been telling everyone all day that we had a "special game" that we'd be playing that night, which we called "the Pocketbook Game". Normally, all the girls left their purses up in their rooms, but since we knew they'd want to "tip" our dancer, they'd need their money available. So that's why we called it that, told them to be sure and bring their pocketbooks down after dinner. . .
I am a fandom dinosaur. But you know that already. I wonder if there was a day when the actual dinosaurs – the Brontosaurus and the T. Rex and all the other great beasts – looked out upon their diminishing world and despaired at how much had been changed, how much had been lost. I can't speak for the behemoths, but I can speak for myself and what I often perceive as the diminishing landscape of fandom.
There are a few things that I miss more than others. Some I've already written about -- the satisfaction of holding a new zine in your hands, editors who edit, the enjoyment of good filk songs – and now I'd like to tackle another rather broad subject: Artwork. Both fanzine illustrating and the business of buying and selling it. Both dying breeds.
Granted, there are still a few fandoms with active but limited artistic involvement. Among the ST:TOS community of predominantly K/S fen, and also in the still fertile Starsky & Hutch and The Sentinel circles, artwork is still gracing the pages of print zines, still being bought and sold at convention art shows, and even occasionally posted with a story on a web site, but with less excitement and smaller participation. Yet overall, as fandom has moved away from the print zines and onto the Internet, artwork has taken a much less important place. It's one of those things that I most deplore about posting a story online. You never get to see an artist's rendition of your scenes.
It's amazing how many years have passed in the blink of an eye. Some of us who ventured into this grand adventure in the stars when we were in our late teens or twenties are now in our late fifties and early sixties. Some of us have seen divorces, remarriages, widowhood, our children have grown and are now parents themselves. Some have moved up the career ladder and now occupy places of authority and have their own key to the executive washroom. It has been, in my case, 34 years of fandom. I was a mere 25 when we published Contact I.
We are, I suppose, the lucky ones. We have, at least, survived to tell the stories. Others, notable in fandom, have passed on, lighting the path for the rest of us to follow. I'd like to pay tribute to a few of those, some unquestionably "BNF's" (Big Name Fans), others perhaps not as well-known. And if I'm missing anyone whose name should be on that Role Call Up Yonder, please drop a comment and let me know. This no doubt partial list contains the names of those fen whom I knew personally and whose loss was significant to me as well as to fandom, those whose paths crossed mine more slightly, and a few I knew only by reputation. I present them here in alphabetical order.
There was a two year wait while TPTB created a new film – two years, and longer if you were overseas, while Spock remained dead, encapsulated in the shiny black tube on the Genesis planet where he was interred. A long time for fans to agonize and to entertain all manner of scenarios that would bring our beloved Vulcan back to us. This time, rumors circulated (and were eventually confirmed) that while we might get our Spock back (although in what form we didn't know), our ship, our very soul, the Enterprise, was going to be sacrificed. Not a proposition we cheerfully accepted, so again, fans were ambivalent to a degree. How could they possibly take our beautiful Silver Lady away from us? She was as much a character as any role in the film.
"Star Trek III: The Search For Spock" was released in the USA on June 1st, 1994. If you had been in the UK, you had to wait until the end of July, and in Germany, until November! But if you had lived in France, it was an awful wait until February 1985! Oddly, the film opened in Japan at the end of June 1984, just weeks after the USA, and trumping UK by a month!
But it returned with an impressive amount of seasoned talent on board: Harve Bennett was once again Producer, as well as writing the script with Gene Roddenberry. The Director this time was none other than Leonard Nimoy, who had negotiated the job as part of his agreement to perform as Spock again. Nimoy was also an uncredited script writer, tweaking it to his satisfaction as Director. All the regulars were back, including Merritt Butrick as David Marcus-Kirk, and former series' favorites Mark Leonard as Spock's father Sarek, and a cameo by Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand. Guest stars included John Larroquette and Christopher Lloyd as the Klingons Maltz and Kruge, and we couldn't quite believe two actors primarily known as comedians in such a serious drama! But Nimoy thought he knew what the fans wanted in a film, and he was determined to give it to them. On a sad note, Kirstie Alley was replaced by Robin Curtis as Lt. Saavik.