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Slanted Fedora Convention Report

By Jennifer Whildin
Posted at January 27, 2000 - 6:00 AM GMT

New York City, NY
January 23, 2000

Guests: Armin Shimerman, Rene Auberjonois, Max Grodenchik, Lolita Fatjo, Chase Masterson, and Aron Eisenberg

The trip to New York City took about two and a half hours. It was my first visit to NY, so I was pretty excited. I knew we wouldn't have time to explore, so I tried to see as much as possible on the way to the hotel.

I barely saw the lobby of the Holiday Inn Broadway, because my boyfriend, Mike, and I headed straight upstairs where the con was being held. We were early, so we checked our coats and grabbed a place in line.

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.

I saw Mike sitting across from me in the General Admission seats to my right during the talk (he had gotten GA for himself, since he isn't as much of a fan as I am), so I decided to snap a couple of pictures. He sticks his tongue out when I try to get his picture if he catches me, and he did this time, too. Later, he told me the guys in the same row as he thought I was taking picture of them and were saying I was being rude, but I was only aware of Mike when I took those shots. When you're at a con, you're bound to be caught in some photos.

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!

I returned to the seat that had no others near it, and a guy came up to me and asked if I was going to the Evening With the Stars. I said yes, then he asked a lady standing near me the same question and she said no. He told her he couldn't go and offered her his refrigerator magnet (which was created especially for the con and had a row number marked on it for seating). She accepted, and I thought that was generous of him.

When I rose to go back to the ballroom, I saw Armin passing me, presumably heading to his room. I called, "Hi, Armin!" to which he replied hi back to me. I knew he wanted to get settled, so I told him I'd see him during his chat and we parted.

The auction was next. I found my boyfriend and joined him in the GA seats in the back left of the ballroom. We weren't buying anything at the auction; we just wanted to relax a bit.

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.

Just a side note here: I don't think *all* men are sexy, although you may get that impression from this con report. There are *many* ugly men (in my opinion), both of Star Trek and not, but I'm callin'em like I see'em. I only look, and I don't disrespect marriages or relationships.

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.

Dave had said we couldn't take pictures during the performance because it could distract them, which I understood, but he promised that if no one snapped any photos during that time, we could take some after they were done. It didn't happen. Not that I could have gotten pics of Armin and Rene, since the taller people blocked my view.

Mike and I left after that. On our way out, I glanced at my pile of fliers and was pleased to see that more than half of them had been taken. We were both exhausted and hungry (I hadn't eaten the entire day, not even breakfast). He'd planned to find an African or Ethiopian restaurant at which to eat, but it was late, so we didn't go to much trouble searching. We ate at a Burger King at a service area along the highway back in North Jersey. It was good when we got back home.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Jennifer Whildin is the webmistress of the Official Armin Shimerman Website.

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