Your Friendly Neighborhood Star Trek Convention: Five Reasons to Seek Out a Local Con

Oddly enough, Jake and I had run into Derek,
a member of a Star Fleetesque group in real life,
in a bookstore a few months before, not knowing he
would also be at this event.
Last year, Jake and I attended our first ever Star Trek convention. It's called Starbase Indy, and it was everything I ever hoped a gathering of geeks could be. I discovered it by accident. I kid you not, I was  just praying silently like I sometimes do on a normal morning walk, when I literally stepped on a flyer for the event. Then the heavens parted and choir music played through rays of light. (Okay, the music and the heavens parting is a lie, but you get the idea.) So of course, we'll be attending again this year. Last time, we didn't stay at the hotel, not knowing exactly what the convention would be like, we didn't want to fully commit.

Also, the annual event takes place during the entire weekend after Thanksgiving, stretching things like special movie screenings, events, meals, karaoke, and meet and greets throughout your stay. We typically visit with the family that we don't see on the actual Thanksgiving day during that weekend. But last year was so good, we decided to create our very own holiday family tradition for two. Starbase Indy is now officially on our permanent calender. 

This year, we're going all out. (I guess you could say we'll be going warp nine to Starbase Indy? Go ahead...roll your eyes...it's my blog and I can make as many nerdy allusions as I want! *maniacal laughter*) Ahem, anyway...if you are a Trek geek, and you've never been to a convention, there are a lot of reasons to look forward to one of these events and seek them out in your general area. Those reasons are...

Hanging out with William Morgan Sheppard at
the 2009 Starbase Indy. He appeared in Star Trek: TNG,
as well as the recent J. J. Abrams reboot, "Star Trek".
1. It's an irony-free zone. - One of the biggest coping mechanisms geeks have adopted is the ability to view oneself ironically. To be sarcastic, to make fun of ourselves, to scoff at the ridiculousness of our own voracious need to talk about phaser settings and rank insignia. Most of the year, in order to avoid being mercilessly teased for our personalities and inclinations, we become experts in self-deprecation. But at a convention, you get to take some time off from knocking yourself down a peg before others get the chance. At a convention, you can chat with your peers about how much you wish Troi would've ended up with Worf instead of Riker and not have to make fun of yourself for it.

2. The merchandise is amazing. You won't believe the sheer amount of patches and bumper stickers and action figures and books and t-shirts available at reasonable prices. Last year we snagged a Star Fleet Academy sticker for our car, a Venkman patch, several Star Wars books, a Starfleet Command patch and a whole lot more. Ordering this stuff off of Ebay would take you forever. Searching collectibles down, bidding on them, waiting for them to arrive in the mail...that's the suckers' way of getting good geek stuff. A couple more years of visiting the merch tables at Starbase Indy, and we'll have an apartment that looks like the set of The Big Bang Theory

3. You get to mingle with famous-types. Starbase Indy is a fan-run convention. Most local cons are. What that means is, the crowd is much lighter, so you get the chance to have some good conversations with con guests. Last year, several of the visiting actors actually participated in a karaoke contest with us. I've never been to Comic-Con (le sigh) but I hear it's become so huge and so corporate, that you can barely walk an inch without getting your toes stepped on. The real glory lies in smaller conventions where you can bond with other guests and enjoy all of the events without having to scream over the hum of a crowd to be heard. It may be cool to be a geek nowadays, but I don't personally want to share all my nerd moments with a million other people and have to stand fifty feet back for a panel. Check out the super-sweet guest list for this year.

4. You hear more Star Trek puns than you ever thought possible. Being at a Trek convention, or any local convention probably, is a lot like being that cute little bee girl from the end of the Blind Melon video. You find your own kind at these events and there's something simultaneously exciting and relaxing about it. It can recharge you creatively, it can give you a great opportunity to network, it's just a wonderful thing to be around your peers who literally speak your language. (In my case. I'm going into the Klingon language pit this year dangit! My sister armed me with a "how to" CD for the language.)

5. People walking around in Klingon costumes seem normal. The costumes! Whether they are good, bad, hilarious, or adorable...the costumes at these events will provide you with some good chuckles or some feelings of true admiration. Last year, an entire gang of Klingons broke up the opening ceremonies by strolling in late and heckling the emcees. It was awesome. There's entertainment value everywhere you look at cons, and sometimes the very best of it comes from fellow attendees. I'm deeply ashamed to admit that I have let another year come and go without preparing my Troi unitard...I'm already filled with deep regret. But maybe there's still time for a giant curly wig?

In all seriousness, local conventions, whether they are for comics, movies, or sci-fi franchises are wonderful events to attend. They often sponsor and support local charities. Starbase Indy supported some local pet rescues last year, and I think they're doing it again this year. Things like this are sort of the best of humanity. It's people getting together, feeling all happy and friendly (sort of like they've all been sprayed with the pink goo from Ghostbusters 2 and are singing "Higher and Higher".) and using their collective energy to make a positive change in the community and bolster their peers. Let's face it, if you're a true geek, it certainly couldn't hurt your morale to get together with people like you once a year. We spend a lot of time feeling sorry for ourselves and having to explain away our obsessions, so maybe the true charity in this case is the kind that gets displayed toward your fellow man.

Then again, I just really love to see Klingons.

I'll make sure to take lots of photos, do a thorough write-up, and maybe shoot a little video at the convention this year. Rest assured, whatever my findings, I'll share them with you.