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Miles McLoughlin Reports: Shore Leave 32

Miles McLoughlin Reports: Shore Leave 32

I would ask the readers for their forgiveness in getting this back so late. I’m working again and had to go away for some training. However, I’m now able to give a report on my experience at the Shore Leave 32 convention. If any of you have the DVD of “Trekkies 2” (2004), you can see a short presentation where Shore Leave takes place. And it’s still at the same hotel today. .

If you plan on going next year, Shore Leave is held at the Hotel Marriot in Hunt Valley, MD. Hunt Valley is minutes away from Baltimore. .

Shore Leave 32 provided a great opportunity for my friend Scott and I, who do the SciFi Diner Podcast, to get some great interviews with the guests, meet up with some old friends and make new ones. .

Although this year’s Shore Leave didn’t boast the amount of actors from Star Trek as it did last year, it did have Dominic Keating from “Star Trek: Enterprise” and Catherine Hicks from “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”. Keating was not only seen from his autograph table, but he walked throughout the convention mingling with fans and taking part in judging the costume masquerade. The Voyage Home’s Ms. Hicks proved to be very popular at the convention as she has many cross over fans who enjoy her work in “Seventh Heaven“ and “Chucky.” For “Battlestar Galactica” fans you had two huge headliners with Edward James Olomos and Katee Sackoff. If you’re a fan of Hercules and Andromeda then you had Hercules/Captain Dylan Hunt himself; Mr. Kevin Sorbo who proved to be very popular with the ladies. For those of you who miss Stargate Atlantis; the lovely Ms. Torrie Higginson was also there. .

For the fan film lovers out there, “Starship Farrugat” made an appearance, showing their animated episode; “The Needs of the Many.” This episode had Chase Masterson and Tim Russ contributing their voice talents to the production. .

Also for “Firefly”/”Serenity” fans, there was a group promoting their film, which will debut in September at Dragon Con, called “Browncoats Redemption”. This group got the approval of Joss Whedon and all proceeds from the sales of the DVD will go to Joss Whedon’s favorite charities. From what I’ve seen of this film, it’s going to be quite good. .

Who can forget our favorite Klingons at the convention? This group has decided that they’re going to make a fan film from the Klingons point of view, which from the best of my knowledge hasn’t been done yet. From our conversation with them, they got inspired when they participated with the folks from “Star Trek Phase 2” as extras in one of their projects. .

Unfortunately, when you go to work, you can’t dress as your favorite superhero, “Star Trek” crewmember or “Star Wars” character on casual day. However, at a Sci Fi convention you can go all out, and many folks did. I saw some great costumes this year from a guy dressed in a classic “Battelstar Galactica” cylon outfit to “Star Wars” rebel alliance pilots, storm troopers, Klingons and many others. A SciFi convention is a great chance for your inner child to come out. It wouldn’t be a true convention without a costume contest. A very impressive werewolf costume was the first place winner. .

On day one I decided, this year I’m going to do my part and give blood. I should have had some pictures taken, because I had the unique experience of giving blood with two Klingons. Where else can this happen but at a con. That’s something very notable about Shore leave, although there are plenty of opportunities for vendors to make money selling memorabilia, there’s also an emphasis on raising money for charity. Through the efforts of many different groups; money was raised for great charities and the Red Cross benefited from both financial and blood donations. Shore leave definitely believes in paying it forward. .

Talking about charitable efforts, veteran novelist Michael Jan Friedman, who has written many Trek novels, was the sacrificial lamb at the charity roast. Audience members were warned ahead of time that material was going to be on the adult side, like the roasts on the Comedy Central. If you were ok with that, you got treated to the comedy talents of the various “Star Trek” novelists in attendance. One of the best parts was Kevin Dilmore’s “Captain Pike” (from the TOS episode the menagerie) t-shirt that would light up once for yes and twice for no. .

I heard it once said that SciFi fans are some of the most generous in the world. One cannot help but think that many of us are inspired by Gene Rodenberry to do what we can to make a better world and take the famous line from the “Star Trek” TOS episode “City On the Edge of Forever” seriously and state, “Let me help.” .

Fans were also treated to great sessions with the guests as well as some great panels to discuss just about everything in SciFi. Many of the Star Trek authors hosted these panels. .

Another thing that made Shore Leave special for me this year was that my wife and mother-in-law were able to attend. Both are huge SciFi fans so there was much for them to enjoy. My wife’s a huge BSG fan, so we made it a point of spending extra money and getting a professional photo with Edward James Olomos and Kattee Sackoff and then having each sign their autograph. .

There is so much more to say, but I‘ll leave you with this. I would strongly encourage you to support the smaller fan run conventions. The fan cons won’t get the William Shatners or Sir Patrick Stewarts of the world. However, they will still get quality guests and you’ll have a greater opportunity to enjoy some “face time” with the stars. .

I only have about eleven months to the next shore leave. I can’t wait. ‘Til then, live long and prosper, everybody.

Check out Miles on the SciFi Diner Podcast here.

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