Slanted Fedora convention, September 19-21, 2003, in Kansas City, MO.

I am writing this review in a way that is much different from last year's, which fits in with the theme of change.

Originally planned for April, it was delayed at the very last minute, finally arriving almost half a year later, with a completely changed guest list. In fact, the guest list changed on an almost-daily basis!

I had paid for my ticket by money order very early on, and received a note back in the mail confirming receipt, postmarked back in January. As a "just in case" measure, I brought that note with me, which is a good thing - somehow, they lost my registration. If I had not brought this receipt, I would have been screwed.

Dave made it right, though. I ended up with a seat in the 4th row back, and my dinner theatre table was the VIP table right up at the stage.

The guests this year were: Carolyn Seymour, Jason Carter, Todd Bryant, Spice Williams, Alan Ruck, Tony Amendola, Julie Benz, John Kassir, Grace Lee Whitney, and Rene Auberjonois. (Each person's name in blue there is a link to the autographs for that person)

Friday, I was in a very lousy mood because of the ticket thing ... I asked Dave about the "unannounced guests", as he usually has half a dozen (such as last year's Borg Twins, Q2, Stewart Moss, Herb Jefferson, etc), but this year there were none. I was actually ready to leave that night, forget the money I had already spent on motel and convention etc etc. I am SO glad I did not.

Here are a few bits and pieces from some of the guests, it will help explain why Saturday was a much better day. :)

Carolyn Seymour

Early in her career in England, she had to learn to be a stripper. She went to learn from a stripper named Maureen, who was not what you'd think of as a stripper ... She was quite a large ("round") woman with bad teeth, greasy hair, quite frumpy. When she started to strip, though, she became a thing of beauty; the way she moved her hips, etc. As thin as she was, Carolyn couldn't move in such a way, but after a week, she finally learned. She went in for this program in which she was supposed to play a stripper. Unfortunately, they didn't dress her in the "stripper" way ... She had a Hula skirt made of tin foil and shoes that were 4 inches high. It was a "nightmare", but she did it.

She then told us a story of another stripper role, for a Monty Python movie. "If you're going to work with Monty Python, you really shouldn't do it in the nude."

Other quotes ...

On nudity on American television - "God forbid a pubic hair be shown."

On the difference between American and British television - "The English have no morals!"

On the French - "If we're going to have freedom of speech, we must allow others to have freedom as well."

Did you know ... Carolyn was up for the role of Abby's mom on ER. It was originally given to Sally Field, but she wasn't going to be able to do it because of her schedule. Carolyn went in and suddenly Sally was available again, so she lost the part. :(

Jason Carter

Quote, re: jms and lunch: "He would see me fighting politics with Bruce Boxleitner, who is slightly to the right of Genghis Khan ..."

On poetry - "Insurance is always the best policy, but lying is generally cheaper."

On conventions - "The only character I play is myself, and I'm not very good at it."

While recording commentary for the Season 4 dvds, Doug Netter called Jasson into his office and told him the studio is thrilled and shocked by the response to the sales of the series. They are looking into making new Babylon 5, and wanted to know if Jason would be interested in reprising his role as Marcus!


Saturday night at 7 pm was the "Meet and Greet Dinner with the Stars". For an hour, we had dinner (really bad pasta with tomato sauce, in a quantity that would fit in the palm of a average person's hand - in other words, bad, and not much of it) while the stars would walk around to each table and meet the fans, take pictures, etc. You can see pix of the convention including me with some of the stars on this page.

After the dinner, at 8 pm, Alan Ruck took the stage to do a reading of "The SantaLand Diaries". Robbie McNeil was supposed to be doing the reading, but was unable to make it due to another commitment. (A friend and mentor of his passed away and that person's mentor had asked him to be one of the paul bearers)

The SantaLand Diaries, by David Sedaris, is a one-man show based on a job David had taken in his 30s, as an Elf at Macy's during christmas season. It's also one of the funniest plays I've seen. You can order the script at for $5.95 if you're interested, but I don't think it would have the "oomph" of seeing it performed live.

At 9 pm, Klingon Karaoke started. It was hosted by, of course, the Klingons (Spice Williams and Todd Bryant from Star Trek V). Again, pictures are on the page I listed above.

A few memories of the evening:

Tony Amendola, aka Bra'Tac, doing "I Love Rock N Roll" .. There was just something oh-so-wrong about that.

I shared a table with John Kassir (the CryptKeeper) and his wife Julie Benz (Darla of Buffy & Angel) ... While sharing drinks with them (iced tea, thank you very much), a very drunk Jason Carter (Marcus Cole), Carolyn Seymour, and Todd Bryant took turns spanking Spice Williams while Tony was singing. I don't remember what song he was doing ... It was just an ... unusual moment. Something about sitting with Darla and the CryptKeeper (who is also Buster Bunny - I don't even pretend to stop giggling at that) while klingons were spanking each other ... just reminded me that I don't live what most would consider to be a "normal life".

At another point in the evening, Todd, Jason, and Dave shared imaginary pot "hits" (again, imaginary, as in there was just air between their fingers, they were acting, folks) while Tony and Spice sang "Hotel California".


On Sunday, Rene and Grace Lee came in. Rene talked about his work since DS9, which has been mostly voiceover (cartoon) work. He's been in the Mummy, he's playing a Showlin Master, and others. Grace Lee talked about her alcoholism, and why she was fired halfway through the first season of the original series. It's all chronicled in her book The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy. She talked about her drug and alcohol use and abuse, and how she finally was able to beat it. She's been sober for 23 years now (I think that's what she said, it may have been 28 years), and now attends AA meetings with others, offering support. She visits prisons and does readings from her book, and does her best to help others kick their habit.

After writing her book, she asked Harlan Ellison to read it and give her his honest opinion of it. They dated for quite some time, and are the best of friends. He said he was sorry, but he wouldn't do it; when she asked why, he said that he loved her and could not lie to her. If he didn't like it, he'd have to tell her so, and why, and he didn't want to do that to her, he would rather not take that chance. She called up Leonard Nimoy and asked him to do it. Leonard told her to send it on over. She sent the manuscript over that day.

She called him sometime later (next day, next week, something like that, I can't read my notes!) and asked what he thought. He told her he loved it and had already written a foreward for it. You'll just have to pick up the book to read that foreward (it's quite lovely, btw). Shatner also gave her a blurb on the back cover. *shrug*

All in all, I had a blast, and can't wait for April, when I get to do it all over again. :)

Please come and share your stories in my Convention Message Board.