By John Soltes / Editor in Chief
PARSIPPANY (Aug. 11, 2010) — Fanboys and fangirls unite! The official Star Trek convention is coming to New Jersey Aug. 13-15 and it promises to be an autograph and photo-op bonanza. Confirmed guests include a motley variety of actors from every era of the beloved sci-fi series.
George Takei from the original series will make an appearance Friday, Aug. 13, while Jeri Ryan (pictured) of "Star Trek: Voyager" will headline Sunday's festivities. The entire event is hosted by Creation Entertainment.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the door at the Hilton in Parsippany (25 minutes from South Bergen). Here's your one-stop guide to what promises to be a weekend of cultural fanaticism.
If you're looking to see and experience everything, consider saving some money and buy either a gold weekend or preferred weekend pass. The former is $369, while the latter is only $179. Both packages come with reserved seats in the main theater for all the Q&A sessions, contests and presentations. You'll also receive in-person autographs from all of the guests (except Takei, he has a separate ticket price), and be one of the first to meet the celebrities. At these types of events there are usually hundreds of spectators, so getting in early is always a good idea.
Gold attendees receive the added bonus of complimentary admissions to the Saturday night dessert and cocktail party, plus the Friday night Star Trek Rat Pack show. That's right, four of your favorite Stark Trek actors take the stage in their original cabaret-style show. The actors-turned-singers include Vaughn Armstrong, Jeffrey Combs, Casey Biggs and Armin Shimerman.
For those looking to save a few dollars, general admission is available on each day as well for the low price of $20 ($25 for Sunday).
Other guests confirmed to appear include Nana Visitor, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Phillips and Max Grodenchik. Everyone's autograph will cost you $20 each, except Takei who is $30 and Ryan who is the premier guest of the weekend at $55. Photo opportunities are also available at various price ranges as well.
Tons of merchandise will be available for sale, so bring your wallets and purses.
One neat highlight is that Richard Arnold will co-host the event with Gary Berman. Arnold served as the longtime assistant to Gene Roddenberry, the late genius behind the world of Star Trek.
If you're looking for some pointers, here are a few recommendations:
• Try to meet Takei and Ryan. They are genuine originals and, especially for Ryan, rare convention guests. Takei has seen a late-career resurgence with his iconic recurring role on NBC's "Heroes." Ryan, for those unfamiliar with the Star Trek universe, might remember her multi-year stint on TV's "Boston Public."
• Snag a ticket to the Friday night Rat Pack nightclub show. It promises to be a hoot and a half.
• Autographs and photo opportunities are great for keepsakes, but half the fun of these conventions (not just for Star Trek, but any convention) is the ability to spend a few hours with like-minded fans. Let everyone on the outside gripe and carp about conventions — they're missing out on a fun, harmless exercise in good people coming together to have a good time.
• If merchandise is in your cross-hairs, try the auction at 3:10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15. You might get the rarest gifts at the rarest price.
From the original series to "The Next Generation" to "Voyager," "Deep Space Nine" and "Enterprise," no matter where you jumped aboard the ship, the Star Trek convention will likely tickle you pink. Or, if you're a new fanatic, because of the successful J.J.-Abrams-helmed relaunch last summer, welcome aboard. Rewind your life a few years and enjoy a sci-fi phenomenon like you were a young, wide-eyed child again.
For more information, visit www.creationnet.com. (Look for The Leader's post-convention report next week!)
Call John at 201-438-8700