Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Pre-Apocalyptic "Star Trek: Las Vegas"

Besides my father's e-mail [post below], I've been exchanging a flurry of e-mails with pals about this August's World's Largest Star Trek Convention I'm going to, in Las Vegas.
[NB: For those of you who were hoping I was done with ST, there's a nice photo of Jack Kerouac at the end, if you like that better.]

I decided to cut and paste my e-mails together, here, starting with S's comment:

Stefalala writes: Vegas, along with Gary, Indiana, and the petro-industrial area of northern New Jersey, are my U.S.-ian visions of hell-on-earth!!
However, I could understand the excitement and mystique for you of attending the major Trekkie convention there, since so much of Vegas appears as a mega t. v. or movie set!

Fresca: You hit the nail on the head--Las Vegas is perfect for a Star Trek con because the whole place is pretend--a giant TV stage indeed!
Great point.

I've never been there, but Vegas strikes me as THE pinnacle of pre-apocalyptic culture.
I'm eager to see it before it's gone, you know, and write about it--this impossible city.

It's the sort of place we'll be telling tales about round the fire, post-apocalypse, like in Road Warrior:
"Once, people flew in giant machines to a city in the desert, where there was no night or day, to play games of chance they knew they would lose."

To me (and many others), one of ST's big appeals is that it says, "Another World Is Possible"
--(to borrow the slogan of the World Social Forum--the antiglobalization folks who meet at the same time as the G8, you know. Their 2009 meeting is January 27 - February 1, 2009 in Belem, Para, Brazil. Maybe I should go to that too?)--
yet LV is entirely rooted in the old, unsustainable world.

So: five days in the heart of the beast...petro-dollar hell...celebrating the possibility of a better world in the future--how deliciously ironic!
How fun!

Sister expressed concern that LV will be unbearably hot in August.

I responded:
I will stay in the same hotel the conference is in, as will most attendees (part of the fun, I gather), so I will NEVER GO OUTSIDE.
Weather will not matter.

I harbor a hope that I can find a Klingon to marry in a ceremony performed by an Elvis impersonator. Maybe I'd have to go outside for that? I'd do it.

And guess what?
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) will be there, and I intend to cough up the forty bucks they charge to get your portrait taken with her.

Nimoy (Spock) will be there too, and that portrait's $70, but for some reason the idea of getting my pic taken with Uhura appeals to me even more.
What the hell--why not both?
This will not be a cheap outing, let me tell you, so why not spring for all the goodies? Do you want a mug?

It's all ridiculously expensive (one word: plastic) but my little heart sings at the very thought of going.

Anyway, it's not just the stars I want to see (hardly any of my beloved TOS cast will even be there), it's the whole phenomenon.
How insanely, bizzarely American can you get? 

And also how hopeful? Star Trek offers a vision of a society where you are not judged by your outer self but by your ideas.
(You know, Sci-Fi cons in general are famous for attracting the "losers" of our society: the fat, the disabled, the autistic, the gender- and otherwise-othered, the geeks, etc. In other words, the people who brought us the Internet.)

What's funny is the role blogging plays in this all for me:
It's like a permission slip to go where I normally would not go.
When in doubt or fear, I think, 
"I should do this so I can blog about it."

I read in a New Yorker article "Drive, He Wrote" that Jack Kerouac (left) did things (like drive cross country) so that he could write about them, not the other way round.

Some people think this is turned-around thinking, but I don't see why raw lived experience should be "better" or more "pure" than that same experience transformed.

My big concern now is what to wear?


jspad said...

I would think your wardrobe decision is really about which generation uniform to wear, no? ;)

momo said...

This sounds like so much fun. I went to Las Vegas once, for an Arthur Murray ballroom dance competition. This was before Dancing with the Stars and all those shows made ballroom visible to the non-dancing world. It involved costumes, an elaborate subculture, and watching the group I was with drink from the moment we got on the plane to the moment we got off the return flight. During the four days there I don't think we left the hotel complex more than once. I was the only one that didn't gamble. We had an Egyptian themed party (more costumes) and danced from 8 AM to 1AM for days. It was hideously expensive and incredibly entertaining. Oh, and we rode the roller coaster.

Go to Bellagio.

fresca said...

Ooooh, yes, Mom--that's all what I expect to find for ST too. So silly!

My "generation" is TOS, all the way! But how to symbolize that?

fresca said...

P.S. I meant "Momo," of course.
P.P.S. Anyone wanna come along?!?!