This was the forth time I have attended this annual event and I have already signed on for next year!
I took several hundred pictures of this event with a Casio QV2900 digital camera and a selection of the best pictures have been included on this site.
Thanks to the American jounalist MaLinda Hill for permission to use her text on this site.
Bonn-Fed-Con gloriously celebrated its tenth anniversary. A record 18 guest stars participated in the annual convention held at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, Germany on the weekend of 10 May 2002. Fed-Con attracted more than 5,000 guests from all over the world including Australia, South Korea and the Former Soviet Union.
This year's convention was highly anticipated since the announcement of Avery Brooks's participation. Brooks, who rarely makes convention appearances, was well received as were his colleague, Nicole de Boer and Carolyn Seymour. New comer, Enterprise's Dominic Keating, who made his first mainland convention appearance, infused the visitors with new stories of the Enterprise saga. Walter Koenig and Barbara Luna represented Classic Trek. The fans of Voyager were given the royal treatment! Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill, Garret Wang and Manu Intiraymi were present. Unfortunately, no actor from Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared because of the constraints of filming Nemesis.
Star Trek was not the only science fiction series honoured. Battlestar Galactica veterans, Dirk Benedict, Richard Hatch and Herb Jefferson, Jr., were crowd pleasers. Richard Biggs of Babylon 5 was the surprise guest. Judson Scott, who is known for his roles in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and the mini-series V, appeared true to his characters-fit and lean. Erin Gray of Buck Rogers, Peter Williams of Stargate SG-1 (he replaced Teryl Rothery, who cancelled last minute) and the producer, Alan Eastman of Andromeda, rounded out the programme.
With such diversity, fans had little room for boredom. The various guests led to the dilemma of making hard choices: who to see, from whom to get an autograph, which raffle to play, and with whom to party as open invitations were given to convention guests from the stars. After three days of convention devotion, the complaint was that there were too many choices for Fed-Con's tenth anniversary celebration!
You will find additional text, from MaLinda Hill, next to the pictures of the actors on this site!
I have added additional text from her, in the Enterprise and Voyager pages!
© 2002: Peter Walker
At the Opening Ceremony, the stars presented themselves.
After the serious conversation with Beltran, Barbara Luna (Marlena Mooreau of Classic Trek) was able to lighten up the press conference. To the question, what she was doing, Luna replied, "I'm retired and being a lazy bum!" This got great laughs. "But seriously people, I've worked all my life since I was a small child. A few years back, I started on my second soup opera. Then I realized that I didn't need the stress. Why should I do forty pages of dialogue a day. So I quit and it was off to the beach for me!" The veteran actress has over five hundred theatre, and movie credits to her resume. Few convention fans realised that she sang the lead in A Chorus Line or guest starred in the series Buck Rogers.
Walter Koenig was not enjoying an early retirement. The youngest member of the Classic cast was working very diligently putting together an independent film. "I'm working with Robert Picardo and John DeLancie on a film entitled, Illegal Alien. We have a good script. We're casting right now. It is science fiction film with a small budget," he stated confidently. "We've also acquired the stage rights to Twilight Zone. I'll be directing the first two episodes." The veteran actor was in good spirits as he recited his programme for the upcoming year. Koenig was the special guest at the very first Fed-Con. Since then, he has visited Bonn no fewer than three times. He spoke about the changes over the years. "One thing that struck me ten years ago was that there was a translator. We had to wait for everything to be said in German. The translator got more laughs than I did. Now, it has changed. Everything is spoken in English and the people laugh at my jokes now without translation." Later, Koenig was to be found in the dealers' room. The gentleman allowed a small interview despite being on private time. The actor is an avid collector of Chekhov memorabilia. The only disadvantage to this is the rarity of finding an item with his picture on it. Hope springs eternal as Koenig scanned a publication hoping to find something. "All the things in this book, I just about have. Every once in a while, I'll come across something unusual. You know, back then, they didn't make much-not like today." He returned the magazine back to the vendor thanking him.
The subject turned to independent picture making. "If you have a product and it's good, then it will sell to the public. You don't necessarily have to have a big budget. Your film will become known and get distribution." Koenig continued, " This is the beauty of making an independent film. It also allows me to be personally involved with something I care for." His eyes twinkled as he made this statement. This isn't Koenig's first independent film. "You've seen Drawing Down the Moon's internet page," the actor smiled shyly and somewhat embarrassed. "Well, I did that film to help out the director. He's a martial arts fan, so it's a bit quirky. It has a good message though. And of course it was done on a small budget. If we're lucky it might make its money back."
Before Koenig went, he talked about his co-stars. "They're all doing well. Nichelle had a rough spot (her brother committed suicide several years ago), but is doing much better. Jim is recovering wel l (from pneumonia). Majel has two hit series. My family is doing well too." With that, Koenig parted as he was beginning to attract a crowd. He smiled and politely excused himself-a real gentleman.
After the opening ceremony, Avery Brooks, Captain Sisko of DS9, took the microphone. The applause, he drew, lasted several minutes as the flashing bulbs of cameras lighted the auditorium. The fans settled down. Brooks, who holds two honourary doctorates among his many citations, began to talk. His first concern of the evening was losing his prized collection of CD's on the aeroplane. "Does anyone here work for Lufthansa?" he inquired in his deep baritone. "I'd be so appreciative if you could get my CD's back. If not, someone will have some great music!" The captain's request became a command. Ten minutes later a Lufthansa employee appeared at the microphone offering her assistance to help find the missing CD's! Brooks was overjoyed at the prospects of receiving back his collection. The fans wasted little time getting acquainted with Brooks. The first question on the agenda was which character he favoured most. Brooks replied, "Hawk because I controlled him the most!" Actors have a need for artistic freedom. The character Hawk allowed this in contrast to Sisko, whose every move was watched by the producers. Brooks didn't deny the love/hate relationship he had with Captain Sisko. He had earned a reputation as being difficult because of the many responsibilities related to filming a series. After five years of doing the character, the actor was drained and wanted to quit. A conversation with his son averted his decision, "Why I didn't quit? Well, I was talking to my son about honesty, keeping one's word and integrity. I realised that if he were to take me seriously, I had to live up to the very principles I was talking about. I decided to stay because of my son and because of the contract that I signed." Brooks's response drew a round of applause. As the session continued, the inevitable questions on race were asked. One question inquired how the Black community received DS9 and science fiction. Brooks replied, "Science fiction belongs to us all-not just white or black. Knowledge belongs to everyone. Knowledge shouldn't be talked about in terms of race. It is impossible to play solely to African-Americans. I am a brown man playing a role which I hope speaks to everyone." Eloquence is Brooks's trademark. At the end of the convention, his bad boy image was replaced with that of a sage. Brooks even made a promise to return to Bonn and hold an autograph session for the European fans. He is a man of his word, and the fans are wise enough to be patient and wait.
Canadian, Nicole de Boer, was introduced not by MC Marc B. Lee, but with a trailer announcing her new series, Stephen Kings's: The Dead Zone, appearing on The USA Network. European fans watched enthusiastically for what would surely come to the Continent if the series becomes a hit. After the trailer, de Boer walked out on stage and greeted fans. The first thing de Boer did was to endear herself to the European public by stating that her grandfather was from the Netherlands. Her answer was greeted by shouts from her country people. Instead of talking about herself, de Boer open up the q and a session. Naturally, the first question was how she got the role of Dax. She laughed, "This is where I embarrassed myself big time. I got to the audition and the first thing I saw was Jerry Ryan getting out of a cart with the full Borg get-up on. She is like walking very borgish." de Boer imitated Ryan's slow sexy Borg walk using sound effects. "Shhew, chew, schew. I'm thinking to myself. Oh, my God! They don't want me. They want someone that looks like Jerry Ryan or Terry Farrell. Well, they call me into the office and tell me that its going to be a minute and if I want anything to drink. I'm like, sure I'll take some water. Ryan was in with the producers. So I go back outside and wait until their done. Ryan like walks out of the office. Shew, Chew, Schrew!" She does the Borg walk again and puts her hand on her hip to continue the story, "Then they call me into the office. I still got this water in my hand and take a swing as I go into the office. Now, the producers are sitting at the table looking at me and ready for me to do my reading. Just then the water goes down wrong! I like spit on Michael Piller and Brannon Braga! I have a coughing fit. Well, those guys were really cool. Asked me if I wanted to go to the bathroom. I'm dying of embarrassment and I run to the bathroom. Once there, I start looking for a window. Can't find one! I'm thinking, I'll never get this role because I just embarrassed myself and spat on the producers. Well, I pull myself together and do the audition. I got the role. Thank God there were no windows in that bathroom or I'd have left!" The crowd cheers upon hearing this. de Boer takes a bow thankful she had the good sense to stay for the audition. de Boer also spoke on her new series, "The series is just beginning. We have some really good storylines. It's about this guy who falls in love with his girl and then gets into an accident. His girlfriends, that's me, survives the accident while he stays in a coma for six years. When he wakes up, he finds that his wife has married someone else and is passing off their son as her new husband's child. It gets good because the main character touches people and can see the future. I hope it's a hit because it has Michael Piller, who is a good friend of mine, working on it."
Before de Boer left the stage, she told of how she didn't meet Patrick Stewart. "We all were invited to the Insurrection's premiere. Paramount rented this plane to take us all to Los Vegas. I got on the plane with my best friend looking for Patrick. My friend spots Patrick's head in first class. Well, I just about freak out, and I think to myself once we're in the air I can go meet him. Well, the steward comes by giving out champaign. My friend tells me to take one. Now, I don't want to drink because I get all sleepy, but I take it anyway 'cause she insisted. Then I have two drinks before me. My friend says she doesn't want to drink and I should have hers too. Well, I drink the champaign and everything is cool, but before I get a chance to get up we land. So I say to myself, I'll get him when we get to the theatre. Well, you know how premieres are. People are all around and talking to Patrick and I'm shy. So I say to myself I'll see him after the movie. In the movie, I'm sitting directly behind Marina and Brent. Patrick is about three seats over from them. The movie starts and I fall asleep! I wake up at the end! I'm so embarrassed because I can't tell Patrick anything about his movie. So we go to the party after the movie. Well, I'm running around asking where is Patrick. Oh, they say to me. He his doing the X-Men and had to go. I missed Patrick Stewart! So if you see him, please tell him I love and admire him and looking forward to seeing him some day." Although a neophyte speaker on the European convention circuit, de Boer proved to be a crowd pleaser when it came to telling tales.
The trio of Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang hammed it up at the press conference. Friendly banter passed among the actors until a reporter asked them if they had anything to share. McNeill shouted, "Robert has an announcement!" Beltran passed his hand over his chin thoughtfully and replied, "Well, I've been sober for a year." McNeill and Wang patted Beltran's back in congratulations. McNeill went for the jugular, "First, time you've been sober at a con, hmm. This could be interesting." Beltran toke the offense, "I've been sober at cons before!" Wang and McNeill give him a 'don't-fool-us-look.' The reporters were left wondering whether Beltran had a drinking problem or not. The European press was too polite to make an inquiry for greater detail. Wang showed that he was knowledgeable about German teams playing American Rules Football, "Well, I'm working on a script, and I've been training for the Rhine Fire. I think if I work hard enough, I'll make quarterback this year." Wang's comment left him open for a score by McNeill, "The only thing you've been doing are weights and ice skating. That's not getting you into the Rhine Fire try the Cologne Haie (Sharks)!" Wang confessed, "Okay, works been a bit slow what have you been doing?!"
McNeill, "Well, I directed episodes of Voyage and Dawson Creek. I'll be riding in the California AIDS Parade in June of this year." McNeill grinned broadly only to be usurped by Beltran. "Aside from being sober, I've been working on a PBS film. It is a quality role and is special to me." The word, quality, triggered a discussion about Beltran's relationship with the writers and producers. A reporter asked if the actor indeed called the show crappy insulting the powers that be. Beltran attempted to set the record straight, "First, what I said was misunderstood. I said that some of the scripts sucked. We would get some good scripts and some bad scripts. These bad scripts would lead to bad acting and a sucky show. I didn't say the show sucked as a whole rather that individual shows were of lessors quality." Beltran, a serious actor, stated what many of his fellow actors only thought: Voyager along with other Trek series lacked in many of its episodes the mark of quality for which it had been esteemed. Beltran received the reputation of not being a team player for speaking his mind. The actor was also disappointed in his role as an Indigenous Person, "My character had so much to offer. Unfortunately, the viewer never got to know him. This is a problem of poor writing and it happened a lot. I was very dissatisfied with the situation and I stated it." Star Trek is known for its diversity and acceptance of minorities and women. Unfortunately, Beltran found himself having to deal with Hollywood brass, who care little for the tenants of equality and who play to the lowest denominator. This was the lesson that Beltran learned, but which the public had little understanding.
Dominic Keating, who was attending his first European convention, coolly signed autographs. He was surprised that he hadn't been informed of the press conference. "I missed the press conference on Friday! Imagine that! I could have given my show a good plug! Well, I'm sorry I let you down, but no one told me," stated Keating apologetically in his British accent. Although he looked jet-lagged and appeared much thinner than his television persona, he was high energy. "Well, next time I'll be there and won't miss out! You know that Enterprise is the best series in the lot, don't you?! It isn't stuffy. The characters are very natural. It is a rather refreshing side of Star Trek." The actor shamelessly plugged his show while at the same time displaying his comedic side. Keating continued to sign autographs as he spoke about his craft. "Do I miss the theatre? Yes, I do. I miss performing every night and of course all my mates." Later on stage, Keating shared his fears with everyone about performing serious theatre. "I'm working on a science fiction series for Pete's sake! I thought to myself. I'll never play Gibson again! I'll have no future. No one will take me bloody seriously again.' Then the first check came in the mail. I looked at it and said Gibson Ibsen! Who cares about anyone taking me seriously as long as these checks keep coming! Now, I know what attracted quality British actors to the States- the check! Now, I can play all the golf I want! The check is in the mail!" The English stated born actor as he broke the British tabo of speaking about money and its perks.
The actor was not on stage for long when fans began showering him with gifts. Keating received a pineapple and thanked the fan generously. He proceeded to take the micky out of the situation. "You've seen that episode when the crew figured out my favourite food! I know you all have computers and down loaded it so don't shake your heads no!" Enterprise had yet to hit European market with the exception of England. The series had come to the Continent via the internet and a thriving black market. The actor continued, "Well, I tell you all something. I HATE pineapple! Since I was small, I couldn't look at them. I'll give this to UNICEF! It's big enough to feed a whole family for an entire day!" He sat the pineapple beside the other gifts he received. "Since that episode, I've a fan that sends me gifts and takes very good care of me. It was in the TV Guide that I was sick for a few days. The next week this fan sent me a case of chicken soup, tissues and pineapple juice! This fan is very sweet. You know what so nice about these cons? I get to meet the people, who send me these gifts." With those words, Keating signed an additional autograph and gave the fan an European kiss.
All Trek actors are asked, "How did you get the job?" Keating was well preppared, "My colleagues all told me that you'd ask me this question. My photograph was on Rick Berman's desk for three years! Can you believe that! It probably had tea stains and rubbish on it! I'm surprised that he could see my picture. I got the call. My girlfriend and I fly out to Los Angeles. I didn't know what to wear. I had seen a few of the episodes. All the actors are these big handsome blokes. I'm looking in the mirror at this short, thin man. So my girl says to me that I should wear black. I put on a black v-neck sweater with black trousers. To top off the look, I wore a pair of really cool black, new-age trainers. My girl looks at me and smiles. Very Star Trek she tells me sexily. I made it to the audition with only one side track, and here I am today." The actor took a self-assured bow.
Keating was full of stories. Once the crowd got him on a roll, he was unstoppable. "I was told that I should entertain with stories. Well, when I got the job of playing Malcolm, I wanted to change his name. In England, Malcolm is a very posh, stuffy name. There are even commercials on the telly with a Malcolm character that is very annoying. Malcolm sells cold medicine. All this changed when I read the American TV-Guide. Forget about the name issues! It stated that my character was suppose to be the first gay Star Trek character! Now mind you, the last character I had just played was a bi-sexual ghost. My girlfriend wasn't too thrilled about the trouble that caused."
The actor paused and gave an over-my-head-in-this-look. "I rang up Brannen Braga and told him what I read. Braga was very serious and stated that it was all going to be fabulous. He gave me all these statistics about the gay community. He stated that the Advocate was the largest publication in the gay community, and how this would increase Enterprise's ratings. I finally stated that I had nothing against gays, but it wasn't in my contract to play such a character. Braga burst into laughter. He was pulling my leg! There I was sweating trying to think up what I should tell my girl! So now whenever I'm late for work, I say I was trying to figure out what colour drapes to put up in Malcolm's quarters and how to style my mates' hair! Hey, if I'm to be known as the gay one, I might as well have a profession to go along with it-interior designing and hair styling!" The women in the audience breathed a sigh of relief while supporters of gay and lesbian rights moaned. "Now, hold on! Don't get upset about this. After all my character did get pregnant. Now, every gay male, who wants a family, dreams about that! Braga was right! We're giving the public what they want!"
Keating had warm words for his colleagues, "We had an immediate chemistry among us. It was an amazing moment when Scott finally came on board. I shake in my boots when I meet the cast from the earlier series. It is so much to live up to," stated the actor seriously. He continued, "My new colleagues are all a bunch of fun, but we get into trouble. The producers had a huge party. There was this open bar and we pinched a few bottles of Jack Daniels. I got home and Braga was on my answering machine stating that he needed to talk to me about something important. I went all panic. I thought they are going to sack us boys for pinching. I was paranoid thinking they even got us on video! Well, I don't ring back because I'm embarrassed. Five hours later, Braga rang again. He had urgency in his voice so I had to ring him back. I was very meek and asked what he wanted. I was still thinking about us pinching the JD. Well, Braga said that he knew I was on holiday, but could I come down to the studio to do some looping as an episode needed to be wrapped. At the next party, I told my new mates we had to be on our best behaviour! No more pinching JD as I've such a guilty conscience!"
Before Keating left the stage, he poised for pictures. When the applause failed to die down, he returned, took off his shirt and poised again! The crowd went wild over a topless Keating, who didn't resemble Schwarzennegger rather a thin version of Tiger Woods, one of Keating's golfing hero.
© 2002: Peter Walker