Trekkies

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Trekkies, a film by Roger Nygard (Warped, Back to Back), is another Saturday Night Special, that rare and wonderful movie that will look as good from your sofa as up on the big screen. See it or rent it. It’s a very well made and crisply edited documentary about some of the nuttiest people on the planet. I am talking about Earth, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it looking at the subjects of Nygard’s film: Trekkies, that is people for whom Star Trek was only briefly a television show before it became life itself.

Trekkies dress like Star Trek characters, talk like Star Trek characters, think like Star Trek characters. They probably believe they have been beamed up into the bodies of Kirk or Spock or Janeway or some side character that appeared for twenty seconds in Episode Seventy-One.

There is a Trekkie convention trail, and that is where most of the film footage was gathered. People in blue faces and Klingon masks say things like: "Hi. My name is John. My Klingon name is Glak." There is a lengthy interview with Barbara Adams, the woman from Arkansas who wore her Starfleet Commanding Officer’s uniform every day when she sat on the Whitewater jury. We meet Denis Bourguignon, the Trekkie Dentist. His wife and two children are just as crazy as he is. We see his dental office in Orlando, Florida: Starbase Dental. Even the hygienists are dressed like Vulcans. His patients must think he’s only kidding.

The most important event at a Star Trek convention is the auctioning off of obscure memorabilia. A shirt Captain Kirk wore in Episode Twenty-Seven sells for a thousand dollars. A grubby little putty mask that you put on your forehead to make you look like a Klingon brings $1,300. "I wasn’t leaving here today without that mask," exults the man who buys it.

Then there is the matter of the Q Virus. It appears there is a character in the show called Q. The actor who plays Q came to one of the conventions as a guest speaker. He and all other actors from Star Trek TV or films are placed on the level of Old Testament prophets at these conventions, so Q, although ill with the flu, didn’t feel he could cancel his appearance. Quite sick, he trooped up onto the stage with a glass of water to aid his ailing throat. Midway through his appearance he had a coughing spasm, and had to turn and spit into the glass he was holding. Sit down, you won’t believe this next part. They then auctioned off the glass. A person in the audience bid $60 for it, ran up onto stage and immediately drank what was in it. "I’ve got the Q Virus, I’ve got the Q Virus," he chortled happily.

Your mouth will remain wide open for most of this film, when you aren’t belly laughing. You’ll be amazed at Laurel and David Greenstein and their poodle. The Klingon Miniature Golf Tournament and Mating Ritual will astonish you. You won’t believe the Vulcan matching towel set. And you will rub your eyes in absolute disbelief at the town of Riverside, Iowa. Captain Kirk mentioned in one episode that he was born in Iowa, so Riverside decided they would be his birthplace. The problem is he won’t be born for another 200 years. So they now have a thriving tourist industry based on the huge sign they erected at the outskirts of town that reads: FUTURE BIRTHPLACE OF CAPTAIN KIRK: 2287 A.D.!

Weird, weird, weird. But Star Trek is our 20th Century mythology. Trekkies are no stranger than Deadheads or followers of Sri Upanishad or Martha Stewart. There are just more of them. Sit down on the sofa and watch Trekkies. You won’t believe your eyes.

– DAK

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