Go to Homepage  

Ladies and Klingons, Start Your Engines

...And she had a Rocket Launcher THIS big!

She did it to me again.

"What in Hades am I going to write for my May editorial?" my senior editor demanded.

I shrugged and took another bite of the really excellent Chicken Dijon I ordered for lunch. I mean, it's not that I don't care, but I'm just the assistant editor. The only way I do editorials is when I open my big mouth and commit verbal suicide.

A couple wandered by our table wearing twin t-shirts displaying the logo of a local Renaissance fair. My gray cells twitched and lumbered down a twisted mental path. Renaissance fairs. Costumes. Swords. Guys in tights -- and Star Trek officers and old '60's television stars… Bingo.

I opened my mouth and committed verbal suicide.

"Why not write about the coming convention season? You know, something like "Ladies and Klingons Start Your Engines -- it's time to break out your costumes and brush up on your role-playing..."

Jean Marie gave me a beatific smile. "Oh good. I like that. Have the editorial ready by tomorrow."

"But…but…I thought you wanted an idea."

"And it's a very good one." She smiled again. "Make sure you talk about celebrities. Readers always like to read about celebrities."

Celebrities? My confusion must've showed.

"Yes, celebrities," Jean Marie purred. "Tell the readers about the best way to connect with their favorite authors and stars at conventions."

She raised a languid hand and called for the dessert menu. I tried to think of something really scathing to say and decided that Jean Marie'd only decapitate me with a well-chosen and pithy comeback. So I finished my Chicken Dijon while I gave myself over to evil daydreams of preparing Editor ala Flambe.

By now you're asking yourself, is this woman ever going to get to the point and tell me how to meet a celebrity at a convention?

My answer?

I would if I knew.

Hey, I'm no different from the next woman. I love getting up close and personal with my favorite pieces of eyecandy...er, I mean actors from present and past television shows and movies. I adore meeting my favorite authors.

However, unlike my disgustingly svelte and young looking senior editor, I resemble a zaftig Scottish-Irish grandma who enjoys her cooking (and everyone else's) only too well. This is not an inducement for handsome male stars to rush to my side and begin cooing sweet nothings in my ear.

But, since I hate standing in lines, I've learned to use my native skill and cunning to spot celebs out of their natural convention habitat of autograph signings and panels.

You see that's the real trick. Recognizing Joe or Jill Famous when they're devouring a bacon cheeseburger and fries ain't as easy as you might think. That piece of parsley caught between their front teeth will throw you every time.

So while I don't have a magic formula for getting you in the celeb's hotel room, I can tell you the best places to find them in between-times.

First consider places where all con-goers and con-guests spend a lot of time. Start with the elevators. In fact, you probably already have. That distinguished older man you traded one-liners with? You should've looked at his convention badge. Well, well -- you just held a conversation with one of the stars of Lost in Space.

Better go buy yourself a drink to console yourself for that near miss. Do you see that fellow down at the other end of the bar encouraging bystanders to buy him a drink? Haven't you seen that face on the back of one of your favorite comedic fantasy novels? Join the crowd buying the man drinks. You never know -- he might take it in his head to go scuba diving in the nearest fountain…in evening clothes.

If you prefer caffeine comfort instead, watch out for the dapper British gentleman wheeling his luggage ahead of everyone else in line at the coffee shop. He's rushing to get his costume competition chores over with in time to take the last flight out of town. And he'll move those Klingons, Jedis, and various other fantastically garbed folks across the stage just as briskly. Don't feel bad if you don't recognize him right away, however. Just imagine his voice emerging from a gold metal mask, and you'll do fine.

Actors generally prove easier to spot than authors. Sometimes though, the brain refuses to connect the wild-haired man stomping/dancing on top of the bar tables with a former second banana from a defunct television fantasy show. Of course, the tie dangling just above his left ear could fool even the president of his fan club.

Sometimes the celebs find you. Especially if you look like my senior editor. Luckily for the one that was coming on to the Meanest Woman in Cyberspace, I was on hand. The MWIC is ferociously married, and the importunate star almost lost an arm. I was only following the first unwritten rule of faithful flunkydom -- thou shalt not permit thy senior editor to maim possible interview subjects.

MWIC claims the problem was the star's approach. Where she comes from (I think she mentioned the Planet Mongo) a gentleman simply does not grab a strange woman's cheek when she tries to offer him her hand. Especially if he hasn't first checked to see if she's hiding a rocket launcher behind her back. You gotta work up to moves like that carefully.

Clever pick-up lines help. The hands-down winner in that department came from DragonCon 1998, but not from a star:

"Fair lady, would you care to stroke my foaming leathern shaft?"

The leather tankard in question looked Celtic. The speaker was a Klingon.


Teri Smith

Click here to share your views.