Category Archives: SF Ball

SF BALL 23 – Review, Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek Interviews

This year we were delighted to experience a bit more of what the SF Ball has to offer. Having previously only been able to attend for a day, new ticket options meant we were able to experience the much talked about Saturday night cabaret.

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It also allowed us to immerse ourselves in a different type of convention. We are admittedly more accustom to large scale events and some purely fan led events. We feel the SF Ball sits in it’s own special category. As the Borg would say “It is unique”. The organisers are clearly fans, of that, there is no doubt. But there is a professionalism and reputation (from both customers and the talent) which has made this event last for over two decades. There’s a passion for the event’s success, it’s value and for the charity it seeks to raise money for – The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Many have told us that it is the last ‘traditional fan led convention’. Where fans would take over a hotel for a weekend, play games, watch episodes and geek out together.

We got the vibe that this was more of a social experience (we LIKE this!). At large conventions our feet do not touch the ground, we run from stage to stage to photo ops to autograph queues then bar queues! And we love those style conventions, we see lots of guest stars in one place, we get to see them interact with each other etc (we LOVE this too!). But we also loved the chilled out nature of the SF Ball. It’s not manic, the Grand Harbour Hotel is a superb venue. And we totally abused the 25% discount at the bar (remarkably that included Champagne so we probably ruined that!)

The Ball

We set off Saturday afternoon to give ourselves plenty of time to get ready, chill out and get ready, plus celebrate Carole’s engagement and Sarah’s birthday before we went down. We live in the town next to Southampton, so not a long drive but it took us nearly two hours. An hour was spent in traffic within viewing sight of the hotel!

Our hotel room was spacious with a view of cruise ships. We’d 100% recommend staying here. But we always recommend staying in the event hotel for any convention…unless it’s particularly horrendous!

We head to the bar and catchup with friends. We love that where ever we go in the world we always see similar friendly faces.
The theme for the ball that evening was Game of Thrones. Only Carole has earned that geek card though. The room was dressed in a winter theme (winter is coming btw).

After a delicious three course meal, Chris Barrie (Rimmer, Red Dwarf + Mr Brittas, The Brittas Empire) takes the stage and delivers the cabaret, telling anecdotes from his time of Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire and Spitting Image.

Then its party time! The dance floor comes out, the bubbles start flowing and we’re free to mingle with the guests. At the bar we had a lovely chat with Patti Yasutake who is honestly the sweetest person. We were kindly given the opportunity to interview Chris Barrie but we politely declined as we are only  Star Trek bloggers and didn’t want to waste his time even though we’d love to chat to him. But, the beauty of the Ball means even though there are fewer guest stars, you have the opportunity to have a more intimate experience with them. So we plucked up the courage and bought Chris a drink! He was a real gent and chatted away to us about his time on TV and everything else!

The rest of the night was purely geek heaven. Chatting away with Larry Nemecek and Andrew (one of the SF Ball Organisers) about everything Star Trek, including a thorough discussion on how Spot got from Data’s quarters to the Cargo bay in Generations. This opened up a minefield of other debatables such as where is Data’s quarters? Andrew thought they were in the drive section. But a tweet out gave the response they were on deck 2. But that’s right under the bridge!? There’s no windows so it’s got to be in the middle somewhere? Answers on a postcard to Utopia Planitia please.

We called it a night at silly o’clock in the morning which was silly as we wanted to be up for Larry’s talk at 10am. We made it….just!

Larry Nemecek

Larry gave an all encompassing look at the 50 year phenomenon that is Star Trek and spoke more in depth on the fan favourite subjects such as Fan Films (looking at you Axanar!) and Discovery. Larry is able to provide a unique insight to life behind the scenes on Star Trek. If you’re ever at a convention and he is a guest, be sure to say ‘hi’. He is super approachable, always has cool stuff to show you and even sell you. Larry is also married to Janet Nemecek who worked as a script coordinator on Voyager and First Contact. Janet often attends with Larry and is a joy to talk too. If you find getting to conventions difficult then you need to check out Portal 47, a monthly ‘mini con’ where you can hear all Larry’s stories, ask questions and talk to guest stars.

Straight after Larry’s talk we headed up to the posh suite on the top floor to interview him. Which was funny because we have had the privilege of spending lots of time Larry and we have never got round to doing a video interview. It was conducted at warp speed!

Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake

The talk with Gates McFadden and Patti Yasutake was one we had been looking forward to and we weren’t disappointed. One thing we have always appreciated about Star Trek is how it portraits the ‘lower ranks’. Ok lets put the red shirts aside for this. In TNG we saw how much the senior crew respected those who served under them. From what we have observed this relationship seems to be mirrored between the actors and the crew. There’s a line in Time’s Arrow when Data tells Guinan that ‘served together on a starship”. The language indicates equality and respect for Guinans job and function on the Enterprise.

Nurse Ogawa was one of the first regulars we recall . Her developing relationship with Dr Crusher over the series allowed us a brief insight into the personal lives of the crew. It gave the Enterprise more depth and community. … Ok we were chuffed as Tribble to see them both together!

Whilst Gates and Patti took the time to answer many audience questions it also felt like we were able to enjoy the company of two friends catching up. They had a great report sharing anecdotes of their time on TNG. We even learned some new things!:

After the talk we were ushered into the posh suite again where we teamed up with our friend Jon from Visionary Trek to chat with Gates and Patti who were an absolute joy!

We owe a massive thanks to Andrew for holding the Camera this long!

We spent the rest of the event checking out the vendors, catching up and drinking the bar dry…of Diet Coke and Earl Grey Tea!

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening and day. Stay tuned to see our interview with the SF Ball Team for more insights into this fab event.

Highlights: Seeing Gates and Patti together and thanking them for being role models.

+ Seeing fans do extraordinary things to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Charity such as shaving their heads and Neil Carpenter who is committing to run 1701 miles this year! 

SF Ball 3-5 Feb Southampton with Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek

It’s approaching February which means time for the fabulous SF Ball! Despite being right in our backyard – The Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton 3-5th February –  it’s always the hardest for us to attend!

But this year will be there on the Sunday (Carole and Sarah for sure. Sam, if she hasn’t left on her away mission!)

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And with a Trektastic lineup it’s not one we want to miss.

We were sold when they announced Gates McFadden (Dr Beverley Crusher) but then they announced her number one Patti Yasutake (Nurse Alyssa Ogawa).

Then for added Trek-goodness our friend Larry Nemecek (Trek Continues, Trekland, Portal 47, Trek know-it-all) is also in attendance. He is a must see for for enthusiasts who enjoy hearing all about behind-the-scenes stories.

If you’re a fan of the new Star Trek films you’ll want to meet Dave Freeman who is the Concept artist for the movies.

Best bit? The SF ball is a Not-For-Profit organisation run by unpaid volunteers who donate money raised to the Teenage Charity Trust.

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Continue reading SF Ball 3-5 Feb Southampton with Gates McFadden, Patti Yasutake and Larry Nemecek

SFBall 2016

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The weekend 5th-7th February 2016 marked the 22nd SF Ball at the familiar venue of the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton. Guests of “Trek interest” were Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong of the incredible Enterprise Blues Band, and Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer of Enterprise fame.

Unfortunately we were a Trekkie Girl down as Sam had been hospitalised with suspected appendicitis! But the show had to go on, so Carole and I hot-footed it over to Southampton!

A beautiful sight to behold, the ever-expanding bridge of the USS Riker’s Beard welcomed us aboard – we even met their Captain – as well as the lovely guys from the Manchester based USS Phoenix.

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As ever the atmosphere was electric, and the costumes were top-notch! In particular the three Daleks were absolutely faultless and quite frankly scared the bejeezus out of me! Clearly Carole didn’t feel the same way…

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The talks as always were fascinating and at times absolutely hilarious. The highlights being Vaughn and Casey serenading us, and Dominic being somewhat heckled for talking about football in front of a crowd of Sci-Fi geeks…

The real “pinch-me” moment came when we entered the Carver Suite to be welcomed by the aforementioned four Trek actors! Connor Trinneer is HOT!!! What followed is probably the most highly unprofessional attempt at an interview ever, that quickly descended in to total madness at the whole TiT/TiTtie explanation – the guys were pretty much lost to us at that point – but I think you’ll agree it’s highly entertaining nonetheless…

(Apologies for the break up and difference in quality at the end, we waffled on for so long, my phone ran out of memory! Thank goodness for Mike, who captured our sign off on his phone?! Although I think the lens was still covered in tea personally…)

(I really must apologise to both Carole and Vaughn as I seem to have whipped them both with my new-movie-Uhura-esq ponytail on more than one occasion?!)

I must take this opportunity once again to say a HUGE thank you to Mike and Jon from Visionary Trek, for all their help and support, we literally couldn’t have done it without you! We love you guys…

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As always, a fantastic job by B, Annie and the whole SFBEvents team! Roll-on SFBall23, the Trekkie Girls will definitely be there, with bells on, and who knows, maybe all three of us will make it next year?!

Jonathan Frakes who…

Look out for the interview coming soon….

(P.S. The Casey Biggs bottomed pinching happened off camera, but I swear to you it totally DID happen, with Carole, Vaughn, Dominic and Connor as my witnesses!)

SF Ball Southampton -New Lineup

With just under two weeks to go until the hotly anticipated SF Ball at the Grand Harbour hotel Southampton, some changes have been made to the lineup. We were starting to get slightly optimistic that Jonathan Frakes might actually attend but it wasn’t to be. Instead the hilarious and gorgeous Dominic Keating and Conner Trinneer from Star Trek Enterprise have stepped up to add to this Trektastic lineup that also includes Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong.

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Casey Biggs has spoken to organisers at SFB towers and said;

“We are very excited to be able to attend and perform for everyone at the Ball this year. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is still so strong in the minds of Star Trek fans that it’s always rewarding to be able to meet and chat about the magical world of Star Trek.”

Casey Biggs will be attending the entire weekend as well as performing as part of a special Star Trek cabaret.

 

Not only does the SF Ball offer the usual talks, autographs and photoshoots but there are workshops, an exhibition hall, models, merchandise, costumes and not to mention the wonderful Star Trek sets by the USS Riker’s Beard. All of this is done in the pursuit to raise as much funding towards the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Tickets are selling fast but can be booked online. For more info, tickets and itinerary check out the SFB Events website.

See you there!

 

Happy New Year and the big 5-0!

We wish you a Trektastic 2016 and what a year we have ahead of us. It’s astonishing to think this TV and movie series has gripped our planets attention for half a century. It makes us feel so young!

We were going to write up a review about 2015 but like our spandex loving crewmates, we can’t help but look forward into the future.

Instead, here is what we have planned and our looking forward to in 2016.

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SF Ball. 5th – 7th February. Grand Harbour Hotel, SouthamptonScreen Shot 2016-01-01 at 18.56.55.png

Trek guests include Jonathan Frakes, Vaughn Armstrong and  Casey ‘For Cardassia’ Biggs. If you haven’t already it worked it out…. That means the Enterprise Blues Band will also be performing! (Wonder if Frakes can actually play the Trombone?)

Star Trek Beyond – 22nd July

Like we did before with Star Trek Into Darkness we’ll be following all developments leading up to the release of the movie… and Beyond! *groans*. But we don’t like to see or spread leaks, so just official stuff and own opinions from us!

London Film and Comic Con 29th – 31st July. Olympia, London

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The biggest show in town….and the Country! These have been getting seriously star studded lately and we want to see how Showmasters are going to top last years, if at all possible. No Trek guests have been announced but so close to the release of Beyond means it will be great to meet up with our fellow Trekkies and discuss every element of the film.

The Official Star Trek Convention 3rd – 7th August. Rio All Suites Hotel, Las Vegas

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This one makes us squeal like a Tribble!! Hotels are booked and first contact has been made with organisers. We haven’t been to the famous Vegas con since it was at the Hilton. Reporting live from STLV50 is set to be one of our biggest highlights.

New Series – January 2017

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Throughout the year StarTrek.com are going to drip feed us information and we’re going to beg for more!! Remember, we’re not a news site but we love snooping around, asking questions and speculating.

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What else??

  • We are upping our game this year with a plan to bring monthly live episodes via Periscope as well as our normal Trekkie Girls episodes on YouTube.
  • We’ll also be watching Destination Star Trek like a hawk. If they make any sound regarding the possibility of another event in the UK or Europe, we’ll be all over it like Kirk and a green girl! Remember our clues we posted last year hinting they might be back??

SF Ball 21

On Saturday we packed up ready for the SF Ball in it’s new home at the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton. Carole had to work so I took Sarah, our Trekkie In Training, along.

Because of new baby, we couldn’t stay along as we wanted (like, all weekend!) so this review isn’t as thorough as we’d like however we wanted to make an effort and see what we could of the Ball after hearing so much praise.

We have been to all sorts of conventions, some are massive signing events, some are like a small gathering of friends, others are like drunken nights at Quarks. From what we saw of the SF Ball, it is a mixture of everything.

Continue reading SF Ball 21