Me and Chewie at Con-tamination 2012June 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in Conventions, Entertainment, Events, Movies, Sci-Fi, Star Trek, Television | Leave a comment
Tags: Peter Mayhew
June 15-17 was St. Louis’ 3rd annual horror, sci-fi, and pop culture convention called Con-tamination. This year the ever growing event featured Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew along with members of the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, and The Dark Empire costuming groups, plus the R2 Builders Group. I decided to attend this year and join in on the fun.
The event took place at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. It’s a pretty nice venue. The hotel itself is kind of cool looking. Out in front is a fancy fountain. The curved architecture of the building certainly gives it a dominating feel as you approach it. There is even a motion sensor, spinning door lock that opens into an entryway furnished with egg shell chairs that were a big hit with the kids. The location is also easy to get to. Since the convention is fairly small, parking was not an issue either.
Since this was my first time not only to the convention, but to any convention, I took my time at the service desk to get an idea of what was going on and where. The attendants running Con-tamination 2012 were super friendly and very helpful. I was there before the rush, so there were no lines. Once I was squared away, as fate would have it, the first thing I saw was R2-D2 strolling down the hall.
I was definitely in the right place.
My primary mission was to meet Peter Mayhew, but I got side tracked at the R2-D2 Builders Club table. They had some pamphlets and brochures on the club and a couple droids and robots on display, several of them in various stages of construction. The fully completed R2 looked awesome and was pretty zippy as it zoomed around.
For Lost in Space fans, they also had a replica of the robot from the show. Amusingly enough, the robot was never given a name though it’s type was called a Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot.
Roaming around the convention floor were also numerous members of the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, and The Dark Empire costuming group. It really adds to the show, and they’re always willing to pose for a photo. If you ever get the chance to support your local garrisons, be sure to do so because it’s always a lot of fun.
It was a surreal moment turning a corner and seeing the man himself, the mighty Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, just sitting there behind a table adorned with Chewie pictures. He was there with his wife who was very friendly. Peter signed a Star Wars poster for me and I took advantage of the celebrity photo-ops they had available at the show. Rather than just snapping your picture with the celebrities, you can opt to have a professional photographer take your picture. It was very cool, and I got to shake hands with a legend.
There is a lot more than Star Wars at Con-tamination and most of the convention is actually focused on horror, but there was plenty of sci-fi as well. Some of the other celebrities in attendance included Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) and Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster) from The Munsters; Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Star Trek: Enterprise, Voyager, Deep Space Nine); Linda Harrison who played Nova in The Planet of the Apes; Don Pedro Colley (THX-1138, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Dukes of Hazzard); Robert Z’dar (Maniac Cop, Tango & Cash); Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, The Devil’s Rejects); Michael Berryman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Hills Have Eyes, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, The Devil’s Rejects); and Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Commando, Weird Science).
Aside from the celebrities, there were lots of vendors selling shirts, movies, books, toys, and even bloody, wooden stakes. There were artists selling original works, and the side rooms included seminars, a haunted house, and various horror films you could watch. They even had the Munster mobile on display.
Being the book lover that I am, I was checking out one table with some books for sale. The person at the table mentioned that he had some books that he had written and asked if I liked space opera. Of course the answer was yes. We chatted a bit about his book, The Worker Prince, and I decided to get it. Then I noticed the name on the cover and alarm bells of recognition started going off.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat which interviewed author Paul S. Kemp a while back and I remembered the interview. We talked a little bit about Paul and his upcoming book The Hammer and the Blade. Bryan was nice enough to sign The Worker Prince for me and I’m pretty eager to dive into his book to see what it’s like. I’ll certainly be posting a review on the site, so keep your eyes open on our reviews page. Bryan was a really nice guy and I highly recommend stopping and talking with him if you get a chance. You can find out more about Bryan and his books on his official website.
Overall, Con-tamination 2012 was a lot of fun. It’s a small convention and has a nice personal feel to it. I liked the fact that it wasn’t crowded, there weren’t any long lines, and everyone was nice and helpful. It was a great experience and definitely worth checking out if you’re in the St. Louis area, like sci-fi and horror, and would like a chance to meet some celebrities.