Chase in Oz

by Auntie Em

aka Linda Budde

Thanks to Kurt Preston, "the nicest Klingon", and loyal member of the fan club, for alerting me early in the year that Chase Masterson would be coming close to my home town! Sci-fi conventions in Wichita are few and far between. I probably e-mailed the promoter three times making sure Chase was confirmed for the fund-raiser "Galactic Odyssey - 98". My sis and I were the first ones to order tickets.

(This event was a fund-raiser for the Hereditary Neurological Disease Centre - specializing in Huntington Disease research.) "To conquer the uncertain future for our families struggling with Huntington Disease through care, research and support..."

The event was held in our downtown convention center. My sister Debbie, my daughter Stephanie, and I arrived when the doors opened at 10 am. I was told that Chase's plane had been delayed, and it might be some time before she arrived. Since it appeared that everything was set up for her arrival, we took our seats and listened to James Doohan's Q/A session. The front row seats were very close to the stage. (maybe 5 -6 ft). My daughter was sitting front row center, with Deb next to her. Since the attendance was very slim (sad to say), Jimmy took the informal approach and stood right next to Steph instead of on the stage. Obviously, she was this was the first convention she has ever been to in her life. Then something happened she will probably always remember. Jimmy took a side step to get closer to a fan that was asking a question, and stepped square on her left big toe. Now, mind you, this normally wouldn't be an issue. However, only last week, her horse had also stepped on that toe....stripping off the whole toenail, and lacerating the nail bed. She has some stitches in it, and it was the first day she had worn a shoe all week. Gladly, Jimmy had no idea what he had done, and Steph was tactful enough to only double over in pain quietly - so nobody knew. Afterwards, we all sort of laughed about it.... because we thought it would be a good story for her to tell her friends.

After a short break to browse at the dealerís tables, Richard Biggs came on stage. I'm sorry I didn't take notes for you B5 fans.... I was just so excited for Chase to be there, I kind of spaced it off. However, I do remember he had a very lively Q/A period, and was very polite to everyone. Of course, we wouldn't have any rude people in Kansas for him to be rude back too, right????

Finally they announced Chase, and she arrived on stage wearing a black skirt and shimmery green top. Very usual. She probably had the best Q/A period of all. It seemed some of the questions were different than those she usually gets. Perhaps it was because more people have heard about her movie and seen her on Sci-Fi Entertainment. She actually didn't get the "What's it like to kiss a Ferengi" question! As usual, Chase signed for everyone there. It was close to 6 p.m. when we gathered up what was left of her pictures, and sent her on her way to the hotel for the evenings festivities.

(Although I was busy at Chaseís table, I know that after Chase spoke, there were some auctions held, and a Q/A session with the "Men Behind the Mask" - - Kenny Baker, Jeremy Bullock & Peter Mayhew.)

After a mad dash to my sisís house to change clothes, we were back at the hotel for the eveningís festivities... "Black Tie of the Future". Chase was already there, dressed and beautiful.... moving from table to table and saying hello to everyone. After a light buffet, the entertainment began. Our Air Capital Jazz Band played throughout the evening. We had a country western dance demonstration, a disco rendition of Star Trek, a Men in Black "moon walk", auctions, a raffle for an all expense paid trip to Paramount Studios for a tour of the DS9 and Voyager sets, and a costume contest. The highlight of the entertainment however, was when someone donated $150 to hear Chase sing. She sang "It had to be you" with the jazz band as people danced. What a beautiful job she did as well! Later in the evening, my son Josh and his girlfriend Ellyn showed up. Ellyn wanted to meet Peter, Jeremy and Kenny. We went over to their table, and Kenny Baker kept telling Ellyn she was the most gorgeous thing he ever saw. She was quite flattered, and Josh just grinned from ear to ear.

Things wrapped up around midnight. (Ya know, thatís our bedtime here in Kansas...... hehe). Chase said her good-byes and went to her room for some well deserved rest.

I would say the only disappointment of the day was that Nana Visitor canceled due to an illness. However, some good did come of it. Because Nana was ill, she also had to cancel her appearance for Tulsa the next day, and Chase was asked to appear in her place. Since Tulsa was a short drive from Wichita, I had the honor of chauffeuring Chase to Tulsa Sunday morning.

Sunday morning, after a couple phone calls to Mike Davis to help get things set up and ready in Tulsa, we were on our way. Iím afraid the drive wasnít very scenic... but Chase didnít seem to mind. We arrived in Tulsa right after lunch, just in time to start signing autographs. A couple of Klingons met us at the door, escorted us to her table, and within a few seconds people were flooding to her autograph line.

Although I didnít have the pleasure of hearing Chase speak, I could hear lots of applause and laughter when Chase went on stage mid afternoon. (Mike and I were moving her table backstage, where a row by row line would be formed). When she got back at her table, there was a line of fans so far back we couldnít see the end. Although dealers were packing up, and the convention was winding down, Chase wouldnít let her fans go home empty-handed. She stayed until she had visited with and signed for everyone that waited in her line.

After packing things up, we headed for the Embassy Suites. Fan club members and helpers from the day met at the hotel restaurant for drinks and dinner with Chase. Chase delighted the group with some funny stories, and a good time was had by all. A friend of Chaseís, Grady Nichols, a local Fox executive and talented musician, was the recipient of much teasing. He was craving cold cereal. So we had a lot of fun joking around with him when the waitress brought him out a huge family size serving bowl full of Fruit Loops. He ate almost the whole thing..... with a side of toast.

Too soon, it was time to call it a night. After some hugs and "see ya next times"... Chase retired for an early flight home.

Thanks, Chase, for a wonderful weekend. I look forward to seeing you next time around!

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