Tim Russ at Deepcon, Italy, March 6-9, 2003
(report by Maria Nausch)
First: I love Italy, I do speak a bit Italian, and I have been to Italian conventions before - just not recently. Once I arrived in Rome I realized how much I had missed this wonderful country, and I wondered why I had not returned there sooner. I had almost forgotten just how beautiful it is... and I had not expected so many people to remember me from my last Italian convention a couple of years ago.
But, I digress. Deepcon is a small, fan-run event, with maybe 200 people attending. It takes place in a small town in the vicinity of Rom. The actors and other guests stay at the same hotel as the con attendees, and part of the convention package are the meals at the hotel's restaurant, which are attended by the guests as well. This provides a very nice, informal atmosphere, where you can meet the actors between their appearances and you really have a chance to talk to them.
The second pleasant surprise was, that Tim brought half his family. I had somewhat hoped that he and Jedda would take Maddy along for this particular event, since the last day of the convention coincided with her 4th birthday, but I had not expected to see Mike, his wife and Tim's mother as well. I do admit that my attention was mainly concentrated on Maddy (if possible, she is now even more adorable than I remembered her), but I managed to spend some time with the rest of them as well and to talk to all of them. They are such a nice group!
On Friday, I found out that Tim's new CD had just come out and was being sold at the convention's reception desk, so I got that immediately. Since Tim had mentioned in a recent Q&A for trektoday.com that his new CD was in preparation and scheduled for release end of February, I was prepared and had brought my portable CD-player.
That same night, Tim and Chase Masterson performed in a concert. Tim came on first. He did not only sing, but played the guitar as well. He started out with "Kushangaza", then sang a song from the new CD, "Sing It", followed by "Rosalinda's Eyes", "Louisiana 1927", "Can't Do It Like That", "Love The One You're With", and when the audience shouted "We want more! We want more!" he seemed surprised, but performed another song from his latest CD, namely "I Love My Baby".
He then left the stage to Chase Masterson, who sang some of her songs, from "Latinum Is a Girl's Best Friend" to "Fever" - as a tribute to Nana Visitor and the Kira-character. The Italians liked her performance very much as well, and both had to sign autographs afterwards for a rather long time (and since her Daddy was busy, I finally got a chance to play with Maddy).
Tim during his talk on Saturday
On Saturday Tim had his talk. Since the Italians are very bad with foreign languages this had to be translated. Questions were asked in Italian, translated into English for Tim, who gave his reply, which then, in turn, was translated back into Italian. This was of course a bit complicated and time-consuming. As usual, Tim performed his Voyager song parodies, the sketch about Captain Lameway, Chocolatay, TwoSocks etc., and he had brought the VOY Blooper Reel, which is hilarious and caused lots of laughter - not least of it from Tim himself.
Since the Italians had not met him before, he got all the usual questions like e.g. pranks on the set, what was it like to play a Vulcan after Spock, etc. The more unusual questions were: "What type of director are you?" Which Tim answered: "Currently an unemployed one. No... I have something upcoming in April." (I wish he'd told us more about that upcoming project!) Then he elaborated that his approach to directing is one of efficiency. He likes to plan ahead and to think things through so that he can then proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Another question that he does not get too often was, would he like to work in a musical film, which he said he'd like, he has done Musical before, but not in a movie.
Saturday evening was also the big Fancy Dress Competition - which is always exciting in Italy. They usually have particularly beautiful costumes and great performances. Tim and Chase were among the judges and since Maddy absolutely wanted to sit with her Daddy, he had her up on stage with him. There were not too many costumes, but the ones we saw were all good. I particularly liked a group "The Teachers of Hogwart" from Harry Potter. They demonstrated some of their "magic" (when they all swung their wands and cried "Lumos" lots of camera flashes lit up and the whole audience broke down laughing), and they also showed us the positions for a magic duel, which caused some more laughter. The Predator, who won the competition, was a really well-done costume and mask, while the second place went to the silver guy Renzo (who I had helped glue on his bald cap - so I think I can take some credit for his success!).
The Costume Contest was followed by an auction. Among the items that were auctioned off was an engineering suit (called "bunny suit") modeled by Tim and Chase Masterson's bra, which went to Luigi Rossa, one of the security people at the convention, who had to try it on (over his suit)!
As you can see, this was a very entertaining convention. There is one more thing I want to say: I saw Voyager in Italian. I did not know this, but Voyager has not yet been completely released in Italy. Those that do not speak English have only seen the first four seasons. The first 4 episodes of Season 5 were the next ones to be released on video tape in Italian (the local TV stations are not showing VOY for some reason or other). Since the dubbing had been done already, these four episodes were shown at the convention. To my surprise I found out that in the Italian version of VOY there is a character named "Sette di Nove". Yes, they even translated the name. Janeway's name sounds more like "Jay-Noo-Ay" than anything else, and the voices are very different from the original ones. Tuvok's is higher than Tim's voice, while Chakotay's voice is deeper than Beltran's etc. Harry probably sounds closest to the original. They also speak so much faster in Italian! But then, for a line as short as :"Security team to the lab!" (from "Drone") they have to say as much as "Squadra di sicurezza al laboratorio!" in Italian, "transporter room" becomes "sala di teletrasporto" etc.
The last episode they showed was "In the Flesh". When Neelix in the end goes with this "Vulcan" 8472-guy ("specie otto quattro sette due") and says "I look forward to hearing your perspective on Vulcans" - or whatever they made him say in Italian, I don't remember - the camera cuts to a close-up of Tuvok, who has this annoyed look on his face because of what Neelix just said. And you may not believe it, but the whole audience laughed! He doesn't say a word (and if he had said one, it would have been by the Italian voice of Tuvok), it was just this one look - and Tim brought the house down! Those Italians do have good taste!