Tim Russ at the Creation Con in Las Vegas, Aug. 2, 2002
(report by Maria Nausch)
Since this was a large convention with lots of actors, everybody had only a very short talk. In the schedule Tim was allotted about 35-40 minutes on stage, but he exceeded this time and stayed for almost one hour. He started off with his Voyager parody-songs. These are hilarious, especially the one to the "Love Boat"-theme ("Space, exciting and new...") which contains lines like: "On Voyager, there's always something wrong... on Voyager... we've been without sex for far too long..." or "On Voyager... nobody goes to the bathroom here...". I have heard those songs countless times now, but he always cracks me up with them.
Tim then showed a short Voyager blooper tape, which contained more bloopers than I have ever seen before and was really funny, though it did not include Tim's notorious pranks about his "enhanced physique" or Tuvok molesting Neelix.
Afterwards Tim took questions from the audience. I asked about his own projects and he used the chance to talk a bit about "Bugsters!" but said that other independent projects are on the backburner for now, which in my opinion is a shame, since I love his very original, creative ideas and have enjoyed things like "Bugsters!" or Art Police a lot. Other questions were about possible guest appearances on Enterprise (a possibility, but it would have to be under rather heavy make-up) or directing jobs on Enterprise (he is currently trying to find directing jobs outside Star Trek, since every show has a different feel and look and the more different styles you do, the better). He also talked about his pranks on Voyager and how well he understand Klingon anger since he played one on DS9 (several layers of clothing, your face covered in latex, a wig, false teethe - they must be uncomfortable and therefore angry!). Laura, a member of my TR_discussion-mailing list, told him he was her favorite on the show and somebody else told Tim that his portrayal of a Vulcan was particularly good in his opinion. So Tim could get a good idea how appreciated he is by the audience. He was very diplomatic, though, about why Tuvok's Vulcanness had not been used more (not enough nerve pinches, pon farr etc.). He said there had been some nerve pinches and certainly enough mind melds, and that the writers had tried to do something different with pon farr and focus on another character instead. Since it had been done already - and more than once, counting "Amok Time" and "The Search for Spock" - there was not much left they could have done with Tuvok that would not have been repetitive. Very diplomatic answer, indeed.
Tim then read his skit about Captain Lameway, Chocolatay, Lt. Cmdr. Twosock, Lt. Bare-ass, the pornographic Doctor, etc. There was not enough time to do it as a radio play with people from the audience, so he just did all the parts himself. This is yet another very funny piece that shows Tim's great sense of humor and made the audience laugh.
At the end he brought out his guitar and sang "Kushangaza", the song dedicated to the special ladies in his life (mother, lover, sister and daughter), mentioning that he'd be playing with the band that very night and sing this and many more songs then.
Then it was time for autographs. Unfortunately this was handled rather poorly and the promoters forgot to call my line - which is why I ended up being one of the last ones to get my autographs. Tim was sitting somewhere between Marina Sirtis and the "Ferengi Family". I got Chase Masterson to sign my "Bugsters!"-cover (she was thrilled that somebody would have that and asked me where I got it!) and finally reached Tim. He was already pretty tired, since he had been signing for over 2 hours, but nevertheless personalized my picture of the two of us from Denver last year, without me even asking for a personalization, and he even used a silver pen on my "Genesis Wave, book 3"-audio book-cover. Tim's girlfriend Jedda was sitting with him and selling CDs in the autograph line, but they had already run out of "Bugsters!" by the time I reached them, which disappointed the guy who was in line behind me. He had hoped he could get it there.
While Max Grodénchik and Aron Eisenberg signed their last autographs Tim went on stage for a sound check, since by then it was so late that it was almost time for the concert.
The concert was slightly different this time, since so far I have always seen him with at least 4 other guys from Neil Norman's "Cosmic Orchestra". This time it was just Tim, who played guitar and bass alternatingly in addition to doing all the vocals, supported by Bill Burchell at the keyboard (Bill is a member of Neil Norman's group, but also a close co-worker of Tim's, who co-produced "Kushangaza" with him and wrote the music for "Art Police" and "Bugsters!") and a third guy (Jim something - I didn't catch his last name) at the drums. There was no other guitarist and Tim really worked double duty as singer and guitarist. Not only that, he also performed more songs than I have ever heard him sing at any one event, at least 12 or 13. The previous record was 11 (including encores). He sang some of my favorites from his CDs but also 2 or 3 songs he has not recorded (yet?).
The audience was very excited about his performance and called him out for an encore which he gave them with "Love the one you're with". While Bill and Jim started to pack their equipment, Tim and Jedda came out to sell the last CDs (they ran out of those, too...), Tim signed more autographs and posed for pictures. He was clearly tired, but also very happy with the success of his concert. One guy asked Tim about plans for a new CD and Tim said he had considered that, but it would take some time to select songs first, then record them, etc. So we should be patient.
Jedda asked me to take a picture of her and Tim and Laura had asked me to help her get one of her and Tim, so Laura and I hang around, took those pictures and chatted a bit with Tim and Jedda. Laura and I shocked Tim when we said our favorite character on the new show (thus his successor as our favorite character) was Porthos. And we thought he likes dogs, since he had dogs when he was a boy! Since by then it was close to midnight and Tim had to help his colleagues pack their equipment, we said good-bye, after having told Jedda to give little Maddy a very special, warm hug from us.
In the next two days Laura and I got to hear some very positive comments on Tim's performance. While I was in line for Jennifer Lien's autograph I talked to the guys standing in line behind me. When I mentioned that Tim is my favorite they said they had been to his concert and since they had never heard him before they had been so surprised - they had not expected him to be that talented. They had enjoyed the concert greatly. And Laura told me that somebody waiting in line for coffee behind her at the Hilton's "Perk Place" had said that Tim had not sounded at all like an actor trying to sing but that he is a real pro. I bet you can imagine how proud we were of Tim's success at this convention!