Sunday, February 20, 2005

Star (Trek) Sightings

Recently, I went to a couple of AMPAS screenings. These were for the foreign film category and I have to opine that it is such a rip-off that films like House of Flying Daggers weren't included in this lot. (For more on this, read )

There's a few reasons for this, the main one being that most of the AMPAS membership is either white or Jewish and they're all over 60. Over 60!! Knowing this, it's easy to understand why many of the films in the Best Picture category are not "coming-of-age" stories but "past-my-prime" stories: Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, The Sea Inside, As It Is in Heaven.

I'm not sure if he's over 60, but I ended up chatting with George Takei at one of these screenings. Yes, he played Sulu in the original Star Trek. I've met George before when I worked at a magazine but he didn't remember me at all. He asked if I was an actor and, like I usually answer, I said, "Occasionally." Then I refreshed his memory about the magazine, to which he expressed his sympathies about its demise.

The funny thing is, I had just gone to a casting a week before for an MBNA credit card commercial where I had to look like "an original member of Star Trek." The audition called for a mock turtleneck shirt and black slacks. My hair was on the longer side, so it was easy for me to obtain that '60s look. While waiting in the lobby of the casting office, I took a picture of myself with my camera phone. Not exactly Sulu, but not bad either.

I didn't get the commercial, but I kept the photo. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get myself to show it to Mr. Takei. It was one of those momentsa: You have one chance to do or not do something. I chose to not do it, and I think I retained both my and Mr. Takei's dignity in the process.

We did have a discussion about tea, however. As part of my interest in samurai (many were tea masters), I had been reading "The Book of Tea," by Okakura, and showed him the book. He hadn't read it but asked if I could give him a synopsis. A synopsis of the Book of Tea? It's not a long book, but if you could ask the author, he'd probably say that his book itself was a synopsis.

Anyway, I told Mr. Takei that I could not summarize the book. To which he said, "Perhaps that is why [the magazine I worked on] folded."

Ouch, Mr. Takei. Put that thing on stun, why don't you?

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