October 8, 2017
Klingon for a Day
To promote the premier of the latest series in the Star Trek franchise, Discovery, Space and CraveTV had people dress up like characters from the previous series and walk up and down Toronto's Queen Street and environs. Their people called the Klingon Assault Group (a fan club of the Star Trek warrior race featuring some of the sweetest people you are ever likely to meet) and asked if we had any members who would be interested in being involved in the promotion. One of our people (our leader, Krikor - not his Klingon name, BTW), asked if I would like to participate.
Sometimes, it's just that simple.
I've been a member of KAG for several years, and I still had a starter Klingon costume (a gold vest from the original seri - sorry, the Original Series); I didn't even have forehead ridges. So, it was important that we finish my costume before the event. I have a lovely half-finished ambassador's costume, but it has a lot of sheep skin, with a heavy cloak and fur-lined boots; we were going through a hot spell in Toronto, and I was concerned that I would end up a puddle of Klingon goo on the sidewalk. An ignominious end to somebody who is, however tenuously, a member of a warrior race.
Okay, kind of mixing Treks here, with my Original Series starter costume underneath part of my Ambassador's costume (cape not shown). But, you get the idea: man, I'm puddle of gooing up just thinking about it!
So, yeah. Went to Krikor's place the night before I was to start to do some costume adjustments. He commented on the blast furnacy nature of my costume. His partner Merle (who fed us delicious chicken wings because she was afraid I might actually fit into my costume) commented on the blast furnacy nature of my costume. I had worn most of the costume - I knew about its blast furnaceness. I wondered if Klingons have wills.
Then, Krikor had a brilliant idea: why don't I wear his costume? Suddenly, the event seemed survivable.
The full costume. Krikor's costume, but it allowed me to avoid the puddle of goo phenomenon. For best effect, replace the camera with a bone gun. In your imagination. Or, a tankard of blood wine. You know, something less selfie-taking. So unKlingon.
For full effect, the promoters of the show brought in a professional make-up artist. He kindly supplied me with forehead ridges and Klingon colouring. Makeup, I learned, isn't smoothly painted on a face. It's dabbed. The makeup artist was a dabber. He dabbed. It's like being repeatedly poked by baby chicks. I spent half an hour in the chair - actors who have to do it for five or six hours a day must be Zen masters to get through it! Or, on drugs. Because, you know, actors. Amazing either way.
I'm ready for my close-up now, Mister Roddenberry...well, except maybe for that expression. Not exactly a fierce, proud warrior expression. Startled, more like. Maybe I just saw a tribble. Yeah. Let's go with that. I just saw a tribble.
After my makeup and costume had been completed, I went to the bathroom (I can neither confirm nor deny that Klingon Birds of Prey are built without bathrooms; all I will say is: why do you think Klingons are so angry all the time?). As I was walking past the cubicles in the GlobeMedia building, I heard one man say, "Man, that scared the shit out of me!"
Assuming he was talking about me and not the Globe and Mail's circulation numbers, I thought, YES! Finally, I am a true Klingon!
Looking the part, I joined the crew on the street.
Most of the crew of the Starship Promotion...prise. One of these things is not like the other things - one of these things doesn't belong. Can you guess which one? HINT #1: Klingons don't dance. HINT #2: Klingons don't smile. HINT #3: You saw me in the costume a couple of paragraphs ago. Really, people, this question should have been a gimme!
I had had a Klingon name for about a year (Tojwi' vestai - it means "plum pudding"), but I'm having trouble (okay, no, it doesn't - according to the Bing Klingon translator, Tojwi' means... Tojwi' - vestai is an honorific) - as I say, I'm having trouble moving things from short-term to long-term memory. So, I quietly repeated it to myself on the subway home; only a couple of people asked if I was having a seizure.
And, would you believe, having worked so hard on remembering that name, not a single person asked me what it was? Not even one of the other participants in the promotion? Man, I should have milked the seizure sympathy for all I could have gotten!
At one point in the day, the woman playing the Orion slave girl (they were more innocent times...and greener) danced across the street from the rest of us. A guy draped himself on a nearby lamppost and complimented her. Then, he asked, "What are you doing tonight?"
"Working," she answered.
"How about tomorrow?"
"Can I have your phone number?"
"Not while I'm working."
The shit women put up with in the workplace!
Later in the day, a man approached the group walking a great Danatian (the dog had the body of a great Dane, but the black dots of a dalmatian), and stopped to ask if he could take a picture of us with the dog. Why not? There will be dogs in the future. Probably. As we posed for his photo, we couldn't help but notice that passersby were stopping and taking out their phones. Awesome! More photos.
Unfortunately, they were not of us: people wanted pictures of the dog. Apparently, he has his own Instagram account. I'm not jealous that the dog's page has more followers than my Web site. Jealousy is not the Klingon way. Next year, the company might want to dress up dogs as Star Trek characters to promote the season premiere - the numbers on Instagram alone should more than pay for the doggie treats!
My favourite moment of the day occurred when a random stranger came up to me on the street and said, "Don't let anybody tell you you're not beautiful." Was he serious or cynical? I couldn't tell. I'll be taking a poll of readers...whenever I figure out how to do that.
In the end, I spent several hours in fresh air celebrating a new Star Trek show (which didn't suck!) and wasn't reduced to a Klingon puddle of goo on the sidewalk. Qapla! With sprinkles!
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