Final Flight

Special thank you to the Starbase’s NASA correspondent UNKK!!TM for sending us these gorgeous shots of the Shuttle Discovery’s recent relocation from Kennedy Space Center to her new home at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Annex of the Air and Space Museum!

Welcome home, Discovery!

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A Small Sample of Suzie

For those who are interested in learning more about Suzie Plakson’s work, The Return of King Lillian, here is a special snippet of the audio book for your enjoyment. Take a listen and, if you can help out with a donation, that would be fantastic! If not, please help by spreading the word!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/517829065/the-return-of-king-lillian

The Return of King Lillian

This is what happens when the Admiral leaves the keys to the blog in the hands of that tricksy Bajoran…

So rumor has it that our favorite charismatic Klingon, that vixenish Vulcan, the Quintessential Queen Q, and the most audacious Andorian to ever grace the promenade of our humble Starbase has written a book! And she’d like your help to share it with you!

That’s right, Suzie Plakson has recently announced that she’s completed work on The Return of King Lillian, “a newfangled narrative with an old-fashioned feel. An allegorical tale for non-conformists of all ages.” In line with the modern multimedia experience, she’d like to release this as both an e-Book and as an audiobook performed…by her!

To help make it so (sorry, it needed to be said), Suzie has launched a Kickstarter page, to help her raise the funding for this fabulous project. Head on over to her project page, let her tell you more about the project, and then, if you can, help her reach her target funding goal! And if you can’t help with a donation, make sure to pass along the news to all your other groovy genre fan friends!

Timeline Restored

Thank you to Listener Liam, (@kiraniumbra on Twitter) for brightening the Bajoran’s morning with this little slice of gold-pressed latinum. Seems it’s not just the surly contingent of the Starbase crew who is displeased by the muckup that J.J. Abrams has made of the Trek universe.

Prophets bless the Germans.

Also, doesn’t “Captain Kirk” look a little bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Could this be another of his love children? You sent him to space, Arnie? Talk about going to extremes to hide your dalliance from Maria…

Kudos to Trek.fm and FedCon (German site) for creating this delightful video and for softening the blow of learning that Abrams is still going forward with plans to further desecrate the Trek name with another movie.* He’s now even cast the role of the still unknown villain (coughcough better not be Khan coughcough).

*The opinions expressed in this post belong solely to the Bajoran and do not reflect the opinions of other members of the Starbase crew. Even though they should.

Pleasure Thresholds

(The following is a book review written by the Starbase’s resident Bajoran and unrepentant fangirl, originally posted at LobaBlanca {dot} com.)

It’s quite befitting and not the least bit serendipitous that Patricia Tallman’s book, Pleasure Thresholds, begins with an introduction by J. Michael Straczynski, in which he explains how he first fell in love with Tallman through her performance in the 1990 remake of the Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. Why, you might ask? Because that’s precisely when I fell in love with Tallman, too.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating here: I love stuntwomen. Love them. They are fearless. They are tough as nails. They get out there and do stunts that are just as difficult if not more so than the ones the guys are doing…and they do them oftentimes in the bare minimum amount of clothing, which means bare minimum amount of padding and protection.

Tough. As. Nails.

And who started this obsession of mine? Patricia Tallman. Long before I knew the name Zoë Bell or Jeannie Epper, I knew Tallman. Not only was she this amazingly bad ass and ultimately unsettling character from a horror movie that I loved, she was also popping up on the biggest geek love of my adolescence: Star Trek.

Seriously, it was like my own strange version of “Where’s Waldo?” as I tried to spot Tallman’s random appearances, first on TNG and then on DS9. Every time I spotted her, I adored her that much more. When I later learned that she was the stunt double for three of my favorite characters from TNG and DS9, her awesomeness was pretty much set for life in my eyes. No surprise, then, that I jumped at the chance to buy her book as soon as I learned about it.

First things first: Yes, Pleasure Thresholds is a bit pricey. However, I believe there are acceptable reasons for this. In addition to getting this amazing 350+ page book (autographed by both Tallman and Straczynski) that’s packed with never-before-published photos from Tallman’s personal collection, you also get a CD-ROM of videos and MP3s made especially for this “multimedia memoir.” The MP3s feature Tallman and Straczynski dishing on Babylon 5 in unedited, uncensored ways. The videos are short but very enjoyable and may or may not feature props, lingerie, and chickens. But that’s all that I’m saying. Finally, this is being printed/produced through Café Press, which means it’s being printed in small batches as orders come in. Specialized print runs like this notoriously cost more (I’ve experienced this particular phenomenon many times in my Mirror Universe work life).

So there you go. Yes, Pleasure Thresholds is a bit costly. Is it worth its higher price? I give you an undeniable, unequivocal hells yes.

This book is the printed equivalent of getting a personal audience with Tallman as she shares her photos and stories with you, while at the same time revealing parts of herself in honest, hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking ways. She is both an engaging (and delightfully bawdy) storyteller and a passionate shutterbug. There are so many amazing photographs throughout this book—page after page of images spanning the impressive length of her career as both stuntwoman and actress. I have several favorites, including one of an airborne Tallman dressed in period costume and wielding a rapier. The expression on her face is one of such pure, unfettered joy that I can’t help but fall that much more in love with her every time I look at this photo.

Then there are the photos and stories from her time as the telepath Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5. This is the heart of the book, which makes sense. The title is from a B5 quote, and the subtitle is “Patricia Tallman’s Babylon 5 Memoir.”

[Loba Tangent: Okay, here’s the point where I reveal a dark secret regarding my standing as a geek: I’ve never watched Babylon 5. I know, I know! I was all set to watch after learning that Tallman was finally getting a shot at her own role on a sci-fi show, and then something happened and the first season started and…no Tallman. WTF? In protest, I never tuned in. And then, when she did finally reappear, I was off doing the college thing and not really even spending all that much time with my beloved Trek shows, so B5 never got the chance to resurface on my radar. After reading this book, I now understand what happened and why Tallman wasn’t there for the first season. I am properly appeased and B5 is now loaded up toward the top of my Netflix queue. See? Another reason why this book is awesome: It may yet convert me to a B5 fan.]

Aside from the pictures and anecdotes, Tallman provides a first-person peek behind the scenes of what it’s like to play the Hollywood game. There are certain assumptions that we all make regarding the life of an actor, and most of the time those assumptions are based on the lives led by the likes of the Clooneys, the Pitts, the Jolies. This is not the life led by all in the acting profession. Tallman shares aspects of her own personal journey, which I found both intriguing and enlightening (not to mention frustrating; it definitely takes a spirit of a particularly resilient fortitude to enter the acting arena).

So, there you go: My admittedly not completely objective but honest review of Pleasure Thresholds. If you are a fan of the genres from which Tallman has rightfully earned both ubiquity and respect, then this collection will undoubtedly have something to offer you. If anything, the story of “Lyta’s Lingerie” is worth the price of admission all on its own. But, again, that’s all I’m saying about that.

One final thing: Even if you don’t decide to buy your own copy of Pleasure Thresholds, why not swing over to Penny Lane, a California-based organization that provides an array of support services for abused children, and make a donation. Tallman has supported the efforts of this organization for years. It wouldn’t hurt to do the same; the karma points alone will make it worth it.

DidnWannaDoIt!

WARNING: Watching this video may cause heart palpitations, temporary loss of higher brain functions, giddy girl apoplexy, and possibly even unconsciousness.

(Okay, maybe these are just applicable to the Starbase’s resident Bajoran, but still, this video is further evidence of how amazingly talented and funny our friend Suzie Plakson is…as well as how lovely she looks without Klingon ridges or Vulcan ears or Andorian blues.

We hope you enjoy this musical interlude and we continue to encourage all of you to download your own copy of Suzie’s debut album, DidnWannaDoIt, as soon as humanly (or Bajoranly, Vulcanly, Klingonly, Pakledy, Andorianly, or whateverly) possible!

Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

We here at the Starbase know the definition of the word “hero.” And while we joke of our time “among the stars,” we also respect and admire those men and women who actually do dare to journey beyond these earthly confines, regardless of the perils that may await them.

On January 28, 1986, seven of these astronauts—Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, Gregory B. Jarvis, and S. Christa McAuliffe—set off on their own journey to the stars aboard the shuttle Challenger. Tragically, their mission ended with all hands lost. To many, this was our “JFK” moment: a defining disaster whose haunting images remain forever etched into our mind’s eye.

Today, 25 years later, we remember their courage. Perhaps President Reagan said it best in his speech, written with unparalleled eloquence by Peggy Noonan:

The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

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