Fierce Anticipation: May 8-10


a blogumn by Ryan Dixon


Star Trek

Many of us use cultural and artistic touchstones as signposts to measure our lives. While for some it may be the albums of Bob Dylan or the ever-receding hairline of Nicholas Cage, the seminal moments of my life have always seemed to converge around Star Trek. Thus, to celebrate the release of the new film, may I present…

Star Trek Through (My) Ages: A Brief and Abbreviated History



June 7th, 1984 – Four and a half year-old Ryan Dixon is at Grandma’s house in Pittsburgh. He enters the living room to find mustached Uncle J. –wearing stripped tube socks, short shorts and an Iron Maiden tank top– lying on the floor watching TV.  On TV: a man in a tight, long-sleeved puce shirt battles a lizard monster that looks like a shrunken Tyrannosaurus Rex fresh from an overnight stay in WeHo. Uncle J. tells Ryan that show is called Star Trek. Ryan says that it looks boring and asks Uncle J. if he can turn the channel to Sesame Street. Uncle J. says no. Ryan hates Star Trek.

July 17, 1985 – Cousin E. tells Ryan that he loves Star Trek. Ryan tells Cousin E. that he hates Star Trek and loves Star Wars. Later that day Cousin E. and Ryan are out playing when they are called inside for dinner. While running to the house, Ryan trips Cousin E. to punish him for liking Star Trek. Cousin E. doesn’t fall. Ryan does. Ryan gets 56 stitches in his mouth and hates Star Trek even more.

December 16, 1986 – Ryan watches Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He laughs when Captain Kirk says, “Double dumb-ass on you.” Ryan now likes Star Trek.

October 5, 1987– Ryan watches “The Naked Now”, the third episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Lt. Commander Data (played by Brent Spiner) has a sexual encounter with Security Chief Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby). Ryan gets a weird tingling sensation in his private area. This tingling returns whenever Tasha Yar appears in future episodes. Ryan isn’t sure what this tingling is. He is very confused and a little scared.

April 25, 1988 – “Skin of Evil”, episode 22 of Star Trek: The Next Generation airs. A black slime monster named Armus kills Tasha Yar. Ryan weeps. His childhood innocence has ended at age nine.

August 29, 1994 – The first day of marching band camp. Ryan becomes fast friends with bass drummer, Joe S., after they discover their mutual love for Star Trek and spend the next hour impersonating Captain Kirk screaming “KHAN!!!!”

Sept 19, 1994 – On an overnight marching band trip, band director Mr. A catches Ryan and Joe S. watching a late night movie on Cinemax where Denise Crosby has sex and makes a loud animal noise. Ryan and Joe S. tell Mr. A that they mistakenly thought this was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mr. A believes them. (Joe S. later tells Ryan that the animal noise was called an “orgasm.”)

November 27, 1995 – Ryan buys a Captain Picard t-shirt from SunCoast in Century III Mall. He wears it to school at least once a week for the next semester. Ryan fails to get a date for two years.

Nov. 22, 1996 – Ryan’s father Bernard takes Ryan and a group of his friends to see Star Trek: First Contact. On the way to the movie, Ryan’s hyperactive, overweight friend Dan D. jumps up and down, pretending the car is under attack by the Borg. Dan D. breaks the back seat of Bernard’s 1980 Ford station wagon. Bernard is not amused.

December 5, 1997 – Ryan finally gets a date. During subsequent date, Ryan plays selections from William Shatner’s 1968 album The Transformed Man during the car ride to Eat’n Park. Ryan doesn’t get another date for two more years.

August 29, 1998 – The first day of college. Ryan becomes fast friends with new roommate Zac H. after they discover their mutual love for Star Trek and spend the next hour impersonating Captain Kirk screaming “KHAN!!!!”

October 12, 2007 – Ryan and Joe S. share three giant green-colored Borg Spheres* at Star Trek: The Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton. Three hours later: With the help of a few additional adult beverages, Joe S. throws up green vomit all over the Green Acres slot machine inside the Wynn (Ryan finds the color symmetry pleasantly ironic). Ryan and Joe S. are chased out of the Wynn. Later that night, a drunken Joe S. tries to escape the hotel room, sans clothes, for more gambling and another Borg Sphere. He makes it ten feet down the hallway and then collapses.

February 27, 2009 – Ryan goes on date with Amy B. The date goes well. Very well. During pillow talk Amy B. reveals her obsession with Brent Spiner and admits to having gone to see him in Man of La Mancha three times in the previous month. Ryan responds by impersonating Captain Kirk screaming “KHAN!!!!” Ryan gets a second date.

*For any aspiring domestic mixologists, here’s the recipe for making a Borg Sphere (aka, the best drink ever), courtesy of Geek Cartel: 6 parts vodka / 4 parts white rum (i.e. Bacardi Superior or any other non-flavored clear rum) / 4 parts melon liqueur (Midori is the most common brand but there are others) / 2 parts gin / sweet & sour mix (common bar mixer found in any store) / Sprite (can also use 7up or Sierra Mist) / Mix the alcohol in a pitcher or other container, pour out 10 oz into a bowl, add about 15 oz sweet & sour mix and about 15 oz sprite, food-grade dry ice for that smoking effect and also some regular ice.


starfleet_symbolThe Eventual Grand Re-Opening of Star Trek: The Experience

After seemingly closing its doors forever last September, the greatest non-Disney work of themed entertainment has found a new home at the Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas. Yes folks, the new and improved Star Trek: The Experience will open in 2010, officially making Jesus only the second most important resurrection in history.


Despite looking long and hard, I was unable to find a movie, book, piece of music or work of art that scourged my exquisite taste strong enough for me to give it the aesthetic auto-da-fé known as “Wouldn’t Go If You Paid Me.”

Fortunately, my roommate Zachary Halley has come to the rescue. Earlier this week, I went with Zac and my other roommate Joe R. to see Michael Keaton’s directorial debut, The Merry Gentleman. And while both my reaction and Joe R.’s was decidedly mixed, Zac’s hatred was so pure and blinding that I felt it would be a crime if it were not written down somewhere for the annals of history. So, as they say, I yield my time to the other distinguished (and disgruntled) gentleman from Burbank.

Without further adieu…

The Merry Gentleman: In Review by Zachary Halley

the_merry_gentleman_posterThere are some experiences in life that everyone can agree are hateful, painful and otherwise disagreeable. Having a root canal, changing a poopy diaper, or hailing a taxi in the rain can be trials, yes, but they occupy a certain level of civilized annoyance. Descending further into the Inferno one might encounter such not-so-trivial endurances as waking up during heart surgery, water boarding, a sliver of bamboo under the fingernails, or stopping an industrial rotary fan with your face. In the final, darkest hell, one finds, next to Judas flailing about in the mouth of Satan, a cinema screen showing The Merry Gentleman.

Exaggeration, you say? Yes, The Merry Gentleman is not as bad as getting torn limb from limb by silverbacks in heat, but it is certainly worse than what Republican party pimps and their whores at Fox News would have you believe is not really torture after all.

For those of you who haven’t been watching the news, The Merry Gentleman isn’t just a movie, but a newly discovered cousin to bird and swine flu with the scientific name TMG1. Thankfully for those who live in the fly-over states, it has only infected two dozen theaters thus far.

I can only assume that Michael Keaton had grown weary of having all the wonderful on-screen “behavior” he provided for movies like Herbie Fully Loaded, White Noise, and Jack Frost fall on the cutting room floor by short-sighted directors (“No seriously, Mr. Director, the audience will love to see me sit for 10 minutes just…being. I promise!”). Upon reading the screenplay for TMG1, he no doubt shouted to the heavens that he had finally found a script that would allow him to do nothing but “behave”. Instead of his character telling his would-be girlfriend his name during their first meeting, he could cough for two minutes. As opposed to being forced to say dialog that would actually move the plot forward (for there was no plot to speak of), Mr. Keaton and his leading lady could reflect on how boring people talk about the weather and then actually talk about the weather for fifteen minutes. By captaining this screenplay on the perilous journey from page to screen he was able to give the world the definitive cinematic adaptation of the somnolent acting scenes found every fall in freshman drama classes around the country.

And, I assume, investors lined up, jumping at the chance to work with the artist formerly known as Beetlejuice:

Fat Heiress: Come on! Just say it once…please…?
Keaton: I’m a serious director now. I do serious work.
Fat Heiress: I understand, believe me…I just…
Keaton: NICE F*&%ING’ MODEL! (honk, honk)
Fat Heiress: Let me get my checkbook!

Thus, the wheel of fortune continues to bless those who are already blessed with the ability to make crap and call it art only because it has 5 cast members and a piano score in a minor key.

Even more disheartening is the apparent snow job the movie performed on our nation’s critics, garnering a 63% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Nothing can dissuade me from the belief that these cineastes assumed that Mr. Keaton wouldn’t disappoint, so skipped the movie, went out for a steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris, ended up writing their review on the dinner instead and simply substituted Mr. Keaton’s name in place of “New York Strip.”

When I exited the theater after surviving the one hour and fifty minute exercise in mind-splitting banality I was barely able to hold back the inclination to hurl into the nearest gutter. “Such gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over such a little movie,” you say? I suppose there are worse things than being eaten alive by maggots, too, but I’ll spare your delicate sensibilities as to what they might be. I only wish Mr. Keaton had spared mine.