Taking leave at Shore-Leave 40

The main guest's list this year featured, Bill Shatner, Ming-Na Wen, Shawn Ashmore, Allison Scagliotti, Peter Williams, Peter Kelamis, Aron Eisenberg, Chase Masterson, and Michael and Denise Okuda.

Traveling around in my spacecraft, I always have it set to land at Baltimore’s famous Shore-Leave convention every July! This year was the shows 40th anniversary!

The Shore-Leave weekend boasts so many activities besides just meeting guests and grabbing their autographs. There are panels,  the dealer’s rooms, stage talks, costume contest, art room, charity auction, gaming, photo op session with the guests and much much more! I myself, over the years, have amassed hundreds and hundreds of autographed items from these genre guest stars!  Inside, everywhere were star fleet officers, a few Star Wars characters, a huge moving Dalek next to the Tardis, various aliens and other awesome costumed con-goers. At least, I think they were fans in costume.

Imagine walking into a place where fellow fanatics, time travelers, aliens, creatures, Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, spacecraft,  guest stars, and sooooo much more, all in one huge craft, I mean hotel.

The main guest’s list this year featured, Bill Shatner, Ming-Na Wen, Shawn Ashmore, Allison Scagliotti, Peter Williams, Peter Kelamis, Aron Eisenberg, Chase Masterson, and Michael and Denise Okuda. We interviewed Shawn, both Peters, Aron, and Chase.

Last year my co-host Renee L Grindlinger, and I, formed a youtube channel we call, Celebrity Biograph.  Together and individually, Renee and I currently cover interesting and humorous tidbits for an upbeat and fun interview session with a guest. As Renee says like a few friends just chatting. I say, the Force is with us.

My link here is our Celebrity Biograph interview page. You can see the interviews we did at Shore-Leave and a few other interviews as well at this link!  

I wanted to try to get a group shot for Shore-Leave archives of some of the writers and Mr. Shatner before he went on stage for his talk.

Unfortunately, the timing did not allow for that.

So Bill and his wife sat down and waited for Ming-Na Wen to finish her stage talk. She actually was auctioning off a doll for charity, and a fan bought it for one thousand dollars. While that was going on, I approached Mr. Shatner and his wife to introduce myself and ask them if there were any special photos they wanted. His wife asked me to snap one of them sitting together and I did. Then I got a few candid shots for a few minutes. Bill said, OK, young man, no more photos until later on.

Mark with the legendary William Shatner.

I said, Yes Sir. I sat right next to Bill and told him I was writing the article on Shore Leave and wanted to ask him if there was anything he wanted to promote for my article.

He actually told me that he had 2 books and another project coming out soon. We then talked about Maryland crabs and how he loved them here and he was having seafood that weekend!  I asked Bill if I could have my camera partner Sarah snap a few photos of us for my article. He said ok, sure, you are sitting next to me anyway, a few photos won’t hurt, but that’s all. So we snapped a few and I put my camera down. Bill did thank me for asking him and not just taking the photos! He liked that I asked first even though we were all sitting together!

Bill sat in the chair and gazed off relaxing before his talk. His wife looked at me and told me he was tired from traveling so much. I said I understand.

Mark Gross backstage with Ming-Na-Wen

Ming-Na Wen came off stage and posed with the person that bought the doll she auctioned off. I snapped photos for them. Ming asked me for a few of the photos and she had me give my card to her handler to send him the pics. Ming was very personable and enjoyed taking a few extra photos from the few people backstage.

Bill and Ming nodded at each other as they passed, and Bill now possessed the microphone and went up behind the curtain. Bill was introduced, took to the front of the stage and the audience roared. He knows Shore-Leave rocks, and he loves this crowd. I went out to the side of the stage and sat in a chair to snap a few photos of Mr. Shatner’s talk for a few minutes. I didn’t realize the lady next to me was Bill’s wife. She pulled my card out of her purse and told me it was very clever. I  asked her to contact me if her husband has anything else he wanted me to add in my report. She smiled and said ok, and thanked me. Sure, I pinched myself, I was not dreaming.

Mark, Rene,  and the awesome Chase Masterson

The weekend festivities, guests, fans, staff,  and all that encompasses the amazing Shore-Leave is always worth beaming down to every year! As I stated, I arrived in my spacecraft myself this year. It was cloaked, so, invisible to all.

It was a grand time over the shows 3-day weekend run. We were able to get interviews, snap many photos, obtain autographs, and connect with old and new friends while covering the show. It is a bittersweet time when Shore-Leave winds down on Sunday evening. We humans and other beings from other worlds, dimensions, realities, and times, prepare our minds to return to our regular lives again, having had such a grand experience! I thank everyone at Shore-Leave, my crew, Renee, Robert Gelinas on video and the awesome Sarah Rosen on still camera and my personal bodyguard, haha.

So as I hop back into my ship to plot a course for Celebrity Biograph to cover yet another upcoming genre convention, I sit at the controls and enter coordinates. Until the next show, where I hope you see you all. Hmmm, I wonder what planet the next Miss Universal beauty pageant is being held on?!! Later.

Mark with Allison Scagliotti

Mark with Aron Eisneberg

Renee, Shawn Ashmore, and Mark

Mark and some of Shore-Leaves Cos Players

Mark J. Gross has been a fan of the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genre, since being stranded on this planet in 1955. Not telling anyone I was stuck here with a broken time machine, shhhh.... on paper I hail from Baltimore Maryland.
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