Hobsonphile (hobsonphile) wrote,

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Dragon*Con 2005: Monday - The End!

Continued from here.

Monday morning, I went to see LeVar Burton and was utterly impressed by how smart and centered he appeared to be. Being a child of the 80’s, I knew LeVar from Reading Rainbow before I was aware he was on Trek, and I did in fact take the opportunity to thank him for his commitment to that project, which I’m convinced did a lot of good for my generation at least. Subsequently, I was gratified to learn that LeVar harbors a genuine love of reading – “There’s nothing like the movie you make in your head while you’re reading a good book.” – and an equally genuine interest in the state of public education in America. Granted, I suspect we don’t agree policy-wise, but as a teacher, I will respect any actor who cares enough to get involved on such a deep level.

LeVar also takes his craft very seriously. Interestingly, he commented that today’s generation of young actors “lacks discipline and attention to detail.” He said that he was very young when he filmed Roots, yet he took that opportunity to learn how to be serious and professional from the older actors around him. He also said that Trek, in its way, made him a better actor because it took away a tool of the trade upon which he had previously depended – namely, his eyes – and forced him to develop in other ways. He described the visor outright as an “instrument of torture.” Echoing the Farscape ladies’ contact woes, LeVar related his peripheral vision difficulties and the frustration he felt as he searched for other ways to convey emotion.

LeVar seemed to like the wild atmosphere at Dragon*Con, but he also mentioned that he missed his family. Aw.

Before heading off to the airport, I had a long lunch with Raster, who convinced me that I really should give both SG1 and SGA a try. We also got into a discussion about Vir. Somehow, I don’t think Raster knew what he was starting when he asserted that Vir is more of a typical Centauri than Londo. You just don’t say that to the one B5 fan who takes Vir more seriously than just about everyone else and expect not to have your ear gnawed off. But I think I understood what he was trying to argue once I forced him to clarify. And actually, I’m a little embarrassed, because I caught myself assuming that “typical Centauri” meant “Centauri government official” – and this after I had vehemently argued against the whole racial-guilt/the-Centauri-are-their-government thing in a panel the previous night. Anyway, Raster was right, in a way. If you think of Vir as a Centauri noble, which he is by birth, you are likely conclude that he is profoundly atypical. But if you think of Vir as a Centauri, full stop, without considering the circumstances of his birth, you might reach a different conclusion – in short, that (in the beginning, at least) he probably behaves like many of the millions of lower-born Centauri who have been denied a voice by the hierarchical structure of their society. It’s the fact that he’s been beat down that makes him “typical” in Raster’s wonderfully novel formulation.

Ah, that’s ultimately why I go to conventions – the conversation.
Tags: babylon 5, conventions, general fandom, star trek

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