3rd Annual Galaxy Ball 2000
Reported by: Rigel Apolinar
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY
I arrived in L.A. Wednesday and spent most of my time with my family from Long Beach. I finally got to the Marriott LAX Thursday afternoon. After getting settled I went around the hotel checking to see if there were any Ball attendees around. I was especially looking for RBEBers, RO members, and folks from the ORB chat room.
After circling the lobby once over I bumped into Suzy at the entrance. After switching from the 11th floor room to a 3rd floor balcony room we headed back to the lobby. We sat around the lobby waiting for more Ball goers to arrive. Most of the Ball goers recognized me before I could recognize them. Before the night was over I was able to take pictures and have dinner with Suzy, Jennifer, Andra, Cina, Jackie, Eddie, Mel, and Linda B.
That morning Cina, Andra, Linda B, Nina, Jennifer, Laura K., Suzy, Doreen (she had just arrived that morning), and myself all left the hotel for a day of fun at the beach. Venice Beach that is. Before heading out to the beach we all went to have breakfast or brunch at Noah’s.
After brunch we headed two stores down to the Nails shop. Cina, Andra, Suzy, Doreen, Jennifer, and Laura K. got either a manicure or a pedicure or both. Have to look fabulous for the Ball, you know. Before leaving for Venice Beach we took several pictures in front of the Nails shop.
Suzy, Doreen, and I had planned since last year to get our Chakotay henna tattoos again this year. We checked the same place we had them done, but the lady who did ours last year wasn’t there that day, so we ended up going to another shop. This time we recruited Linda B., Jennifer, and Cina into our "Tattoo gang".
Somewhere along the line I lost everyone and went off to find them. Don’t worry I found them again at Muscle Beach, the outdoor gym. Linda B. took a picture with one of the body builders, Tony, and he gave her kiss on the cheek. He was a sweet guy. The pictures of the body builder in my Zing album is Billy he was the only other one working out at the time.
Before leaving I had bought a popsicle and saved the popsicle stick for Louie Cruz Beltran to sign at the Ball. If you were asking why would I save popsicle stick for Louie? Well, last year Louie sang a really suggestive song called "Ice Cream Man" at Cheney’s. At midnight at last year’s Ball several of us brought our popsicle sticks to wave in front of Louie to get him to sing the song and he did. I was hoping for the same result this year.
We headed back to the hotel. Once there we met up with several folks from the Alt Trek Newsgroup. We were planning on going out clubbing in Santa Monica. While we waited for others to arrive more and more Ball goers were coming arriving from LAX. Several of us took pictures and we even got pictures with Ari and her brother Israel.
There were over 30 of us Ball goers all having dinner. We were one excited bunch. After dinner wanted everyone to get together in the lobby so we could take a group picture. I grabbed one of the bellboys to take the group pictures. Poor guy had about 10 or so cameras he had to handle. I had a digital camera and the group picture turned out beautifully.
Once that was done we decided that we weren’t in the mood to go clubbing. Doreen and Suzy offered several of us to go have drinks in their room. Fitz even brought a blender with her. The only thing we were missing were limes. Suzy was able to get a glass full, but we thought we could use several more limes. So Suzy and I went over to ask our waiter, Sheridan, if he could get us a few more limes. He soon came back with three whole limes and a knife in glass. Suzy and I tipped him and asked us both for a kiss and one from Linda B.
Up in Suzy and Doreen’s room we had Andra, Linda B., Gloria, Fitz, Judy, Kristen, James, Larua K., Nina, Brenda, Eva, her husband Michael, and Annie I think. Cina and Suzy were making the margaritas, while Doreen started pouring the wine. We joked, drank, laughed, drank some more. It was fun; I had enough after an hour or two. Didn’t want to over do it and come to the Ball with a hang over. So I called it a night.
SATURDAY: THE Q&A SESSION
Saturday morning 50 or so of us were to have breakfast together. Some of us had gotten up early and couldn’t wait for the others to come. It was Nina, Kheris, James, Laura K., Judy, and Cina. Afterwards we all headed to the Marquis Ballroom to get in line. We created the front of the line and I was fifth in line. The line eventually snaked all the way to the end of the hallway and around the corner.
Once in I was able to grab one of the front row seats. I considered my seat to be perfect because I was sitting right in front where Garrett would sit as soon as he got in. Our front row consisted of (from left to right) Jannie, Cina, myself, Elise, Kismet, and Jennifer. Nina and Kheris sat right behind Jannie and Cina. While we waited for the Q&A to start some of Louie’s music from his solo CD "It’s My Time" was being played over the speakers. I had a good chuckle as Laura K. and Judy danced with each other near the stage.
Before the Q&A started I got my picture taken in the borg alcove. I tried to do the whole serious borg look, but it didn't last long. It's hard to keep a straight face when you're having so much fun. Just before the Q&A started Doreen took a picture of my Chakotay tattoo with the signed Chakotay tattoo drawing by Michael Westmore. I also got pictures with Cat and Diana wearing their Louie shirts. On the way back to my seat Doreen, Suzy, and I saw Robert hanging just outside the door to the room. I just smiled as I walked by and got my camera ready.
Kielynn-Marie introduced Robert. Robert came out to massive applause and camera flashes. He told us the agenda for the day. He mentioned that Jonathon Frakes and Michael Dorn will be out shortly and his cast mates will be onstage after Frakes and Dorn. Lastly he mentioned that his brother, Louie would be playing at the Ball. Then it was time for Robert to introduce both Jonathon Frakes and Michael Dorn.
Throughout the Q&A Michael Dorn talked about the jets he flies and Jonathon Frakes talked about his wife and his kids. Jonathon Frakes says that he's a lucky man to have such a wonderful wife, Gene Francis. He says she's back on the soap General Hospital. Also he told a story about his son, Jamison, looking through is bucket full of action figures. He pulled out Gumby and asked Jonathon if he works with Gumby too. That was too cute.
Somewhere along the line someone asked who would win if it was Riker vs. Chakotay. Jonathon said that Riker would win all the way. After they got off stage and Robert Beltran came back he said that Riker may be stronger, but Chakotay is quicker. As for pictures of the guys...I only took one good one of Jonathon, Robert, and Michael together. The other two I have are both of JF.
When Robert got back onstage he said that his cast mates aren’t all here yet. Robbie was upstairs and would be down in a few minutes, Bob was 5 minutes away, and Garrett is waiting for his plane from Vegas to come in. Bob Picardo waltzed right in. Soon after Robbie showed up with a box of tissues in hand. Poor guy had a cold. Garrett wouldn’t show up for another 20 minutes or so.
When it was time for the Voyager men's Q&A I did take a few pictures. It's kind of hard function a camera correctly when you're so close to all 4 gorgeous men, LOL!!! I didn’t go up to ask any of them any questions, but I had Kismet ask two questions for me. I had Kismet ask for me about Garrett's movies "Pińata" and "Hundred Percent." Personally, I'm really bummed that "Hundred Percent" is bogged down because of song rights. Garrett didn't look happy about the news either.
Also the wonderful woman who asked the Voyager men to do the Riverdance was Gloria. She paid them $200; it all went to the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles or DSALA. Thanks Chica been waiting to see that for a while now. She also got a hug and a kiss from Robert after the dance.
Someone asked when would Harry get promoted. Garrett said that Harry would be the oldest ensign in Starfleet. He then talked about creating "The Pip Suit" episode where Harry sleepwalks and steals everyone’s pips and the next morning he walks onto the bridge wearing his uniform covered in pips.
Later someone asked if they all could impressions. Garrett laughed and said, "let’s start at that end." He was pointing to Robbie. Robert did the Doc and said that he learned voice from Garrett, but he was the one who got the gestures first. Then he did his Neelix impression with the face gestures and everything. Robbie did Garrett behind the console. He even got behind his chair and had his eyes wide open and said, "Caaaapppttttaiiinnn…" It was hilarious! Bob does Robert/Chakotay: "Captain, captain, we’re….oh s**t! What’s the next line?" Bob got huge laughs for that one especially from Robert, himself. Bob also tried to do Kate, but it wasn’t as good and he said so himself. When it was Garrett’s turn he did several impression. His first one was of Arachnia and he did her walk up and down the stage. It was a riot! He then did, Tuvok, Sulu, and Doc. He said he’s not good at doing Seven or B’Elanna. Jeri Ryan even accuses him of making her look like drag queen. My stomach was in pain with all the laugher.
For the crew cap auction all the guys wore the hat and were modeling it for everyone. Garrett even did his Arachnia walk as he modeled the cap. Kathryn J won the auction. She not only got the cap but she also got a group grope. She was literally sandwiched, she had Robert hugging from the front Robbie from the back and Bob and Garrett around them all.. In the end she ended up on top of Robert Beltran. Every woman in that room would have loved to be in her spot right then and there. I'd say she definitely got her money's worth. She can now claim she came out on top...on top of Robert that is, LOL!!!
The autograph line was extremely long. I tried to help Doreen and Suzy with Robert's birthday card. Meanwhile, Louie and his band were coming in to set up for the Ball and to start rehearsing. Louie saw me from the stage and waved hello.
When I finally got through the line, namely two or so hours later, I got to Bob Picardo and had him sign one of my cards where he played the president of the United States in "Bride of Chaotic" and a card of the Doc and the EMH Mark II.
When I got to Garrett and looked at me he chuckled and said, "It's been a long time." I said it has and that the last time we met was in Vancouver two years ago. I was really surprised that he remembered me. I showed him a wonderful collage my brother made of Garrett/Harry. He thought it was "funky" and was happy to sign it. He also signed a card of Harry and Tom as Captain Proton and his sidekick. Robbie was a hell of a trooper to stick around and sign autographs. He also signed the Captain Proton and sidekick card. Last but not least Robert signed a card from the episode, "Nemesis." I also got him to sign a poster for Jennifer. He gave me a wink and smile after he was done signing.
Jannie, Annie, James, Suzy, Doreen, Jennifer, Nina, Laura K., and Fitz hung around until the last person in line got his/her autograph from Robert. Our RBEB group had a birthday card donation check we wanted to present to him. Suzy and Doreen are our treasurers they were lucky enough to hand him the card and the check. He was very grateful and shocked that we raised over $1000. Also Jennifer gave him an 8X10" group photo signed by all of us that we took Friday night. With all that done it was time to get ready and have all the Cinderellas go to the Ball.
SATURDAY: THE BALL
I ended up sitting in one of the tables at the back of the ballroom with Suzy, Doreen, Andra, Shammie, Carlo, Therese, Christine, and Gloria. What I didn’t know was that Robert had a table of his family sitting near the entrance of the ballroom that included his older brother, Tom and his lovely mother.
Robert got onstage and introduced them to everyone. Then called up Andrea Fay Friedman and Luke Zimmerman. These two special guests performed the balcony scene from "Romero and Juliet". They weren’t wearing mikes so it was hard to hear from the back of the room. I know they did a beautiful job.
Then Robert called Tim Russ to come to the stage and perform for us. He performed with Neil Norman and his band. I can’t remember the songs he sang, but they were all from his new CD.
The chicken was excellent. Speaking of food, for dessert we had cheesecake again as we did last year. For those of you who don't know last year Jason Carter (Babylon 5) took cheesecake plate and started holding it upside down and all around. The cheesecake surprising stayed in place. This year I thought I'd try that with my cheesecake. I did and it worked, LOL!!! I got proof Suzy took the picture of me holding my plate of cheesecake upside down. That was my tribute to Jason Carter since he wasn’t around for the Ball this year.
I have to say though I didn't get to stick around long enough to hear Roxann sing. When nature calls, you know where you have to go, LOL. On the way back though I saw Louie hanging out in the hallway. He said hi gave me a hug and kisses and held both my hands. He said I smelled good and wondered what it was. In either case I got both my hands kissed...twice. He introduced me to his singer.... sorry I can't remember her name. I said I would see him later. After that I head back to hopefully catch the last of Roxann's performance. Unfortunately I just heard Robert thank Roxann for her beautiful performance.
Then it was Robbie’s turn to perform. Last year he didn’t perform because he was also sick then, but he promised he would this year. As soon as he started singing "Fly Like an Eagle" people rushed to the dance floor to get their groove on, LOL. He than sang "I Like It Like That" and lastly "Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Later, Robert sang and dedicated a song to his mom. It was so sweet.
The auction that many of us were waiting for was for the Set Tour. Last year Kheris lost just buy a few hundred dollars and she was determined to win this year. She was definitely prepared she even had a glow stick to make sure the cast could see her bid, LOL. I was there to cheer her on right up front. I don’t even remember where the bidding started, but it soon rose past last year’s bid, which was $4,500. I was jumping up and down trying to get Robbie, Garrett, Roxann, and whomever I could so Kheris could get her bid in, LOL. It was fun being the cheerleader with Suzy and with several of the other ladies, LOL. The intense moment was when the bid went for $8,100, she couldn’t bid any higher than that. Then from the depths of the crowd emerged Fitz and whispered in Kheris’ ear that she could put in $1000. With Fitz to back up Kheris they up the bid a $1000 and won the set tour!!! Robert invited them both on the stage and thanked them for their donation. I wanted to take a picture of the two of them offstage, but the security just wasn’t going to allow it.
Meanwhile, onstage the Galaxy Ball 2000 T-shirt auction was on already in session. I had no idea what was going on because I couldn’t see anything from my view. It’s times like these when being short is a real disadvantage, LOL. What I did see was that Suzy ended up getting Tim Russ’ shirt and he was bare-chested!!! Later I found out that he was the only guy that didn’t have a shirt on under the auction shirt, woohoo!!! As Suzy stood next to Tim Garrett came up from behind him and pinched his nipples, LOL. The rest of the guys were a bit jealous so they showed they were showing off their belly buttons. Robbie did a whole striptease, which was hilarious. The other T-shirt winner was Gloria who got the Bob Picardo’s shirt. Bob was also bare-chested, which I didn’t get to see. Kathryn J who got the crew cap at the Q&A also got Ethan’s T-shirt. Roxann was the auctioneer and I think she did a great job.
The rest of the night was a blast. My excuse for not taking better pictures and more for everyone to see was because I was on the dance floor most of the night. Once Mr. Louie Cruz Beltran started playing I couldn’t stop groovin’ to the beat, LOL. I was dancing all around the dance floor but mostly close to the front stage to watch Louie perform. The only pictures I had taken were with Louie and Robert Beltran. I talked to Garrett twice that night, but some reason didn't ask to take a picture with him.
The Ball ended around 1:30 a.m. and those of us still hanging around took some last minute pictures. Tired as we were we still carried smiles that were from ear to ear. I waited for Louie at the end to get my CD and popsicle stick signed. When he did it was 2:30 a.m. and he patiently took a picture with me before having to make his way to the restroom. Nina thanks for taking our picture! My poor feet were aching and I was tired, but I was too pumped to go to sleep, LOL.
Suzy and Doreen had told me that they were going to order food and we still had drinks left over from the night before. There were still quite a few of us still up. Fitz, Kheris, Suzy, Doreen, Gloria, Linda B., Eva, Michael, Nina, Shammie, Kismet, and Eilse. We celebrated the Set Tour winners Kheris and Fitz, and the T-shirt winners: Suzy and Gloria. I think we were all sniffing Tim’s shirt because it still smelled like Tim, LOL. I think we were up until almost 4 a.m.
I had a blast at the Ball and I do hope to see everyone again next year. I’d like to thank everyone at DSALA, Robert Beltran, Robbie McNeill, Bob Picardo, Garrett Wang, Roxann Dawson, Tim Russ, and Ethan Philips for a great time at the Ball. I hope to do it all over again next year.