Yesterday, six students from my “Folklore and Star Trek” class joined me for the 2-hour drive to Louisville to see Star Trek: The Exhibition. The exhibit contained props, costumes, and replicas from the show, including a captain’s chair. Although my students enjoyed the exhibit, I was a bit perturbed by certain aspects. The exhibit was sponsored by AT&T and they kept plugging their products throughout, emphasizing that AT&T devices were headed the way to Star Trek technology. And of course, no photos were allowed so that the exhibit could change for a picture in the captain’s chair. The capitalistic aspects went against the ideals of the show, and left me indifferent toward the exhibit.
Today I gave what I considered a great class on science fiction conventions for my “Folklore and Star Trek” course. We have been considering how folklore and popular culture interacts, so today I presented four different kinds of conventions categorized based on where they fell on the folklore-popular culture spectrum. The more a convention is organized by amateur fans without institutional support, the more folkloric the convention is. Continue reading
This week in my “Folklore and Star Trek” course, we’re looking at fan-made productions, including fan and slash fiction, and actual fan episodes. I’ve come across a surprisingly well-produced series called “New Voyages” that picks up where the Original Series ended. Yesterday, we watched two episodes from the show that depicts same-sex relationships–a topic that Roddenberry always wanted to broach but that he never did. It’s interesting to see how in fan production is more progressive and imaginative in some ways than the actual show. Continue reading