Trekkies 2 (review)
Geekdom is global. In case there was any doubt, now there’s Trekkies 2, Roger Nygard’s followup to his 1997 celebration of Star Trek fandom. Denise Crosby, The Next Generation‘s Lt. Tasha Yar, hosts this Trek travelogue, from the German convention (or con, in geek speak) that draws 5000 fans to the Italian priest Trekker who says a Mass for devotees that includes a sermon drawing on the Kirk-versus-Picard metaphor, from Maryland’s Shore Leave, the oldest fan-run con in the world, to Brazil, where you can buy Portuguese/Klingon dictionaries. With the poking fun at the oddities of fandom having been dispensed with in Trekkies, this time out the focus is on the real people behind the Spock ears, and the film recognizes that they’re a lot more clever, creative, self-aware, and generous than the uninitiated will have realized. Some of the featured fans are downright weird, it’s true — one Brazilian fan explains that he’s driven to obsessively collect certain Trek memorabilia because he identifies with some of the characters, particularly (this is the weird part) with the machines — but Nygard also introduces us to fans who dedicate themselves to raising money for charity or organizing blood drives, a group that mounts a snarky stage production of Romeo and Juliet distilled through Trek, and the many Trek tribute bands that haunt Sacramento. “When reality stops being so lame,” explains one tribute musician, “that’s when we’ll stop doing this.” Lame reality makes Trek all the more poignant for fans in Serbia, where, at the Balkans’ first-ever con, they exude a passion that distinguishes them from their brethren around the world. Where the genuine horrors of war and ethnic cleansing are firsthand experiences, Trek‘s themes of harmony and peace are especially pertinent, and the fact that these fans can be so touched by a television show that they can barely articulate how important it is to them is the greatest testament to the power of Gene Roddenberry’s vision.