Almost a year ago, word started to get out of changes at Dragon*Con, specifically, a change in the leadership of one of its most popular fan tracks, the Trek Track.
Before long the official announcement was made that long time Trek Track director, Eric Watts, had been relieved of his duties and that a new director would be announced. While some writers plunged into the situation, expressing their fears and outrage about the action, I opted to wait and see what came out of it, and what the results were.
Then the announcement was made that Star Trek: Voyager cast member Garrett Wang was to be the new director of the Trek programming. Many applauded the announcement, predicting a renewal and rebirth of the popular track. Some, notably supporters of former director Watts, spoke out, claiming that Wang would be a figurehead and would not really run the programming.
During Dragon*Con this past weekend, I spent time attending the Trek activities and checking out things for myself, seeking out how things were. Frankly the change in the programming and attitude in the track was a total 180-degree turnaround for the better. Attendance was up for some events that were not well attended in the past.
The difference was crystal clear at the annual Ten-Forward party on Saturday night. Attendance was way up, there was a DJ, lots of dancing, partying, and even Wang himself took to the dance floor and showed that acting wasn’t his only talent! Staff members told me that Wang was a hands-on person and had worked tirelessly on this, his first year as director. What many don’t know is something Wang told attendees of Starbase Indy last year, that he was a fan before he got the part on Voyager. Seeing the resulting programming, that fact became clear with a very fan-friendly track with no controversy and a lot of fun for all.
In talking with attendees, the praise for Wang and what they saw as the improvement of the track was frequent and plentiful. Everyone seemed to praise Wang for his efforts in giving the track what one called a total rebirth.
One of the changes that attendees and some of the staff pointed out was the lack of politics in the presentations this year. As those who have attended Trek Track over the years know, there was a particular political issue that was constantly mentioned, and actively campaigned about during the entire track with a never-ceasing fervor. This year, all of that was gone, leaving nothing but the love of Star Trek and fun for the fans.
Listen, each and every one of us have political issues close to our hearts, and the desire to speak out on them. However, there are proper places and times for working for change and a convention like Dragon*Con, where people come for fun is not the place. Thankfully, the management of Dragon*Con acted decisively and the result is one of the best Trek Tracks in the four years I’ve attended Dragon*Con.
I salute the management and staff of Dragon*Con and of the Trek Track for a job very well done. I, for one, can not wait to see what Garrett and his talented staff come up with for next year.