Kate's Gala was a fund raising effort for Tim Hagan's campaign for Governor of Ohio. She is fond of the man and thinks he would make a great governor. If she didn't, he probably would have very little success in finding support from anyone else except possibly his mother. For those who don't know, Kate and Tim are married.
The Gala coincided with the opening weekend of Tea at Five at the Cleveland Playhouse. Participants who attended the Gala were given the opportunity to attend the show (which sold out just as it did in Hartford) on Friday night or Sunday afternoon.
Our weekend started on Friday as we made the journey to Cleveland and met at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The new security rules and major construction in the Baggage Claim area made picking up people something we'd all rather forget. Once our small group had assembled, we headed downtown to make sure that Playhouse Square had not been beamed up by the Republicans. It was still quite safe at its assigned place on Euclid Avenue. It seems that Queen Arachnia had been around though and left a few of her Spider People down the block.
Once assured that the venue for Saturday was safe, we went searching for film, Browns paraphenalia, and dinner. We also decided that feeding the car was a wise move. Such a mundane beginning for a marvelous weekend. We ate at TGI Friday's and were treated to a wonderful electric light show over Lake Erie compliments of Mother Nature. That's a fancy way of saying there was a huge thunderstorm. Since we were seated in the area with the glass roof facing north, we had a beautiful view, perhaps a bit too good at times. Friday's was good as usual.
Saturday morning saw us up bright and early, determined not to let Saturday morning traffic keep us from the Gala. For those who know Cleveland, you will know that this was not as big a problem as the construction. Neither was a problem and we arrived well ahead of the time Registration was scheduled to begin. You could label that part of the day a 'queue for Q'. The actual registration process was fairly painless and we got our seats - our very wonderful front row seats! It pays to shop early.
We managed to talk to a few friends we had met the year before in Cleveland and met a few new people before the day officially began. While many of the people we knew were definitely J/C, there were a lot of generic Voyager and Trek fans there. There were even a few interested in Tim's campaign for Governor. It was a truly wonderful group.
Kate opened the day and greeted the audience. If there was one theme that carried from guest to guest, it was their sincere appreciation for the fans both in attendance and that they had met at other Trek gatherings. Kate introduced Tim who spoke a few words. We were spared the normal issue oriented speeches that might normally accompany political fund raisers. Tim didn't try to kid himself that we were all there to support him but he did express some of his concerns and goals. His opening remarks were limited because one guest had to leave within the hour.
Kate quickly introduced Star Trek's first captain - William Shatner. Kate sat back and let Tim and Bill talk about various things. Several times she was laughing so hard, she really did almost fall off her seat. By the time Bob and Tom finished, the entire audience was laughing. Who? you may ask. Well, they seemed to have a hard time remembering each other's name.
Kate eventually decided it was time to introduce a few more people. She made a wonderful speech about the EMH and asked for Bob Picardo to come out. Nothing. No one. After making inquiries, she found he had gone back to the hotel. Later, Bob admitted the real truth. It was the first time he had ever heard his introduction from the stall of a bathroom.
John de Lancie, knowing that only the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent could save the day, joined Kate and the gentlemen on stage. A few minutes later, Kate noticed some movement at the door to the green room and quickly went through the introduction for Q. Regally, Bob Picardo joined the others. The problem with names was quickly turning into a theme for the morning. Kate soon had John's wife, Marnie Mosiman, join them on stage. Kate convinced Marnie to sing one song, but Marnie insisted on having the rest of the guests and the audience join her. Amid many other comments, Shatner was heard to claim he couldn't sing. Only Tim commented, leaving the audience laughing once again. Despite their antics, Marnie managed to get the group and the audience singing for a few minutes. Fortunately, only Marnie actually used her microphone.
If anyone was expecting a well planned, perfectly timed presentation designed to make a director dance with glee, they were sadly disappointed. No one else was. Several people had to cancel at the last minute and John de Lancie was a late addition to the line up while Robbie ended up being delayed until quite late in the day. Despite all this, and not being able to keep to even their rough schedule, the day was probably a greater success than anyone could have expected.
The missing people prompted Kate to try to rearrange the schedule somewhat - unfortunately not very successfully. The third time she tried to get someone to join her only to learn they had left the building (shades of Elvis), even she got tired of hearing that people were back at the hotel. She was beginning to wonder what the attraction at the hotel was. She eventually resorted to the one person who wasn't going anywhere - Tim.
Listening to the two of them was quite interesting and fun. Tim is outgoing and has a great sense of humor and he doesn't mind letting Kate get the last word. Smart man. They shared how they met and eventually married with the group. They met in Ireland before Kate was cast for Voyager and spent what seems to have been a perfect six or seven weeks together. Then Voyager hit and Tim broke it off. Ah, about now you are wondering what kind of idiot Tim must have been and what his reasons were. Well, his reasons aren't anything you haven't heard before -- he didn't think that they could make a relationship work because of their responsibilities, both personal and professional. Kate disagreed and told us that he broke her heart. Enough to make you think that Tim consults with TPTB, isn't it?
Anyway, several years later, Kate's mother finally got involved again and told Tim to more or less get his act together NOW! Tim complied and called Kate. She was ruthless in her demands but he was serious and dashed off to the West Coast at great expense. As soon as she saw him again, it was Ireland all over. They got married and lived happily ever. Ok, so it's a bit simplistic, but it still sounds good.
Several of the guests spoke briefly, mentioning one episode of Voyager or another, frequently not being sure which episode they were discussing. The audience always knew the titles of the eps even if they guests didn't. At one point, de Lancie tried to convince us that something did not happen in The Q and the Grey, but he was unsuccessful in his effort.
Kate had to leave after an hour or so to do the afternoon performance of Tea at Five at the Cleveland Playhouse. After she left, the gents got down to some serious silliness. Afterall, when the captain's away, the crew must play.
Bob Picardo read a note from Ethan Phillips (Johnnie) in which he apologized profusely for being so negligent as to actually get a part in a film that prevented him from making the trip to Cleveland. As he put it in the letter, until a few days earlier, the part was between him and 'the guy who was going to get it'. Our loss was his gain but he gave the impression it was also his loss. He made a special trip to Picardo's to sign all the junk, er memorabilia, Picardo brought to auction off.
John de Lancie was the first to really share some stories but instead of using Voyager or Star Trek for his sources, he used another role. He was supposed to be 'smitten with love' but had to look it, not express it. He found it a challenge to look 'smitten'. Then at the last minute, just as they were ready to film the part, inspiration struck. Quickly, he pulled out his pocket and tore a hole in it. He was certain this would work, but it had to go unnoticed by those around him. As the film was rolling, he put his hand in his pocket and got some self-motivation on how to look smitten. (Yes, what you are thinking is correct.) Everyone on the set was totally impressed with his 'smitten with love' look, or so he claimed.
Bob Picardo returned to the stage. He is now sporting a short beard that gives him a scholarly look. He is immensely proud to be this year's Christmas ornament - replacing last year's ornament, Q, in the limelight. He was so pleased with the ornament that he wrote a tribute to it and Viacom urging everyone to go out and buy the ornament, "Take Me Home For Christmas". He really doesn't want to be put on the clearance rack.
Bob also did a song about Sonny and Cher meeting up in Heaven -- "I Had You, Babe." He was singing both parts and did a wonderful job. He even inserted the banter that was so typical of Sonny and Cher.
Since someone had foolisly told Tim Russ and Garrett Wang they were 'on' at 2:00 and no one had eaten lunch, they took a break and sent us off into downtown Cleveland to find lunch on a Saturday - not the easiest task in the world. KJ landed us at a Starbuck's - she didn't care if they had food, but fortunately they did.
The group regathered after Bob and John had dragged Tim and Garrett away from whatever they found so intriguing at that hotel. Garrett answered questions for the most part by telling tales on his friends. The K/7 contingent got a question in and we heard a most intriguing tale about Garrett receiving written instructions from Jeri Ryan concerning elbows and their location relative to other parts of the body, most specifically where they are not located. Tim Russ then took over the microphone with the help of his guitar. He sang two songs from his most recent album before bringing the others out to join him.
While there is no question that all the guests were wonderful on their own, together they were far better. Their friendship from all their years working together was clear and they interrupted and expanded what others were trying to tell the audience. They frequently mentioned Johnny (remember, that's what they call Ethan) and his antics, Jennifer Lien, Jeri Ryan and even Robert Beltran's open trailer door policy on the set. Everyone knew by this time that Robbie McNeil was on his way from North Carolina and that Roxann was scrambling to try to get a late flight. He made it, she did not.
After keeping us laughing for over an hour, the group finally settled down to some serious fund raising as Bob took over the microphone to start the auction. Among the items on the block were scripts with notes in them, including a Timeless script, the call sheets for Endgame showing all the cast as having completed their work on that episode, and at least two crew hats donated by Picardo. All the items auctioned had been signed by those present and Johnny had signed the things brought by Picardo from California. Robbie was going to sign everything when he got there.
Auctions are supposed to be serious and the auctioneer is supposed to know what is going on - not this auction. Garrett and John interrupted Bob so many times that he not only forgot who had bid but how much the bid had been. He frequently had two bids for the same amount and once he even had two bids from the same person. Fortunately there was always another bid to unscramble the problem.
They had apparently had higher hopes for the scripts than brought because Tim told us later that he wondered who would want to bid on the last item being offered - a copy of Cleveland Magazine with Tim and Kate on the cover signed by the couple. Well, the answer to that was - quite a few people. The magazine ended up bringing in more money than some of the scripts - to Tim's complete shock. His reaction was unique - he went up on stage waving his tie asking who wanted it. While he may have been joking, Bob took it seriously and started asking for bids. They found a pen and everyone on stage started signing the tie promising to get Kate and Robbie to sign it later. $2,000 later Tim was willing to sell his pants and probably clean out his closet. That was probably the biggest surprise of the day. Thankfully, no one offered to buy Tim's pants or belt.
On that note, the group adjourned and headed off to various places to make themselves beautiful and glamorous for dinner - that would be the audience. The others just went back to that fascinating hotel to change their clothes.
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