#RIPArleneMartel

After the shock of losing Robin Williams yesterday, I was so sad to hear the news of Marlene Artel’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting her last spring at the Chicago Star Trek Convention. She was an absolute delight. In honor of her memory, I decided to share my previous post this evening:

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel was the first celebrity I saw at the Star Trek convention in Chicago in May 2013. I passed her in the hotel lobby with a fairly large man accompanying her. She was so elegant, with her striking good looks, dark hair and large sunglasses. At first, I thought she was Joan Collins. She nodded to me and said, “Good morning.” I was agog – a celeb spoke to me! But who was she? Would Joan Collins actually make an appearance? I knew she had been a guest star, but nothing had been said in the emails from Creation about her. When I got in the vendors area, I spotted her and immediately noted the pictures on her table – she was Spock’s wife! It was Arlene Martel! If you don’t know anything about Arlene, please check out her website here. I made my way through the line and finally got up to her. I was trying to decide which photo to buy, and one photo was of her as Spock’s wife in Amok Time. She leaned over and said, “What the hell am I holding there?”

I laughed, looked closer and said, “I think it’s a ring.”

“Oh, yes!” she said as she settled back in her chair. “They had the most fabulous jewelry on that show!”

I leaned forward and whispered, “They didn’t let you keep it, did they?”

“Oh, no, we had no idea what we were making when we were making Star Trek. Like those ears in that photo,” she pointed to the picture of her with Spock, “Those ears hurt so bad and when shooting was over, I ripped them off and tossed them on the makeup table. Couldn’t wait to get rid of them. And someone told me they sold at auction for $35,000. And I threw them away!”

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

When I finally settled on the photo of her with Spock, we talked about the episode and had a hilarious conversation about Vulcans going seven years without sex. Arlene laughed and said, “Seven years – can you imagine? I couldn’t go seven days!”

Arlene was an absolute delight to meet. She actually spoke with me – not just at me. Asked my opinion about television and movies. I was so impressed with her. She and her husband have written a book about mental illness. She was such a delight, I can’t imagine her having any struggles. But after meeting her, I want to read more about her.

Rest in peace, Arlene. I am honored to have met you.

Star Trek: Chicago!

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When I realized that there was going to be a Star Trek convention in Chicago, I started making plans. Going to a con has been on my bucket list for ages – at least since the hubs and I visited Las Vegas in August 2007 and did Star Trek: The Experience (that’s a whole ‘ nother post!). Since this was our first convention and we were doing it on a budget, we opted to go for the Friday session only, general admission, to sort of get a feel for things and figure out the best way to do a con. If you enjoy Star Trek at all, I highly recommend going. Here are some tips to make the experience the best possible on a tight budget:

*Stay at a nearby hotel. The Westin in Chicago was expensive as all get out, and I felt a bit out of place. I paid $179 a night, for a hotel that featured $29 burgers and a broken pool. That said, it was nice to be able to just walk up to the room after the Star Trek Rat Pack.

*Bring your own food. There were no food vendors around, and the hotel restaurant was really expensive. When I asked the concierge for some suggestions for a reasonably priced restaurant, she directed me to a list of nearby steak houses. When I called to get prices for entrees, several happily told me their entrees ranged from $49 to $150. I went back and asked for directions to something cheaper, like an Outback or a Texas Roadhouse. The poor woman nearly broke her lips twisting them in disgust, but she did give us directions to an Outback. Only later did we find out there was a McDonald’s nearly adjacent to the hotel, and a Ruby Tuesday’s just around the corner.

*Bring cash – preferably $20 bills. Most of the stars will sign autographs, and most charge $20, $40 or $60.

*Bring a camera. Ask permission before you take photos, but you’ll want photos of the attendees as well as the stars!

*General admission seats are still decent. They’re much cheaper than the full package seats. Granted, you won’t get all the included autographs, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be able to pick and choose the autographs you want to purchase.

*Have fun! Document your trip! Keep souvenirs like your hotel bill and your wristband. And if you need help with your album, let me know. I’d be glad to make one for you (and I won’t charge you an arm and a leg).