Artwork by PIERRE-LUC FAUBERT
BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR PHILLY.COM Pretend, for the length of this introduction, you are me. Your earliest television memory is Star Trek, back when you thought you could talk to the people on TV simply by yelling at the screen. In the ‘70s, Star Trek reruns ran in seeming perpetuity. You watched every episode many times over, your thirst for the show was unquenchable and you became the ultimate fanboy — an obsessive, jock-mocked, girl-repellent Trekkie. You still have your copy of the Star Fleet Technical Manual you bought at the mall with your paper route money when you were 10. Your father passed away that year and so from then on you learned everything you need to know about being a man from Captain James T. Kirk. This would prove to be a dubious choice of role models, but it’s too late now.
Years later you’ve grown up to be a mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper and one day — last Thursday to be exact — you get the chance to interview William frickin’ Shatner in advance of his October 13th appearance at the Keswick Theater where he will perform Shatner’s World, his hilarious and hugely entertaining two-hour journey to the center of the Platonic Ideal of Shatner. Where no man. Has gone. Before. (Sorry, had to.) You vow not to nerd out and ask him about boinking the green space chick or the trouble with Tribbles or why every time Kirk got into a fist fight his tunic always ripped in the exact same place (right shoulder, though occasionally underboob) and why did Star Fleet hand out such crappy shirts?
No, you are a professional. You will ask him the hard questions others are too chicken to ask. Like, how the hell does a classically trained Shakespearean actor wind up starring in Kingdom Of The Spiders? And do you know that The Devil’s Rain still gives an entire generation of Gen Xers cold-sweat nightmares 41 years later? And were you flattered or horrified when GQ declared your squirrelly midnight-black TJ Hooker rug The Greatest Hairpiece Of The 20th Century? Why does the entire cast of Star Trek seem to hate you with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns? Why would you write a book about your decades-long friendship with Leonard Nimoy when he refused to speak with you for the last four years of his life? And how can you not know, as you repeatedly insist, why Mr. Spock stopped speaking to you? But you don’t. Instead you ask him these questions… MORE
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