The New England Fan Experience (2009)

By Bonnie Moss


When I heard that Leonard was going to be at this gathering in his home town of Boston, I knew this was an event I did not want to miss. My co-worker, Kathy Sykes and I made our flight/hotel/con registration arrangements in July for the November event.

Besides Leonard, other guests included John deLancie (Q in ST:TNG), Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood) and James Hong, a wonderful Asian-American character actor. Individuals from NASA and Popular Science magazine were additional speakers present.

On the first day, we met Mr. deLancie and Mr. Hong, who were both quite funny individuals. Leonard's first appearance was the next day at the photo op offered to fans as part of the con. Your's truly was first in line. Things had to go quickly as there had been a power outage that delayed the start time. I was wearing the "Matisse Dancers" (Full Body Project) photo T-Shirt that I purchased through Leonard's photography web site. When I scampered up for the photo, he said "nice shirt!" I recited the web site name into the camera and he laughed. Alas, the next person was now up and I had to run.

Following this event was the autograph line. Again I was first up. Those of us who purchased a particular can package were told that Leonard would personalize our photos. I placed an 8x10 photo in front of him that was taken in 1982 in Boston. He looked at it a bit before he signed, asking "where did you get this?" "From the Boston Globe" was my reply. "How?" he asked. "Because I asked them for it!" I said. We both laughed and then he signed "To Bonnie, My Best, Leonard Nimoy."

I took this opportunity to give Leonard something special. His parents had written me a charming note in 1983 when they still lived in Brighton, Mass. I wanted him to have it. Before I had the envelope half way across the table, he exclaimed "That's my mother's handwriting!" I confirmed this and mentioned the letter's content, adding that he might find it meaningful. He eagerly took my hand, squeezed it and said "thank - you, thank - you - this is wonderful!" (Other folks in line later asked what prompted such a response!)

Of course, once is not enough, so I got back into the long line (my legs were killing me that night!) to see him again. This time, I had an original one-sheet from his movie "Kid Monk Baroni." He looked at this for a bit longer, too, then looked up and said "where would you want me to sign this?" I was taken aback, as he usually takes the lead in these things, but we agreed on a spot and I received another great signature. Again, I had something I wanted to give him. It was an 8x10 glamour shot taken of his wife Susan in the mid 1960's. His face lit up again, exclaiming "now, that's hot!" Everyone around laughed and he seemed very pleased to see it. In reference to Mrs. Nimoy's comment on the "View" TV show, I had written on the back "Thanks for making him scream!" I had no idea Leonard would turn the photo over while I was still there! He squinted at the writing for a second, then erupted into even bigger laughter than before! "Yeah! - that's great - she'll love this!" he exclaimed, while giving me another hand squeeze (sigh).

Image Hosted by

The final event of this day was Leonard's talk in the main ballroom. Kathy and I were in the front row. He looked wonderful and relaxed. The setting was a bit more intimate than at much larger ST-focused cons. Leonard talked about his childhood in Boston, what it was like for him to return, his parents and the new ST movie, among other things. Prior to his lecture, theconvention staff gave him a framed proclamation signed by the mayor of Boston, proclaiming Nov. 14th as 'Leonard Nimoy Day!' Leonard was obviously surprised, then playfully asked "well, why isn't the mayor here?" By the close of the presentation, he was moved and communicated his sincere thanks to all parties involved.

After Leonard's 'formal' talk, came the questions and answers session. Anyone with a question was to get in line behind a microphone in the main aisle of the ballroom. I was immediately on my feet to get in line.

When it was finally my turn, I mentioned that Kathy and I had flown up from North Carolina. "Really?!?" was his response. He always seems genuinely surprised at the lengths people go to in order to see him! After a brief exchange about North Carolina, I said "DeForest Kelley (a fellow Southerner) was the only member of the ST cast without an accent!" This took a second to digest, then he grinned and said, "Ooooo - that's clever!" He then let out a big laugh! I went on to say that we last talked backstage at the Peachtree Playhouse in 1980. "In Atlanta," he chimed in. I told him I had enjoyed his VINCENT performances and he responded with several "thank yous." Then I mentioned I was a walking advertisement for his photography. (I was still wearing the "Matisse Dancers" shirt - nude full bodied women from the Full Body Project book). At this point he said "Come on up here - I want everyone to see this photograph. Come up and stand beside me."

Image Hosted by Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by

Of course I was delighted as people parted ways for me to make it to the stage. Once there, I did a brief 'happy dance,' which appeared to amuse him. Then he described the photo on my shirt as inspired by the Henri Matisse painting. He went on to discuss the Full Body Project and his conviction that society is "so obsessed with body-weight and body image in our culture." He concluded with "I think it's kind of cruel," which drew much applause from the audience.

At that point, Leonard turned to me and said "did you have a question?" I jokingly asked (while gesturing to the shirt) "yes - how can I become one of these models?" He and the rest of the room erupted in laughter. It was a funny moment I'll always remember! He then asked if I had the Full Body Project book. I said that I had it and the Shekhina book as well. He brightened and responded "Really? Bless you." He then explained he had moved on to the 'Secret Selves' project, so "we're a little past that (Full Body) but - thanks for your interest and, well, you're modeling for us today!" I struck a brief pose, then he took my hand (another squeeze!) and said "be careful" as he guided me off stage. What a great experience! At the close of the Q+A, the audience rose to give Leonard a standing ovation. He patted his heart several times in response to demonstrate his mutual affection.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by

The next (final) day, I was admiring some of the artwork on display and for sale outside of the dealers' room. I ordered/purchased a piece entitled "I Have Been and Always Will Be Your Friend" that was autographed by William Shatner and Leonard (It arrived recently and is gorgeous!) The company selling these items is called Lightspeed Fine Art, Inc. During the course of this transaction, the gentleman I was dealing with asked "are you the lady that Leonard took onstage yesterday?" When I said I was, he said "Leonard got a real kick out of you!" he introduced himself as Gary Hasson, an agent who represents Leonard for his personal appearances and obtains his (and others') signatures for the items Lightspeed sells. (I remembered that I had seen him sitting next to Leonard at the autograph table!) he was extremely pleasant and we had a wonderful extended conversation. I mentioned that I had given Leonard a note from his parents and he replied "yes - that really meant a lot to him. You know, someone also gave him a picture of Susan he really liked as well." When I said I was that person too - he told me "those 2 things made Leonard's convention - you're the type of fan that is the reason he still comes out to make appearances like this!" Boy, was I humbled and surprised - what a fantastic chance meeting with someone who could tell me these things! Mr. Hasson closed our conversation with "He was showing everyone that picture of Susan later that night - John (deLancie) wouldn't believe it was her!" We both laughed. Thank - you, Mr. Hasson, for your friendliness and feedback.

This was a weekend I'll always remember. Many thanks, Mr. Nimoy, for your talents as well as the sincere interest and respect you continue to have for your fans.

Image Hosted by