Shattering Conventions

January 2017

Shattering Conventions: Decking the Halls As Klingon Santa at the Star Trek Con

by Bob Calhoun

  • Santa Klingon Interviews Klingon

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    Klingon Santa interviews a fellow Klingon.

  • Klingon Santa Standing Next to Tree

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    Klingon Santa gets into the Christmas spirit.

  • Klingon Santa Hands Out Plastic Dinosaurs

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    Klingon Santa gives a gift of plastic dinosaurs.

I dressed up as Klingon Santa Claus to celebrate the holiday season and the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

Santa Con is not a convention. It’s not held in a hotel or convention center. It has no panel discussions, workshops or vendors. It’s just a mob of drunks in Saint Nick getups filling the streets as they cut a swath of destruction through the San Francisco bar scene as they troll the yuletide season.

Since Santa Con doesn’t involve the services of meetings professionals on any level, it’s not the kind of thing I’d usually cover here, although looming deadlines will drive a man to do anything—even go on a rain-swept pub crawl in a Santa suit.

Fortunately for me—for us, for all humanity, really—I had a press pass for the Star Trek convention at the newly renovated SFO Hyatt Regency in nearby Burlingame, a venue that’s becoming a regular Shattering Conventions haunt if ever there was one.

The problem with this was Shattering Conventions has brought a lot of Star Trek to Meetings Today. While this is somewhat unavoidable, as Gene Roddenberry’s classic sci-fi show and all its spin-offs have become nearly synonymous with the conventions industry, I’m not sure anything could top my Klingon bar report from the November issue.

Because of this, I was filled with the creeping dread that maybe I should cover Santa Con instead of the "Star Trek 50 Year Mission Tour." On Dec. 10, the day of both Santa Con and the Trek con, I tweeted:

"Santa Con in San Francisco or Star Trek con in Burlingame??? Where did I put that Klingon wig again?"

Eureka Cat, a fan of the column, tweeted back, “Klingon Clause.” Chris Chun of San Francisco seconded this by writing, “Both. A Klingon Santa.” The people had spoken! They wanted Klingon Santa, and I was going to give it to them. I dug my cheap Santa suit out of the closet and found my Klingon uniform. My wife Rosemary stitched the Klingon and Santa suits together. Klingon Santa was born.

And the sight of Klingon Santa standing next to the Christmas tree in the Hyatt Regency lobby filled the Trekkers with joy. I never posed for so many selfies as Romulans, Bajorans and even a Klingon or two wanted their pictures taken with me (although the Klingons did seem a little skeptical). Before I made it to the convention, I bought a load of plastic dinosaurs at the dollar store, which really helped me spread the holiday cheer to all the children that were brought to the con by their Starfleet officer parents. The highlight of the day had to be when Michael Dorn, Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation, spotted me during his Q&A session in the auditorium.

“Klingon Santa,” he said in his deep baritone, and the audience of over a thousand Trekkies started to cheer. In that moment I felt the holiday spirit and the appeal of cosplay all at once.

I was Klingon Santa, spreading joy to the worlds.

Every month in “Shattering Conventions,” author Bob Calhoun crashes a new tradeshow, convention or conference looking for a way to fit ineven when he doesn't always belong. Calhoun is the author of "Shattering Conventions: Commerce, Cosplay and Conflict on the Expo Floor." You can follow him on Twitter at @bob_calhoun.

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