The Shore-Leave Convention 2017

After evading a meteor shower. Mark Grossman reports in from his Shore Leave.

Well, it started out to be a normal day until I walked into the hotel where the Shore-Leave convention was being held the weekend of July 7-9 2017, Earth time. Spaceships, and Klingons and Gorn, oh my. This is one of the most awesome fan run conventions around. I am honored to be able to cover this diverse genre event.

Shore-Leave is a local Baltimore Maryland convention where anything can happen. There are so many cos-players, you know, people dressed up as all sorts of beings and characters and super heroes and more! These science fiction characters and more are usually seen walking around the hotel . At, least, I think they are all humans. The show has awesome dealers rooms to purchase cool items. I also spotted a large, parked Battlestar Galactica Cylon spacecraft right in front of the hotel entrance! A human entrepreneur has created this lifelike life size full scale model to pose next to and inside the cockpit for photo ops. It looks real enough to fly into space. Perhaps it does. Back inside I was briefly accosted by Darth Vader. He let me go, the Force was with me.

Throughout the weekend,besides the guests signing for and chatting with fans at their tables, there were numerous panels, stage talks, art show, charity auction, gaming, photo op session with the guests, dealers rooms, a full size Doctor Who Tardis and Dalekamong other items , the masquerade costume contest, and the Ten Forward party Saturday night plus so much more! Fun fun and more fun.

The guests this year were Kevin Sussman, Stuart from The Big Bang Theory, Mike Dupod , genre character actor, Michael Hogan , Battlestar Galactica, Luciana Carro, genre character actress, Jodelle Ferlan, genre character actress, Marc Bendavid, genre character actor, and Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn from Star Trek Next Gen!

Mark strongly suggests that the young lady change into a colour that would be far less likely to get her killed.

Shore-Leave 2017 was a grand time over it’s 3 day weekend run. Fans get to take away many a unique involvement as I am sure the guests, writers and all others involved do. I was able to get interviews, snap many photos, obtain some autographs, and connect with friends all while covering the show. It is usually a bittersweet time when Shore-Leave winds down Sunday evening. We humans and other beings from other worlds, dimensions, realities, and times, prepare our minds to return to our otherwise, normal, or abby-normal lives again , having had such a delectable experience!

I interviewed Kevin Sussman and Mike Dopud on Sunday of the show. Great interviews and both men were awesome. Marina and Michael declined to do any interviews. Luckily, I met and interviewed them both quite a few years ago. Sometimes guest stars just want to do their signing for fans, stage talks, and photo op sessions and enjoy their down time.

Back in the old days, because I am old, you could just ask a celebrity guest for their signature , pay for it, and they allowed you to snap a quick photo with them at their tables. Not so much anymore, especially with this photo op session at most every conventions now. It’s more about time saving, and money these days, and that is a shame for we fans. Now fans have to shell out much more money for signed items, and if they want a photo with the guest, they have to purchase the “photo op” in another area at a designated time, where a photographer is all set up. They call you in, let you take a few seconds , literally, pose with your favorite celebrity, and then the photographer yells, next…and you’re outta there! This is very expensive, and a nice moneymaker for everyone involved except for the fan! Major Bummer!

On a lighter note, you still get to pose and have your photo with you standing with your favorite star! Later in the day after it is printed, they have a time to line everyone up , which takes awhile, and you get this photo signed by the guest you posed with. Still a cool collectible for you.

One of the best parts about this convention, is hanging with friends and fellow fans and chatting about the sci-fi genre. Plus sharing our own war stories of how we received some of our signed items and photos. Oftentimes, we all get to brag and boast about all the cool memorabilia we have collected over the years from Star Trek, Star Wars, and so many other films and television. Not to mention running into Starfleet personnel, aliens, creatures, other non worldly beings, and I actually met Willy Wonka who thought I was one of his Oompa Loompas!

Besides shooting photos all around the show and doing two interviews, I was happy and in my element chatting with people, and other creatures about our love of Science Fiction and more at Shore-Leave. I always make it out alive somehow.

Here are a few excerpts from my interviews.

Mike Dupod tells me he started out as a stuntman for SG-1, and then progressed to playing roles in all the Stargate franchises!

Mike also says, that he has a few things upcoming to watch for such as, a TV series called Power, and films Virtual Revolution and Project Eden.

I asked Mike who would he love to have an autograph of. He told me, Mel Gibson, because of the Mad max movies. He said that is why he got into acting in the sci-fi genre!

Kevin Sussman relays the fact to me that he loves being involved with the hit series The Big Bang Theory and his cast mates are all super cool and very funny too. This actually doesn’t feel like work he says. In fact he actually used to work in a comic book store!

Kevin says Chuck Lorre actually wanted him to play the role as Kripke, but he was already working on a movie so they gave the role to the actor , who currently plays that part. When the role of a nerdy comic book owner came up, they hired Kevin immediately.

I asked Kevin to tell me something, no-one has ever heard from behind the scenes when The Big Bang Theory tapes. Kevin shared the he once unwittingly backstage bit into a real duck beak!

He said is was kinda dark back there and he went to eat some duck off a tray. Kevin laughed saying he looking down and said out loud, “Oh, no, I bit a beak.”

He said Mayam Bialik who plays Amy, asked him to take a photo for her to see, because she was a vegan, and, she wanted to laugh and be completely disgusting about it.

Asking if he could tell me anything about the new season with out killing me.Kevin stated, No, they don’t tell him anything about the plot line until day of rehearsal, and he says that’s good because he would not want to spill the beans about it. I laughed and then he told me that he, was the kind of guy that if he knew, he would probably spill the beans about it! Kevin was an awesome interview!

I want to thanks all those at Shore-Leave that allow me to cover it. Also wish to thank my photography/video partners Jessica Blitz and Fallon Costley and buddies Karen and Judy!

I am really happy that many of the actors in some of our favorite medias come and to meet and sign for fans. Even if it is for an infinitesimal speck of time compared the age of the universe! I will share more conventions and interviews upcoming soon.

So indulge me as they used to say on way back when TV ….Please Stand By. Or, Ready to Beam up. Your choice.


Mark J. Gross has been a fan of the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genre, since being stranded on this planet in 1955. Not telling anyone I was stuck here with a broken time machine, shhhh.... on paper I hail from Baltimore Maryland.
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