Space City Comic Con 2015: The Trade

As Seen on Classic Rock Radio (UK)
First Published: 12 Aug 2015
Space City Comic Con 2015
Chapter Three: The Trade
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Space City Comic Con 2015 - BannerStar Trek: Voyager 20th Year Anniversary – Space City Comic Con 2015 Reunion Banner

So I walk up to actor Garrett Wang’s table, looking to do a trade. Garrett is best known at least to this convention, for his role as Ensign Harry Kim. A popular character that lasted all seven seasons, on the third spin-off from the original 1960’s Star Trek television program. Fan favorite; Star Trek Voyager. First run episodes ran from 1995 to 2001. Closer to what I personally think the original Star Trek show was about; exploring the unknown, character development, and having scenes of good lookin’ women in heavenly attire. The science fiction series in total, filmed one hundred and seventy episodes. I have many favorites. Most of which center around Jeri Ryan and her 7 Of 9 character (wink wink). Excellent storytellin’ throughout its entire run. State of the art effects used back in the day (14 years ago). Bravo to all the series employed, behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Now, back to Garrett.

The day before this, I had an opportunity to ask Mr. Wang a question for a story idea I thought of. Had to do with Voyager’s Holodeck, and using its technology, being able to recreate one musical event of the past. For yours truly I used Woodstock as an example. The main reason is that I was still in my single digits when that took place. If older I’m sure I would have at least tried to attend. Using the fictional spacecraft’s technology, I could do that. For those who read my story, Garrett’s answer was he’d use the Holodeck so he could attend an Elvis Presley concert. In my mind, a super cool answer. In part because outside the NGR Center, in which we were, was the Houston Astrodome. Still standing and in need of a little renovation. I’m being sarcastic here. The place looks like a shit-hole, as compared to its glory days. Has been voted by city residents to be torn down. Yet, there it is. Historical in a sense that grand events from the past taken place there, including Elvis playing at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The last time was back in 1974. Played two shows, for a combined attendance of; 88,119. During one performance Elvis commented about the large size of the audience saying it was the largest crowd he’d ever played for. Like they say, things are bigger in Texas.

So forty-one years ago across the hot parking lot from the building Garrett and I were in, was where the legendary Elvis Presley and his band played.

Walking up to Garrett, I thanked him for being cool the day before and answering my question. Next came the setup for a proposed trade I wanted to do with him. I said (paraphrasing) I will trade you your autograph on a 3×5 card that I will supply, costing you nothing, and in return I will give you this CD, and I hand it to him. Now, remember everything I said up to this point. Here’s the CD I made a copy of only a few hours beforehand; Elvis Presley – Event Number Eight: Houston, Texas, U.S.A. March 3, 1974.

Now for those who want to Google and buy this CD themselves, it’s really not for sale. At least not legally. This is what is typically referred to in the trading circles as a: bootleg. A ton of Elvis’s shows was recorded back in the day. Many of them soundboards. Which is what ‘Event Number Eight’ is. Sounds better then if at the actual event.

Anyone who attended a concert at the Astrodome in person, in which I did more than once, knows the sound was borderline horrible. Plain and simple, the acoustics sucked. Makes sense the soundboard recording is better sounding. Listening to this treasured recording would be a real trip for those who I bump into every now and then who attended either one of the performances. I stay about thirty-five minutes away from the Astrodome. Many of those in attendance at either one of the two shows that fateful day is still alive. I’ll run into folks every blue moon who once they find out that I write for a classic rock station, want to tell me every detail of their being there. Talked about like it was the historical event that it was. Entertaining recollections indeed. All the world loved Elvis, especially Houston Texas.

So Garrett has the home-made CD-R in his hand. He starts reading aloud what took me almost an hour to print. One word explanation; arthritis. But it’s cool. Something I wanted to do. Got the idea while having morning coffee going over the day before events. A light bulb went off over my head when I was reading Garrett’s answer to my holodeck question.

For like a year, a decade ago, I got into a serious Elvis Presley kick. Started buying his CDs. Since a kid, I have been into trading. Too poor to buy everything. Pertaining to music, not regular products. I always loved broadcasted concerts, and pretty early on would stay up late at night and record them over the radio. And then I make copies and trade. Others did the same thing with musicians/bands they liked. Then I discovered bootlegs. As a collector of music and having thousands of CDs, some of these rare recordings are too good to pass up. I found a serious Elvis collector who also liked Prog-Rock, so off to the races we went. I remember one he wanted was Yes @ Roosevelt Stadium, back in the 1970’s. A concert I was at as a matter of fact. Broadcast by what was at the time, New York City’s top rock station; WNEW FM. And that Ladies and Gentlemen is how I got a very special collector’s CD of Elvis at the Astrodome in 1974. The entire show, afternoon performance. Broke attendance records, only to that night, break another attendance record. That’s impressive!

So Garrett is reading aloud the cover I made of the CD. Has a hint of excitement in his voice as he’s going down the tracks, reciting one great song title after another; All Shook Up, Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, Fever, Suspicious Minds, and then the closing number, Can’t Help Falling In Love. Garrett looks at me and says; “I’ll trade!”. Took my 3×5 card and signed it. We both smiled. I thanked him and left so he could get back to business and sign autographs for money.

Elvis Presley - Event Number 8 - backing (text)                                                Track Listing and ACTUAL photo!

So how cool is that? Thanks to Garrett Wang for playing along TWICE with me. I hope very much he enjoyed listening to the live Elvis recording. It was more a gift than it was a way of obtaining his autograph. Afterward, I thought it would make for a cool story to tell. That’s what I do right? I explained to a Space City Comic Con volunteer while just hanging out, that I was in all actuality, a storyteller. Not that I wasn’t able to be a stick to the facts reporter. I learned journalism 101 back in high school. Writing to me is more fun this way.

While at the Con, and observing that which was going on around me, I happened to watch Garrett with his fans. The dude can’t be any cooler. Doing a simple Google search will show one picture after another of Garrett behaving wonderfully with whoever approached him. I would recommend if the opportunity ever arose of being able to attend a convention and Garrett was there, to go up and say hello. Just bring your wallet. Leave the trading up to the professionals.

Garrett Wang (in person_25 July 2015)Garrett Wang Star Trek: Voyager Promo Photo + Garrett Wang autographed 3×5 card

Movie Review: Elvis & Nixon (2016)

As Seen On:
Uncle G’s FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: Elvis & Nixon (2016 Amazon Studios)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

I actually remember President Nixon being in office. Bits and pieces. More so than President Johnson, and the President before him; John F. Kennedy. My birth was in 1961. Hard to believe that five and a half decades has since almost passed. I’m especially surprised with each new day that goes by, how much I remember from my childhood. Spent the entire 1970’s as a resident of the great state; New Jersey. Was nine years old and living in South Amboy, when the main event in this movie took place. I do not remember watching the evening news, which would have come out of New York City, and being informed that the one and only Elvis Presley had visited the White House that day, taking in a meeting with then President: Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994). Odds are I was outside playing, or preoccupied doing something else. Fourth grade was a busy time.

For President Nixon, Watergate would later on equal impeachment. A dark chapter in our nation’s history. Bill Clinton’s impeachment over two decades later, was a stain on the fabric that made this country great. Another story for another day, for that’s not the occurrence that happened in the White House’s Oval Office that this theatrical film focuses on. For it’s towards the end of 1970, when the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley decided his country needed him. The TV news was full of could be communists and kids (young adults) using dope (pot). In Elvis’ eyes, the United States was going to shit. Wanting to be of service, the rock n’ roller, perhaps foolishly believed that by simply obtaining a real badge and title, Federal Agent at Large, that he could be of service to the country he loved, and respected so dearly. After all, he was a black belt in karate, and a movie actor in which he pretended to be other people. Tools / experience to help him go undercover. To rid the streets of the ones he concluded were ruining the good old United States of America. So on the spur of the moment, off to Washington DC he goes. Tries to anyway. At first he finds it somewhat difficult. But then it’s straight to the White House. To hand deliver a letter, and then ask for a meeting with the President. Again, not as easy as he thought.

Giving President Nixon positive promotion, is what the White House was about. To get a picture taken in the oval office of Richard Nixon with the most popular entertainer in the world, would mean instant voter approval. Especially young voters, and those who lived in the South. When Nixon learns that he’s going to meet Elvis, he wonders aloud; “Who the fuck set this up?”. Nixon was not keen on the idea of spending time with the musician, and at first said no. A little persuasion from his daughter, and before you know it, the most requested photo of The National Archives is snapped; Nixon & Elvis. This movie is all about that fateful day.

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I always liked Elvis. Even the fat Elvis towards the end. The 1970 December 21st Elvis, in which this film depicts, pretty much still had his shit together. Some crazy episodes. Things not everyone was aware of. Example, he had the habit of shooting TV’s when it displayed something he didn’t like. In the beginning of this movie, he’s seen watching the news, and getting more pissed by the second. Then he takes his handgun, and fires at several television sets. Doing that sets this picture in motion.

Michael Shannon, portrays the legendary musician, Elvis Presley. The skinny version. Give it a minute watching Michael’s perform, and after that you’ll have no problem believing he is Elvis. A very creditable performance. And the movie itself, has a great look and feel to it. Must be hard to go back over forty years, and recreate what it was like. A lot of research and hard work. A period piece is either one hundred percent believable, or it’s garbage. All involved with ‘Nixon & Elvis’ did their homework, and it shows.

And while I’m throwing praise around. I always believed the more writers a movie had, the greater the odds of it blowing chunks. Three writers responsible for Elvis & Nixon, and all doing a terrific job; Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal, and Cary Elwes. For the viewer, it’s like being a fly on the wall. A story well told / presented. Directed by Liza Johnson, in what I hope is her most successful film yet.’Elvis & Nixon’ should appeal to many; historians, President Nixon & Elvis fans, those into politics or rock n’ roll, and anyone else who enjoys watching a good film, that doesn’t involve superheroes. Rated ‘R’ I believe for salty language. Might bore the youngins.

Have I mentioned Kevin Spacey yet? Reminds me of actor Gene Hackman. Both men, outstanding at whatever movie they are in. Mister Spacey had his imitation / portrayal of Nixon down to a science. His mannerisms. The way he spoke. And the look is there also. Thank God not spitting image. Give it thirty seconds to get used to. May not even be necessary. Spacey’s believable right out the gate. The same throughout the whole one hour and forty minute film. If I was handing out Oscar’s, he’d get one for this performance.

Those who played the parts of Nixon’s aides and Elvis’ associates, also did a wonderful job. Elvis’ long time friend, Jerry Schilling is portrayed by Alex Pettyfer. Johnny Knoxville, did a very good friend playing Sonny, another Elvis’ caretaker. Colin Hanks as Egil Krogh, Evan Peters as Dwight Chapin, and Tate Donovan as White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman. All do justice to their portrayal of these men.

Music: A well done score by Edward Shearmur, and a very cool soundtrack that screams what we call now, classic rock. Songs like Suzy Q by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

Uncle G Rates … Elvis & Nixon (2016 Amazon Studios):

Using the same rating ten star rating system as the IMDb website, whereas one star means it’s horrible, to ten stars in which Elvis would rate his favorite sandwich on the Earth, peanut butter and banana, … I give the 2016 movie, ‘Nixon & Elvis’ … 10 stars. Not an historical event serious enough that it changed the world. Both men, notorious for being critical of others. Not a surprise these two would find common ground, and get along.


Official Website:

 photo Elvis amp Nixon - Blu-ray_zpsdxec9kiq.jpg