Wednesday, May 15, 2024

William Shatner to Speak in Fort Lauderdale This Fall

Having ascended into suborbital space on a Blue Origin spacecraft, William Shatner has literally gone where few men have gone before … and in the fall, he’s going to Fort Lauderdale. Shatner will appear onstage Nov. 9 at the Broward Center for a discussion and Q&A, following a screening of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

There was a time, not long ago, when this wouldn’t have meant much to me. I didn’t grow up a Trekkie, and in terms of cultish devotion to the “Star Trek” franchise, I hardly qualify. As I’ve blogged about previously, I only began watching the original series in the early days of the pandemic. But I’ve kept it up, gradually if persistently, never missing an episode, from the entirety of “The Next Generation” and into “Deep Space Nine,” where I’m presently docked midway through season two.

Captain Kirk, of course, is most everybody’s gateway drug into the entire “Star Trek” universe. As embodied so memorably by a then-largely unknown Canadian actor, he was a beacon of morality, of ethics, of comportment, of leadership, for multiple generations. And yet, prior to exploring the series, I had an incomplete, even incorrect picture of Shatner in my head, of a wooden overactor given to stilted delivery of dialogue and, worse, a wannabe singer whose interpretations of pop and rock standards sounded like parodies of parodies of chintzy lounge music.

How wrong I was: As a vocalist, he was presciently hip—equal parts avant-garde postmodernist and ironic jester who was always in on his own joke. And while his staccato interpretation of James T. Kirk may not have exhibited the brooding Shakespearean gravitas with which Patrick Stewart invested Jean-Luc Picard, this was Shatner’s choice, not limitation, and it perfectly fit the Dadaist vision for the 1960s series.

My appreciation for Shatner has only deepened over the past few years, as he has evolved into a renaissance man whose curiosity for the mysteries of life parallels that of his most famous character. I’ve enjoyed his self-consciously campy gigs hosting shows about paranormal and cutting-edge science, from “Weird or What?” to “The UnXplained,” and his one-on-one interview show “I Don’t Understand With William Shatner” was one of the few must-see programs on the now-canceled RT America.

Like Kirk, he is still boldly going, still trying to explain the unexplainable, still trying to figure out what he doesn’t understand. At 92, he’s certifiably an American treasure. At this point, I’d watch William Shatner hold court on just about anything. I can only hope the conversation in November expands beyond the purview of the Enterprise.

Shatner will appear at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $44.50-$84.50. Visit browardcenter.org.


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John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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