J.G. HERTZLER suspends his campaign for Congress and talks about AXANAR! (audio interview)

In June of 2017, when I saw the headline that a former Star Trek actor was planning to run for the U.S. Congress, I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that it was J.G. HERTZER.

Even though his character of General Martok from Deep Space Nine (who eventually became Chancellor Martok, leader of the Klingon Empire) loathed politics, J.G. always seemed drawn to it.  The few times I’d seen and spoken with him at conventions, J.G. would invariably share his strongly-held progressive views on political issues and politicians in general.

So it kinda made sense that J.G. would combine his two passions—theater and politics—into his campaign to represent the 23rd Congressional District of New York State.  That said, I still scratched my head a little at J.G.’s choice to run simultaneously as himself and also as his “spokesman” Mark Twain (pen name of noted American author Samuel Clemens).  Clemens spent a portion of his adult life living and writing in J.G.’s upstate New York district, and the author’s humorous and straight-spoken approach to life seemed a perfect way to comment on the state of our union and the challenges facing it.

JG HERTZLER as 19th Century author Mark Twain

Unfortunately for the fan film AXANAR, however, J.G.’s choice to campaign as Mark Twain included a decision to also look the part, which meant letting his hair grow long and wavy (like the author).  This precluded J.G. from filming any scenes of the upcoming Axanar fan film sequels until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, as his character of Admiral Sam Travis had a distinctively short military-style haircut.

So naturally, as an Axanar supporter myself, I took notice when I learned last week that J.G. Hertzler was SUSPENDING his Congressional campaign!  Did this mean he was now free to cut his hair and do Axanar sooner?  Was he even going to do Axanar at all?  (He hadn’t been officially confirmed yet.)  And why would J.G. suddenly suspend his campaign less than three months before the midterm elections?

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AXACON adds more guests – TICKETS now available!

Things are beginning to get very exciting when it comes to AXACON, the “con-within-a-con” that is happening during the first weekend of November in Atlanta, GA.

In the last few weeks, some major new guests were added, and last week, tickets finally went on sale.  The guest list now includes GARY GRAHAM (who plays Ambassador Soval in AXANAR) and J.G. HERTZLER (who plays the surly Admiral Sam Travis in AXANAR)—both of whom are veteran television Star Trek actors—along with tribbles creator DAVID GERROLD.

Other announced guests include director/co-writer of the upcoming Axanar sequel fan films PAUL JENKINS, editor/sound designer MARK EDWARD LEWIS, art directors LESS QUESSENBERRY and ALEXANDER RICHARDSON, STEVEN JEPSON (Admiral Slater from Prelude to Axanar), and of course, writer/executive producer/Garth of Izar himself ALEC PETERS.  There’s also a growing number of notables from the fan film community including Stalled Trek creator MARK LARGENT, Chasing the Infinite Sky creator ALBERT J. MARTINEZ, Axanar fan artist MARK PAYTON, and your favorite Fan Film Factor blogger JONATHAN LANE.

Also announced is that Axacon ticket holders will be invited for a Friday tour of OWC Studios in Lawrenceville, GA, where the Ares bridge set is located.  Guests need to provide their own transportation to and from the studio, which is about 40 minutes from the hotel.

Tickets for the event can now be purchased.  Note that these are “add-on” tickets, meaning that a ticket for Axacon (either $25 or $50) can only be purchased AFTER you first buy a ticket for SphinxCon (which is a separate $50 ticket).  SphinxCon, a convention celebrating the Honor Harrington book series, is happening at the same location and is acting as the “host” convention (meaning they are paying the main expenses for the hotel facilities).  Axacon is happening in a special area of the convention open only to Axacon ticket holders.

The event will be taking place at the  Crowne Plaza – Atlanta Airport (free shuttle from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) on November 2-4, 2018.

Click here to purchase tickets for Axacon.


And come back tomorrow for a surprisingly candid interview with J.G. Hertzler discussing his recent political campaign, his haircut, and whether or not he’ll be appearing in the Axanar sequel films!

An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?

Welcome back to another emotionally-charged episode of “As The AxaCon Turns”…the fan film controversy that asks the eternal question: Is Lane ever gonna stop blogging about this crap???

Well, I thought I was finished on Monday when I posted this blog about the detractors trying their darnedest to interfere with any chance of success for AxaCon by inundating the host convention, SphinxCon, and its chairman, DAVID WEINER, with all sorts of negative public and private comments about ALEC PETERS, AXANAR, and the invited guests (including yours truly).

Because it’s important to today’s blog, let me remind you what started the whole upheaval.  Noted Axanar detractor and frustrated New York Mets fan SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN posted this lovely comment onto the SphinxCon Facebook page…

Yeah, that happened.  Then everything else happened.  Then I blogged about it.  That lit up the fan film quadrant of the Internet for many hours on Monday while I took my son to see the King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center.  There were literally hundreds of comments waiting for me to read when I got home!

But one message stopped me in my tracks.  It was an APOLOGY from Shawn O’Halloran to Dave Weiner for disrupting his convention page!

It’s probably best if I let Shawn speak for himself with this screen cap that Dave sent me…

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DETRACTORS try to torpedo AXACON! (news and editorial)

Perhaps “torpedo” isn’t the right word.  Sabotage?  Interfere with?  Mess up?  Mock?  Belittle?  Bash?  Brutalize?  Bully?  Eliminate?

Whatever you call it, at least a couple of dozen AXANAR detractors (possibly more) seem to be making a concerted effort to convince the organizers of SphinxCon in Atlanta not to host the first AxaCon as a “con-in-a-con” on November 2-4.  Earlier this year, detractors had made similar efforts to pressure Eric L. Watts of Treklanta to disinvite ALEC PETERS as a guest…so much so that Eric asked to write a guest blog addressing their behavior.

The same day I was conducting my interview with ALEC PETERS about AxaCon and how it came to be an “add-on” to SphinxCon, the detractors were descending on the SphinxCon Facebook page with a wave of attempts to throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Last time it was Eric Watts.  This time they needed to get their message out to DAVE WEINER, the organizer and chairman of SphinxCon 2018.

Dave Weiner, Chair of SphinxCon

Dave lives in Decatur, GA with his wife Joanna and what he refers to as the “two house cats of the apocalypse.”  He has been active in The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association since 2014.  He is responsible for TRMN’s online infrastructure and branding.

TRMN has held two conventions a year for the past 5 years–one in Raleigh, NC called HonorCon and one in Minneapolis, MN called MantiCon.  SphinxCon will be their first in Atlanta, although Dave and many of the directors and deputies have experience running and working on other cons (including Dragon*Con).

Dave wanted to share what’s been going on since this past Friday because it has been very disturbing to him as a fan and as a convention organizer.  Having now observed the detractors firsthand and their attempts to try to put a positive “spin” on their actions, Dave would like set the record straight on exactly what has happened.

To do this, he has provided me with a large number of screen caps of posts, messages, and other communications…and those will make up the majority of this blog.  You can then decide for yourself how you feel about all of this…

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AXACON to be held the weekend of NOV 2-4 in Atlanta as part of SPHINXCON!

After a lull in AXANAR news out of Georgia for several months, it seems that there’s suddenly a LOT to talk about!  This past week, in addition to the announcement of a director for the two Axanar fan films, PAUL JENKINS, as well as editor MARK EDWARD LEWIS and DIT/colorist BING BAILEY, ALEC PETERS just announced the long-awaited AxaCon has finally been scheduled.  Here’s the official announcement…

The Manticore Company, LTD (TMCL) and Axanar Productions are pleased to announce that TMCL’s newest convention, SphinxCon will include Axanar Productions’ AxaCon as a unique“convention-in-a-convention” on November 2–4, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta-Airport.

SphinxCon is the newest intimate Literary Military Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Atlanta. It is the Annual Convention of The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. AxaCon is the official convention of Axanar, the Star Trek fan film dubbed “The Ultimate Fan Film” by Newsweek magazine.

SphinxCon will provide AxaCon with a dedicated space for their panels and events. In return, AxaCon will bring in additional guests as well as a display of various television and movie props from Axanar Productions’ CEO Alec Peters’ personal collection. Peters is known throughout the sci-fi world as a collector of screen-used props from a variety of science fiction franchises, most notably Star Trek.

“When Alec made the proposal for us to host AxaCon, it made perfect sense,” according to David Weiner, Convention Chairman for SphinxCon. “We had already come to an agreement with Alec to offer a private tour of the Axanar sets at OWC Studios to our Manticore Premier members and Convention guests, so when he proposed adding AxaCon as a ‘convention-in-a-convention,’ everyone thought it would be a win-win.”

Alec Peters was equally enthusiastic. “I read the first three Honor Harrington books when doing research for Axanar and love the universe. The chance to host AxaCon with SphinxCon is really fantastic for fans. I think there will be a lot of crossover as fans of one franchise discover the other.”

Indeed!  Already, Alec is lining up guests to appear, including co-writer/director (and Marvel Comics writer) Paul Jenkins, Steven “Admiral Slater” Jepson, Stalled Trek fan filmmaker Mark Largent…and a certain blogger of your acquaintance.  Yep, Alec activated a seldom-used reserve activation clause and drafted me.

So it was only fair that Alec give me yet another interview to discuss this event…

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