Like our intubated son, Vulcan babies cannot cry. In the case of Vulcan children, they have no tear ducts. Charlie does (I think) and I’ve seen him make the motions of crying, but his breathing and feeding tubes prevent any sound from coming out. Vulcan babies have other methods of alerting their parents that they need attention. In Charlie’s case, whenever he wants us or the nurses to know that he’s not a happy Trekkie, he “desats,” sending his blood oxygen levels plummeting below the normal range. This is usually accompanied by a plunging heart rate as nurses and doctors move in to adjust oxygen levels and bring him back up. I just witnessed one of these episodes, which, while fairly common in the NICU, sends my heart rate soaring as dangerously as if I’m being chased by a de-cloaked Romulan Bird-of-Prey. Oy. We know that contrary to popular belief, Vulcans actually do have emotions, they’re just taught to suppress them from the time of they are born. (Hey, that sounds like my childhood!)
Can you tell we finally saw the new “Star Trek” movie last night? We loved it, even Leah who had never seen a single episode of the TV series or any of the films. She especially liked Chris Pine, the younger and hunkier Captain James Tiberius Kirk (he already made it to her Facebook status). Pine is an alumni of Leah’s current school and has a strong connection to my wife’s theatre family. Both of his parents, Robert Pine and Gwynne Gilford, starred in productions of Oliver’s (Kendall’s dad) plays.
Gwynne Gilford co-starred with Barbara Rush and Carole Cook, cherished members of the Hailey inner circle, in one of Oliver’s most successful plays, “Father’s Day,” which had a long run in the early 1970s (despite the nasty New York critics who closed the Broadway production after one performance). The L.A version was directed by Carole’s husband, Tom Troupe, and though almost four decades have passed since the play debuted at the Mark Taper Forum, I’ve been after Tom, Carole, and Barbara to mount an original cast reading of the play on Father’s Day itself. Maybe this year? Yikes, that’s less than four weeks away—hurry, kids, we’ve got no time to lose! Can Gwynne take time out from kvelling over her son’s newfound superstardom to join us?
I don’t think I have it in me at the moment to give “Star Trek” one of my full-fledged (translation: overlong and insane) “reviews,” especially without peppering it with annoying spoilers, but suffice it to say that I thought the film was perfectly cast, wonderfully acted, and that what it lacked in dramatic throughlines it made up in verve, fun, and appropriate homage to the original characters while still giving the new actors a surprising amount of creative freedom. In addition to Pine as Captain Kirk, I thought Zachary Quinto hit just the right notes as Spock playing off the “real” Spock who appears in the film in a time-traveling twist worthy of director J.J. Abrams who is also responsible for the mind-fucking time travel craziness of “Lost.” My other favorites were Karl Urban as Bones McCoy, John Cho as Sulu (Kendall and I recently sat next to the “real” Sulu at a play—we were hoping they’d take a risk and make the character gay after George Takei’s very public coming out) and especially Zoe Saldana in the appropriately expanded role of hotter-than-hot Lt. Uhura who has a quite unexpected love interest in the film. I was a big fan of Nichelle Nichols who played Uhura in the original series. I would go so far as to say she may have been the first African-American woman who was allowed to have true sex appeal on network television in the 1960s. Legend has it that Nichols wanted to quit the series after the first season but was persuaded to stay by no less than Martin Luther King, Jr, who called her a role model for the black community. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to fly the space shuttle actually cited Uhura as an influence on her career. Bruce Greenwood did a great job as Kirk’s predecessor, Captain Christopher Pike, but in another weird Hailey connection, it was Barbara Rush’s first husband, Jeffrey Hunter, who played Captain Pike in the original pilot for “Star Trek.”
The Cedars-Sinai NICU, so full of state-of-the-art equipment and mind-blowing expertise, is the closest I’ve ever come to the futuristic bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Gazing at Charlie this morning I have to say I noticed a slight point to his little ears. Is my boy a Vulcan? You be the judge: