I have been a Star Trek fan since Season One, Episode One of the original show. That show broke a lot of boundaries, not the least of which was the character of Lieutenant Sulu. The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, is currently paying tribute to the actor and activist, George Takei with an exhibit of his personal memorabilia from the many facets of his life.
George Hosato Takei (武井 穂郷 Takei Hosato, /təˈkeɪ/; born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, director, author, and activist of Japanese descent. Takei is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
Takei’s involvement in social media has brought him fresh attention. As of February 2017, his Facebook page has over 10 million likes since he joined in 2011, and he frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary.
Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.
The poster reads: Like his most famous character, helmsman Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, George Takei has voyaged through many worlds.
He has not only experienced some of the most critical moments in our nation’s history, from politics and pop culture to activism and the arts, he has also become a driving force behind some its most transformative changes.
This exhibition will take you through events that shaped 20th and 21st-century America, allowing you to experience them through Takei’s eyes, voice, and memories.
I have visited the JANM on a previous occasion. So I didn’t linger in the other areas of the museum which speak to the experience of Japanese people in America, including their internment during World War II… both Japanese and American citizens… which was a part of Takei’s young life.
As I was there with a group of friends we had a time limit before heading off to lunch in Little Tokyo and I decided to focus on George!
Helmsman Sulu’s chair. I am in need of a new office chair and this does look pretty comfy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try it out.
Although on a tour of Paramount Studios many years ago I had the great privilege of sitting in Captain Picard’s chair on a Star Trek set. No matter what amazing things happen (or indeed have happened) in my life, those few moments will always be a highlight!!!!!
Sulu’s uniform and a photo of him wearing it. Who knew way back then, in 1965, before most people were even born (!) this show would become such a phenomenon with far-reaching influences.
Viewing this exhibit was a fascinating look at an interesting man who has lived, and is living, quite an adventurous life.
After lunch four of us decided to hop on the Gold Line to Chinatown just two stops away. On a previous walk through the area we had stumbled upon the Velveteria, The Museum of Velvet Paintings. We didn’t go inside but vowed to come back, so as we were so close by this was the opportunity.
The owners, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin (click on the website link above to see their photos), own a 3,000 piece collection, with about 450 paintings displayed.
These are not your typical Tijuana tourist velvet paintings. Most of the ones we saw on display are portraits of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Didn’t see any images of George Takei in this museum but no worries, Star Trek is still well represented with Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and the USS Enterprise!
And you’ve got to have a glow-in-the-dark velvet painting for your bedroom! Well, maybe not…
A velvet museum would not be complete without a portrait of Liberace. I don’t know, but it just seems appropriate.
By then we were ready to jump on the Red Line to the Expo Line and home. Just another day exploring downtown Los Angeles…
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