The word is “Imzadi,” and it means, Amy Campbell explains, “someone who touches your soul. So, basically, it’s a soul mate.”
It’s a Betazoid word, Campbell adds, prompting Mark Restucci to offer, “That’s ‘Next Generation.’ ”
If any of that made sense to you, you’re probably a happy inhabitant of the “Star Trek” universe. And if you also happen to reside in Las Vegas, this weekend will be a combination of Christmas, your birthday and, oh, let’s go for Federation Day, when Creation Entertainment’s 13th annual Official Star Trek Convention touches down at the Rio.
The convention, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday, will feature visits from more than 100 “Star Trek” luminaries — including, at one point or another, at least four “Star Trek” captains — as well as appearances and panel discussions featuring such literary lights as Harlan Ellison and David Gerrold, panel discussions about various aspects of Trekiania, and a cosplay convention.
On Friday evening, the worlds of sci-fi and real life will converge with the wedding of veteran “Star Trek” fans Campbell and Restucci, who’ll be wearing wedding regalia that will be recognizable to any “Trek” fan familiar with the romantic saga of Deanna Troi and William Riker.
Gary Berman of Creation Entertainment notes that the “Star Trek” franchise is “coming up on its 50-year anniversary” and that it, and the Las Vegas convention, are more popular than ever.
That, Berman says, can be traced back to creator Gene Roddenberry who “speaks to the future in such a positive way. It’s all about inclusion of all types of people, and his famous saying is, if we can’t celebrate the differences we have as humans, how are we going to accept the other life forms that are surely out there?”
The TV series’ and movies’ message of inclusion and optimism resonates “with a lot of people,” Berman adds, almost to the point of “religious fervor, in a certain way.”
Berman says the Las Vegas convention — which moved from the former Las Vegas Hilton to the Rio after the former’s “Star Trek: The Experience” attraction closed several years ago — is expected to draw about 15,000 guests and is “the biggest one in the world.”
Both the convention schedule and its guest list (detailed information can be found at www.creationent.com) bear that out. Among the performers who are scheduled to sign autographs, meet fans and participate in panel discussions are: William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig from the original series; John de Lancie, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and Denise Crosby from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, Ethan Phillips and Garrett Wang from “Star Trek: Voyager”; Avery Brooks, Colm Meaney, Rene Auberjonois, James Darren, Nana Visitor and Terry Farrell from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”; Robin Curtis from the third and fourth original “Star Trek” movies and Catherine Hicks from the fourth film; and Scott Bakula, Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer from “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
Panel discussions will explore such topics as the women of “Star Trek” fandom, the actresses of classic “Star Trek” and various “Star Trek” best-ofs. Of special interest to Southern Nevada fans will be a panel devoted to “Star Trek: The Experience,” the live-action entertainment attraction that ran at the Las Vegas Hilton from 1998 to 2008, featuring performers and others who were associated with it.
For the first time, Berman says, NASA will be represented at the convention and offer presentations about current topics in space exploration. A cosplay event is scheduled for Saturday, while the Nevada Pops Orchestra, led by Richard McGee, will present a salute to the music of “Star Trek” on Saturday evening.
Then there’s that real-live wedding, scheduled to begin Friday at 6:45 p.m. Berman says that while it’s the first real wedding that will be held at one of the conventions, the forging of relationships both platonic and romantic aren’t uncommon at the events.
There are “many fans who have met” at the conventions over the years, he says, and who have remained friends, or even tied the knot, afterward.
Campbell and Restucci met at the 2012 convention. Restucci lived in Phoenix then, while Campbell was living in Los Angeles.
“Wednesday night is registration. I got in line waiting to register, and I met Amy and her girlfriend,” Restucci recalls. “I started to talk to her, and that’s how we met.”
What makes the chance meeting particularly portentous in retrospect: “We got down to the end of the line,” Restucci says, “and I found out I was in the wrong line.”
After that, “we didn’t see each other much at all,” Campbell says. But they later reconnected on Facebook. Last year, again on Wednesday before the convention and again waiting in the registration line, “we saw each other and that was it, pretty much.”
In October, Restucci asked Campbell to marry him. The big moment took place, suitably enough, at the Arizona State Fair on a mock-up of the bridge of the starship Enterprise. “I sat Amy down in the captain’s chair, and got down on one knee and asked her to marry me,” he says.
The couple now live in Phoenix. And while Restucci has done the “Star Trek” cosplay thing for years, “I’ve been going to conventions over 20 years — almost 25 — but I’ve never gotten a costume,” Campbell says.
And now? “Once you put one on, it’s very addictive,” she answers with a laugh.
That’s important, because both will be wearing full “Star Trek” formalwear for their wedding ceremony, based on the cinematic union of Troi and Riker (whose characters first were seen in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”).
There will be a few noncanonical alterations, however. Instead of Starfleet dress uniforms, bridesmaids will wear “dresses with go-go boots, which is very ‘Star Trek’ ” Campbell says. And instead of bouquets, Campbell’s bridesmaids will be carrying purring Tribbles (yes, such things are available).
Serving as “Starfleet Officiator” will be the couple’s friend, Eric Allan Hall, who brings to the ceremony “a spot-on impersonation of Brent Spiner’s Data,” Restucci says, and the honor guard will be made up of “almost 30 of our friends who are wearing the uniform from ‘Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.’ ”
Anybody who happens to be at the convention at the time is welcome to stop in, and the couple has no qualms about holding a ceremony that’s so public. “Star Trek” conventioneers tend to be “not judgmental,” Campbell explains. “Everybody is just very helpful and friendly, so this is more like a celebration of that.”
However, Campbell is surprised that the ceremony has turned into such a, well, thing.
“We knew we wanted to get married at a convention, but we didn’t expect all of this,” she says. “It’s kind of taken on a life of its own.”
At some point during the evening, the happy couple is sure to raise a glass to Roddenberry for providing them and other fans with, Restucci says, “a vision for the future.”
And if a few of the many celebrities who also will be on site happen to stop by to offer good wishes on their life together? They laugh.
“If William Shatner came,” Campbell says, “I’d faint.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@review journal.com or 702-383-0280.