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“Star Trek” and “Boston Legal” fans alike gathered Friday night at the Arlington Theatre to see William Shatner perform his one-man Broadway show: “Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It.” Shatner goes where no man has gone before, taking the stage in Santa Barbara and electrifying a crowd of Trekkies with stories from both his life and work acting as Captain Kirk.
Before Shatner began his performance, said Trekkies were already buzzing outside the Arlington in anticipation. Steve West and Meg Dinner, visitors from San Diego, both have been Star Trek fans since birth.
“My parents had pretty much all of the classic episodes on beta tape, and so I watched them over and over and over again growing up,” West said.
Dinner added that there would probably be a full house for the event. The couple was clad in matching Star Trek outfits for a costume contest hosted before the event. Borgs, Vulcans and even a few Captains were scattered around the Arlington’s courtyard at 7 p.m., one hour before Shatner’s show.
Pilar Montes, the winner of the costume contest, dressed as a Borg, one of a fictional alien race from the series. Montes explained that her costume was entirely secondhand and reprocessed.
“My costume is all recycled; the eye is a parmesan cheese top … the electronics I got for 90 cents from a thrift store. I got an old DVD player and I just opened it up,” Montes said, clearly excited to be named the winner.
Montes had never seen Shatner perform before, but she said she was also a long-time fan.
“I didn’t start watching until reruns in college, but I’ve watched all the movies. This is great,” she said.
When Shatner set foot on the stage, the crowd exploded into applause, which he happily accepted. Shatner captivated the audience with stories from his acting career, home life and future plans, touching on topics from his love of motorcycles and horseback riding to struggles in his early work and burying his father. Shatner, who is rapidly approaching his 82nd birthday, explained that “death is the final frontier.” However, Shatner seemed to have a positive take on the topic, adding that he hopes to go out while laughing. “I think you die the way you live,” Shatner said. And he received quite a number of laughs last night as he acted out his experiences, including a scene where he recalls camping with his three daughters and hunting down a rodent in the cabinets while his children slept. “I hate rats. They scare me,” Shatner confessed as he waved his imaginary broom through the air to shoo the animal away.
Shatner expressed his passion for music as well as acting in the show, discussing his various albums and collaborations with artist Ben Folds, who produced Shatner’s album Has Been.
“I got to record in the studio Elvis Presley used,” Shatner said, blue eyes sparkling with excitement. “I wrote 50 songs and Ben picks 12.”
Shatner proceeded to play a few of his songs and even dance with the swivel chair on stage with him, proving the actor still hasn’t lost his vitality and his spunk.
Shatner’s charismatic personality flooded the theater and captivated the audience for the full hour and a half set, reminding the audience to live life to its fullest. “Don’t be afraid of taking chances … of failing … of making an ass of yourself. I do it all the time and look what I got.”
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of January 24th, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.