April 2023


To the Stars: I saw George Takei in London

George Takei

Last fall when Twitter started being destroyed, I set up an account on Mastodon – and after an initial burst of activity on Mastodon, I have reverted back to my Twitter-scale of use. (In other words, I don’t use it at all.)

That said, during my “active” time on Mastodon, I followed George Takei. I have a long history of being a George Takei fan – from being addicted to Star Trek (the original, thank you very much) as a kid.

His autobiography, To the Stars, was a bit of a revelation in some respects – for here was a man who I knew as Lt. Sulu talking about his experiences growing up in a Japanese Internment Camp during World War II. His book was deeply engaging and I offered it to my Mother since she too had a passing interest in this aspect of American history. Knowing she was not a Star Trek fan, I noted, “you can stop when you get to Star Trek.”

(She too was fully engaged – read the whole book and when she gave it back to me, she noted, “nobody seems to like William Shatner.”)

All of this was before he came out – at least publicly. I’m not actually sure when he came out as gay (I mean, I could look it up, but that’s too much work for my rambling mood) – but at some point he became famous for being the gay actor who played Sulu in Star Trek. There are probably a lot of other aspects to his fame, but from my perspective, these are the key points.

Back to the point: during my brief super active Mastodon period, George Takei announced that he would be starring in a musical in London about Japanese internment camps in the USA during World War II – a musical entitled “Allegiance.”

This is why I found myself in London over Easter weekend – I went to the last performance of Allegiance on Saturday, April 8, 2023, with two friends.

For my first time seeing George Takei in person, I was very happy. The musical was set at Heart Mountain (in Wyoming – I’ve been there, one of two Japanese Internment Camps that I’ve visited while on vacation Stateside – the other being Amache in Colorado) and covered all of the key points about this period of American history. I’m sure some of the nuances were glossed over in the name of music, but the essential parts of the story were correct, as I understand this history.

There’s no point for me (a gay, white, CIS-male) to try and arrive at some larger moral message – this was a terrible bit of American history and it is super important that we never forget.

It was excellent seeing George Takei in person – a pleasure. I hope to witness his acting again.

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