The crowd waiting to enter the Robert Frost Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 wound all the way past the Culver City Middle School to the parking lot on one side and down Elenda Avenue on the other, with the occasional Star Fleet uniform punctuating the scene. More than a thousand people were in Culver City to see LeVar Burton interview Patrick Stewart on the release of Stewart’s new memoir, Making It So.
Live Talks LA, which produces the evening, frequently has events at the Frost, and this one may have broken all previous attendance records. Patrick Stewart, the popular actor who has covered roles from Titus Andronicus with the Royal Shakespeare Company to Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1999 film of A Christmas Carol is best known as Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation His interviewer, LeVar Burton, with an equally long list of credits, was on the same interplanetary crew as Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge, and the two had plenty of tales to share.
Stewart offered that his early love of reading gave him such a respect for authors, he was almost surprised to find he’d become one. “I really wanted to get the voice right, to have it come across to the reader … being an author is very serious business.” Burton prompted him to talk about his early life, how he found his way into acting, and what advice he might offer his younger self.
“If I knew then what I know now…” Stewart felt that the suffering his father had endured during WWII had certainly caused PTSD, which led to his wife and sons suffering from his alcoholism and domestic violence. “Now, of course, we know what serving as a soldier can do to someone, and there is treatment and support available.”
The two traded good natured ribbing about the early days on the set of Star Trek, the Next Generation, with their very different temperaments clashing. That Stewart notoriously scolded his fellow actors for “having too much fun” became a motif that he eventually turned on himself as an even bigger joke.
The crowd, large as it was, was rapt throughout the interview, only occasionally breaking out into sincere applause. Burton observed “That’s not just appreciation, that is love. That is love.”
The evening closed with the audience holding up their newly-purchased memoirs for a crowd shot, and as Stewart and Burton turned to face the camera, they both used the phrase that signified an action on the bridge of the Enterprise, “Make it so.”
For more on upcoming events with Live Talks LA at the Frost, go to www.livetalksla.org