William Shatner is curious about Buffalo. The Montreal-born actor, who performed Shakespeare at Stratford, Ont. before becoming a pop-culture icon as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," remembers a time when people from Toronto came to Buffalo for entertainment.
“I’m not sure how it’s working now,” Shatner said in a telephone interview during a break shooting the movie “Senior Moments.” “How is Buffalo as a point of destination?”
You tell him that Canadians come here for shopping and air travel, but Shatner will get his own sense of today’s Buffalo this weekend. He’ll be in town May 20 for an autograph and Q&A session at Nickel City Con at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
Shatner, who is 86, still works full time as an actor, writer and speaker. He's also adopted a new initiative: Spreading goodwill and positivity on social media. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Question: I get the sense you enjoy banter on Twitter. True? [@WilliamShatner]
Answer: I do for a number of reasons, one of which will surprise you, and I’ll tell you about it, because I’d like you to write about it.
There were four separate incidents this year that led me to believe that there is a wellspring, a tsunami, of good feeling against the active hate. My intuition tells me there is more goodwill and desire to help than there is to destroy. As a result of that, I have formed a committee – including some of the people at Twitter – to try and harness that good feeling for community work.
I’ll give you one instance (about) father and son in British Columbia: The son would only eat food (Kraft mac and cheese) out of a "Star Wars" container. They had run out of the containers. The father tweeted, "Can somebody help me?" I retweeted that and thousands of people contributed cartons for the kid. (Shatner notes the Kraft company got involved, too.)
That impulse to do good is repeated again and again.
Q: Your new book "Spirit of the Horse" will be released next week. How has your work with horses impacted your life?
A: Finding the spirit in a horse – finding another level in an animal that is not human – has opened my eyes to the unity of the earth. (I have read) many books over the years, with increasing fervor as I’ve gotten older, about how everything is connected. There’s this holy connection, if you will – this spiritual connection – that all life forms have. My proximity, being involved with horses, has given me insight into that unity.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: I’m shooting a movie called “Senior Moments” right now and I’m going in a week’s time off to Europe to do some more of “Better Late Than Never” on NBC — four of us (Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw) traveling around being amusing. It’s made quite a splash and we’re going to do some more.
What: Nickel City Con
When: 3 to 8 p.m. May 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 20 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 21
Where: Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St.
Tickets: $15 a day, $30 for three-day pass. Early admission packages, autographs and photographs are separate. Visit nickelcitycon.com/tickets.