Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Mask Of G'Kar

I'm sure my fellow Babylon 5 friends picked up on this, but just in case, I had read the following while I was away and just thought it was kind of cool.

"Eleven fans of the syndicated SF series Babylon 5 have donated a prosthetic mask used to transform the late actor Andreas Katsulas into the alien G'Kar to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y. The fans, from the United States and Great Britain, were previously unknown to each other but pooled their resources at the urging of fan Amy Guskin of Pennsylvania to buy the mask when it came up for auction on eBay. The mask was purchased from former Babylon 5 writer Marc Zicree. The G'Kar mask was created by Optic Nerve Studios and is a hand-painted latex-foam prosthetic. A larger image and detailed description are available on the museum's Web site. The Museum of the Moving Image advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique and technology of film, television and digital media."

Rochelle Slovin, Director of the Museum, said, “This is a wonderful story of how members of a fan community gathered online from around the world to preserve an artifact that otherwise would have gone into a private collection. The mask itself is a beautiful example of special-effects makeup, used in the creation of a principal character on the show. We are honored that these donors chose the Museum as the home for this mask.”

The eleven donors of the G’Kar mask are Amy Guskin (Pennsylvania), George Brickner (Illinois), Neil Burton (England), Caryn Dunkel (New Jersey), Iva Ferris (Pennsylvania), Blair Leatherwood & Judith Emick-Leatherwood (California), Jan Schroeder (Florida), Janna Silverstein (Washington), Dennis Weldy (Alabama), and Hilary Weston (England).

"In December 2006, Amy Guskin discovered the G’Kar mask up for auction on eBay, and saw it as an opportunity to save a piece of Babylon 5’s legacy. Motivated by the recent death of Katsulas and also by the desire to keep the mask in public view, she spread word online through a longstanding Babylon 5 Usenet newsgroup, asking for donations to purchase the mask. Ten fans responded to her plea with donations of hundreds of dollars each. Their bid was accepted, and they purchased the mask from Marc Zicree, a well-known science-fiction writer in the television industry who wrote the first-season Babylon 5 episode, "Survivors." Zicree had obtained the prosthetic directly from John Vulich of Optic Nerve. One of the donors, Blair Leatherwood, suggested the donation of the mask to Museum of the Moving Image, after visiting the Museum during a trip to New York."

Ms. Guskin said, “To say that I am humbled by my fellow Babylon 5 fans’ ability to trust, and willingness to donate money for something like this, would be correct; however, it’s not all that surprising, considering how much Babylon 5 means to so many serious science-fiction fans all around the world. It’s a deep, meaningful, incredible show that engenders deep, meaningful, incredible feelings in those who watch it. By donating the mask to Museum of the Moving Image, we wanted to carry on the show’s legacy. The Museum was the obvious choice for this, since it has a wonderful exhibition with a section devoted to special effects makeup. We could be sure that all fans of the show, as well as the wider public, would be able to appreciate the craft that went into creating Babylon 5.
Anyway, pretty cool news and a very honorable gesture from some very loyal fans. Amy Guskin really nails it in that last passage. I, too, feel as though I am joining a part of something much bigger as one member of this rather ravenous and large, but wonderful group of Babylon 5 lovers. I get those "deep, meaningful, incredible feelings" everytime I watch it as well.

Like Don Davis, I still have a hard time with the fact Andreas Katsulas is no longer out there among us.


Amy Guskin said...

Thanks for the nod, Fanatic! I hope you're able to make it to Queens someday to visit Citizen G'Kar in his new digs...

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

My pleasure. Welcome and thanks for stopping by. What you and the others did was indeed worth an honorable mention. I hope to get there and see the citizen someday. From one fine citizen to another...thanks for coming by Amy.