About 70 Arts & Lectures Producers Circle Members gathered at the Orfalea Foundation Center on February 15 for a reception with George Takei before the legendary figure gave a talk at the Arlington Theatre.
Best known for his role as helmsman of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek, Takei is not only known for his acting, but also for his role as a social activist and social media superstar, with more than nine million fans following him on Facebook. His latest venture is Takei’s Take, a YouTube series produced by AARP, which explores the world of technology, trends, current events, and pop culture.
In addressing the guests, Takei noted that he and his husband Brad love coming to Santa Barbara for weekend getaways. He shared that as an architecture and city planning buff, he especially likes the distinctive Spanish Colonial architecture that is featured in so many creative designs here. He was pleased to speak with UCSB students earlier in the day at the UCSB Multicultural Center and was very happy to be at this reception to visit with the “ideas community.” He described Santa Barbara as “a city that really is in many ways, a university, a place where ideas can grow, flower, and out of debate comes newer ideas.”
He offered a glimpse of his talk at the Arlington, “Where no Story Has Gone Before,” which highlights his life’s experiences. He shared how after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he along with 120,000 other Japanese-Americans were incarcerated at camps in the U.S. He went on to describe how despite being unfairly subject to internment with no due process rights, many of the young men who were incarcerated in the camps joined the U.S. military, fought in the war, and came back as the most decorated unit in World War II.
In his talk at the Arlington, Takei recounted how at age five, soldiers came to his home and ordered his family to leave at gunpoint, placing them in a horse stable while the internment camps were being built. He talked of the misery upon leaving the internment camp for Skid Row, where his family lived until they could afford to move to a safe neighborhood. Takei recounted his work in the civil rights movement, and later in support of LGBT rights. He drew a striking parallel between the World War II internment to which he was subjected and President Trump’s recent immigration order. Though the subjects were heavy and his passion was full, Takei also interjected his signature wit at appropriate points and delighted all with that soothing voice.
This was Takei’s last speaking engagement before heading to New York, where he has the leading role in the Off-Broadway production of Pacific Overtures.
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