I-CON's 30th anniversary at Stony Brook

Maria Van Kuik, 33, of Selden, attends the

Maria Van Kuik, 33, of Selden, attends the I-CON science fiction festival at Stony Brook University as Azure Dragon, one of the Long Island Jedis. (March 26, 2010) (Credit: Newsday / Mahala Gaylord)

Time flies when you're having fun -- especially in the company of space travelers, medieval warriors and comic book superheroes.

I-CON's 30th anniversary convention will offer more than discussion panels, film screenings and an art show. The nationally known gathering of science fact, fiction and fantasy fans will also offer a look at past conferences and the movies and television shows that drew fans before the Internet gave them a place to meet in cyberspace.

Highlights include hanging out with Thomas Jane of HBO's "Hung," a masquerade ball with a classic movie theme and a new twist on the annual Rocky Horror Picture Show presentation.

"We hired professionals to do the shadow cast of 'Rocky Horror,' " says Brad Hausman, 35, of Lindenhurst, president of I-CON Science Fiction Inc.

ABOUT I-CON

I-CON is the Northeast's official gathering for fans of these popular genres, with 5,500 attendees last year and about as many expected this year, Hausman says. Among the crowd will be I-CON veterans who attended the first conference in 1981. These original "alumni" will be wearing "30 year" pins, says Hausman, 35, an accountant who has been attending for 20 years. "You can stop these people and talk about what it was like 30 years ago."

In another nod to the past, among the celebrity guests is Gil Gerard. The veteran actor played the title role in the 1979 TV movie "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and in the short-lived TV series that followed.

STAR POWER

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was a celebrity guest at an early I-CON, and there have been opportunities to hang with stars of various magnitude ever since.

Jane, a fantasy fixture at least since he played Zeph in 1992's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," will be on hand to talk about his Raw Studios comic book line. Alongside comic book, game and movie poster illustrator Tim Bradstreet, he'll meet with fans at "Artist's Alley" throughout the weekend.

Also dropping in: Julie Benz of ABC's "No Ordinary Family," who will sit for a 2 p.m. Q&A Saturday, and Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar in "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), who will participate in Saturday's 11 a.m. panel on "What Makes a Great Villain." Both will sign autographs.

WHAT'S NEW

The I-CON tradition called "cosplay" (dressing up as a fictional character) gets added play this time around. At the annual masquerade ball at the Holiday Inn Ronkonkoma, costumes will celebrate favorite classic movies "through the ages." A panel of judges (including celebrities) will award prizes for the best costumes.

"Starstruck" Elaine Lee's Off-Broadway play about female space travelers (which also became a comic book series) will be performed onstage at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday in a new "audio" version by Lee. And a lucky few conventioneers will be recruited as voice talent.

"They are going to be picking people walking around the convention, and they are going to record their newest play production with voice acting from I-CON attendees," says I-CON 30 spokeswoman Bliss Casey, 33, of Levittown.

I-CON 30

WHEN | WHERE Friday-Sunday, Stony Brook University

INFO 631-382-8297, iconsf.org

ADMISSION $29-$49 single day pass (3-day pass $59 adults, $10 ages 6-12)

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