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Rising Star Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention at BSC, October 26-27

  • Created
    Monday, October 22 2012
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103

The Rising Star Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention will be celebrating its 21st anniversary at the Harris-Jefferson Student Center on the campus of Bluefield State College, Friday evening, October 26 and Saturday, October 27. The event will showcase skill-building workshops in areas as diverse as art, robotics and medieval/renaissance swordsmanship. Fandoms as diverse as horror movies, Star Wars, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will find something of interest throughout the weekend.

Rising Star, which spent most of its history in the Roanoke Valley, moved to the Bluefield area around 2005, when staff membership shifted from the Roanoke Valley to the Montgomery, Giles and Mercer County areas. About that same time, the operation of the convention switched hands to the members of the USS Yeager chapter of Starfleet, which has operated on the Bluefield State College campus since 1984. Changing the venue from the Roanoke County Schools to Bluefield State College seemed a logical idea.

Rising Star takes pride in being a "family" convention. Activities at this year's convention range from a "Making Spacescape Paintings" workshop being led by local artist Mark Davis, to a "Zombie Makeup" workshop, being led by local makeup artist Chris DeHart. Panels and presentations include a discussion of paranormal investigation led by members of the Black Diamond Paranormal Society who have been featured on the Biography Channel series "My Ghost Story,"a panel on creating webcomics featuring Chris Impink and Barb Fischer of Studio Unseen. Entertainment and a workshop on creating "filk" music will be presented by songwriter/musician Keith Brinegar, who performs under the stage name White Plectrum. Other local talents will include authors Stephen Sheets and Dan Catron, comic artist and writer Dan Delby, and author and retired journalist Paul Dellinger.

Ashley Holohan is a popular regional artist and a graduate of Virginia Tech. Though marriage and work have taken her out of the area, she has managed to make time in her schedule to rejoin us once again from the suburbs of Chicago. Her artwork, ranging from keychains and luggage tags to full-sized original pieces is always a popular draw.

Science Fiction fans are also fans of real science, and that interest is well represented by the members of the Bluefield State College Robotics Team. Winners of many awards at the regional and national level, the members of this local undergraduate college team manage to hold their own and then some against teams which are often composed of postgraduate engineering students.

Though they tend to maintain a low profile, there are a number of fannish organizations in the region who are always on the lookout for potential new members. They will have tables in the cafeteria area, and will also be taking part in a "Meet and Greet" on Saturday afternoon. Among the groups expected to attend are Starfleet- represented of course by the USS Yeager, The Imperial 501st (Vader's Fist), Abingdon Historical Combat, Clockwork Command (a Steampunk group), Black Diamond Paranormal Society, and Mysticon, a sister convention in the Roanoke, VA area.

In addition to all this, the convention also features a Dealers' Area, with merchandise ranging from handmade crafts to collectibles; an Art Show where attendees are invited to display their original works for potential purchase; and displays of toys, props and collectibles (dependent on space available).

For those with such interests, there will also be a gaming area available with access to video games, role-playing games and tactical board games, including the newest release of the perennial SF board game, OGRE. The game is preparing for re-release close to 30 years after its original release, and one of its Kick Start contributors will be giving us a look ahead at the system.

For those with an interest, there will be a small dance on Friday evening, and an anime room all day Saturday, with introductions to many classic and new series from Japan. Come whet your appetite, and see what you're actually buying before you drop your paycheck at the video store.

Finally, to wind things down on Saturday evening enjoy our Costume Presentation. Many of our attendees are also brilliant costumers and makeup artists in their own right. Join us for a parade of these costumes in presentations that range from the inspirational to the downright silly. While our judges are sorting out all this, sit back, relax and enjoy the music and comedy of White Plectrum. Keith's songs poke fun at popular movies, television, comics and books, and sometimes an occasional well-deserved jab at the fans themselves.

The evening ends with an auction. Items can range from junk to incredibly rare collectibles, because it's supported entirely by donations. So far, we can promise some neat games, cool toys and
really interesting DVDs.

Membership at Rising Star is free to members of the Bluefield State College community, including students, faculty and staff. General memberships are $5 for Friday evening and all day Saturday. Children under the age of six are free.

Proceeds beyond operating costs are being collected toward the funding of a scholarship at Bluefield State College in memory of Jonathan David "Jonny" Miller. Jonny was a graduate of Bluefield State College in the Computer Science program, and a supporter of USS Yeager from the days when it was still the Bluefield State College Science Fiction Club.

It's a day and a half of entertainment for only five dollars and as Bill Cosby used to say, "If you're not careful, you might even learn something before we're done." So dig out your old cartoon t-shirt and we'll see you there!

Submitted by Jerry Conner