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TMCNet:  Sci-fi fans rejoice: Radcon beams up Feb. 13-15

[February 06, 2009]

Sci-fi fans rejoice: Radcon beams up Feb. 13-15

(Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 6--Get ready to escape the mundane and step inside the world of science fiction, where Ramulon Ale puts the "rad" in Radcon.

The annual convention held at the Pasco Red Lion turns 18 this year and Bothell-based Ignition Fire Troupe is helping to heat things up.

"Imagine, if you will, 12 people dancing out there with torches, doing fire dancing and all gathering in a ring, their faces to the sky as if they were howling at the moon, and all together breathing fire that makes a 12-foot fireball in the night air," said Bob Brown, programming director,


The event runs Feb. 13-15. Tickets are available at the door for $35.

Radcon boasts an eclectic schedule and is expected to draw more than 2,000 visitors. Attendees can participate in writing workshops, prop building, anime marathons, 24-hour LAN parties, Dungeons & Dragons, live music and charades.

"You haven't lived until you've played charades at Radcon," Brown said. "We also have Pictionary, where we have the artists versus the writers, and the artists have never beaten the writers in the six years running."

Most notably, STARFLEET (a group of Star Trek and sci-fi enthusiasts) will hold its annual gathering called The Region 5 Summit at Radcon.

Star Trek fans from Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are in for a treat with special guests Beo Fraser and Rob Caves, the producer and executive producer of Hidden Frontier Productions, a company that produces Star Trek fanfilms.

Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Batman Returns and Babylon 5 will be pleased to know prop maker Dragon Dronet will be holding a workshop for those curious about building their own props and creating costumes.

"We have about 130 professional artists, writers, video production companies and editors coming to the convention," Brown said. "We have seven different publishing houses represented. We have combat demonstrations going on outside in the daytime. We are a whole lot more than a science fiction convention in the middle of nowhere. We really try to make value of what we do."

The convention caters to the imaginative mind of anyone willing to give science fiction a chance. Writers are also paired with high school students who enter the Radcon creative writing contest. During their one-on-one time, the students will receive tips on how to improve their style.

Children can get in on the action through arts and crafts workshops, learning to make magic fairy wands and other props out of clay.

The event also includes an art show, where visitors can bid on their favorite pieces during the art auction Sunday.

A special feature is an appearance by Joe Kucan, who's in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. Kucan is the longest recurring actor in any video game franchise to date for his portrayal of Kane in Command & Conquer.

Another convention highlight is the annual masquerade, set for 7 p.m. Feb. 13. Attendees don homemade costumes from their favorite anime, video game or movie. The process is called cosplay or steampunk.

"It's where the nerds get to be cool. It's a very safe environment. It's more like family than many of us will admit," Brown said. "You can't pick your family but you can pick your friends, and if you pick the right friends they become your family.

Newcomers can partake in Radcon traditions such as trying Star Trek drinks like Klingon Blood Wine or Romulan Ale in the mini-beer garden.

Radcon, which began with a handful of volunteers, has blossomed over the years and continues to draw more volunteers and larger crowds.

"Except for the special guests of honor, everything is volunteer," Brown noted. "People from Los Angeles, Denver and Montana are coming to the convention on their own dime just for the privilege of talking to people. For a volunteer organization to survive for 18 years, you have to really love it."

*Bethany Lee: 582-1465; blee@tricityherald.com

To see more of the Tri-City Herald, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.tri-cityherald.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash.
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